Sunday, May 18, 2008

Interlude: A Thinly Veiled Rant

She broke the cardinal rule; never fuck with people who handle your food.

I know it might be hard to believe, but it's come to my attention that a substantial portion of the population is incapable of eating in a restaurant. I know, I know, it seems so simple! And yet, day after day, I am reminded that there is no play book, no wikipedia page on how to properly enjoy your meal at TGIFriday's, no special 900-number to whisper sweet etiquette into your ear.

And so, my friends, I present to you: The Insiders Guide to Eating Out.


There are a few things an aspiring "Guest" must know before entering the hallowed halls of an establishment such as TGIFriday's. These are key facts and figures that will make your transition from the dark rock you live under to the wide and varied world of dining easier.
-The person who greets you at the door is your Host. They will direct you to your table and possibly provide you with information pertinent to the rest of your evening. This person is not, strictly speaking, endowed with the responsibility to fetch you anything but a booster seat.
-The person wearing a little apron who asks you about what drinks you might like is your server. This person has many responsibilities, but duties that your server does not perform include... your food
...setting the prices
...controlling restaurant temperature
...making sure that all food and beverage items are stocked at all times
...picking the music or controlling its volume
...creating the menu
...deciding on food portion sizes, drink strength, or the way food actually tastes

The Entrance
-DO expect to have to wait for a minute or two to find a Host. There will likely be other Guests who have arrived before you.
-DO NOT ask for a booth if you also need a high chair, unless you want your child teetering high above you as the Host will put the high chair ON the booth, so as not to make your child a fire hazard.
-DO NOT arbitrarily pick a table you would like to sit at unless the table the Host is leading you to will give you cancer or cause immediate death.
-DO NOT give your Host your drink or food orders. That is not their job.
The Initial Greet
-DO NOT respond to inquiries into your day or well being with a drink order. "Diet Coke" is not an appropriate response to "How are you doing today?"
-DO speak to your server. He/She has not yet completed his/her mind-reading training, and as of this moment cannot psychically predict what you would like to drink or eat.

-DO know what you would like to eat. If you are not sure, you may ask for more time to think. Your server will, indeed, come back. Holding him/her hostage at your table will only make your server more inclined to forget your soup.
-DO order something from the menu. It is a handy list of all the meals the restaurant offers. If you do not see what you want listed, chances are your server will not be able to make it magically appear in front of you.
-DO verbalize what you would like to eat. Pointing at pictures or simply describing the concept of your choice may lead to confusion, and you know how much you just hate to send food back.
-DO be sure of what you would like. Once your choice has passed your lips it is, indeed, too late to change your mind.
-DO know what you are ordering, and if it contains something you are allergic to or do not like. Buffalo wings are spicy. Alfredo sauce contains lactose. Hamburgers might contain meat.

-DO be patient. Your food must actually be cooked and plated. Your server did not attend Hogwarts and cannot just make it appear in front of you.
-DO NOT wonder why a table who came in after you have already received their food. Their steaks are probably not "extra-well done" and their wings are not "extra crispy".

Delivery of Food
-DO pay attention. If you ordered the Triple Stack Jack Quesadillas, then be sure to tell the person who is standing there, holding them, the first time they ask .
-DO speak up if you got the wrong food.
-DO NOT begin to eat food that you did not order.
-DO tell your server right away if you need extra condiments or refills or foresee any needs. Do this once, and in bulk.
-DO NOT ask for something new every time your server returns to your table to give you something you have already asked for. He/She is a server, not a marathon runner.

-DO make sure you have enough cash on you to pay for everything, or make sure that your credit card will not be declined.
-DO NOT complain just in case you can get something free. If you ordered it, you should expect to pay for it.
-DO NOT try to be cute and say things like "oh, you didn't have to do that" what your server drops your check. It's not cute. Yes, he/she did have to do that.
-DO leave a tip.

-DO realize your tip is going to not only the server, but the Host, Food Runners, Bussers, and Bartenders who have helped you out tonight.
-DO understand that your server did not make your hamburger overdone. It is not his/her fault the restaurant is too cold.
-DO NOT take petty complaints out on your server financially.
-DO realize your server is paid HALF of minimum wage. He/She relies on your tip to survive.
-DO realize the 10-15-20% rule is a mere guideline. If you ordered a $20 meal but sat there for an hour and a half, do you really think a $3 tip justifies the time your server spent on you? That's $2/hr, and even added to their wage, still does not meet minimum wage.

If you still have any questions, please, show up at the very end of the day and ask one of the servers. I'm sure they will be more than happy to clear up any confusion.

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