How not to be a moron in a restaurant

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It has been a year or more since most of us have eaten in a restaurant. Maybe some of us have forgotten how to behave. Over the past year, many conversations about issues in the restaurant industry have become widespread. So I was naively surprised to learn that an old thorn in his side was back. Yes, even after surviving the scourge of a global health crisis that seemed almost specifically designed to attack the restaurant industry, people still make reservations and don’t show up, without bothering to cancel.

So now it seems like this is a good time to go over some ways to be a decent person when dining out.

  1. Arrive

Apparently this has yet to be said. Restaurants must maximize their capacity to make a profit. Operating a patio at half capacity is already hardly worth it. Currently, with more demand than supply, taking a reservation means denying other demands. Not showing up costs them money. It has been common for several years for diners to book multiple tables at different restaurants for the same night and then decide at the last minute where they want to eat. It seems unfathomable, given what year restaurants have had, that people are still doing this. And yet, when I contacted half a dozen restaurateurs, most told me they were under attack. One experiences more than 50 percent no-shows (in addition, a restaurant demolished their sink and then ran away). That shouldn’t surprise me. There is nothing in a pandemic that can remove dirt from a dust bag.

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Toronto restaurateur says he will institute a no-show deposit of $ 25. Nick Kokonas, founder of Chicago’s Alinea, as well as the Tock ordering platform, argues that a nominal deposit of $ 5 may be more efficient to reinforce desirable behavior than taking credit card information and charging for a no-show, which may seem punitive. Either way, if a restaurant asks for a deposit when making a reservation, that’s why. They lose income when tables are empty during prime time. If you cancel, do so with sufficient notice so that they can reserve the table again. Your dentist charges you if you cancel without a 24 hour notice (I contacted my dentist about this; he told me his office fees, which are hardly ever applied, exist primarily as a deterrent). Why not a restaurant?

  1. Be polite, wear your mask and play by the rules

Until we reach a still undetermined level of vaccination in our population, we must wear a mask inside the common areas. Yes, if you’re double-vaxed and relaxed after a few drinks and head to the bathroom, it can feel tense. But it is necessary for the protection of staff and other customers. And that’s the rule for now. The restaurant may have other rules in place, such as not being seated until your entire group arrives or asking you not to visit other tables. Listen to what you are told. It’s for a reason. If you can afford to eat out with table service, you’ve had a relatively good year. The workers did not. They have been in and out of work and at times forced to face an unreasonable and threatening audience. So welcome them with compassion.

  1. Get down to business

We have had months to think about where we are going to eat when it is safe to do so. The menus are online. I know I looked longingly at a certain bowl of fatty and spicy noodles. We have had plenty of time to think about what to order. When the restaurant tells you that there is a time limit for your table, they have thought about the time it takes to enjoy a great meal with attentive service. But that doesn’t include your reunion with friends for half an hour without looking at the menus. Help the restaurant by getting your order to the kitchen as quickly as possible.

  1. Tip well

I’m not a fan of tips. But it is the custom of our country. While there is, tip as well as you can. No one has ever regretted being generous. A recent study from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory found that 20 percent of respondents plan to tip more than before. While this has been billed as “only” 20 percent, I find it refreshing that one-fifth of diners intend to be as magnanimous as possible.

  1. Keep your reviews to yourself, unless they’re five stars

Here are some quotes from online restaurant reviews, all published after March 2020, when the pandemic began:

“Removed a star because of the huge cheese and the feeling of lethargy after eating”

“For the $ I was looking for exceptional and what I received was disappointing [sic]. “

“The only star less I gave is only because the place is always too busy and we never have a table yet!” Just wish us more seating, lol.

“Not as authentic as before.”

“The pizza is nothing special. I would not stay here again! ”

“They don’t recommend anything, so someone who isn’t Mexican like me wouldn’t understand what they’re ordering.”

Part of me is curious about the mind of the sociopath posting reviews online that will hurt small businesses during a global pandemic. But I don’t really want to go into this heart of darkness.

Having food served by others is a luxury. When you act like a jerk, do you think they can’t remember your name? No restaurateur I asked said they shared bad customer names with other restaurants. But they all keep their own records of the best and worst diners – not to punish, but to remember wine preferences or food allergies, to provide a level of service that comes with knowing your customers. Because of this, really nice people find it easier to get a table on Fridays. Why wouldn’t a business owner prioritize customers who make their life and their staff happier?

A restaurateur told me that she absolutely keeps track of no-shows, so the next time they call, she can say, “Sorry, we’re sold out that night.”

The good news for no-shows is that when you cheat at restaurants like this you automatically get a reservation for a table in Hell. It’s a communal table, and instead of chairs it’s a long bench, so you have to swing your leg to get up and use the toilet. And the menus have not been erased. Plus, they’re pretty much everything. Wouldn’t it have been easier to call and cancel this reservation?

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