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November 5, 2009 7:49 AM   Subscribe

"100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do": Rules 1-50. Rules 51-100.

Bruce Buschel, who's planning to open a seafood restaurant this spring, gives 100 rules spread out over two blog posts in the New York Times. He says these will be the actual rules for his staff. There are over 1,000 comments on the first post -- many of them suggesting additional rules, some of which Buschel used in the second post.

Of course, there are rules for customers as well.
posted by Jaltcoh (361 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
I fear that waitstaff, owing to overly broad interpretation of #21, will now refuse to serve me.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2009 [29 favorites]


As someone who served tables during grad school, the rules are entirely intuitive to the staff at restaurant of a certain quality.

This entire list could be summed up in two sentences: "All the folksy crap you did at Applebee's? Drop it."
posted by jefficator at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2009 [17 favorites]


Having someone's place cleared while the rest of us are still eating really bugs me. Hearing about specials without the prices makes me disinclined to order them. Being asked if I need change is presumptuous. I would like it if they played a whole Frightened Rabbit CD, however.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is interesting and all, but I can't for the life of me figure out why he's got 100 rules for servers, who are generally trained, seasoned professionals, but no rules at all for diners who are, in the vast majority, rank amateurs...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


As per your title:

88. Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

THIS.
posted by ChrisR at 8:00 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't know, all of that seems to be generally good customer service technique. These rules seem conducive to getting a good tip.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:02 AM on November 5, 2009


1f2frfbf: "This is interesting and all, but I can't for the life of me figure out why he's got 100 rules for servers, who are generally trained, seasoned professionals, but no rules at all for diners who are, in the vast majority, rank amateurs..."

Because the people dining out are the customers? Why should the client have to prove themselves to the waitstaff in order to be worthy of quality service?
posted by ChrisR at 8:04 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.

Oh I like it runny.

As for creepy, I guess there won't be any calamari at this seafood restaurant of his.
posted by total warfare frown at 8:05 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to first blogger who visit his restaurant and catalogs violations of those rules.
posted by justkevin at 8:05 AM on November 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


80. Never insist that a guest settle up at the bar before sitting down; transfer the tab.

yes.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:06 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


58. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested.

Yep. It's the chef's job, and not the server's, to be an angry judgmental ass.
posted by peeedro at 8:07 AM on November 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


Steve from Waiter Rant posted a (tongue-in-cheek) annotated version of this list in response, for those wanting a waiter's perspective on Buschel's rules.
posted by dnesan at 8:07 AM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

I don't know if it's just my area of the country or a trend for those chain "fine" dining restaurants or what, but I have been seated with a scourge of chatty waiters recently. I don't want to discuss my plans for the evening with you, thank you very much.

I've been in situations where a good, witty, flirty waiter was an asset to the dining experience, but it takes some discretion.
posted by muddgirl at 8:07 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


What?!? I like jokes and flirting when I eat out!
posted by scrowdid at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2009


The Waiter Rant's take on it.
posted by trixare4kids at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2009


in the vast majority, rank amateurs
I am an amateur diner, as in I don't get paid to eat. However if anyone has an opportunity, I'd love to hear it. I have over 30 years experience in consuming solid food...
posted by pointystick at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Someone doesn't seem to like Bruce Buschel -- excerpts from his Wikipedia entry:
Bruce has worked heavily with Satantic [sic] worship groups throughout Philadelphia.
. . .
Currently, Buschel is building a restaurant in Bridgehampton and blogging about it for the New York Times -- "The Start Up Chronicle." The blog has recieved heavy critisism from restaurant employees for failing to support them. Many have formed websites detailing reasons not to seek employment with his company.
. . .
He is married to Dr. Bettina Buschel and they have two gay sons.
posted by brain_drain at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2009


60. Bring all the appetizers at the same time, or do not bring the appetizers. Same with entrees and desserts.

If I ask for an espresso and a desert, bring them both at the same time. The espresso should be hot, and not tepid. I feel like an ass having to specify this every time, but a lot of servers don't do either of these.
posted by carter at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would not be offended if a server seated me with a, "Hi, my name is so-and-so and I'll be your waiter this evening." It makes the whole experience a little more nice and personable. You're not ordering from an automat or a drive-through speaker, after all.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:12 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


101. Do not have after-shift dreams where you are naked (or in your underwear) in the restaurant's kitchen and all your tables have their food up in the window and every table needs more water
posted by Auden at 8:13 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


88. Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

THIS.


Oh, God, yes. When I was a server in a casual family-style restaurant, the most I ever said as I picked up the bill tray was "I'll be back with your change in a moment." This gave the customer the chance to say "Keep the change" and feel grand, while also saving me a trip back to the table during supper rush. But I think even mentioning the change at a more luxurious restaurant would probably rankle some customers.
posted by maudlin at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009


I love waitstaff! And diners! And cooks & chefs! Hugs for everyone!
posted by Liver at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


101. Don't berate a guest for not eating her vegetables.

If it was possible to leave a negative tip, I would've at that point.
posted by Lucinda at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


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 guess Mr. Buschel has never worked in place that was kick ass crazy busy. I’d write the info down on a piece of paper. Busy waiters don’t have time for arts and crafts projects.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.

His restaurant just went out of business. The servers are your sales team and it's their job to sell customers on the lobsters or whatever else the chef or owner wants to move fast. They're also supposed to be upselling the wine.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Don't talk to me, don't look at me, bring whatever I point to on the menu and back away slowly, when I throw something at you that means I need another glass of wine.

everyone needs to calm down and not be an angry dick all the time. However if you are a waiter or waitress and you sit down in the booth with me - and god help you, make me scoot over - I will cross over into Hannibal Lecter territory. In fact the next time that happens I'm going to fucking shove you super hard and burn down the restaurant. NEVER DO THAT.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


People who eat at "comfort food" restaurants want wait-staff that remind them of family members. People who eat at fine-dining establishments want wait-staff that remind them of well-trained servants.

The job of a restaurateur is to hire the staff appropriate to his or her restaurant, not to belabor the public with assurances that his standards meet our own.
posted by jefficator at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [28 favorites]


Again, this list is for one particular restaurant, mine, which is under construction in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and will, with any luck, open this spring.

I think the whole "I'll be your waiter for this evening" thing is seen as an indicator of Family Dining. At the pricier restaurants I've been to, the host indicated the waiter's name when we were seated.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

My wife and I are regular patrons of Hooters, that fine dining establishment. Now, obviously, Hooters is an edge case, and a lot of flirty behavior there is expected. For example, the waitresses regularly sit down in the booth with you to take your order. The last time we were in one though, the waitress sat in the booth to take our order, then sat down again to chat after our order was in. Then she came back with our food, and sat down AGAIN, to chat with us while we ate. She kept getting up to wait on other people, then coming back to sit with us. It was like she was some old friend we'd both completely forgotten about or something. It was surreal.

So my rule for servers? Don't be that weird.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't understand the no-names rule. I'm fine with someone saying hello I'm Michael and I'll be serving you today, then launching into specials.
posted by mathowie at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2009


"except a muted flugelhorn."

What.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:17 AM on November 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


He is married to Dr. Bettina Buschel and they have two gay sons.

Wow, is that ever inappropriate to include in a Wikipedia entry! Not only is it an invasion of the sons' privacy (I wouldn't want my mom's Wikipedia entry to refer to me as her "straight son" unless someone cleared it with me first, and I'm going to take a wild guess that that didn't happen here), but their sexual orientation is as irrelevant as the area man's is in this Onion article.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:18 AM on November 5, 2009


7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

I mostly agree with the rest of the list but I disagree with this. I don't expect the waiter/waitress to be a robot, I like them to be allowed to have some personality.
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 AM on November 5, 2009


Add this: do not be overly patronizingly lurking! Guy pulls cigarette out and a moment later waiter is there with lighter to light it. Waiter seems to lurk slightly away from the table and pounces to show he or she is on top of things. Always on the ready but does not (thank god) pre-chew my food.
posted by Postroad at 8:20 AM on November 5, 2009


I wish there were a list like this for other service sectors. For example:

Rule #12 for Supermarket Cashiers: Do not make intrusive comments or inquiries about any of my purchases. It is none of your business what I have planned tonight, if you anre interested in this particular brand of wine then buy some and try it yourself and yes, I really do need those four boxes of Fleet enemas, roll of duct tape and giant box of Hefty bags, thankyouverymuch.
posted by darkstar at 8:21 AM on November 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


Common sense with a soupçon of clueless horseshit.
posted by Optamystic at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was (and forever shall be) a bad waiter. Don't hire me to wait your stupid tables in your bad, overpriced restaurant while you do lines in the back and your minimum wage cooks try to figure out how to cook eggs.
posted by fuq at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


trixare4kids: jinx!

