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This post contains reaction gifs because… why not?
My fiancée and I enjoy eating out quite regularly (as long as there’s enough left in the budget!). Sometimes it’s random fast food like Burger King, and sometimes it’s high-end cuisine stuff. And while we enjoy high-end stuff quite a bit more than fast food there’s one thing fast food restaurants do that we both wish regular restaurants did:
Get paid upfront.
SUCKY SCENARIO OF SUCK
Have you ever been to a restaurant, stuffed your belly with food, and then just wanted to leave? This happens to me more often than I can count. The wine’s gone, the plates (with what little scraps you couldn’t fit in you) have been collected fifteen minutes ago, and “no, [you] don’t want a dessert”. Not to mention, this dim light is giving you a headache and the subtle ambient drone music in the background sounds like a lullaby and you can barely keep your eyes open. All you want to do is pay the bill, go home and plop down on your bed so you can die for a solid 8 hours.
All this amazing ambiance was all well and good when you came in and while you were eating. Excellent. But now it’s a nuisance. You’re done.
Instead you have to wait around for fifteen more minutes until you can catch a waiter’s eye and signal the universal “can we get the bill please?” sign in mid-air. You know the one… you kinda sign a bunch of squiggly lines with an imaginary pen on an imaginary (and magical), comically large, floating bill.
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder: Do these people not want my money?
Rest assured, they do. They’ve just been running around on their feet for twice as long as you’ve been eating, and they’re three times as tired as you are.
So here’s what I wish would happen instead.
EXCELLENT SCENARIO OF EXCELLENCE
You walk into a restaurant. Plop your ass down. Wow, the ambiance is amazing. Waiter comes over, takes your order. Then he asks you “Would you like to pay now or pay later?”
If you opt to pay now, then you pay now. The waiter would then get you the bill and a receipt of payment just so you wouldn’t have any problems once you decide to leave.
If you want to order any further items, then, just like at Burger King, you get another bill. And another receipt of payment. If paying for that extra bottle of wine mid-course is a problem, then the waiter could ask you to pay in between courses. Or maybe when he comes around to take away your empty plates.
Look, you know everybody’s gonna pay. Why wait for me to ask you to get me the bill? Just get me the bill and get it over with. Then if I wanna sit here and talk (instead of sitting and talking in the comfort of my own home) I can sit here and talk. I don’t want you to force me to stay.
THE COLD TRUTH
So why do they do this? The answer’s simple: it’s easier to upsell someone who hasn’t paid yet.
Even though it would turn tables faster, even though it means waiters would have less work to do later on during the night, even though it would make everybody who doesn’t like to sit around after eating that much happier, they know it’s a little bit harder to sell dessert to someone who’s already paid the bill.
It’s simple as that.
But why take that away from me? Aren’t you supposed to be in the business of providing the best service for your customers? I don’t usually get upsold at restaurants. I eat out so often that I know your silly little tricks. I’m here to eat good food and then go home. If I wanted “an experience” I’d watch the series finale of Chuck.
Or the one where Ellie gets married.
So just offer me the option. Rest assured most people wouldn’t opt for it anyway. But for those of us that prefer to leave once they’re done, this would make the whole “experience” you’re trying to shove down our throats 129% better.