100 Restaurant No-Nos?

I was waiting for this list to be complete before saying anything about it. NYT writer/blogger Bruce Buschel has written a list of 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do in two parts:

New York Times Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building. Veteran waiters, moonlighting actresses, libertarians and baristas will no doubt protest some or most of what follows. They will claim it homogenizes them or stifles their true nature. And yet, if 100 different actors play Hamlet, hitting all the same marks, reciting all the same lines, cannot each one bring something unique to that role?

Even though he only seems to mention servers in his introduction, I would note that some of these items aren’t solely the server’s responsibility even if the customers are inclined to only blame the server for them. Still there are a lot of good points and it makes you wonder when our expectations as diners are either too high or when they’ve become too low.

Some of my favorites:

  • Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.
  • Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.
  • Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested.
  • Do not serve salad on a freezing cold plate; it usually advertises the fact that it has not been freshly prepared.
  • Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

I’m usually never a fan of “blog entries” that just consist of lists, but these two articles seem fairly well thought out, if a bit heavily weighted on the side of the patron. And 100 items does seem a lot, though after reading them through, there’s a lot of common sense mixed in with general hospitality rules. Still, I’m not going to keep this list in my pocket and judge my dining server experiences by it!

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  1. Chris says:

    While overall, I thought there were some good points, I think my biggest issue with the list is that it seemed to indicate a bit of assumption about the quality (read: price-range) of the eating establishment. And possibly assumptions about a 1:1 waiter:table ratio.

    Also, some of the entries were a bit head-scratching if not downright self-contradictory: the waiter should not interrupt conversation at the table, but the waiter shouldn’t leave the table unattended too long.
    So … is the waiter supposed to perform mime in the event that the self-absorbed diners are too engrossed in their conversation to notice him?

    I’d like to see a list of 100 patron do’s and don’ts!

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