California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Proper Dining: The Do’s and Don’ts of Eating Out

Going out to eat should be a pleasurable experience. Good food and good service can make for a great night out.

A lot of restaurants are devoted to ensuring that all their guests receive quality service from the moment they enter until the moment they leave.

Most of the hosts and servers will also go the extra mile to make sure guests are satisfied. They have to; this is their livelihood.

But what steps, if any, do guests take towards helping themselves have an enjoyable night?

Many guests have never considered that “bad guest etiquette” can affect their server and the service they receive. This being said, this article will aim to give guests the inside scoop on the do’s and don’ts of dining out.

Let us begin at the start of the dining experience. After speaking to hosts and hostesses at various restaurants, these suggestions were given.

Don’t show up with 15 people and no reservation and get an attitude when you are told that you are going to have to wait.

Do make a reservation. Reservations are a beautiful thing, and if you are the type of individual who does not have a lot of patience, it is in your best interest to make one. That way you won’t have to wait long.

Don’t be surprised or bothered when there is a long wait to be seated on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s the weekend and these are the busiest nights for many restaurants. Remember, you weren’t the only family who had eating out on their minds.

Do allow for wait times.

Don’t wait until you have been shown back to a booth to let the host know that you wanted a table.

Do let the host know that you prefer a table when you first check in.

Don’t walk in with four adults and one child and tell the host that you are a party of four. You are a party of five. Children are people, too, and just the same, they need a place to sit.

Now that we’ve made it past the host desk, let us discuss some “table etiquette.”

According to servers, a big annoyance for them is the way guests’ choose to get their attention.

Don’t snap your fingers or yell “hey” to get your server’s attention. All servers introduce themselves with their first name when they first come to the table to greet you. It is important that you listen to them, and if you don’t remember their name, ask.

Do say, “excuse me” or ask for them by name.

Don’t place one finger up in the air for them to hold on while you continue your phone conversation.

Do put your call on hold when your server comes over to greet you. It is bad etiquette to continue chatting it up on your phone.

“Just like you would like for your server to be attentive and courteous, your server would like for you to be attentive and courteous,” said server Sherie Tisby, 27. “Cell phones are a no-no.”

Tisby has been serving for ten years.

Don’t tell your server you are ready to order and then once they come over, you open the menu for the first time and begin scanning through it with uncertainty. This simply wastes their time and tests their patience.

Do take your time going through the menu first, and once you have narrowed it down to a few choices, call the server over to ask for their opinion on which item you should choose.

Don’t complain about your food being cold if when it comes out you choose to continue talking for ten minutes, before taking your first bite.

Do eat your food when it comes to your table.

Don’t complain about how terrible your meal was, as you scrape the last bits of the gravy residue from your plate with your biscuit.

Do tell your server what you don’t like about the food after the first couple of bites.

Don’t order alcohol if you’re going to complain about it being too strong.

Do order a nice non-alcoholic beverage for your enjoyment.

Do keep a close eye on your kids when dining out.

Don’t let your children crawl on the floor and into the surrounding booths. This isn’t proper restaurant etiquette, and it simply gives the neighboring guests as well as the employees a reason to talk about you.

Do be patient and understanding when you go out to eat. Think with your mind and not your stomach.

Don’t go out to eat if you are mad at the world. It will not result in a good night for you or for your server.

Don’t order “takeout” when it is best that you “eat in.”

“When guests come into the restaurant with bad attitudes it throws my mind off,” said Claim Jumper server Stephanie Weaver, 28. “I lose track of all my thoughts and it makes me not want to be here at all.”

Weaver has been serving for five years. She said that although servers need to be patient and attentive, it is just as important that guests be more understanding.

Don’t hesitate to tell a manager if you have bad service, just do it constructively. Making a scene is never appropriate. This too will give the other guests something to talk about and you may become the star of a “You tube” video.

“I had my worst dining experience ever at Elephant Bar in Concord,” said Shea Myers, 18. “We stood in the lobby for 15 minutes before anybody even said anything to us. When we were finally sat, our waitress screwed up many of our drink orders and our steaks came out cooked differently from how we ordered them.”

Myers said that what made the experience worse was that when they let their server know, the server gave her and her family attitude. On top of that, no managers made an effort to stop by their table to see about their concerns, said Myers.

Do let it be known if you have good service. Tell a manger you had a great experience and show your appreciation by tipping well. Remember, 18 percent gratuity is the minimum, not the maximum.

“Good service makes me want to go back,” said dining guest Thomas Roccanova. “My best dining experience was at the Firehouse restaurant. The servers there were very organized, very helpful and they made it seem that they truly got pleasure out of serving us. They spoiled their guests.”

Roccanova said that he never had to ask for drink refills because the servers seemed to predict all of the guests’ needs. He said that the servers seemed to enjoy their jobs and were motivated to please the guests.

The servers’ enthusiasm made the dining experience even better, said Roccanova.

Do keep in mind that servers make a living off their tips. It is the way they buy their groceries, pay their rent and support their families.

Do enjoy your next dining experience.

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Proper Dining: The Do’s and Don’ts of Eating Out