Having someone's place cleared while the rest of us are still eating really bugs me.

I'm a fast eater, generally, and I prefer to have my plate cleared because I'd rather not sit with an empty plate in front of me. I also just end up fiddling with my fork or something else distracting. ?But I don't know how my usual dining companions feel about my plate being cleared.

This sort of thing is why I think this whole list is kind of stupid. Unless something is common sense (like "Don't disappear"), there will be reasonable diners who prefer the opposite.

Rule 101 (via Tracy Jordan): Don't look at me, do not look at me in the eyes.
posted by dnesan at 8:24 AM on November 5, 2009


everyone needs to calm down and not be an angry dick all the time

Bears repeating.
posted by electroboy at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2009


I don't understand the no-names rule.

We're not making friends or doing introductions. "My name is fixedgear and I will be your customer tonight" sounds equally ridiculous.
posted by fixedgear at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rule #12 for Supermarket Cashiers: Do not make intrusive comments or inquiries about any of my purchases. It is none of your business what I have planned tonight, if you anre interested in this particular brand of wine then buy some and try it yourself and yes, I really do need those four boxes of Fleet enemas, roll of duct tape and giant box of Hefty bags, thankyouverymuch.


My Mom is the customer version of this. Shopping with her was a cringing festival of embarassment because she would launch into lengthy explanations for her products as if at any moment she expected the cashier to snatch the products away and glare disapprovingly.

We got along a lot better after I realized the way she works out problems is by talking about them, out loud, no matter what and I was being the sullen one.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2009


The servers are your sales team and it's their job to sell customers on the lobsters or whatever else the chef or owner wants to move fast. They're also supposed to be upselling the wine.

I think this is one of the differences that separates out really nice upscale restaurants: you can get really good food at nearly any price point (the pho place near my apartment is bliss for about $7 a bowl), but a lot of times when you're putting on your fancy clothes and paying $25 per entree, a big part of what you're paying for is the atmosphere and service. Upselling wine, pushing the lobsters, not seating people until their entire party is there--all of those things make sense if your customers are primarily there to pay for the food and thus your profits come directly from how much food people eat and how fast, but those same things are the kiss of death if your customers are expecting fantastic service on top of the food to justify the higher prices.

Anyway. I barely ever go to restaurants where the service is noticeably awesome--I'm way too cheap and ultimately care more about the food--but comparing my few experiences at those places with this list, it's pretty spot-on. Waiters that kind of fade into the background rather than trying to "earn" a tip by being super-friendly and chatty, lots of attention to little details like bringing food at the same time and not reaching across my table-mates to serve plates, little thoughtful extras like steaming off the wine label (that would be awesome, seriously, if I loved a bottle of wine that I had splurged on). It's the sort of thing that separates the sort of place I'd go on a Friday night because I heard the food was great from the sort of place I'd take my boyfriend for his birthday.
posted by iminurmefi at 8:27 AM on November 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


We're not making friends or doing introductions. "My name is fixedgear and I will be your customer tonight" sounds equally ridiculous.

Somebody better tell every cliched sitcom father!



... also tell my dad, please.
posted by dnesan at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


The list should probably be qualified as mostly applying to shmancy restaurants where they say "amuse-bouche" and have crumbers and list their menu items as "Roast candied leg of chicken, curried arugula, tarragon-apple polenta croutons, toasted pillbugs" and the price as "26." with the period and without the dollar sign, etc., etc.

I always feel uncomfortable being Waited On like that, really. Getting crumbed and having my chair pulled out for me gives me a weird imbalance-of-power feeling. If someone presented me with a steamed-off wine bottle label, I'd be tempted to start a picket line for servers' rights.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2009 [22 favorites]


101. Don't ask me to give you my credit card to hold for a tab. I don't want my card hanging out by the bar, out of my site, the whole night.
posted by Gungho at 8:30 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do not make intrusive comments or inquiries about any of my purchases. It is none of your business what I have planned tonight, if you anre interested in this particular brand of wine then buy some and try it yourself and yes, I really do need those four boxes of Fleet enemas, roll of duct tape and giant box of Hefty bags, thankyouverymuch.

Mom?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better.

Yes, why waste the bubbles? You are paying for them. I was told that when opened a bottle of champagne should sigh like a contented woman. Just what I was told.

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

Weird. In the Midwest they almost always say, "I'm Becky and I will be your server this evening." Becky or David or whatever, so you have something to call out besides, "Miss! Miss!"

I've often questioned the need for a server. Honestly, place your order when you come in, get a number, pick up your food. You're paying someone to write something down and walk 20 feet. There are places that use this model, but they are rare.

I guess I've always been a little uncomfortable paying someone to be nice to me.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


The list should probably be qualified as mostly applying to shmancy restaurants where they say "amuse-bouche" and have crumbers and list their menu items as "Roast candied leg of chicken, curried arugula, tarragon-apple polenta croutons, toasted pillbugs" and the price as "26." with the period and without the dollar sign, etc., etc.

Again, this list is for one particular restaurant, mine, which is under construction in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and will, with any luck, open this spring.

I don't know how much clearer he could have been. It's a promotional article for his very upscale restaurant, promising to treat his customers like lavish rich people.
posted by muddgirl at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.

WHAT ABOUT ME, I LOOK NICE TOO, ASSHOLE. WHERE'S MY VALIDATION?
posted by electroboy at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]



I'm a fast eater, generally, and I prefer to have my plate cleared because I'd rather not sit with an empty plate in front of me. I also just end up fiddling with my fork or something else distracting. ?But I don't know how my usual dining companions feel about my plate being cleared.


I wonder how they feel about you eating so much faster than them? Where I come from, racing ahead of your dining companions is seen as pretty bad manners in its own right. But as you say, such things are individual preferences and ultra slow eaters need to be spanked and have their desserts cancelled, as well.
posted by Rumple at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


toasted pillbugs

...I've been going to all the wrong restaurants.
posted by Maximian at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


This sort of thing is why I think this whole list is kind of stupid. Unless something is common sense (like "Don't disappear"), there will be reasonable diners who prefer the opposite.

First of all, there are very few rules on this list where customers would conceivably prefer the opposite. The rule you identified is one, and the "don't introduce yourself" rule is maybe another, but for the most part these are actually pretty uncontroversial. (Does anyone actually want servers to touch the rims of their glasses?)

Second, the overriding principle is to serve the customer and do what he/she wants. So if you want your plate cleared before your companion is finished, you can ask for that, and a good server will happily comply. That doesn't mean the default rule is a bad one, or that there shouldn't be a default rule.
posted by brain_drain at 8:34 AM on November 5, 2009


I heard this guy interviewed yesterday on NPR, and he was a bit odd - someone phoned in to ask him about the phenomenon of having servers kneel down at the end of the table to take orders, and he essentially had no idea what the question was about.

He also admitted that his only experience working as a waiter was part-time, and many years ago.
posted by HopperFan at 8:35 AM on November 5, 2009


Bourgie bullshit.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:35 AM on November 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


How does that Waiter Rant guy wait tables with such an enormous chip on his shoulder? That must be one of the saddest things I've ever partially read. I'm sure he could get a different job if he really wanted to.
posted by snofoam at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


My Rule 101: Do not stop by my table, say "How's everything?", and then squat down, rest your chin on the edge of the table, and flirt with my date.
posted by Kat Allison at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


mygothlaundry: His restaurant just went out of business. The servers are your sales team and it's their job to sell customers on the lobsters or whatever else the chef or owner wants to move fast. They're also supposed to be upselling the wine.

I didn't come to a restaurant for transparent salesmanship, and if you inflict it on me I probably won't be back. This is especially true for obviously high-priced items like wine and lobsters, and doubly true if someone is on a date.

octothorpe: I mostly agree with the rest of the list but I disagree with this. I don't expect the waiter/waitress to be a robot, I like them to be allowed to have some personality.

Personality is one thing, but fake personality is another. In particular, flirting kind of annoys me. It's just so transparently fake and a bid for a bigger tip, and it shows a willingness to part ways with dignity for money.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


101. Kiss my ass whenever possible, from every angle imaginable, with the puckerest of puckers, because I am an American Consumer, goddamnit, and this is my birthright.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


That list makes for a terribly sterile dining 'experience'. And it doesn't feel so much like a collection of 'do's-or-don'ts' as a barked series of orders - ones that don't give a lot of thought to the actual customer and their usual habits, or the poor waiters who have to deal with them and make tip. I wonder if, when he's greeting a valued customer, he goes 'Hello, Mr. Witness, sir!'?
posted by stelas at 8:38 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't read the rebuttal. It's already driving me into a frezy of rage:

Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived. This is complete bullshit and a money loser for the restaurant. What happens when you seat those three people but their friend doesn’t show up for an hour? I’ll tell you what – they’ll eat bread and water while waiting for their friend to get his or her chronically passive-aggressive late ass in gear. The result being that the restaurant can’t turn the table and no one, including the waiter, makes money.

