don’t talk to me…just look at the sign

Why are there so many signs in restaurants that are giving their customers directions and warnings? Like:

“We refuse the right to serve anyone.” – When would this sign be necessary? If a customer is out of line you’re going to have to speak to them anyway and you’ll probably tell them you are not going to serve them right?

“No shirts, no shoes, no service.” – I think this one became popular with “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. In this day and age how often are people coming in to restaurants with out a shirt or shoes? And on the rare occasion that it does happen how difficult would it be to turn someone away?

“No pets allowed except service dogs.” – Again this one seems obvious to me. I live in a town where customers try to bring their dogs anywhere and can be belligerent when they are not allowed to bring in their pets, but I think the assumption should be that pets are not allowed in to restaurants for sanitary and allergy reasons. I actually would better understand “Pets allowed here!” Then anyone with allergies could stay away.

There are a lot of signs like these floating around. I assume they are used to communicate by proxy for the restaurant staff, but this is a human business. In a factory you might use signs to remind and warn employees of dangers. In a restaurant it is our responsibility to talk to our guests…even when it’s a difficult conversation. If a customer tries to bring their dog in to your restaurant you should tell them that they are not allowed because it could hurt the other customers experience. If a customer becomes belligerent with the staff or causes damage to the restaurant you should ask them to leave and not return (or you would have to get another sign that says “If we refuse you service please do not return). If someone comes in without a shirt ask them to return after they have put one on.

Customers that have a problem with a manager or staff member asking that they behave in a way that all guests can enjoy their experience are not the one’s you want to be catering to. A sign that interrupts the opportunity to engage with our guests, good or bad, are ineffective. Also, because they do not speak or listen they can often be misinterpreted and a restaurant owner or manager loses the opportunity to explain and maybe keep the business.

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