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Sometimes, you may be at a Korean restaurant with your Korean friends, and they may wonder if you will get service.  They look forward to seeing what kind of service they will get.  This may seem confusing to you since you can’t imagine a restaurant staying open if they don’t provide any service.  But in this case, the word service takes on a different meaning.  So what is meant when people say they hope they get some service with their meal?

On the House

In this case, service refers to an extra item that is added to your meal for free.  It is on the house.  There are many items that could be given as service.  It could be something that the restaurant doesn’t sell much of and wants to get people hooked on.  It could be them trying out a new item they want to add to the menu.  Or maybe they want to take away an item, but want to give it one last time to see if it sells.  Either way, it means free food for  you.

Why Service?

Why would a restaurant offer service?  In Seoul, there are many restaurants.   You really had a lot to chose from.  So to get you to come back, a restaurant has to offer you some reason to come back to them.  Repeat business is the lifeblood of any business.  So by giving you some extra food, you’ll remember that they were nice to you and you’ll want to come back again.  Good food, good prices and some service can be enough to bring someone back to see you on a regular basis.

What About Korean Restaurants in the United States?

Do Korean American restaurants offer service?  Some do and some don’t.  It may largely depend on the clientele of the restaurant.  If they get a lot of American people, they may be less likely to offer service since they figure American people don’t know about it.  But a new restaurant that has mainly Korean people eating there may be more likely to offer service.  They want to get a good reputation very quickly, and service is a great way to do it.  This is when coming to eat with a Korean friend can come in handy.

Not every restaurant can offer service.  Not offering it does not mean that the restaurant is stingy.  After all, they need to make money also.  But if you do get some service, make sure you enjoy it as much as possible.