Boo the fuck hoo. Good customer service -- which you should already know -- realizes that sometimes you lose money in the short term to gain money in the long term, by treating customers as guests, instead of as fucking credit cards with legs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 AM on November 5, 2009 [26 favorites]


Where's the one about not storing the black check-holder thing in the crack of your ass? [Olive Garden, I'm looking at you!]
posted by mattbucher at 8:40 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


We're not making friends or doing introductions. "My name is fixedgear and I will be your customer tonight" sounds equally ridiculous.

Yes. As a server, I would welcome the "don't introduce yourself" rule. Some customers (in any business) just love to seize on an employee's name and use it incessantly to show how down-home and friendly they are. "Nice to meet you, fixedgear!" "Can we have some more ketchup, fixedgear?" "I gotta tell you, fixedgear, we're a little disappointed in our bloomin' onion." When I had jobs where I wore a nametag, I ran into people like this every day. (It's even worse with a nametag, because people pause and glance at your nametag every time they use your name, which is even more grating.)
posted by brain_drain at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


My Rule 101: Do not stop by my table, say "How's everything?", and then squat down, rest your chin on the edge of the table, and flirt with my date.

I've had one server do this and in response I laughed out loud, and told him my dog does exactly the same thing with my guests. He was quite put off by that and I got lousy service the rest of the night, but it was totally worth it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


(The music is not for the staff — it’s for the customers.)

AMEN.
posted by applemeat at 8:42 AM on November 5, 2009


Waiter Rant's response is pretty awful. I'm not sure if it's really tongue-in-cheek or just typical waiter "but this would make my job harder" whining.
posted by smackfu at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


As per your title:

88. Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.

THIS.


YES! A thousand times yes!
posted by horsemuth at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


My restaurant pet peeve didn't make the cut:

When taking your table's order, please write the order down. If you have a photographic memory, well, then pretend you're writing it down. That way, your customers feel comfortable ordering exactly what they want and how they want it. If my server's pen's not moving, I feel pressured to simplify my order and forgo a substitution or minor accommodation that may have significantly improved my meal and experience.
posted by applemeat at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


Psychotic, ranch dressing-obsessed, and related: "How to Be a GOOD Server in a Restaurant."
posted by cog_nate at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2009


Rule Etc: Do not force the bill on a customer by announcing "I have to check-out now (or, "My shift is ending...") and would like to settle-up if possible."

Honest. I've had this one pulled on me too many times to count.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want to add, as an anecdote:

I ate at the shittiest French restaurant last week, it was late, we were very hungry, all I wanted was a beer and a decent steak frites, I mean that's impossible to really bungle right? Might not be perfect, but still just a steak and fries man, just fucking hand it over. I'm not even going to go into the snuff film they made of my wife's scallops, jesus wept. I'm a lifelong member of the clean plate club, put it in front of me and I'll do my job. I feel guilty about not eating my food in a restaurant, that's how I am, I love good food, but I'm not picky and I appreciate the work that goes into cooking and serving food. I ate - choked down really- half of it, my wife threatened to divorce me if I didn't eat a few of her nasty scallops so she wasn't just sitting there with an uneaten plate of food. The kid didn't even want to eat more than a few bites of her cheeseburger, which is simply madness!

And the worst part about it? The waiters knew the food was shit, they were ashamed of themselves, they treated us so nice, complimentary cookies and chocolates (that's what I want after a horrible meal, a fucking meringue cookie, thanks bro, not eating that either) and some kind of weird shot of tequila. Did I mention there was a Spanish Gypsy guitar duo playing at the Who at Shea stadium volume the entire time? So what do you do? What did I do? I left a 30 percent tip and went home and had a ham sandwich.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


All I came away with from this was a fervent desire to never, ever go out to dinner with this guy. He's got a lot of lumber stuck up his ass.
posted by Skot at 8:48 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Restaurant service guide with waiter rant rebuttal link? MY GOD.

*drains lines of credit to buy 86405 thread stock*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:48 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


Carter: That sort of depends on where in the world you're dining and what level of service you have. In classic French dining and most continental-style service, the coffee is considered a separate course from dessert and thus comes afterwards by default. In France, this will be the case from the corner bistro to the classiest of restaurants. In North America, it tends to happen only in restaurants that charge more than $20 per main dish.
posted by LMGM at 8:50 AM on November 5, 2009


8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

This. Especially to ask me if everything is fine. When I haven't even had a single bite yet. And when you aren't going to wait around to hear the answer anyway.
posted by spilon at 8:52 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


On behalf of my wife, who is probably the best waiter I've ever seen, I would just like to tell Mr. Buschel to fuck right the fuck off.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:52 AM on November 5, 2009


His restaurant just went out of business.

Can you demonstrate that it went out of business because his servers didn't act like checkered suit wearing used car salesmen whose only concern is propping open a wallet and shaking spare change out of it? Because upselling drives me away from a restaurant, not back to it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


So your wife doesn't follow these rules and is a great waitress?
posted by smackfu at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2009


Being a waitress sounds like the worst job in the world, to hear them tell it. I've never heard anyone complain about their job more- and I've done roofing in Arizona, sold used cars in a recession, and washed dishes in prison.
posted by hamida2242 at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


"I'm fine with someone saying hello I'm Michael and I'll be serving you today"

Note: This only works if it's someone actually named Michael. It's slightly awkward otherwise. Even more so if the server is female.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how they feel about you eating so much faster than them? Where I come from, racing ahead of your dining companions is seen as pretty bad manners in its own right. But as you say, such things are individual preferences and ultra slow eaters need to be spanked and have their desserts cancelled, as well.

Frankly, if people were really judging me for eating more quickly then they were, I would want to politely tell them to blow it out their ass. But I suppose that would qualify as pretty bad manners. I don't see eating quickly as something worth any form of negative judgement. For the record, I'm not talking about wolfing down a steak before anyone else has finished their first mouthful, merely that I tend to finish more quickly than companions. I have no interest in altering the speed at which I eat.


First of all, there are very few rules on this list where customers would conceivably prefer the opposite....

To my eyes: #7, 8, 10, 40, 42, 43, 46 (what if it's grandma's birthday, can't you dote on her a bit?), 51, 75 (me personally, again), and 93 are all issues on which people could prefer the opposite. I won't list out the ones that I think are common sense (Don't return stuff that's been dropped on the floor), but I think it's a large percentage of the 100.


Second, the overriding principle is to serve the customer and do what he/she wants...

Right, so why can't people say, "no, don't clear my plate just yet"? I'm just saying, that a lot of things on the list could be changed to their opposites, and I could say the exact same thing. Just ask and you'll get what you want.
posted by dnesan at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2009


Her father named her Michael so she would learn how to fight.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I haven't even had a single bite yet.

No kidding.

"How is everything?"
"Well, it looks good. I'll let you know after I try something."

I've had that conversation a half dozen times this year.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:57 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


formatting weirdness on my last comment, I was quoting the waiterant rebuttal.

Right, so why can't people say, "no, don't clear my plate just yet"? I'm just saying, that a lot of things on the list could be changed to their opposites, and I could say the exact same thing. Just ask and you'll get what you want.

This is why we have the convention of fork-knife placement. Fork and Knife on opposite ends of the plate means : Do Not Take My Plate Away

Fork and knife nestled inside each other sitting on the plate: Please Take My Plate.
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.

I never got the dislike business culture has for "no problem," especially here, where to my ears, "my pleasure" sounds exponentially less sincere.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:58 AM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


> Wow, is that ever inappropriate to include in a Wikipedia entry!

The wonder of Wikipedia is that you can edit it. I took out the gay part.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some of the things on this list just seem...unrealistic (seating incomplete groups, steaming wine labels, etc.) unless he is planning to hire a pretty serious service infrastructure. I'll be interested to see if his ideal is compromised after he opens the restaurant.
posted by lalex at 9:01 AM on November 5, 2009


93. Do not play brass — no brassy Broadway songs, brass bands, marching bands, or big bands that feature brass,

WHAT THE FUCKING CHRIST

except a muted flugelhorn.

OH OKAY
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:01 AM on November 5, 2009 [26 favorites]


It's pretty hard to take issue with this list, given that the snottiness most knee-jerk anti-"fine dining" people complain about it tackled in numerous places -- from offering water and the table d'hote, to not treating notable guests more as more "special" than others.

