A plea to Fierinzian restaurant owners…(and others too!)

Dear restaurant owners in the major Piazzas, I’m worried that you spend so much energy spruiking us into your refined spaces, only to leave us at the mercy of waitstaff who fail to follow through? Wine glasses begging refill, menus forgotten, requests neglected while empty tables receive rigorous cleaning attention.

Esteemed restaurant with 10 waitstaff and 40 tables, just six of them occupied; I’m worried that you failed to notice the Italian couple who quietly stood, collected their Louis Vuitton and Chanel purchases and left after an excruciating 25 minutes trying to attract your attention. Generous of them for I suspect that kind of shopping would evoke a serious thirst. I also suspect they have powerful voices. Word of mouth?

Dear little Bistro with decor rustic and welcoming, the menu authentic, the food splendid, hospitality gracious (thank you); I’m curious to know why your charming little hole in the wall was brimming with just one nationality. American? ‘Guaranteed to feel true Italian hospitality, you’ll love it’ whispered the two from an adjoining table in another earlier that day. Who, incidentally, were trying to get beers topped up while wives topped up the retail economy. Reassuring, though sad, to see ‘victim’ wasn’t our exclusive right. Word of mouth. Powerful stuff. Good tippers too those yanks.

Nondescript little cafe up a nondescript little side street, I’m worried you turned me away because you may have had to seat me at a table that could potentially accommodate more than one? Sound business decision? Noticed your tables remained empty. First day solo, a tad vulnerable, craving warmth and hospitality and hell hath no fury like a woman in that condition. Dear little bistros that did take me in? Your Trip Advisor reports just garnered more positives. Word of mouth.

Am I being ‘giudicante‘ – judgmental? There have been wonderful exceptions yes. Do we have similar issues in Australia? Absolutely. But with such glaring consistency? In my opinion, no.

You see dear owner, in a city saturated with restaurants I’m worried that you’ll be folding those chairs for the last time to the echo of the jingling pockets crowding your beautiful squares, admiring your magnificent architectural wonders and wandering your quaint cobbled streets; disappearing into the select few who actually earned the right to their patronage.

Uncertain economical times leave little room for complacency or distain. A dollar is a dollar, tourist’s or otherwise and as travelers become more discerning about where to spend their hard earned cash, word of mouth becomes ever more critical to your survival. Love your customer, love your job and do it well or get out of the industry for your not doing your country any favors.

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