Restaurant Dos and Don’ts

I’ll be on KFRU’s Morning Meeting today at about 9:15. We’ll be talking about the things that go on in restaurants that probably shouldn’t. Wobbly tables, clueless servers, kids running underfoot, snapping your fingers at the waitstaff and barking, “Hey, Paco!”* What should restaurants – and their patrons – work on to improve the dining experience for all?

As a bonus, Danene Beedle (aka, @MoWineGirl) will be on the air right after me, talking Missouri wine. Good way to start off Friday if you ask me.

For background, check out the 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do in the NY Times a while back, as well as the snarky but equally-relevant list of customer no-nos.

* – Yes, this actually happened. That we were at a Lebanese restaurant – and thus, the server unlikely to be named Paco – seems not to have occurred to our fellow diner. We’re more careful about where we go with the person nowadays.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

2 thoughts

  1. Here are a few of mine.

    I often dine alone. I really don’t like to hear a server say, “only one tonight?” As if she or he is saying, “do you have no friends at all?” Just ask how many, and if I say “one,” then just lead me to my table. Or even just drop the “only.” “One tonight?”

    Also, please do not seat the single person at the crappiest table in the house. Preferred is something just a bit out of the way or a small booth.

    Silverware. I hate it when I order a salad that comes out first, then I have to save my silverware for the main course. It’s not too bad if there’s a saucer or something, but sometimes there’s no recourse but to put a dirty fork down touching the table. I *hate* that. Bring me a salad fork please! And related to that, I like Babbo’s, the new Italian place in town. But they put their silverware in the water glass, handle down. Hello, that means the end the server has touched is IN the glass. You take it out before the glass is filled, but still.

    Server timing is important too (and I’ve been a server and was an utter fail at it for this very reason). Please don’t ask if we’re ready to order if we’ve had our menus for less than 30 seconds. Likewise, if we are not quite ready and want “a couple of minutes,” that does not mean it’s okay to totally drop the table for 10-20 minutes.

    On the other side, I have one friend who is terminally indecisive about her meal choices. It does not matter how long she is given to peruse the menu, she will inevitably hem and haw and drum her fingers and keep the server waiting, hovered over her shoulder, sometimes for up to a minute or more. Even in places she’s eaten in many times. Hello, pick something!!

  2. Robin, you’re not the first to complain about “just one” or “only one.” I eat solo all the time and don’t notice how they phrase the welcome, but it’d be best if they avoided it.

    As for the table thing, I usually ask to sit at the bar if there is one. And the host/hostess shouldn’t automatically stick you in the worst seat, but you can always request a different table, no?

    I went to Babbo’s today and they sort of poured the silverware onto the napkin before serving (rather than just grabbing the top). Obviously somebody has to touch the silverware at some point, but the less the better.

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