Admittedly, I have a weird relationship with Za’s Pizza Pub on Bardstown Road. If I’m there, it’s either late at night and I’ve had too much beer, or I’m with my kids after a stressful day and I’m thinking about having too much beer.
Our visit last Friday was of the latter variety, so this review is based on sober judgment, whether I preferred it that way or not.
Za’s is a short walk from my house, and it offers a wonderfully relaxed and easy-going atmosphere. It’s like a local version of “Cheers,” but with great pizza. So we just love the vibe.
And that’s what made our lackluster experience so perplexing; the impersonal service was in such stark contrast to the restaurant overall.
Za’s is the kind of family-friendly, neighborhood pub where you expect the service to be incredibly personable. No, the whole place isn’t going to yell, “Norm” when you walk in (which is a positive if your name isn’t “Norm”), but you definitely expect deeper engagement than at a fast food restaurant.
For whatever reason, our server was in pure “order-taker” mode, and spoke with us just enough to fulfill her role, and not a word more.
She never offered her name, never made small talk, and kept all interactions to the minimum.
My kids are 3- and 5-years old, and everyone in the service industry should know that there is no better way to connect with parents than to connect with their kids.
We see it time after time: When service staff interact with children, the parents’ satisfaction scores soar.
So talking to kids is one of the easiest ways ever to boost satisfaction with a service experience. But our server was having none of it. (And I know I’m biased, but I think they’re pretty darn cute kids.)
And even the communication that did occur wasn’t very positive. When we ordered, she forgot to ask us what type of crust we wanted on our pizza. (Za’s offers a delicious wheat crust that I highly recommend). So when she stopped by two minutes later for refills, my wife asked, “Is it too late to get our pizza made with the wheat crust?”
I expected her to apologize for not asking about the crust, or to simply say, “Sure, I’ll go run back and tell the kitchen.”
Instead, she remarked, “I’ll go see.” Did we feel like an inconvenience? Oh yeah.
And did this bother us because we felt like she should have asked us about the crust in the first place? It did.
Also, she never let us know if she was able to convey the message to the kitchen in time. It’s not that we were on the edge of our seats with anxiety, but she missed a very easy chance to connect with us by running by and simply saying, “They’ll make sure to make it with the wheat crust!”
But that never happened. Again, no communication beyond what was necessary for her to bring food to our table.
There were some other minor lapses, like needing to ask three times for garlic sauce, etc. But all of those would have been overlooked with some conversation, a smile, and some enthusiasm.
The food was as good as ever and we’ll definitely be back, but I don’t feel any more of a fan than I did before this visit.
There was such an opportunity to connect with us, and I wish the server had taken it.
She was good with water refills and got the job done, but the utter lack of personality and interaction just doesn’t fit with Za’s image.
This visit: 2 Magnets