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"All Good?" from restaurant owners & waiters

Hello,

 

Lately i have been confused regarding the "All Good?" question. In my country it is frequently asked by restaurant owners & waiters.

 

Is this question considered disempowering & value-taking covert power move when it comes from an actual owner of the place like the restaurant owner or from waiters which are probably not the restaurant owners but they have the role of taking good care of us?

 

Since the reply is usually "Everything is good" & it seems like a judge statement thus, can it be re-empowering?

 

When this question is asked near the end of the visit to restaurant it seems to me a bit rude to completely ignore the question & say something like:

Hey man, whatโ€™s up

 

Which is suggested by PU for such cases if i understand correctly.

What do you think?

What do you think XH?

This is a leading question already pointing to the answer:

Is it disempowering for the owner and the people whose job is to make sure all is good with you -and if not, do so something about it- to ask if all is good?

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

As for the "All Good?" question part, i think that it self-frames the asker as a caring one which can be a good & empowering thing for their reputation.

Im mostly confused about the after-effects of the "Everything is good" response on the responder. Im not sure if it is disempowering is such cases.

The "is it all good" is only disempowering when people are playing the host -or the leader-.

They come to you, they say "is everything all good", and they self-frame as the people who take care of others which, usually, it's the people who are self-confident, leaders, or in a high-power positions (hosts, organizers, experts, etc.).
And when you reply "all good" you confirm that frame. And you end "below them". A "commoner", just another guest, or just a lower-status guy that the leader takes care of.

BUT...

There are (almost) no iron laws that apply all the time in socialization.

So of course, things are different if it's their job to take care of you.
If it's a body guard after shots have been heard, it's empowering that someone is thinking of your safety first.
And if it's a waiter, that's his job to make sure you're all good.
It can also be empowering if they're taking extra care of you -or if it's the owner who comes to whereas usually the waiters do that job-.

However, in a restaurant situation "all good" is most often keyword for "do you want to order anything else".

So if you don't want anything else and the food is OK, you say "all good".
It's not disempowering because it's expected.
Just don't get too sidetracked in your reply if you're having a conversation as that's low-power (but don't get sidetracked on this now).
If you want something more or if you have a complaint, you simply tell him that.

Edit:
Made it clearer

XH has reacted to this post.
XH
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Great, thank you Lucio! The "playing the host -or the leader-" phrase was the key & helped me clear this up in my mind (together with the rest of your response).

So one final question to cover & clear up all aspects of this Q & A.

 

Could the "All Good?" question be disempowering for the asker since it grants the responder judge power?

For example, a response could be "The chicken was not well-cooked" etc.

 

In contrary, the "do you want to order anything else?" question would not give direct judge powers to the client.

 

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Well, you make a good point, so a more precise question protects your downsides against what might come next.

But I wouldn't necessarily say that the question itself is disempowering, as in the exact words.
It's a stock question in a restaurant and stock questions have smaller effects on power dynamics.

Most of all, I wouldn't avoid a stock question out of fear what someone might say later on could disempower you because you can always take care of that once it happens.
That's the whole point of increasing your social and power awareness: you don't need to plan for a million occurrences and can just go with the flow.

Quick read on your phase / level

Based on the question, and I might be very wrong, you seem to have the basics of emotional and social intelligence.

You understood that it's weird / rude to reply "what's up" when a waiter asks "is it all good".

Based on the questions, you might be in the "over-analyze phase", which is great -that's how you improve, we're often doing over-analyses on this forum-.

It's possible you can grow your social intuition / base social intelligence, and that will help you a lot with power as well.

Recommendation

If there are a lot of things that aren't clear my suggestion would be to finish PU.

Maybe writing down all that was unclear, but without get too deep into the details that aren't yet clear. Otherwise, you may waste more time or jump to the wrong conclusions.
First gain exposure to most of PU and that by itself will level you up. Then revisit what was unclear.

Then write here what's still unclear.

That will allow you to move faster, while avoiding dead-ends and avoiding to internalize wrong assumptions.

XH has reacted to this post.
XH
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks again for your effort to explain & give recommendations on this!

Some context about my phase / level: I have finished PU & i am in the process of re-reading various parts to cement/internalize the concepts.

