Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How To Be A Good Restaurant Patron

A former waitress, now blogger, Cassy Fiano, gives some worthwhile advice about dealing with restaurant service. We've all had atrocious service at a restaurant. I've found that my personal frame of mind matters quite a bit in how I feel about the service. Having kids, we just don't go out much. Our youngest is about a year away from having the patience and attention span to enjoy waiting for food in a nice restaurant. Even still, after a long day, getting ready and going out to eat doesn't appeal much. However, picking up food from take-out always appeals. So, when I do go out with my husband or friends (a rather rare occurrence) there is more pressure to have a nice experience. It's an "experience", it's not just food. Ditto for movies. Nothing irritates me more than a junk movie that I just wasted good time and money seeing.

I don't get out much. I want it to be good when I do get out.

My whole point is that the meal out isn't often just a meal. It has meaning for the people involved. For Cassy, who goes out with her best friends every Monday, the restaurant is the host of a treasured tradition. For another person, who is traveling alone on business, maybe dinner is his only non-pressured, receiving human interaction all day. For the single mother with two kids, this meal might have been saved up for and means no dishes after an exhausting day.

What happens when a patron's tradition or event or interaction or break is met with a tired, upset, miserable, distracted, dull-witted, or apathetic server? Well, these are the times that reveal character. We all know someone who is absolutely embarrassing to take to the restaurant. Never satisfied, they use the opportunity to be an asshole to someone they deem below them. Does something happen when some men hit middle age? A sense of entitlement and general disregard for people translates into harassment at the restaurant. These people are lamentable and deserve copious amounts of saliva in their food.

But there are times when service is bad, and the question is how to deal with it. Cassy discusses some etiquette. Here's a couple rules:

  • Be Patient.
  • Be Honest.
  • Control Your Kids.
  • If you're really angry, take it to the manager.
She tells this story about a family with kids:
In one particular instance, a kid saw a server coming towards him while carrying a tray loaded with food. The kid purposely stuck out his ankle and tripped the server. She went sprawling all over the carpet, the food was obviously ruined for some other guest, and broken dishes were everywhere. The parents saw the entire thing, and laughed affectionately: "Oh, he's such a little troublemaker!"
These parents, like the never-satisfied abusive asshole, are expressing their own hostility through their children. I would be happy if a manager booted these people out. However, what they know and the patron knows, is that this "wronged" person will go tell nine people about his bad experience. Oh well, the nine people friends with the jerk, will probably consider the source or are similar to the miscreant and hopefully won't show up either.

Go read the whole thing. She explains the workings of a restaurant. And I would encourage her to do a post on being a good server. Most service I receive is average. Every once in a while, I'm blown away by a sincerely kind, attentive, and helpful server. That person gets a big tip.

1 comment:

sandy said...

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