Web Original: Dining Crimes: Unequal Service

Is there unequal treatment towards diners amongst Philadelphia’s restaurants?

As a woman who dines out very frequently, I have absolutely noticed a difference in the service I get depending on whether my date is male or female. This happened most recently while I was working on my Parc review, which was based on four visits. On visits one and three, I was with another woman. Both times, my guest and I were ignored by the team of hostesses for a substantial amount of time before being seated, and then ignored some more by our servers while we waited to place a drink order.

On visits two and four, however, I was joined by my husband, and we were greeted and seated warmly and immediately. Our servers (regardless of their sex) were dramatically more attentive and informative. During one particularly loud trip, a crackerjack server told us he could read lips, which helped him avoid mistakes in the midst of the dinner. I know all Stephen Starr servers are subject to the same serious training, so what accounts for this phenomenon? Could it be a coincidence? Maybe, but it isn’t just Parc. I almost always notice a difference in treatment when I make some dining trips with a woman and some with a man.