Can no service be good service?

Yesterday I was looking round a new cinema/restaurant complex with Mrs C and we had been to the cinema and wanted something to eat. Looking at the menus we decided on the Mexican restaurant, but could not get in. Not because they were full or closed, but because there was no-one available to take welcome us of find out if we wanted a table. We stood there at the entrance to the place for 5 minutes, before I gave and said we'd head across to Nandos. This is not the point of the blog, and Chiquittos in Camberley are being named and shamed for their terrible lack of service.

Nandos on the other hand hand had not one but two people to great us. A much better state of affairs until we asked for a table. The young lady politely asked us how many the table was for and said that we would go on the list which was a 20 minute wait. A brief glance over her shoulder told me the restaurant was only half full, so I asked why we couldn't get a table now. The reply that came back shocked me at the time, but on reflection I think it's probably one of the best bits of customer service I've ever experienced.

"Sorry sir we are a very new resaurant and we don't have the capacity yet to fill the resaurant. We would want to give you great service and at the moment we are limiting numbers to make sure that happens. All the staff are very new and they are still learning. If you'd like a table we can put you down for 20 minutes time."

At first I was taken aback, following the lack of service from the first place to being told you can't have a table even though we have them available. We decided we were too hungry to wait 20 minutes so went to to ZiZi round the corner. While we were waiting for our food to come we discussed our thoughts on what just happened.

We both agreed that in the given situation, getting no service from the restaurant was much better than getting bad service. At least they gave us the choice to wait or go find something else.

I applaud the two young ladies on the door of Nandos in Camberley last night for being honest and striving to give only the best customer service.