Throughout the years of writing restaurant reviews on Feasting Fort Collins, I’ve often left service details out of my writing unless it’s been an essential part of the experience – good or bad.  It’s not a static measurement considering turnover rates and the infrequency of having the same server over multiple visits. I’ve reviewed over 250 restaurants in Colorado, and I’ve had only a few memorable service encounters – exceptional and horrible – with the vast majority of them being tolerable and unnotable.

Admittedly, I have very low expectations for service standards.  As long as I get my food in a timely manner at an appropriate temperature and taste, have plenty of water to drink, and I’m not ignored – I’m happy.  I don’t need a conversation about my day or a song and dance for entertainment.  I recognize that this is probably considered quite sad to some.

As I publish reviews, readers will occasionally comment on their horrible service experiences at a restaurant and vow to never return.  I’m often baffled by this, because despite less than stellar episodes, it has never crossed my mind to ban a restaurant because of bad service (now, horrible food, that’s a different story).

Sometimes I’ve been left wondering if people have abnormally high expectations.  What exactly do we want from our servers? Free food? Back bending that would impress a gymnast? Servants rather than servers?  And what about those on the other side of the table?  What do our servers expect from the dining public? Tips no matter the level of service? Customers that should be happy that they aren’t making their own meals, no matter the quality?

I felt like it was time for a meeting of the minds.

I surveyed readers who’ve had those extremely horrible experiences that motivated them to never patronize a restaurant ever again, to find out exactly what kind of level of service they received.  I also surveyed local Fort Collins’ chefs, baristas, servers, restaurant owners, and general managers to get their side of the story on what they expect, and what we should do if we end up disappointed in the services we’ve paid for.  It’s been an enlightening investigation...

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