The Applebee?s Experience

Recently, while dining at Applebee?s in Boiling Springs, Spartanburg, SC, I experienced some of the most excellent service in the Upstate. From the first few seconds upon entrance until we exited and were told to have a great evening, the service was exceptional. The waitress and the manager who both tended to the table had great personalities, showed knowledge of the menu, and adapted well to every individual table, which was noticeable. Also the food came out at a decent time which means the cooks were doing exactly what they said they were trained to do .
Additionally, as we walked in the door, we were greeted by smiling hostesses who promptly sat us. They said "Hi welcome to Applebee?s, how are you guys this evening" then they asked how many along with a smoking preference. Walking to non-smoking, they held small talk conversations that made me and my friends feel welcome. We sat down and the hostess let us know that the specials for the evening were half price appetizers and also scripted a few drinks that were featured for the evening. This showed me that not only were the waitresses required to know the menu, but also the hostesses. The young lady proceeded to tell us that our waitress would be right with us, which she was in a matter of seconds. This set the atmosphere for the rest of the evening.
When the waitress arrived she re-capped the menu, it wasn't a blatant repetition which would have dampened the mood, but it was the same with a different twist.
Furthermore the waitress proceeded to take our order. I could tell that she took pride in her job solely based on her appearance. Other places I have eaten at such as Burger King, Mcdonalds, and even Red Lobster, I?ve encountered some unsatisfactory uniforms. This young ladies uniform was clean, ironed, and the way she presented herself portrayed dignity. She also did not use a notepad to write down the orders. I immediately thought she would forget what we ordered and screw things up because she was holding conversation between orders. As we ordered she would say things like ?oh that is my favorite dish? or ?you sure that?s how you want your steak, cause we can serve it raw? and small jokes to engage us. But contrary to my belief she rememorized all five of our orders with no problem, reading them back to us. This was key to showing that she was an excellent listener which is a key to quality customer service.
The manager them brought our drinks to the table and she knew exactly which belonged to who. This also surprised me because she was not the one to take the order, which shows communication among workers in Applebee?s. Being men, after about three minutes, the manager showed back up at the table to refill out drinks and inquire about ?why we were out at that hour?. We explained to her that we were hungry college students in search of a cheap late night meal. We held conversation for about ten minutes. Our waitress then came back to the table and talked to us some more. While doing this she multi-tasked between her other table with grace and ease. This added to her professionalism. During the course of the night, a child at the booth behind us spilt his drink, in which she was courteous enough to clean up even after the father told her he would take care of it. This small gesture showed she was very genuine and that she was capable of taking the extra step with potentially no reward.
Ultimately, with all the conversation and friendliness, time flew by and in about twenty minutes our food was on it?s way out, along with another drink refill. Placing the correct plate in front of each of us, they then asked if there was anything else we needed. We responded by telling them we needed napkins and she pulled them out of her apron. Then we said we needed new straws and she grabbed those also. Next, as soon as we were done telling her the sauces, such as ranch, honey mustered, and A1 sauce the manager was coming around the corner with it. What we did not realize was that during our conversations about school and food,