Monday, September 13, 2010

Restaurant Etiquette? Anyone?

There are an army of things that happen at a restaurant to ensure that our dinner experiences go off without a hitch. Many a chef, cook, dishwasher, server, bartender etc are busting their collective ass just so that our meal is deliciously prepared & our every need is taken care of while we are at the table.

I have seen & heard my fair share of restaurant patrons behave like no more than knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, morons who expect their server/bartender or whomever to bow down to them as if they hung the moon. Well I have had enough. I'm so sick of seeing articles & blog posts on tipping yet never once seeing a mainstream media outlet tackle the other side of things. Namely the "how not to act like a horrible diner" side of things. So I present to you actual situations that I have witnessed so that you will no not behave in this manner. However, if you are reading this blog I have to assume that you would never behave in this way in first place.

1. At one of the finest restaurants in the city a woman followed the hostess as she was seating a party that this woman was not a member of. This woman proceeded to berate the hostess, AS THE HOSTESS WAS SEATING THE OTHER PARTY, because the woman was upset that she had not been seated. This was on an extremely busy Saturday night mind you. Guess what people? If you want to dine at one of the most sought after restaurants in town on a weekend you are going to have to wait. Thats just the way it goes. Especially if you have a reservation at the prime dining time which in Memphis seems to be anywhere between 630-800 pm.

2. A couple seated at the bar, waiting for a table, again on a weekend at prime dining hours, said to the bartender "why should we wait? Tell me about the food? Why is this restaurant soooo outstanding that we should wait here for a table as opposed to just go over to Applebee's or something?" As they are bitching at their bartender the hostess is attempting to set the table behind them so they can be seated at it but these jerks won't bother to get out of her way so she can do so.

3. Don't act like you own the place no matter who you are. Don't go into the restaurant before it's open for the evening ON A REGULAR BASIS & just expect to be waited on as if the staff doesn't have five million things to do before opening. Thats just not cool. Get over yourself.

4. Don't call a restaurant up & request that a bottle of wine be delivered & served to a specific table & then get upset because they restaurant informs you that they charge gratuity for that. Aren't they providing a service? Aren't they serving the wine, keeping the glasses full, keeping it chilled & what not?

5. Don't bring wine to a restaurant with a wine list & expect them to not charge you corkage. Especially don't inform a server that you are not ever charged corkage you simply offer a taste of your wine in exchange. Let him or her decide that you jerk.

6. At a very fine dining restaurant in Memphis one idiot actually took artwork off the wall & placed it over the air conditioning vent because he was too cold.

7. If you can't get a reservation don't just walk in at the time you wanted & expect to be seated. The chances are practically zero that you will be seated at a 30 seat restaurant at 8:00 p.m. on a busy Saturday. No matter who you are.


Samantha Dugan said...

Got a couple others:

Do not bring a portable dvd player to silence your wee ones. If they cannot behave then get a sitter because I for one do not want Dora the Explorer as the soundtrack to my meal.

Do not eat your entire meal and then tell your server it was overcooked and you want it removed from your bill. If there is a problem give the restaurant a chance to fix it. If you don't you are being a douche looking to get something for nothing.

If the restaurant closes at 10:00 do not show up at ten and expect a full service dining experience.

Do not reinvent the menu.

If you are a vegetarian, (and there is nothing wrong with that) do not go to a steak or chop house and expect a mind blowing meal. It's not what they do and they should not be judged as if it is.

Oh I have so many more but...

Michael Hughes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Hughes said...

Perfect additions. There are so many things wrong with changing, adding/subtracting from a dish & then complaining about it. Perhaps the chef actually knows what they are doing with flavor combinations & knows how a dish should taste? What is it about restaurants & the wine biz that makes other people think they shouldn't trust the people who's establishment they are in?? I don't get it. It's as if I walked into a law firm & told them how to represent my case. That would be asinine & they would probably tell me to seek other counsel.

Benito said...

If you're eating at an "ethnic" restaurant, do not assume that it is a carbon copy of Taco Bell, Olive Garden, or Panda Express. If you are terrified of new food, there's no excuse for not checking the menu out online ahead of time, or even at the front door when you walk in. You can save yourself a lot of time and the staff a lot of headache with a 30 second glance at the menu.


Michael Hughes said...

Ben-yes you are so very right about that. Parental units should not assume that every restaurant will have a "kids menu" much less a cheeseburger or chicken fingers. Either expand your kid's palate or leave them at home!

Eve Lee said...

I have so many things to say but I have to get ready to serve some (cross my fingers) wonderful diners. I try to remember that these guests pay my bills. When they fail to leave the proper gratuity for a job well done, I sadly remember that I depend on these idiots to pay my bills.

Benito said...


Believe it or not, I was talking about adults--we've got 20 and 30 year olds out there that have never eaten anything other than chicken fingers and French fries, and flip out when restaurants don't have these items.

Kids are a whole other subject, but the strangest adult behavior I ever saw was in a diner. A customer who was not homeless or otherwise starving grabbed the plastic tray that held little packets of jelly. While waiting for his food he proceeded to eat 20 of the jelly packets by ripping off the top, digging in, and loudly slurping the jelly off his fingers.


Becca said...

Ooo Michael! I love this. And...I'm pretty sure I know who numbers 3 and 5 apply to and could not agree more, especially to the number 5 one. Geez. You aren't that important. Next.

Michael Hughes said...

Yep I'm sure you do Becca! I'm glad you like the post. Sometimes these things just need to be said. However, a friend pointed out that the people who need to read this probably won't or they are so deluded that they don't think they misbehave in anyway.