We’re all tired of customer service platitudes and the same spiels that every restaurant server gives. When someone finds a way to make the experience fresh and funny, it gets customers’ attention, for better or worse. One Olive Garden waiter writes that he decided to mix things up by pretending to be a favorite TV character: the title character from the BBC’s Doctor Who.
In its home country, Doctor Who is an intergenerational media institution that’s been on the air (not continuously) since 1963 and launched several spinoffs. Here in the Olive Garden’s home country, the show has more of a niche audience. That means that most customers has absolutely no idea who this waiter was pretending to be, but they loved it anyway. People who did know what he was up to enjoyed the act even more.
He wrote up the experience and posted it on Tumblr. Maybe the tactic’s success doesn’t have all that much to do with stealing funny lines from a fictional time-traveling alien. It’s more likely that guests found the wackiness amusing and were really rewarding him for the refreshing honesty of comments like this:
[Offering desserts (to the kids)] “You could have a slice of Triple Chocolate Strada for only $6.99 which I personally think is a bit steep. But then again, it’s your parent’s cash and they’ll only waste it on boring stuff like lamps and vegetables. Yawn!”
You do not expect to hear that from your waiter. What was the result of that spiel? Every table he used it on got that dessert. He also got much higher tips than usual, as well as one woman’s phone number.