Which really shows the difference between an expensive restaurant and a good one (expensive or not). Sadly, this town is full of expensive restaurants.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:02 AM on November 5, 2009


Do not hustle the lobsters.
Boy, can I attest to that. Once I tried to get a little three-card monte going with some lobsters and the next thing I knew I awoke in an ice-filled motel bathtub, with a gash on my forehead and a note saying, "We tried to take your kidney, but couldn't find it. Where do you humans keep them, anyway?"
posted by bigbigdog at 9:06 AM on November 5, 2009 [106 favorites]


57. To fight Reptile, you have to be on 'The Pit' stage. There is a random chance that there will be silhouettes moving across the moon in the background. If you're fighting there while there are visible silhouettes, you must beat whoever you are fighting with a double flawless victory, not using block once, and performing your character's Fatality move. If your character uses the Block button for his or her Fatality, you cannot fight Reptile, unless you are using Version 4.0 of the chipset.

Wow. Just wow. Fucking ASshole. Does this guy even GO to restaurants? If I ever meet him I'll vomit on him until I die, fuck
posted by Damn That Television at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [37 favorites]


Some jokes I laugh at and some I just glare at with unfeigned and unbearable envy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


My wife and I go out to dinner rarely now, so when we do, it's kind of a big deal for us. And we usually try to go to a good restaurant, defined by us as a restaurant at which we've either had a prior good experience or a highly-regarded place we've heard a lot about.

For us, the best meals we've ever had have been like a dance, with us being led by an expert in the form of our waiter, or sometimes the waiter, maitre'd and sommelier. At restaurants we've been to before, sometimes we're known to the staff, and then it's like going out with an old friend, where you're there to have fun, but also to kind of show off your moves. There are in-jokes, and we know about the history of the place, and maybe there are some things that aren't on the menu but we get to have anyway because of our history with the place.

But at a new place, everything rests on that first interaction with the staff, from the front of the house to the table staff. We're partnering with a new lead, and we want to know that we're in capable hands, that the person on the other side of the meal experience is a professional and enjoying themselves.

It's only partially about the food. It's almost as much about putting yourself in someone else's hands for a good time for several hours, where you don't have to do anything but enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and then pay at the end of the experience. And that's usually what we tip for: how much we were taken out of our day-to-day world and transported to a magical place where we could just do something with just each other for a few hours, as if bills and work and professional and personal obligations and politics and life were put on hold.
posted by scrump at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


When taking your table's order, please write the order down. If you have a photographic memory, well, then pretend you're writing it down.

I once asked a guy, who was taking an order for 12 military guys, fresh out of basic, who were ordering everything that looked good, without waiting their turns, and changing their minds as other people ordered things that sounded better, "Don't you want to write any of this down?" He'd been standing there with his palms slightly apart his fingertips touching. His response, "Sir, I am a professional."

I was young and an ass so asked, "A professional waiter? You have to go to school for that?" (I've since gotten older).

Yes he did. He rattled off the name of the place and I'm sure if you ran in his circles it was probably impressive. Having the "write it down" rule is kind of silly. If they fuck things up, complain. Otherwise give them credit to remember your order for 12 feet.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can you demonstrate that it went out of business because his servers didn't act like checkered suit wearing used car salesmen whose only concern is propping open a wallet and shaking spare change out of it? Because upselling drives me away from a restaurant, not back to it.

This restaurant in particular will be in the Hamptons, where the food is mediocre, the service is amateur, and the prices are sky high. "Fine dining" restaurants out there make their money by shaking down the summer people as quickly and ruthlessly as possible so they can limp through the lean winter months. The scene attracts no real restaurant talent, but gobs of NYC vacationer money. Even the hole-in-the-wall bars where wino fishermen and the sod farmer's kids drink swill from October to April put up velvet ropes and charge the city people a $20 cover. The Hamptons summer people gladly pay too much for the honor of being the treated like the drunken lords of a shithole establishment and for the chance that a famous person might stop in for dinner or a drink on their way to a better party.
posted by peeedro at 9:15 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is this the fun thread where we point out how much we disagree with a few select points?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:17 AM on November 5, 2009


Rule 102: Do not take away a child's plate of food, without receiving positive confirmation from the child or the parent. If you, in violation of common sense, do this, do not then leave the area immediately and fail to notice the child sobbing inconsolably, unless you want 25% tippers to leave two cents at the end of the meal.

Rule 103: At a popular restaurant with an hour-long line, do not begin to seat a party of three, notice that one of the party is a toddler, and then send them back to wait for a two seat table for another 20 minutes. (See also Customer Rule 7: Do not wait for an hour to get a table when you have a toddler. Break down and go someplace else - fallacy of sunk costs is trumped by reality of toddler with low blood sugar).
posted by zippy at 9:21 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.

This. Especially to ask me if everything is fine. When I haven't even had a single bite yet. And when you aren't going to wait around to hear the answer anyway.


I was having drinks with a couple friends recently, and we had the most overbearing waitress ever. She kept interrupting our conversation to ask if we needed anything when we obviously didn't. I could understand if we had empty glasses sitting there, but she came by at least 4 times while we each had nearly full pints. Then, of course, once our glasses were empty and we wanted the check, she was nowhere to be found.

I get that it was a slow night, but what makes a server think that I want to be interrupted constantly just because there's no one else in the bar?
posted by lexicakes at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her.

I'm not so sure this guy actually understands what a restaurant is. I think he'd be better off to just throw a really well-buttled dinner party.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


40. Never say, “Good choice,”

Hahaha. Around here they never say "good choice," they say, "Excellent choice." It happens so often some of my friends have turned it into a joke. If we're at a restaurant, when someone mentions they're thinking about ordering a particular dish, the whole table says "Excellent choice."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:27 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Waitresses and waiters are not intended to be your personal, obsequious servants. They simply are not. I am finding the sentiments I am reading here sincerely creepy.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:27 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


109. It is a pat of butter, not a pad of butter.
posted by Rumple at 9:28 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's one for the customer: PLEASE do not leave your iPhone on the table during your meal. That seems to be what people do these days, but it's nerve-wracking enough for your server to navigate tables covered with full glasses, the heavy hot plates, and whatever candles or liquid-filled bud-vases are cluttering things up, without worrying about destroying your delicate and expensive electronics that mean the world to you. I know that iPhone coos to you comfortingly and keeps you on the cutting edge while you're eating, but one tablespoonful of liquid is all it takes.

Don't ask how I know this.
posted by hermitosis at 9:29 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not so sure this guy actually understands what a restaurant is.

If you said a dish was great, and they brought out the recipe, wouldn't you tell all your friends about it and how great the restaurant was? And you probably wouldn't be able to recreate it (WTF is veal stock?), so you would appreciate the restaurant even more.
posted by smackfu at 9:32 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


And restaurants operate in reality. Jeez, I hate giving up my card for a tab too, but people walk out on tabs all the time. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally like I did last weekend and then had to slink back, shamed and hungover, to retrieve it in the morning.
posted by lalex at 9:34 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


As a long-time service industry worker, I'd totally agree with all these rules. And I'd like to use them as back up when I say a much belated "fuck you" to the manager at my very first serving gig (at Kelsey's) who told me I wasn't "perky" enough. I'll perky you, you overtly folksy nimwit. I was the best (and friendliest, but in a genuine rather than a smarmy sense) server they had. I hate smarm/perk. My model of service was always Wodehouse's Jeeves--magically there when needed, able to offer the perfect option for the occasion, quietly deferential, a source of wit and amusement when appropriate.
posted by Go Banana at 9:35 AM on November 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


How does that Waiter Rant guy wait tables with such an enormous chip on his shoulder? That must be one of the saddest things I've ever partially read.

Every job has its annoying elements. Complaining about them lets people blow off steam. Sometimes overexaggerating your complaint pushes it into the realm of being funny so you can laugh at it.

That's how I took his rant myself -- not as "chip on his shoulder," more like "comedic rant."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:38 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Refrain from touching the wet spots on the guest.

Unless the muted flugel horn has set exactly the right mood.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:39 AM on November 5, 2009 [23 favorites]


All I know is that I'm glad I was never a server because if these are the rules I would have gotten fired.
posted by josher71 at 9:41 AM on November 5, 2009


I wonder how they feel about you eating so much faster than them? Where I come from, racing ahead of your dining companions is seen as pretty bad manners in its own right.

I eat fast because I have trouble finishing meals if I don't. Most people don't seem to mind.

So if you want your plate cleared before your companion is finished, you can ask for that, and a good server will happily comply.

Personally I like the napkin on the plate signal.

"How is everything?"
"Well, it looks good. I'll let you know after I try something."


