who is paying the bill pin machine mobile guest restaurant France Provence South of France terrace brasserie training hospitality service quality Mind Your Guest Robert Bosma

Who is paying the bill?

At the table

In the summer of 1994 my wife and I enjoyed a delicious culinary evening on a terrace of a small brasserie near Aix en Provence in France. When I wanted to pay with my credit card, the hostess came up with a ‘novelty’. A device that looked like a large calculator. My card was swiped through the magnetic stripe reader and the sound of the printer drowned out even the high chirping of cicadas. With my signature, I sealed my payment on the printed bill. All in all it was a lovely evening with a comical end.

“Everything was great again, even rattling pin machine ‘avant la lettre’. With a slight difference; that the owner recognized us.”


I often think of that night in the Provence when I eat at a restaurant. As you will have noticed that in many restaurants, even the better ones, the hospitality curtain slowly closes when you’re halfway through the main course. The attention of the black brigade slackens, which is ofcourse irritating also when you want te pay. Often it takes a lot of time before you get your bill and when you receive it and you want to check it, most of the time the host is already gone. So you’ll have to wait again.

Traffic jam

Because credit cards have a PIN, you will be invited as a guest to walk to the cash machine, mostly drawn at a checkout anywhere at the bar or in a far corner near the kitchen. If you’ve walked obediently, you may hope that you’re not get stocked in a traffic jam ends of other guests who want to pay. In the checkout screen you can see how much others have to pay. And sometimes you’ll hear from the murmur of someone in front of you, how much tip he or she wants to pay.

Exeptional impressions

I often think about the charming hostess of this little brasserie in the Provence. She brought the bill and came a few seconds later at our table with the a mobile pin machine. Top hospitality and service.

Before we left for the Netherlands, we ate again in that cosy brasserie. And everything was great again, even rattling pin machine ‘avant la lettre’. With a slight difference; that the owner recognized us. A top hostess with her passionate team in a small brasserie in the south of France. It is now more than 20 years ago, and I’m still thinking an talking about it.

Wich exeptional impressions do you give your guests? Please let us advice you.

With warm regards,
Robert Bosma

This post is also available in: Nederlands

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