Yes, I’m one of those people who orders water in restaurants. I don’t like soda — there, I said it. It’s too sweet for me. It’s not because I’m cheap. Quite the opposite, I view dining out as a luxury item and order accordingly. It seems that every time I place my beverage order of simple tap water, I get either a look of disappointment or disdain from a server.
Recently, I visited a small, counter-service pizzeria in a little town in Southern Indiana and ordered my usual tap water. I get my ice and fill my glass with water. It was pink. The lines must have crossed with the pink lemonade. Easy fix, right? I made the counter staff member aware of the issue. She laughed and joked that it had been that way for over a year.
I wish I could say this was an isolated occurrence. Her response is typical of the replies I have received when I have complained about the water I’ve been served.
It’s free — why take a complaint about water seriously? The unfortunate reality is that when I think of that small pizzeria, it’s not the good pizza or awesome breadsticks that I recall, it’s the pink water that’s been pouring from its dispenser for a year that I remember.
Don’t overlook your patrons who prefer water. Tap water ranks No. 10 on the National Restaurant Association’s list of “What’s Hot in 2014” in the non-alcoholic beverage category, above bottled water.
Check your water lines. Be sure that what’s coming from your tap is of good quality. If it’s cloudy or has a metallic or altered taste, invest in a water filtration system. Your customers will appreciate it. Furthermore, train your staff to happily take water orders. Who knows, they could be like me and order a beer or glass of wine later.
So, what’s the quality of your tap water?
Tip: Don’t assume the costumer wants a lemon slice in their tap water. Always ask. Why go into the red on a food item if you don’t have to? Save yourself that lemon wedge. It all adds up.