I think the point of that question is to see if anything is was wrong with your order when it was brought out. Like you don't have the right salad dressing or they didn't give you a steak knife or whatever. If the waiter is doing a good job then there won't be many instances where that question is needed, but in the cases where something is wrong I think it's a good idea to ask shortly after the food arrives.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:42 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Go Banana has it. I really don't care what your name is, how much you like the salmon or what you think of my beard--though, verily it is lush and worthy of strokes. I want you to take down my order, bring me my meal, and fade into the background. For this, you will be handsomely rewarded, as I know yours is a hard job.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:44 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Waitresses and waiters are not intended to be your personal, obsequious servants. They simply are not. I am finding the sentiments I am reading here sincerely creepy.

I honestly don't get what's creepy. They're providing a service and getting paid for it. Everybody wins.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:44 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I come in to your restaurant alone, and I look like I'm in a foul mood, and your place is pretty casual and you're reasonably attractive, feel free to flirt. God, touch me on the hand, whatever. You'll get a nice tip, because I'm way too easy and enjoy playing along, always tip OK in the first place. And I won't leave my phone number on the ticket or anything creepy like that. Promise.

Point: The sort of behavior you expect varies by restaurant, what company you're in, (and, I could add, what kind of city or town you're in, your clientele, etc., whether you're a neighborhood place or what have you), etc. Good wait staff will understand this intuitively, almost, or will pick up on expectations for the place and customer, all that.
posted by raysmj at 9:44 AM on November 5, 2009


"How is everything?"
"Well, it looks good. I'll let you know after I try something."

I think the point of that question is to see if anything is was wrong with your order when it was brought out. Like you don't have the right salad dressing or they didn't give you a steak knife or whatever.


I believe the more appropriate way to put this (immediately after serving the entrees) would be, "Is there anything else I can get you?"
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

I can do without the flirting and cuteness, but I do like to know someone's name. I've been trying to be one of those people who compliment more than I complain, and have started to send emails to managers when I've had particularly good service (of any kind, I do it for retail too). I just feel better when I can send an email and say "We were at your establishment on Thursday November 5th, and would like you to know the wonderful service we recieved from John." Which sounds better than "the tall guy in the white shirt, black pants and tie." I want to give credit where credit is due.

Also, we tend to rotate through a set of regular establishments - if we've had great service, I'm not above asking "can you seat us in John's section?"
posted by librarianamy at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2009


Unless I'm looking angry/grumpy foul, that is. Feel free to chuckle at my Bugs Bunny debit card, regardless.
posted by raysmj at 9:47 AM on November 5, 2009


I think the point of that question is to see if anything is was wrong with your order when it was brought out. Like you don't have the right salad dressing or they didn't give you a steak knife or whatever.

OTOH, it's kind of like assuming you screwed something up and don't even know it.
posted by smackfu at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: one of the saddest things I've ever partially read.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:50 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


librarianamy--most places have a system that prints out your server's name on the bill.
posted by Go Banana at 9:50 AM on November 5, 2009


upselling drives me away from a restaurant, not back to it.

Yes, but I've never known anyone who worked at a restaurant where the evening shift didn't start with the chef telling all the servers what they should be pushing that night. It's ingrained. Of course they should do it subtly, and not be all BUY THIS RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW but still, it's a delicate dance between profit and loss and any restaurant owner, no matter how upscale the place, wants and needs the servers to be the sales team.

The thing that got me about his list is how much of it is really out of the server's hands. Sure, you want to seat partial parties? That's a policy decision; the host doesn't just decide that on the spur of the moment, you know. There are a lot of things on that list - even writing stuff down; some places don't allow it - that have little or nothing to do with what the server decides.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:51 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


My model of service was always Wodehouse's Jeeves

"A good servant anticipates a need before his master has anticipated it himself--especially the need to disappear from sight."
posted by jefficator at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


101: Don't spit in my food after I follow this list and treat you like a lowly servant.
posted by stormpooper at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2009


62. Do not fill the water glass every two minutes, or after each sip. You’ll make people nervous.

No. You know what makes me feel nervous? When it's been 10 minutes and I already drained every glass on the table and I'm pretty sure I'm going to die of thirst and the waiter is nowhere to be found. Err on the side of over attention, please.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


You didn't read 62(a).
posted by smackfu at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Waitresses and waiters are not intended to be your personal, obsequious servants.

If you're mistaking basic customer service for serfdom, you may be in the wrong line of work. Nothing on that list, as far as I could tell, demanding fawning obsequiousness. They relied on making the customer feel appreciated and taken care of, and rejected pushy salesmanship, and that's what the job is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:55 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I never got the dislike business culture has for 'no problem,' especially here, where to my ears, "my pleasure" sounds exponentially less sincere.

Saying "no problem" implies that it could have been a problem. "My pleasure" is pretty smarmy, but the response to "thank you" should pretty much always be "you're welcome."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:56 AM on November 5, 2009


Yes, but I've never known anyone who worked at a restaurant where the evening shift didn't start with the chef telling all the servers what they should be pushing that night. It's ingrained.

Customer service is about finding out what the customer wants or needs. That sometimes dovetails with what needs to be pushed. I've never balked at a waitperson informing me of what's available. I have balked at them being really aggressive about recommending it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:57 AM on November 5, 2009


101. Don't berate a guest for not eating her vegetables.

101a. Do not tell a guest's dining partner to watch what she eats because she's never going to keep her figure eating ALL OF THAT.

Yeah, that was the one and only time I left no tip at all.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Waitresses and waiters are not intended to be your personal, obsequious servants. They simply are not. I am finding the sentiments I am reading here sincerely creepy.

Yeah, I too took issue with that one about slippers, sherry, and pipe being due at precisely 6:02. If it's really busy 6:05 is okay.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


105: Even if I look like someone put John "Earthquake" Tenta into a pair of dockers and a button-down oxford shirt on a dare, don't stuff me and my date back by the kitchen. I'm not going to headbutt any of your other patrons, I promise, and I'm pretty sick of the door swinging being the soundtrack to my dining experience.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:59 AM on November 5, 2009


Rule 102: Do not take away a child's plate of food, without receiving positive confirmation from the child or the parent. If you, in violation of common sense, do this, do not then leave the area immediately and fail to notice the child sobbing inconsolably, unless you want 25% tippers to leave two cents at the end of the meal.

This rule is unnecessary - children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. Ever.
posted by jivadravya at 10:01 AM on November 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


As for the writing it down thing - the biggest tips I've ever received were from regular customers who were amazed at my skill for remembering their names and what they wanted to drink before they even asked. "Hi Ben! I'm working on your large white chocolate mocha in a for-here cup with whipped cream!"

TIP CITY.

Just sayin'. Writing it down is good for amateurs, but a pro CAN remember it. If your waiter doesn't write something down and gets it wrong - or WORSE - comes back to clarify - it's their first week on the job and they're trying to look hip. If they write it down legibly - it's their first week on the job and they don't know how to look hip. Good waiters either write down some ridiculous scrawl that's unintelligible in any human language or remember it long enough to type it into the POS.

I can't remember Algebra, but I can still remember how to make every drink I served as a barista and the names and orders of many of my regular customers. G-d help me. (That example is an actual customer with his actual order.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:02 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Customer A: "Aaaah! The waiter's refilling my water glass too quickly! This is pure agony."

Customer B: "I only came to this restaurant because I am literally on the verge of clinical dehydration. Having killed my water glass and all of my neighbors' as well, I sure could use five refills of free water."

Waiters and waitresses, my friends, you will never win.
posted by Skot at 10:03 AM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. Ever.

Them's fighting words.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:03 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Them's fighting words.

Bring it on. I'll fight every single child you throw at me.
posted by electroboy at 10:05 AM on November 5, 2009 [31 favorites]


101: Don't spit in my food after I follow this list and treat you like a lowly servant.

Except this list is explicitly NOT for you, the customer. It's one employer's rules for his employees, so that his small business can be closest to what he envisions it should be.

It's neither intended as lessons for the customer, nor as a universal template for servers everywhere. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?
posted by dersins at 10:05 AM on November 5, 2009


This rule is unnecessary - children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. Ever.

The list is entitled "100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do." That would seem to apply to all restaurants. He never specifies "fine dining."
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:05 AM on November 5, 2009


Saying "no problem" implies that it could have been a problem.

I've heard that explanation before, but it still makes no sense. "No problem" does not imply that it could have been a problem - it says that it is not one.

Either way, "you're welcome" is the most correct response to "thank you." "My pleasure" should only ever be uttered by a superficially obsequious Grima Wormtongue type whilst rubbing one's hands together like a fly.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saying "no problem" implies that it could have been a problem. "My pleasure" is pretty smarmy, but the response to "thank you" should pretty much always be "you're welcome."

