Dinner at Lahaina Grill Restaurant two nights ago, one of our favorite restaurants in Maui, began and ended with a hug from our server. Not just any server. Michael has looked after Peter and I each time that we have dined at this restaurant, every year for the past 6 years. Bringing us a complementary glass of Proseco the moment that we sat down, we caught up on each others’ lives before studying the menu and choosing our wines. After a delectable salad to share for our starters and perfectly executed mains, Michael presented us with a surprise in honor of our forthcoming wedding, an exquisite dessert platter made up of a selection from their dessert menu. On the house.
Likewise, breakfast at the Sheraton Maui began and ended each day in a similar way, with hugs and back slaps with all our favorite servers: Julius, Mac, Vicente and Adolfo. In the 7 consecutive years that we have stayed at the Sheraton Maui, the “breakfast boys” have become like family. We know whose daughter has finished college, whose spouse has not been well, and how the soccer coaching is going. For us, the breakfast is secondary to the heartwarming contact.
This is not new. In fact, those of you who know Peter and I are probably tired of hearing us wax lyrical about these two establishments. While other restaurants and hotels have come and gone from our itineraries over the years, Lahaina Grill and the Sheraton Maui have remained the only constants every September.
So with other establishments of the world offering equally high standards of cuisine, service and hospitality, why these two? The difference is about heart. It’s about human beings making a heartfelt connection instead of going through the motions because they’re paid to do it. It’s about genuinely wanting to make a difference to someone’s day.
I’m now going to let you in on a little secret. It cuts both ways. The manner in which you treat your server and various other members of the hospitality industry has a direct relation to the way that you get served in return. Making the people who serve you feel special encourages them to go the extra mile for you.
Here are some great travel tips on how to get the best out of your servers and hotel staff:
Be Considerate -- Front desk staff, hotel managers and restaurant servers deal with a lot of rude people every day. Despite having to juggle the wants and needs of so many customers, they are expected to continually maintain a personable front. By being considerate and friendly towards them, you’ll find them eager to make your day.
Be Understanding -- Was there a mix up with the starters? Did they forget to bring you your mineral water? No sweat. It’s not the end of the world. Besides, a mistake can always work to your advantage. Most establishments will be more than happy to compensate for any inconvenience.
Be Loyal -- If you want to be treated as a regular, then become a regular. It’s as simple as that. You'll have better chances of a free upgrade or be entitled to a complementary drink if you are loyal to the establishment and provide repeat business. Always let them know that you've stayed/ dined there before at the time of reservation. Before long, you’ll be treated like old friends.
Volunteer information -- If you're celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday or anniversary, then don’t be shy. Share the information at the time of reservation. Restaurants and hotels will do whatever they can to make the occasion a special one for you. In a nuthsell, taking the time to make your servers day will more than likely end up with them wanting to make yours!