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Restaurant Etiquette - Both Sides Of The Table

Patrons of a restaurant and employees of a restaurant both need to follow some simple rules of etiquette in order to make each dining experience more enjoyable for everyone.

When dining out at a restaurant it is important to for diners to use some common sense so as not to disrupt the meals of other diners. Restaurant patrons should also treat all restaurant employees fairly and with respect. On the other hand, anyone working at a restaurant should also do the best they can to serve their customers well.

A restaurant’s staff should always work hard to be as neat and clean as possible. When preparing a table for the next set of customers, the wait staff should take their time to thoroughly wipe off the tables (as well as chairs and benches when needed). Wait staff should also place the dining utensils and plates neatly on the table. At fancier restaurants, you will probably even have been instructed on a certain way of setting the table. Take the extra few moments to follow this protocol. Your customers will appreciate a clean and neat table.

As a customer, you should always do your best to arrive on time when you have made reservations at a restaurant. Please keep in mind that there are many other patrons that may be dining at the same locations that evening. If you realize that you are not able to keep your reservations or that you will be more than a few minutes late, call the restaurant to explain the situation. The restaurant staff will appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness when you call.

If you are a server or hostess/host at a restaurant, you are likely to receive calls from time to time when a customer needs to change or cancel a reservation. Be patient and understanding when you receive one of these phone calls. Your customer may very well have a good reason as to why they will be late. Make every effort to still accommodate the customers if they will be arriving late to the restaurant. Do not treat the customers rudely or unfairly because they have arrived late. Also, if someone calls to cancel their reservations you must be polite. Things do often come up in life that are beyond our control. The customer has not purposely decided to make your shift difficult by canceling their reservation.

As a customer it is important to be considerate of other diners at the restaurant. If at all possible do not take your cell phone into the restaurant with you or place your phone on vibration mode so that it does not ring in the middle of the meal. Do not answer your phone unless necessary. This can be distracting to other customers at the restaurant and may be taking time away from a nice meal with your own family or friends. If your party that is dining is rather large, please do have an enjoyable time. But also do your best not to be too noisy and distracting to other customers. They will most likely show you the same consideration.

When you take your children out to a restaurant with you there will be times when they may get excited, bored or even cranky. Do what you can to teach your children good manners when eating out. Try to bring some crayons and a coloring book with you or other quiet activities to help your children to be on their best behavior.

Even at the best restaurants, there may be times when your food does not meet your satisfaction or is not exactly as you ordered. Perhaps there is a new cook who forgot to add or leave out a particular part of your meal. Maybe the waitress made an error when taking down your request. Sometimes the meal does not take as good as you would like. If you are not satisfied with your food, try to be polite when explaining this to your waiter/waitress.

Explain to your waitress (nicely) that your meal is not satisfactory. Do not be accusatory or rude. Try to carefully explain what you do not like about your meal. For example, perhaps you ordered your steak well done and it is too rare. Maybe you asked for the cooks to hold the peppers and onions on your cheese steak hoagie, only to discover onions and peppers. Calmly explain why you are not satisfied with your food.

Hopefully the restaurant will be able to help you feel better about the error with your order. They may offer to take back your meal in order to make it better for your tastes. If you do not want to wait for your meal to be prepared again, they may offer you a discount off your meal or a coupon on your next visit to the restaurant. Be reasonable when the restaurant tries to accommodate you when you are unhappy about your food.

Restaurant employees should always be kind when someone is not satisfied with their meal. Show the customer patience and respect. Do whatever you can to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of your customer. Also, if you are a cook at a restaurant, make every effort to provide customers with their request even if unusual or out of the ordinary. If they want their meal plain and do not want various items that you think “make the meal” accommodate the customer. Everyone has their own individual tastes as well as diets they like to follow.

Customers should always try to remember to thank your waitress or waiter before you leave the restaurant. If you see any of the other helpful employees of the restaurant, thank them or wish them a good day/evening as well. When leaving your tip, take into consideration the service you received. It is acceptable to leave a little less when service was not up to par. However, if you were well taken care of by the wait staff, try to leave a little higher of a tip if you can. On average the standard tip is 15-20% of the price of your meal.

If everyone follows a few simple tips at a restaurant, everyone is likely to have a good experience eating out. Happy Dining!

Submitted by:

Sharon Stajda

For more information about etiquette, please visit Breakfast, Luncheon, And Tea Etiquette and How To Act At Formal Teas And Other Events.




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