What's the Difference between Service & Civility?

cartoonWhether your staff know it or not, there is a difference between Service & Civilty and the difference is significant.

The more I eat out and the more I try out new bars, the more I realise that staff need to be trained in the differences.

Civility is defined as a polite act or expression. It’s when staff say hello, or smile and bid you farewell on your way out the door. I expect this civility and I always make sure that I reciprocate out of “civility”. This is an expected part of life. It’s not unique to the service industry and should be something we all do every day. This is not service and I don’t pay for it.

Service is what I pay for. Service is the additional tasks unique to the establishment and industry. It’s the taking of my order and delivering what I asked for and doing it pleasantly and without bitterness or resentment.

Service is what I experienced last night when I asked a server in a Restaurant who was on her to the kitchen to point me in the direction of the restrooms. A civil response would have been to point them out and continue on her way. Instead, she put down the plates she was carrying, asked me to follow her while she led me to the restroom door. She then asked if I would be able to find my way back okay or if I would like her to wait for me. That, ladies and genetlemen, is service.

So before you pat yourself on the back because you think your business gives great service, ask yourself whether your staff are providing Service or maybe just Civility.

There is a difference and it shows.

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2 thoughts on “What's the Difference between Service & Civility?

  1. I agree with your post.

    I am in the F&B/ Hospitality industry and would not think twice about helping in the manner you explained, but, that is me and the way I was brought up. From what I have found especially in Miami and Miami Beach where I am located, that most of the restaurants do not have any kind of service to that level at all, as a matter of fact, most can barely speak English.

    I wish that the industry would at least train their employees to a better standard, but if they do not know any better to give more assistance than just table or bar service than they should not be in the business.

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