How did we get to this point? I'm sad for the "service industry." What can we do to right our perception in customers' minds?
I don't really understand a problem in your post. As a person in the "service industry" and also a guest in establishments I see every day that I can overlook small problems with food or atmosphere as long as it is made right with the customer service aspect.
But, when people are paying premium prices (which is what happens when they eat out), they deserve great service and great food. These small problems add up to big challenges for our industry.