Henry Ford is the father of the assembly line and mass production. He revolutionized the way a factory works. He made production much more efficient and larger quantities were easier to come by. Do you know where I'm going with this? This process should not be carried onto food. If you're making something for a big banquet, okay, that's fine, but at a regular restaurant, unacceptable. At least I wish it was unacceptable. We're used to efficiency and making sure that things can be done faster. Do you really want this approach at a restaurant? Do you want to be treated like a product that comes down the conveyor belt? A customer should be treated like the restaurant is happy to have their service, like the customer is doing them a favor by showing up. There's a great scene in the TV show, That 70's Show (which obviously takes place in the 1970's) where a couple go out to a restaurant (conveniently named, Blannagan's) at the advent of the salad bar. The waiter informs them that they can go up to the salad bar and choose whatever toppings they'd like. The couple is baffled and the husband asks why his wife would want to go out to a restaurant and make her own salad when she could do that at home. Why don't we question this anymore? Go get your own food? No, I go out because I don't want to make my own food. I want to feel like I'm paying for something other than groceries.
I understand that being a waiter/waitress is not an enjoyable job and not necessarily something one aspires to do. However, it's still a job that you're being paid to do. There are restaurants out there that value the customer and value service towards them. Rather than having the attitude of "You need us to eat," these places have the attitude of "We need you to eat." The obsession with big business and the bottom line every night obscures many restaurants from providing quality service and ensuring long term success and customer loyalty. Oddly enough, all restaurants thrive on the customer coming into eat there. If you think about it, do all restaurants act like the customer is their raison d'etre? No, the customer is a product that needs to be quickly shot through the line so the next product can be prepped. Try this the next time you have people over. Greet them gruffly at the door, take away their salad before they're done, serve dinner before they're ready, and keep looking at the door until they leave. See if they return.