Last week I met a colleague for breakfast in a NYC restaurant. During the meal, I needed more water, so I looked around the dining room and saw my waiter standing a few feet away talking with his fellow waiters. I caught his eye, and gestured to the water glass, saying “Could I have more water, please?” He turned from me and called out to the busser (who was carrying a full tray of dishes to the kitchen), “More water, table 37.” The busser looked stunned and annoyed and kept walking. My colleague sighed and said, “I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s just a glass of water.”
Maybe, but to the server and busser, it was so much more. Power struggle, dislike, resentment, “not my job”. Any or all of these might be in the mix. And this “mix” is negatively affecting service.
The personal differences between the waiter and busser need to be resolved if business is to run smoothly. Working through their conflict or long time grudge will relieve stress and improve overall attitudes. Then maybe I can get my glass of water.