Is this a generational thing? I sincerely curious. I have a hard time thinking those under 30 would be upset by this. However, that's why I'm asking. Am I wrong?
posted by josher71 at 10:07 AM on November 5, 2009


The list is entitled "100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do." That would seem to apply to all restaurants. He never specifies "fine dining."

You're right-- he's even more specific than that: "Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building."
posted by dersins at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]



Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived. This is complete bullshit and a money loser for the restaurant. What happens when you seat those three people but their friend doesn’t show up for an hour? I’ll tell you what – they’ll eat bread and water while waiting for their friend to get his or her chronically passive-aggressive late ass in gear. The result being that the restaurant can’t turn the table and no one, including the waiter, makes money.

Boo the fuck hoo. Good customer service -- which you should already know -- realizes that sometimes you lose money in the short term to gain money in the long term, by treating customers as guests, instead of as fucking credit cards with legs.


Ahh, yeah. Maybe this attitude flies where you can plow over a cornfield and put in a giant purpose built new restaurant, but in places like NYC where you are essentially paying $250 a square foot (my neighborhood, anyway) to rent your place, most diners know and accept that taking up a table for an entire night is not their god given right, at least in the low to average price ranges.
This is a policy that is normally put into place out of necessity, not because the owners don't want to be inconvenienced. I will inconvenience the hell out of myself and my staff to accomodate my customers.
I own a small restaurant here in Manhattan, 36 seats. The first week we were open, we sat two of a party of four who told us the others would be there shortly. An hour later they arrived. They then proceeded to chat for 15 minutes before opening the menu. A similar thing happened two nights later with another party. What do you tell the people who were waiting for that table? I can guarantee that the same people who complain about not being seating until everyone is there are not so understanding when they are the ones having to wait for their table.
We are a moderately priced restaurant, and I don't believe in pushing people out the door after their meal, and therefore allocate a very generous table turnover time. I quickly learned, however, that if my business is going to stay open, you can't count on the customers consideration that you are in fact a business, and actually need to make money to stay open. I changed the policy to no one getting seated until the entire party arrives.

A common complaint in this neighborhood is that all the restaurants are priced out of reach of the locals. I;m trying to be an exception to this, but in order to be able to not charge ridiculous prices, you need to have turnover. So you choose. Be considerate of the restaurant trying to run a business, and of the other patrons waiting for a table, or pay much higher places to stake your claim for a table for the night.
posted by newpotato at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2009 [16 favorites]


Writing it down is good for amateurs, but a pro CAN remember it.

Whether or not the server is capable of remembering is beside the point. The point is making customers feel free to order what they want.
posted by applemeat at 10:13 AM on November 5, 2009


That's a great list ... for fine dining establishments, and everyone can learn something from it, but to pretend that it should be the standard across all establishments is just foolish.
posted by timdicator at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2009


"How is everything?"
"Well, it looks good. I'll let you know after I try something."

I've had that conversation a half dozen times this year.


Sounds like you don't understand the question. It's "how is everything", not "what does your food taste like." It's your opportunity to say, "well, now that you ask, it's effing freezing in here and I wanted my beurre blanc in a plastic cup on the side, not on top, you idiot."
posted by ekroh at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2009


The Vortex Bar and Grill in Atlanta has a wonderful list of customer rules. (Flash website, click "rules") I haven't been there in a while, but their servers used to wear shirts that read "GIVE ME A REASON TO THROW YOU OUT". My kinda place.

Also: if your servers need a list of 100 rules, you should perhaps rethink your hiring process.

Good servers are good salespeople. There's nothing wrong with being a good salesperson. There's everything wrong with being an intrusive, pushy huckster. As a waiter, my goal is to make sure you know what's available, to listen to you, to get your order right, and to make sure everything that happens while you are in my section makes you want to come back and see me again. Sometimes that means doing a little dance, sometimes it means turning invisible. Good salespeople can read the mood of the table and react accordingly. It's not about extracting every last penny from a diner's pockets; it's about making people happy and that means reaching them where they are. It means communicating. It means being able to think on your feet and work toward the restaurant's goals with the guest's interest in mind.

It also means not bitching about the 8-top of lunching ladies who want separate checks and have 45 minutes to eat. That's your goddamn job. If you'd filtered by seat when you put the orders in the computer would have already done this for you. And the SA's would know where the dishes go without having to auction food tableside. (Long-time restaurant employee pet peeve. Never, ever come to me and complain that a large party wants to split checks. Of course they do. You should have anticipated that!)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


106. No matter how bad your day has been, no matter how mad you are at the manager of the restaurant, do not serve your customers, ones who have politely ordered lunch and have done nothing else, by releasing their plates at a height of two to three inches above the glass-topped table.
posted by zippy at 10:16 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


85. Never bring a check until someone asks for it. Then give it to the person who asked for it.

I find this one odd. I eat out a lot and by far the most common and painful problem I have is waiters taking forfuckingever to bring me the check. Sometimes it's just as hard getting out of a restaurant as it is getting in it. How common is this belief that the customer has to ask before they get the check? Perhaps this only applies to fancy places? Even then I don't think I ever recall having to specifically ask for it.
posted by picea at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Bring it on. I'll fight every single child you throw at me.

Sure about that? Take the test.
posted by zippy at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dining is a passive aggressive experience for all involved.
posted by litleozy at 10:21 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


So your wife doesn't follow these rules and is a great waitress?

No, my wife is a great waitress because she knows how to read each table and give them what they want in the manner that they want it.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:25 AM on November 5, 2009


(WTF is veal stock?)

Baby cow pee.

The list is entitled "100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do." That would seem to apply to all restaurants. He never specifies "fine dining."

He says somewhere in there (and it's noted above by muddgirl) that it's rules for his (fine-dining) restaurant: "Again, this list is for one particular restaurant, mine, which is under construction in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and will, with any luck, open this spring."
posted by inigo2 at 10:25 AM on November 5, 2009


This article was today's reminder why I'm not nostalgic for my wait-service career in the slightest. The post-shift booze sessions, the stealth smoke-outs behind dry storage, the shit-talking with the kitchen staff and the fooling around with cocktail waitresses: All excellent. The work itself: never, ever again.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:26 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


My bar has one rule. Don't fucking stand behind it if you won't make a drink. It's not a place to hang out. If you're back there FUCKING MAKE A DRINK.
posted by vito90 at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2009


I'm surprised there hasn't been a little more conversation about this one:

32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.

Never? Never ever? What if they fall? Choking? Elderly lady who is unsteady on her feet? I get what he's saying there, but never is a loaded word.
posted by anastasiav at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2009


This strikes me as being a succinct explanation of what's meant by "good service" - as in service that sets apart the local gastropub from the take-my-wife-on-her-anniversary special restaurants that command big money. At The Ivy, I don't care if the waitress calls me "Honey" and says the scallops are her favorite... at Chez Pascal, I would.

This is helpful info for both budding restaurateurs and servers who want to work at a fine eating establishment. It's a collection of observations compiled by a successful restaurant owner... looking at this as a canonical list of any sort defeats the purpose.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:32 AM on November 5, 2009


Bring it on. I'll fight every single child you throw at me.

child contestor
posted by pyramid termite at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


What if they fall? Choking? Elderly lady who is unsteady on her feet?

Well, you shouldn't step on them, either. Step over them, lightly, affecting the just the proper degree of distaste.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:39 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


but in places like NYC where you are essentially paying $250 a square foot (my neighborhood, anyway) to rent your place, most diners know and accept that taking up a table for an entire night is not their god given right, at least in the low to average price ranges.

Yes. That's good customer behavior. But if you're going to force it on them, you need a new business model, because the one that starts from the assumption that three people waiting for a fourth are in the process of ripping you and your precious square footage off is a bad business model.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:40 AM on November 5, 2009


This is helpful info for both budding restaurateurs and servers who want to work at a fine eating establishment. It's a collection of observations compiled by a successful restaurant owner

Wait, is it? That's a non-snarky question; I briefly googled and couldn't find any other places he's owned (and this restaurant doesn't appear to open until spring). That's partially why some items on the list read like he hasn't confronted certain reality constraints yet, but I could be wrong...I definitely haven't gone through all of his blog entries.
posted by lalex at 10:40 AM on November 5, 2009


The first week we were open, we sat two of a party of four who told us the others would be there shortly. An hour later they arrived. They then proceeded to chat for 15 minutes before opening the menu. A similar thing happened two nights later with another party

Sounds like the opportunity to run up a significant liquor tab to me..
posted by mikelieman at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know,

24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.

really freaking bugs me from a water conservationist point of view. As long as it's the same thing going into the glass, I'd rather keep the glass I've already used. Now, if my second drink is different from the first, then, yeah, give me another glass. But really.

