This post from the New York Times about expected behavior by servers in the restaurant industry is astonishing for both its detail and how much of it should just be expected. How and when did our expectations get lowered to such depths that anyone has to be told things like this?
From 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1):
5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.
8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.
38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”
39. Do not call a woman “lady.”
It may sound ridiculous, but I wanted to stand up and cheer when I was reading those items. On second thought it doesn’t just sound ridiculous, it is ridiculous. Those are things that the servers should have learned from their mother and father, not the person training them to work in a restaurant.
However, some of these other items listed are pearls. Should I ever find myself running an establishment that serves food, whether a greasy spoon, a bistro, a pub, or a joint of any sort, these will be posted in multiple locations.
12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.
13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles.
14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.
17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.
31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong.
36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage.
48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.
There are so many great nuggets of wisdom in this list that I can’t wait to see what is contained in the second 50, but I have a hard time believing that any will top this one on my personal list. This is a fantastic idea:
23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.
I will keep my eye peeled from the second half of the list and post a link to it when I see it. Perhaps if enough industry people read this list they can begin to put service back into the restaurant business, and maybe more importantly, if enough customers read it, they can know what they should be able to expect and take their business elsewhere when they don’t get it.