Being a copywriter with a 27-year background in advertising, marketing, etc has made me super-vigilant when it comes to observing customer service – good and bad. This weekend I got both as my mum and I celebrated her birthday with a weekend break and two different restaurant bookings. The first restaurant was friendly and welcoming, in a genuine and relaxed way. The food was OK and the decor was good. They offered to take our coats and showed genuine interest in our plans for the birthday weekend. Okay, the view wasn’t too brilliant – the side of a local bank where drinkers from the local bar congregated for a cigarette. But the customer service got five stars from me. The second restaurant was in a better location and more expensive. But from the start I felt ‘processed’ – as if we were part of a super-efficient machine. In through the door, food served and bill paid before being spat out the other end. All with a hefty dollop of fake joviality and insincerity along with a large slice of arrogance and inattention. [And, as a copywriter, I immediately picked up on the mis-use of an apostrophe in the various scribbled chalk ‘motivational sayings’ around the wall-to-wall wine racks. Its, not it’s.] But they weren’t as perfect as they would have us believe. The sauce was mega-salty, but I declined the offer of a replacement as it would have meant my mother having to eat alone while I waited. “I’ve told the chef off!” the Chris-Evans-look-alike manager informed me later on, oh so jovial. Now, if it were me, I’d have offered to reduce the bill. But to be truthful, I’m not at all sure they cared whether or not we returned. They’re a busy restaurant and I guess they can always fill the tables. What’s one or two disgruntled customers, hey? Cue a review on TripAdvisor where I am, apparently, a Top Contributor.