39. Do not call a woman “lady.”

But I happen to like being called a "lady" on occasion! And one such occasion is out with my sweetie at a fancy restaurant when I'm all dolled up and , really looking and feeling like, you know, a lady.
posted by zizzle at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2009


But if you're going to force it on them, you need a new business model

newpotato specifically indicated that the alternative business model exists, in the form of higher priced restaurants in her neighborhood. The model she is using is, frankly, quite common to successful and longstanding NYC restaurants and so I can't really say if she should take your advice.
posted by lalex at 10:47 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


BitterOldPunk nails it. The blogger calls these rules, but they are really guidelines. A pro can read the table and will know when to ignore the rule.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:47 AM on November 5, 2009


I honestly don't get what's creepy. They're providing a service and getting paid for it. Everybody wins.

I find it creepy to expect or demand rigidly regulated behavior from fellow humans whose actual job is simply to bring you food and possibly take away dirty dishes. I don't think there is anything to be won by proscribing specific forms of expression or behavior from anybody, and in the class-delineated service sector, I find these sentiments especially questionable.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 10:50 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


7. Do not announce your name.
If you're really good -- or really dreadful -- my having your name will be useful when I contact your manager. I have served, delivered, and prepared food and I don't have a problem delivering either praise or criticism if the server merits it.

My last meal out was pretty weak, food- and service-wise. My wife was low-sugar and raging by the time we ate, and our waitress was either smart or lucky not to have spoken enough for her name to be revealed.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:51 AM on November 5, 2009


32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.

"We found customers tipped significantly more
when touched than when not touched and that the duration of the touch has no negative effect on tipping," said Michael Lynn, associate professor of consumer behavior and marketing, who co-authored the study with David Sherwyn, assistant professor of law, both of Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, and Joseph-Mykal Le, a graduate student at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. "Our finding that even four-second touches increase tips suggests that hospitality managers and employees need not fear that they might accidentally touch customers for too long," Lynn said.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:52 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're right-- he's even more specific than that: "Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building."

This. Exactly this. It's for his restaurant, as others have nth'd upthread. Having worked in both fine dining, and in Crapplebee's type FAMILY FOOD FEEDBAG places, I can pretty safely assume that anyone who would put a list together like this would do it specifically in the fine dining vein. I'll reiterate my previous point: children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. What's the point? You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for? Or you're going to require that a kitchen make a speiclal "kidz" menu so jr. can have chicken fingers? Please. If you're going out with your children, the last thing I or other people paying $$$ to enjoy our food want is jibbering children complaining.

Applebee's is straight down the street.
posted by jivadravya at 10:53 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Zizzle, I think Buschel meant lady in the "hey lady!" sense, instead of the "would the lady care for another glass of wine" sense.
posted by dnesan at 10:54 AM on November 5, 2009


Be considerate of the restaurant trying to run a business, and of the other patrons waiting for a table, or pay much higher places to stake your claim for a table for the night.

I would just be worried this would be a bad road to go down. You make a lot more money from a table that orders wine, so do you start to hustle out the the tables that don't because they aren't worth your while? Do you say "if you aren't going to buy wine, don't go out to eat"?
posted by smackfu at 10:54 AM on November 5, 2009


I find it creepy to expect or demand rigidly regulated behavior from fellow humans whose actual job is simply to bring you food and possibly take away dirty dishes.

Well, in that case they should be tipped the same no matter how expensive the meal is.
posted by smackfu at 10:55 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


999: If I'm sitting at the table, reading my kindle, please try to keep your curiosity in check. I don't have it to be a salesman for Amazon, I have it to read. 2-3 questions max, and please avoid the obvious ones that you could answer for yourself by going home and visiting the amazon website. Do not keep bringing by your co-workers every 5 mins to interrupt my eating, so they can ask the same friggin questions you just did.
posted by nomisxid at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jeez. Who knew going out to eat caused people so much angst and upset? I'll admit I'm no foodie, but you don't see me getting in a snit if they try to make me get sweet potato fries instead of REAL fries or don't give me enough ranch dip for my buffalo flings.

Or do you people go to those chi chi restaurants where the pop refills aren't free?
posted by Salmonberry at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


You're right-- he's even more specific than that: "Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building."

That is what it says in the intro, but he also should know that more people will read the headline than will read that sentence, and the headline is broader.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:06 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, the piece is only interesting in what it says about restaurants in general. I don't think many people actually care about his practices in his as-yet-nonexistent restaurant.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:07 AM on November 5, 2009


Also, seafood =/= fine dining
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:07 AM on November 5, 2009


I'll reiterate my previous point: children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. What's the point? You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for?

You spend your money, I'll spend mine. I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose. I apologize if this ruins your fine dining experience.

Applebees is right down the street, you know.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:10 AM on November 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, seafood =/= fine dining

The HELL you say!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:11 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I find it creepy to expect or demand rigidly regulated behavior from fellow humans whose actual job is simply to bring you food and possibly take away dirty dishes

And I'm guessing our slave-like servants would probably resent your reductionist opinion of their jobs, but what do I know? I go to ruby-tuesdays.
posted by Think_Long at 11:11 AM on November 5, 2009


I find it creepy to expect or demand rigidly regulated behavior from fellow humans whose actual job is simply to bring you food and possibly take away dirty dishes

We might as well replace them with monkeys. Or robots.

Or, I'VE GOT IT, a server monkey robot!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:13 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Our finding that even four-second touches increase tips suggests that hospitality managers and employees need not fear that they might accidentally touch customers for too long," Lynn said.

You know, uninvited touching is just one of those things. When it works, it works. When it doesn't, you get punched in the nose. Or no tip. Attempt at own risk.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:13 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


If they're going to touch me expecting a better tip, my expectations about what that touch entails is going to be quite different.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


dnesan, that might be true, --- suppose I could take "dude" as referring to the style of talk not to be engaged, but still...I think there are clearer ways of making that point.

Anyway, many of these rules struck me as common sense, though I suppose it doesn't hurt to lay them out. In fact, I wish he'd had something about coats and hats as in, "Offer to hang coats and hats prior to seating." And I say this because for our first anniversary, my husband and I went to a very fancy restaurant.

We were being escorted to our table when the hostess said, "And remember that our guests must remove their hats." My husband hadn't taken his hat off yet because we hadn't been given our table. He was going to take his hat off at the table along with his coat. And the assumption that we didn't have good manners kinda spoiled the start of our evening.

The actual waitstaff was fabulous though and we had a lovely time. But even now, what that person said irks me.
posted by zizzle at 11:15 AM on November 5, 2009


We're not making friends or doing introductions. "My name is fixedgear and I will be your customer tonight" sounds equally ridiculous.

because if you'd like to address me, stop me, need to refer to me in any way if say the busser or another server happen to stop or walk by your table, whatever, knowing my name is better than calling me "the help" or "the tall guy" or whatever. i don't want to be your friend either.

Because the people dining out are the customers? Why should the client have to prove themselves to the waitstaff in order to be worthy of quality service?

because some people are fucking rude, tactless, demanding, condescending, have no table manners, have no people/social skills, self important assholes. i'm a server, not a servant. i'm going to give you the best service i can but it helps if you don't walk in assuming whoever waits on your table isn't worth a shit. at least give it a few minutes to see if you're right. when you don't give the server a chance to do great, or fuck up, you're not getting anyone's best efforts.

holy shit! i don't even wait tables anymore and this still gets me amped up! i heard this guy on the radio yesterday, and i got all agitated then.

one of my favorite rude customers ever: i worked at Polvo's in s. Austin in '98 and '99. i was hired cuz they wanted someone who spoke english fluently to wait tables. i don't know what the neighborhood is like now, but at the time there was a solid mix of english and spanish only speakers. anyways. one day this latino dude orders Ceviche, ceviche always came with saltine crackers. we were out of saltines that day. i didn't realize this. i go in the back, find this out, and go back to tell the guy that, sorry, i can give you chips with your ceviche. and he stands up, looks me dead in the eyes and says, "ceviche without crackers is like a man without a moustache", and walked out. i have never had a moustache.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:16 AM on November 5, 2009 [22 favorites]


the biggest tips I've ever received were from regular customers who were amazed at my skill for remembering their names and what they wanted to drink before they even asked.

It actually freaks me right out when servers/baristas/salespeople remember me. Partly because I'm an introvert, am often in my own world when getting coffee or shopping, and generally prefer to keep interactions with strangers on pleasant but anonymous terms; partly because I view my eating and shopping choices as personal, and when someone I don't recognize knows which two sandwiches I regularly buy, it feels overly intimate, like they've been watching me. I've actually stopped going to places because the staff remembered me.

That's just a quirk of mine, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was pretty unusual. Your customers may vary.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:17 AM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


Also, seafood =/= fine dining

See how easy it is to make arbitrary pronouncements that people will disagree with?

