In today’s Chron, there is a story about how to make your dining out experience better for yourself and the staff of the restaurant. Things like staying off your cell phone and calling ahead if you are going to be late are on the list for patrons while providing fresh bread and being waited on promptly are on the waiter list.
I’d like to add a few if I may:
Control Your Kids
I love kids, I do. But, if you have them and you bring them to a restaurant, get them under control. There are few things as annoying as mommy and daddy carrying on a conversation while little Johnny runs around the table in circles screaming and little Sally wanders up to strangers and tries to touch their food. Personally, I’d love it if the smoking sections of restaurants were turned into kid sections. I’m betting kids, parents and non-kid-bearing patrons would enjoy it.
Keep It Down
Jabbering on your cell phone, to me, is fine. I get to listen in on your conversation, which is usually stupid but can be entertaining when I’m eating by myself. But, when you and your group are whooping it up 3 feet from my food, it pisses me off. Look, if you want to party, go to a bar or, better yet, home. It’s one thing to have normal conversations, laugh and enjoy yourself. It’s another to yell across the table at your buddy. This is particularly true of large parties. Not everyone has Bionic Woman hearing.
Don’t Be a Dick
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a restaurant and the biggest ass is the rich white guy who thinks he owns the place. Hey, moron, waiters are not beneath you just because you drive an expensive car that is just compensating for your lack of hair and…ahem…shortcomings. Be nice or you’ll get your food back with a little something extra in it and, frankly, you’ll deserve it.
Try Some Patience
For the love of God, when you have to wait in line, don’t complain. We all have to freaking wait and you don’t hear us bitching. It is not your job to be the leader and demand that everything move faster for all of us. You look like a jerk and you embarass all of us, so just stop.
Many times I’ve been seated by a host only to find that my table is on the border between two sections and neither waiter will acknowledge me. Hey, waiters, ONE of you ask the other what to do. It’s not that difficult. You just speak. Otherwise, I sit there like some idiot until I finally have to flag down a host or a manager to ask where the hell my water is making me look like a first-class jackass when I’m just hungry.
Assumptions or the Lemon in Water Rule
I’ve written extensively about this here, but just to simplify, not everyone wants lemon in his/her water. Don’t assume. Ask me. It’s not tough and since it is an accessory, it should be an option, not an automatic unless it is lemonade.
Be friendly, not goofy
There is nothing more uncomfortable than the forced laughter of two hungry people who don’t think you are funny, but have to endure your constant attempts at humor to get through the meal. This is not the Laugh Stop. No one at this table needs you to make balloon animals or crack one-liners or do a silly dance. Just be nice, friendly and personable. That’s more than enough. This isn’t an audition. It’s just a meal.
Interrupting My Meal
Hey, managers, it’s ok to leave me be. If I’m spending a crapload of money at your restaurant, hell yes, come over and check up. But, if I’m at Bennigans, as polite as it may seem to check on me, it is likely just to disrupt my conversation. If you want to just say “hello” or “nice to see you,” that’s fine, but don’t ask questions I have to answer with a mouth full of food or interrupt my jibber jabber.
With these simple rules, I’ll have a much nicer time eating out. So, if you see me, do it or else!
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