One of the most difficult situations any server faces is the hostile guest. I call them hostile, because they are angry with you long before you have even greeted them. Some people just bring all the hostility of their day in to a restaurant and dump it on their server. From the moment you greet them, they make it clear that they know you are only smiling because you have to and that none of your upselling mind tricks are going to work on them. The average server can spot this right away and provides adequate service while avoiding small talk at all cost.
This approach is the response the guest is accustomed to. It reconfirms their belief that the only reason you were being friendly in the first place was to get their tip. They peg you as a phony and the restaurant version of détente is underway. Most servers try to avoid this type of guest. In reality though these guests are the ones you can make the biggest impact on. Once you learn how to defuse these time bomb guests, you are well on your way to building a regular for life.
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