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“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top Tips For Restaurant Patrons

I have been working in the food field for several years as a catering assistant, waiter and now as a Supervisor in a busy National Trust restaurant.  I say 'restaurant', but it's actually a cafeteria-style setup, wherein the customer takes a tray, goes along the line for food, which we serve to them (we don't let them just help themselves or we'd be so over budget it would bankrupt us in a matter of weeks). However, a lot of the behaviours exhibited by the customers are exactly the same as those in traditional restaurants once they get to the table. Here is a little list I put together after combing the Web for inspiration, and combining it with my own experience at Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, Outback and of course, The National Trust, as well as catering for folks. Here we go with

Jeff's List Of Restaurant Do's And Don'ts
  • Don't assume that everyone else enjoys your kids as much as you clearly seem to.
  • Don't make a freakin' mess just because you can.
  • Don't use the "Oh, that was terrible!" joke when we come to pick up your empty plates.
  • Don't assume that just because we say we are out of something, a manager can magically produce it.
  • If you want another teabag, do be prepared to actually pay for it.
  • Do bother to find out the English words for foods if you are visiting from overseas.
  • Don't make up names for menu items, or you may not get what you actually want.
  • Don't make sculptures out of all the leftover trash on your table. We are waiters, not art aficionados.
  • Don't complain about how long your food is taking to come out when you order a well-done steak and no appetizer. 
  • Don't tell us how much you spend in here, it just makes you seem like an asshole.
  • Don't assume that when you tell us about an allergy, we don't wanna hurt you.
  • Do not camp out. Period. 
  • Don't rearrange tables without permission.
  • Don't let the hostess seat you, and then decide to move to another table in a closed-off section.
  • Especially don't let the waiter take your order and then move to a table in a closed-off section.
  • If you can't afford to leave at least a 15% tip, then go eat somewhere cheaper.
  • Don't come in at a peak time and assume that the restaurant will seat two people in a booth built for six.
  • When a waiter introduces him- or herself, don't interject with "Diet Coke". That is not polite... asshole.
  • When a waiter asks what you would like to drink, do not reply with "I'm just waiting for my friend to get here."
  • DO remember what you actually ordered so we don't have to make like an auctioneer. And if you heard what your friend actually ordered, speak up.
  • It would be nice if you could think about all the condiments and extras you will need to go with your meal so that you can let the nice waiter know all at once so he doesn't have to make four trips to the kitchen for your sauces and lemons and shit.
  • Don't make a reservation for 6 and then show up with 4 just because you want lots of room.
  • If a sign says 'Clean Trays Only' then that is where you will find clean trays. Not where you put dirty trays so that they can be cleaned. It's not an automatic tray wash.
  • If you ordered your steak medium rare and it comes out medium rare plus, just accept it and don't make a scene.
Alright, that's just a few to be going on with. More to come.

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