According to the Telegraph, British pizza chain Pizza Express has hired a “classically trained actor” called Karl James to teach its waiters and waitresses how to “flirt” and the “art of chit-chat” to help them “butter up the restaurant’s customers”.
It seems that in the UK, we need training for basic skills that waiters and waitresses in other countries (the USA for example) have in buckets. The English language skills of eastern European waiting staff in the capital comes to mind as a significant factor in the sterile service available in some of London’s eateries.
Whilst some may celebrate that a restaurant chain is investing in improving it’s table-side service, it is a real shame that they feel the need for formal training on the art of conversation in an industry where building rapport with the customers should be a fundamental minimum skill requirement.
At least they’ve got people (including me) talking, so the marketing team will no doubt be celebrating this lunchtime with a bottle at their local Pizza Express.