I have noticed that there are many variables that can lead to a bad dining experience, and for the customer to say that they received "poor service" has become cliche, and just the "go to" for when all things go bad in a restaurant. Here is a Top 10 list to help customers have a positive experience the next time they dine out.
10. SIT AT THE FIRST TABLE THE HOST GIVES YOU
"This table's too round. This table's too brown. This table's just right." You are not buying real estate. So for you to pass on the first, then the second, and even the third table option the host gives you is beyond ridiculous. The tables are all made the same, have four legs, four chairs, (if applicable,) and are strong enough to hold food, drinks, and purses. And if you pass on a table, now you've messed up the floor plan that the host has prepared at the beginning of their shift, and everybody in the restaurant takes notice as you are aimlessly walking around the place looking for a table the isn't too cold, too close to the kitchen, or too loud.
9. PUT YOUR NAPKIN IN YOUR LAP AND LEAVE THE SILVERWARE ALONE
Too many times I see customers practically lay their upper torso on the table while pushing the utensils that they need to eat away from them. Only later to demand a fork from their server because they claimed to have never gotten one, when there actually was one underneath their forearm if they had bothered to actually have any manners.
8. LISTEN TO THE SPECIALS THE FIRST TIME
As a server, part of our job is to recite the specials to our tables to let the customer know what the chef has done "special" for them that day. This is usually the time when your server says, "We have some specials for you this evening," and that is the cue for the table to begin a ten minute conversation about how long it took them to get off of the freeway that evening do to the "Piedmontese Cattle" protest. I usually just keep saying the specials while everybody is talking, finish, they walk away. Only to have to repeat them again later when my table has the nerve to say, "are there any specials?" "Today's specials include my not caring and you not listening."
7. "WE'RE READY TO ORDER" SHOULD MEAN YOU'RE READY TO ORDER
When I walk over to my table to take an order after one of the guests motions me over to take the order, that usually means I am going to be standing there for about twenty minutes because nobody has decided what they're going to have but they want me there for support. NEWS FLASH! I have other tables to attend to in my section, so if you're not ready to order, take your time. Don't leave your server standing there with pen and paper out and not tell them what you want to eat. This slows things down for everybody, and other customers feel slighted because they don't know where there server went. As my buddy Lou says, "you're not picking a college!"
6. ALLERGIES SHOULD BE REVEALED BEFORE ORDERING
Servers are required to go through a lot of training to work at certain restaurants or bars. One of the classes that we don't take is "mind reading 101." If you're allergic to something, you should tell your server IMMEDIATELY! That way, any unforeseen trips to the ER can be avoided. One time I had a gay guy ask me, "are there nuts in the Tuna Tartar?" I said, "yes, there are pistachios " He says, "I'm allergic to nuts." I replied, "I didn't know, you're the only gay guy allergic to nuts." (Rim shot!)
5. WHERE'S THE FOOD?
When your food is in front of you, it's ready. Your server is not cooking your food. If your food is taking a long time to get out to you, your server is trying to get your food out to you as quickly as possible, but please remember that it is NOT your servers fault that your food is taking awhile to come out from the kitchen. The restaurant might be crowded and the kitchen got backed up. There are other variables involved. Customers might change their minds and slow things down. (RIGHT SPRINGS 1?--SEE BELOW.) If you want your food to come out faster, might I suggest dining at McDonald's. I hear they excel at food expediency
4. REMEMBER WHAT YOU ORDERED
Your food should never be auctioned off at the table. This means that when the food runner brings your food to the table, he/she should never be holding the food up and saying, "who got the Lamb Porterhouse?" 1. The server puts the food order in the computer with the correct seat numbers, (or should,) so the food that you ordered should arrive magically in front of you. 2. Now we have to play this game of who had what, because nobody remembers what they ordered. Then what usually happens is that somebody at the table starts eating something that they didn't order, and one person sends an entree back to the kitchen because it wasn't what they ordered, and then they sit there wondering what happened to their food, when their food is actually being eaten by one of there friends.
3. NO SNAPPING, WAVING, OR INTERRUPTING YOUR SERVER
I can't tell you how many times I have been interrupted by another customer while I was at another table, just to have that person tell me they're ready to order or need another drink. Patience is certainly a virtue, and I have very little for poor behavior. I have also been snapped at, waved at, had my name yelled from across a crowded restaurant, and grabbed. These things are more than wrong, but grounds for me to make you wait longer, have you thrown out, or have me say to you, "DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!"
2. ONLY PAY FOR THINGS YOU LIKE, AND STAY HUNGRY MY FRIENDS
If you don't like your food, or think that you're getting bad service, it is in your best interest to say something at that moment. I know it can be uncomfortable, but, it's better to get what you want and leave happy, then pay for something you didn't like and leave wanting nothing more than to get home and "Yelp" about it. Remember this, "Yelping" is for cowards. And if you didn't like your food, order something else! You came to the restaurant because you're hungry. It drives me nuts when I offer something else to a guest who didn't like their food and they say, "No, I'm not hungry now. I'll just eat off of my friends plate." Do you pull up to a gas station, not like the water to wash your windows, and decide to drive away and not get gas because of it? You came to eat. Let your server help you out in that circumstance. Your stomach will be glad you did.
1. SPLITTING CHECKS AND PICKING A CARD
It is extremely time consuming to split a check 10, 8, or even 3 ways. I have to go through the ENTIRE check and remember exactly what everybody ate and drank, and place each item on a separate check. And during that time, all of my other tables are wondering, "what happened to my server?" Most places won't even allow you to split checks anymore. Besides, usually one of the girls at your table volunteers to be the group accountant anyways. Let her live her dream! Give your server cash, credit cards, and IOU's. But only four forms of payment, at most. This way you'll get out in a quick amount of time, and won't have to wait around for me to figure out your split check and back taxes owed. And for the love of Jehovah, tip 20 percent! You had a good time, thank your service staff for it.
Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.
"Bitter. Party of 1? Your table is ready."
The Bitter Bistro
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER CLICK HERE