Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The (complete) ten commandments of hospitality, FOR CUSTOMERS!!!

There are many rules restaurant employees have to mind when working around food and people:
"Take a shower every once in a while, try to minimise the pointing and laughing at customers, and refrain from hot plate frisbee during rush hour."
Sounds fair enough, right? But I do believe us humble servant folk deserve SOME common courtesy in return by our guests. The following is a detailed list of ten things that make us want to put arsenic in your coffee, and that you should please never again do in a restaurant. Basically it all boils down to: "don't be a twat", but that doesn't make a very good list now does it?

1. Thou shalt not be a pervert

Rule of thumb: "If he/she is young enough to be your child (or worse) don't try to hit on your waiter." First of all because it's gross, and second of all, we have to be nice to you for money. Please don't make that even more creepy than it has to be. Yes, we may come across very friendly or even flirty, but that is what being a good host(ess) is. We make you feel welcome. If you misinterpret those signals as a sexual green light, we will make fun of you to our colleagues and deem you pathetic behind your back (except if you were the hot guy sitting at table 42 on saturday, in which case I totally meant to flirt with you).

2. Thou shalt sit wherever the hell thou are told

Seriously people, it's not that difficult. If a table seats eight and there's only two of you, don't act surprised if you are not seated there. We understand you like the extra elbow space, but we kind of like the six hundred euros we can make by sticking actual people in those empty chairs. Your boss doesn't allow you to throw your computer out the office window at the end of the day does he? No, because THAT would be a waste of money. Think about it, dumbass.

3. Thou shalt not be a stingy bastard

You knew this was coming, but tipping is important! If the food and service are good, or even great, it's nice to tell us so, but compliments do not pay the rent. Hospitality is hard and physically strenuous work, for not a lot of money. So if you can afford to eat at a high end place like ours, we know you have a few extra pennies to show your appreciation. It pains me to say this but women are especially lousy tippers. Not that I believe men to be more altruistic or generous, but their machismo fear of being called a cheapskate moves them to do the right thing.

4. Thou shalt keep thy womb fruit in check

It's nice that you think your offspring is of magnificent beauty and wisdom, but it's pretty safe to assume to rest of us are less impressed. Therefore, it would be helpful if you could teach your kids some goddamn manners. I don't know what my parents would have done if eight year old me had been running around the restaurant screaming, ruining all the table settings, and slamming into fully loaded waiters, but I'm pretty sure that it would have hurt. Call me old fashioned, but I genuinely didn't expect to be scolded by the mother of the little creep I had just prevented from eating glass fragments off the floor. Next time I'll just hand junior a box of matches and a steak knife, and send him on his merry way.

5. Thou shalt realise when the party is over

We've all been there. You've had a few too many and you're not quite ready to go home. At this point it's probably wise to realise that the people who are working there are all itching for you to leave so that they can finally relax themselves, and that is why they've been asking: "can I get you anything else", every three minutes for the last half hour. Go be drunk around people who are in a similar state of intoxication, and who won't remember you so harshly, if at all.

6. Thou shalt not mess with the balancing act

You may think that you're helping, but handing us the smallest thing on the table, thereby ensuring that we can't stack anything else on, thus forcing us to make another run to the kitchen is the exact opposite. There is a very fragile logic between what we can carry and how we stack it, and it is different for everyone, so please don't hand us anything, unless we ask. If we are carrying a serving tray, for the love of Krishna do not take anything from it, or place anything on it when we aren't looking, because it will fall. That doesn't make us clumbsy, it makes you daft, and probably dripping.

7. Thou shalt not treat thy waiters like cattle

Whistling, clapping, snapping your fingers and waving hysterically at restaurant staff should be punishable by death. Or at the very least by flogging. It's incredibly rude, humiliating, dehumanising and it pretty much garantees you crap service for the rest of the night, because the entire staff will loathe you. It is however completely acceptable to walk up to a stranger who displays this behaviour and punch them in the throat. When they stare back at you, baffled and afraid, you can snap your fingers at them (or whistle, clap etc.) and say; "you know why!".

8. Thou shalt not be hysterically pregnant

Since the dawn of time, blushing farm women, malnourished African women, and stupid teenagers (surviving solely on a steady diet of KFC and twinkies) alike have been putting healthy youngens on this earth. It's good that we now know a little more about what not to do during pregnancy, but try not to be a total paranoid bitch about it. We are not out to poison your child to be, and if you are so very afraid of the redness of meat, then just DON'T ORDER THE FUCKING STEAK! It makes our souls hurt to serve grey beef. Oh, and those three drops of alcohol in the sauce will have evaporated in the cooking process, it is not necessairy to ask that question about every single thing on the menu while pointing at your stomache. You have told us you're pregnant five times already, and also, you are huge and bloated.

9. Thou shalt not be hasty

You know why fast food is so cheap? Because it takes no thought, no time to prepare, and it's expected to taste like crap. Good, fresh food actually takes time and care, and if you look around, you'll notice that you're not the only person who we're serving at the moment. We'll serve you in a very timely manner, and if we feel you might be waiting a minute too long, we'll be at your table, apologising profusely and offering you free drinks. If you are so very bored with your company that you have nothing better to do than to stare at your watch all night, might we suggest "rent-a-friend", or a divorce.

10. Thou shalt not assume thy waiter is an idiot

There are plenty of dim bulbs who work in hospitality, like there are in any industry, but there's no need to talk to your waiter like they're mentally handicapped. If you are dining in a good restaurant, or even in a crappy one in a cool city, chances are you are being served by someone who has a sharp mind and a passion for food and wine, who understands there's an art to making sure you have a great evening, who has a college education and probably could do many other things just as well, but who chose this career because it makes them happy, they are fucking great at it, and it's a helluvalot more fun than being stuck in some office all day.

12 comments:

lordhelmet said...

"dimb bulbs"

For real, I can't tell if this is intentional, self-deprecating irony or an ordinary typo.

Pants said...

Unintentional comedy I'm afraid. Thanks for the catch!

admin said...

Wonderfull list. Spot on in every respect, especially #4. When my kids start to get annoyed because your spawn are acting like animals, you need to take some action. Or I will.

talkal said...

I've had everything but #8 happen to me in my relatively short time as a server. Pretty spot on! I wish this was on the front of every menu of every restaurant ever.

Anonymous said...

Mostly agreeing with this, except for the sitting where I'm told. I don't have any problems with not grasping for more elbow room, but I'm a shy person who doesn't like being in the thick of things. If I can't choose to sit in the quiet corner (that is available with a suitably-sized table) without my waiter being snitty because it's in the wrong zone, I will find another restaurant where I can eat in comfort.

Tania said...

I would add: if the restaurant is ethnic, do not be a racist arse! I've seen too many groups of morons insult Indian waiters, for instance. It's enough to make me want to pour hot tarka dhal in their stupid laps, but their poor waiter has to just take it.

Major Etiquette said...

Love it! I'm a bartender at a bar and grill, so I have to serve food as well as make ALL of the beverages for the establishment, so I have come across all of these, except, thankfully, no one under 21 is allowed. Although, at two o'clock in the morning, all of the drunks act like petulant three-year-olds when they're told that we won't be serving them anymore. So SORRY that I'm not willing to break the law for you, motherfucker!
Phew. Guess I've got a little pent up aggression.

talesfromthebarside said...

This should be placed in a bronzed frame and place in restaurant bathrooms...

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