 

I understand that later in the discussion a client at any point could come up with a judge statement regardless of the question & the goal is not to always be in fear of than & be able to handle it.

My point was mainly that this specific question "All good?" is like leading/directing/asking the client to pull out a judge move. Like helping him to judge you.

 

However, i think that this doesn't have to always be disempowering. I guess that it can be empowering since it can self-frame you as feedback-seeking for improving your services.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on October 18, 2021, 5:38 pm

So of course, things are different if it's their job to take care of you.
If it's a body guard after shots have been heard, it's empowering that someone is thinking of your safety first.
And if it's a waiter, that's his job to make sure you're all good.
It can also be empowering if they're taking extra care of you -or if it's the owner who comes to whereas usually the waiters do that job-.

I see what you mean.
It's their obligation now.
Not really their choice.
So they don't have the full freedom of a usual host.
Plus the customer has passively self-framed as the person imposing the obligation to a certain degree by being a customer at the restaurant.

Power Dynamics of Giving Value

I see a recurring dynamic here.

It's mostly (if not always) powerful to be in a position to give value.
Because that gives you the choice of where & when to dispense that value.

Giving out that value is another dynamic.
It reflects how well you invest your resources.
Do you get good returns for your investment of value?

When one gives out too much value, sometimes the perception can shift towards being seen as over-investing even when you are powerful and have plenty to give.

It's like having a lot of money vs where you spend that money.

Also, like Lucio advised when you give value out of obligation (like in a job), it's much less powerful.

The concept of self-framing and relative framing within the social context seems to really help here.

Are You Giving the Customer the Opportunity to Judge When You are a Waiter Asking "All Good?"?

Yes, you are as the waiter.
That's part of the social contract entered between the restaurant and the customer.

The restaurant promises a certain standard of ambience and quality of food in exchange for money from the customer.
By promising this standard, the customer has the right to judge the restaurant experience.
Indeed, you are giving the customer some power.

Although this judge power does not extend indefinitely.
It has to have reasonable expectations.

You cannot go to a casual diner with a menu of $10 items and expect a 3-Michelin star service.
Well, you can actually. The staff will think you're an entitled customer.
The staff gets annoyed, and you get worse service.

This is reasonable at a casual diner:

Waiter: All good?

You: It's a bit blend. Could I have some salt & pepper please?

This is probably not so:

Waiter: All good?

You: This is rather ordinary. I would like some truffle salt to go with that.

So, in a way, the customer can judge you, and you can counter-judge whether his judgement is fair.

It's all part of the social exchange between the customer and the restaurant.
Money for an experience with a certain standard.

As Lucio advises, if you are power-aware, you will probably get more value regardless of the role you play: customer, waiter, owner, cashier.

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Lucio BuffalmanoXH
Quote from XH_BB on October 18, 2021, 7:16 pm

My point was mainly that this specific question "All good?" is like leading/directing/asking the client to pull out a judge move. Like helping him to judge you.

However, i think that this doesn't have to always be disempowering. I guess that it can be empowering since it can self-frame you as feedback-seeking for improving your services.

If the client tends to disempower people or to be overly critical, then you're right and "all good?" can work as an invitation for his power move yes.

What I mean is that I'm not convinced that a lot of people would use "all good?" as an opportunity for a power move.
My understanding of most exchanges in a restaurant is that "all good" is a stock question and most people reply with a stock answer. Such as, 90% of people would reply "all good" or "yes thank you".

But if your experience differs in your area, then you're absolutely right.

I think one can also judge from appearance.
Angry scowl of an always annoyed Karen? Then maybe she's gonna use that as an opportunity to criticize the food / service (or whatever makes her feel powerful). And then one can purposefully choose a different question -or don't ask any question at all0.

And you're also right that if one is more emotionally detached and seeks honest feedback, then he discards power dynamics in that situation and only seek the rawest feedback he can (but then he might phrase his question differently to get the best feedback, such as "we love to provide the best to our guest, is there anything we can do even better, in your opinion?").

And thank you for your kind replies and explanations!

Edit:
Also, great message by Matthew, and welcome here XH, just realized it was your first post ๐Ÿ™‚

XH has reacted to this post.
XH
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you both for your analyses & the warm response to my first post ๐Ÿ™‚

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