Honest, great service - maybe for the last time?
It's become so rare to get good service in hotels and restaurants that it's shocking when it does happen. A positive shock. Almost everywhere today, self-service is the most reliable way of being served at all and - as a further advantage - you know the waiter personally. The shortage of staff nowadays also contributes to the fact that people prefer to drink the beer on their balcony at normal prices than to wait for a refill in the pub for three times the price.
It was different at the Hofbräuhaus in Regensburg, where I luckily happened to go to get something warm to eat. When I entered, I noticed that the dining room has about 30 tables (some large for 8 people) and two nice older ladies were serving. I always count tables and staff upon entering as well as the number of guests sitting there to assess the risk of waiting a long time for cold food and then on top of it to reassure the overworked staff that it wasn't that bad.
Almost all tables in the Hofbräuhaus were occupied plus 6 tables outside in front of the entrance, which were also occupied on that nice day. And only 2 older ladies in the service? That was risk level red and normally I would have turned around only this time my stomach decided that we should sit down.
Listening to my stomach I sat down with a look at the clock and decided the 15 minute wait for the first contact would be the maximum. I always do that and often I got up and left.
In the Hofbräuhaus, one of the nice ladies came, but after what felt like a few seconds, she greeted me nicely, gave me the menu and asked what I would like to drink. So quickly, unprepared, I ordered a water which is otherwise not at all my style.
The water came immediately and my order was taken right away. Now that I've had time to look around, every minute became more enjoyable. The two service ladies went quickly and elegantly (these ladies would never run) from table to table, served, cleared, took orders without ever writing anything down, still had time to talk to guests and had the whole restaurant under professional control. They didn’t make on mistake! It was a pleasure watching them at work. The food was very good, hot and was served surprisingly quickly and friendly.
When a table got up and left, the next guests came, and in the time I spent there, 60% of the tables were occupied twice. But I am sure that even if each table would have been occupied four times, the two ladies would have managed it just as easily, friendly and quickly.
The Hofbräuhaus Regensburg is a family business run by the Schafbauer family since 1988. This service is probably only found in family businesses and I hope it stays that way for a long time. However, I can only recommend everyone to go there quickly because such a rare kind of good, honest, friendly service plus good food will soon only be known from fairy tales.
Stephan Busch has an invaluable and diverse experience in the hospitality industry ranging from senior management positions with the most renowned hotel and resort companies to the project development - launch of operations, business development- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.
His expertise includes not only planning, opening and operating of hotels, international golf clubs, airports, resorts and cruise ships, but also successful restructuring and repositioning of businesses during the financial crisis in Asia.
Stephan Busch earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA and served many years as Academic Director / Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism at the State University for Humanities RGGU Moscow as well as the Swiss International University St. Petersburg.