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Service Issues: All the Rage (and Depression)

But they look happy. [Photo: Flickr/goodsista]

Throughout the week, the local and national food worlds have been abuzz with several pointed discussions about restaurant service—except for Michelin honcho Jean-Luc Naret, who continually insists the star-rankings have nothing to do with service (we only half-believe that). Coming on the heels of Zagat's proclamation that Bay Area service is among the country's worst (18 of 30), an AP survey recently revealed a possible cause for the rough service: service industry professionals are the second most depressed workers in the land.

Down South, a series in the LA Times is also complaining about service, or rather, a lack thereof:

When we dine out, we like to be welcomed. We like to be made to feel that we matter. We like to feel taken care of ... We'll fork over the dough, but we'd like more than just a properly cooked steak in return. The restaurant business is about hospitality, right? Well, instead of hearing about a restaurant's rules and policies, we'd like to be shown a little hospitality ... But, alas, good service is an endangered species.
As he is wont to do, even our own Michael Bauer gets involved in the debate on his blog entry today, as he (rightly) defends his critical stance on service issues, asserting "those that do it best deserve credit." Plus, there's a difference between nitpicking one incident and pointing out a pattern of poor treatment.

While the Times article seems a bit heavy with SoCal entitlement (sorry), nothing ruins a meal like crap service. Is it an epidemic? Probably not. Something that could improve with criticism? Surely. Just be gentle, what with the depression and all.
· Are critics too critical? [Between Meals]
· Diners, stand up for your rights! [LAT]
· Personal Care, Food Workers Most Depressed [AOL]

What do you think? Is service a big problem in the Bay Area? Your thoughts in the shiny new comments field, please.