My rebuttal: Le Bernardin.
posted by smackfu at 11:17 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"We found customers tipped significantly more when touched than when not touched...," ...

But couldn't that be canceled out by customers who hate it and will avoid the place in the future? That happened to me: the place was fine overall, but after being consciously touched (not just brushed by) several times during one meal, I won't go back there except as a last resort, even though the place is a block away from my house. (As a data point, not that it matters, but both the waiter and I are male, and I was there with my girlfriend, who wasn't touched.)

I gave an average tip simply because I don't believe in undertipping unless the service is truly awful on multiple levels (and I figured they'd be penalized enough by losing my future business). So, if I had been one of the subjects in that experiment, I wouldn't have dragged down the tip amount for touched customers. Presumably the researchers also wouldn't know about how I was dissuaded from going back again.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:18 AM on November 5, 2009


Mostly, I agree, A few, however...

#41 - This seems like one of those flaky management-seminar "tips". I see absolutely nothing wrong with saying "no problem". TFA says it reeks of insincerity, yet suggests saying "my pleasure" instead? Gimme a break.

#24 (and #65) - Others have mentioned it already, but please do reuse my glass, unless I've changed what I have to drink. And on a related note, skip the 27 forks. Hell, don't even give me a spoon by default, unless I order soup or coffee or something spoon-worthy.

#17 (and #75) - Please do take empty plates immediately. Perhaps sitting at an otherwise-cleared table will help the slowpoke(s) of the group get the hint. I by no means wolf down my food, yet can't stand sitting around for twenty minutes while someone "delicately" picks at their food insisting "oh no, not done yet". Yes, you've finished. Take it to go, or get a taxi.

#55 - If I have allergies or dietary restrictions (I do, personally), I'll make them known. I don't need a catechism of "this product may have come from a factory that processes nuts" when I order the pecan pie. And if I don't know what your annoyingly "cute" dish names mean, I simply won't order them.

#85 - After I've either had dessert or said no thanks to it, just bring me the damned check. As with #17, I have zero patience for sitting around for an extra twenty minutes waiting to pay so I can move on with my life.

For the rest, a lot of these depend entirely on the style of restaurant (which, based on some of the suggestions, TFA makes it all too clear that he regularly dines at places that would drive me up a wall). As a flip side to jefficator's post early in this thread - "All the folksy crap you did at Applebee's? Drop it." - Some of us like semi-friendly wait-staff. Yeah, if I make it clear I want them invisible, they should accomodate me. But as a default? Let me put it this way... I could make the same food at home for less money, often in less total time, if I wanted solitude. And all else aside, even if a friendly server annoys some people, it really does bring in more tips to do things like tell people your name, mirror their mannerisms, and discretely make physical contact (cue the jackasses who'll rant about suing restaurants for assault because someone *gasp* brushed against their arm while collecting the menus).
posted by pla at 11:24 AM on November 5, 2009


he stands up, looks me dead in the eyes and says, "ceviche without crackers is like a man without a moustache", and walked out. i have never had a moustache.

Did he have a mustache?

Because I understand entirely why that would piss you off in the moment and I'm sorry for that, but:

"ceviche without crackers is like a man without a moustache", is possibly the best exit line I've ever heard.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:27 AM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


The Vortex Bar and Grill in Atlanta has a wonderful list of customer rules.

Well, yeah.... but what started out years ago as kind of a cute gimmick sadly became the thing that The Vortex is most well known for. They got some attention for being a little bit rude, so they turned it up to 11. "Look at me! Its my job to be an asshole!" The joint has really just become a parody of itself. These days you couldn't pay me to step foot in the Vortex. There's really no difference anymore between going there and going to a corporate theme bar like Coyote Ugly or something.
posted by spilon at 11:29 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some sociologist out there just got his wings by using this thread for thesis material: Dining Attitudes as Marker for Class Distinction in the United States.
posted by danny the boy at 11:32 AM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Boy, they missed some of my favorites from back when I gave gleefully terrible service to routinely terrible customers.

101: If a man asks for mild salsa, don't imply to his date that he's a great big pussy incapable of satisfying a woman.

102: Don't run the vacuum into customers to nudge them out the door.

103: If a customer asks to speak to a manager, don't simply say that you've promoted yourself to that position.

104: A taco salad does not contain kitchen sweepings.

105: No one is "obviously too high to order."

106: Despite your restaurant not being Taco Bell, patrons ordering a Nachos Bell Grande should not have their literacy questioned.

107: Some people refer to tomatoes as "maters" because they are from the South, not because they fuck them.

108: They're refried beans, not "bean vomit."

109: When a customer says that they would like a taco, don't say, "Yeah, me too," leave them and eat one. No matter how much you want a taco, you stoned minimum-wage teenager.

110: While asshole customers linger past closing time, it is wrong to pour out the fryer grease on their windshield and into their heating ducts.
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 AM on November 5, 2009 [28 favorites]


Metroid Baby : It actually freaks me right out when servers/baristas/salespeople remember me.

If you went once a few years ago and they remember you, yeah, kinda creepy.

If you go to the same place once a week and always get the same thing... Well, let's just say I enjoy going to Dunkin Donuts a few times a week and having my usual order ready and waiting before I even hit the counter.


partly because I view my eating and shopping choices as personal, and when someone I don't recognize knows which two sandwiches I regularly buy, it feels overly intimate, like they've been watching me.

Some people just don't realize how predictably they order. My SO, for example... She'll take 10 minutes to decide what she wants, and then get exactly the same thing as usual.
posted by pla at 11:33 AM on November 5, 2009


If a man asks for mild salsa, don't imply to his date that he's a great big pussy incapable of satisfying a woman.

Yes. That can be fairly assumed and need not be made explicit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:35 AM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


If I have allergies or dietary restrictions (I do, personally), I'll make them known. I don't need a catechism of "this product may have come from a factory that processes nuts" when I order the pecan pie.

This may be a legal thing, though. Kind of like how you have those bizarre disclaimers on various products (Exhibit A: a curling iron bearing the warning "For External Use Only"), because someone somewhere actually DID try to do whatever the bizarre thing was.

You probably had someone somewhere order the pecan pie even though they were allergic to nuts, and when they got sick, they threatened to sue the restaurant because "oh my god you didn't tell me the pecan pie had NUTS IN IT!!!" And so now the poor waitstaff is stuck having to recite these disclaimers, because one lone idiot ruined it for everyone else.

....Um. That came out bitter. I think I need coffee.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on November 5, 2009


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

Do not fuck with the people who handle your food. Getting peeved because your plate wasn't removed at the correct time, or your waiter used the wrong interchangeable variation of "you're welcome," or your sushi didn't come with ketchup? That's fucking with your server.

I always wanted to open a restaurant where customers could be blacklisted for being dicks. I think it'd work in this college town anyway. How you treat your waiter is an excellent test of a person's character, and a restaurant/bar with an enforced no-douchebag rule might work, but would certainly rule.
posted by cmoj at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2009


"We found customers tipped significantly more when touched than when not touched and that the duration of the touch has no negative effect on tipping"

These guys are also responsible for waiters kneeling down or sitting with you: The Effect of Server Posture on the Tips of Whites and Blacks (PDF). Pretty iffy study too.

Actually, check out this whole list of horrors from this Increasing Servers’ Tips study (PDF):
This research has found that servers earn larger tips when they:

(1) introduce themselves by name,
(2) squat down next to the table when introducing themselves,
(3) wear big, open mouthed smiles on their faces,
(4) wear unusual ornaments or items of clothing, (FLAIR!)
(5) entertain customers with jokes or puzzles,
(6) practice suggestive selling,
(7) repeat customers’ orders back to them,
(8) touch customers briefly on the arm or shoulder,
(9) forecast good weather,
(10) write “Thank You” on the check,
(11) draw pictures on the check,
(12) use tip trays embossed with credit card logos,
(13) call customers by name, and
(14) give customers after dinner candies.
posted by smackfu at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2009


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

God, I hate that crap. I worked in restaurants for almost a decade and never once heard about this actually happening, so I think it's one of those things that people joke about, but rarely ahppens. And, when they do, they should be, and sometimes are, sued. According to Ask a Waiter, it's mostly an urban legend.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Divine_Wino: yeah, he had a big moustache! probably waxed it in fact.

the situation didn't bother me at all. it seemed like such an absurd thing to say, it was comical. also i've never been bummed out by stuff like that, stuff that is supposed to make you feel like less of a man. i'm no macho dude, so whatever. i told my housemate all about it when i got home that day. we had a good laugh.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, rainperimeter, I have to say, I'll take your word that that guy was a jerk in real time, but in that story he's a big damn hero.
posted by Errant at 11:44 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


(9) forecast good weather,

The hell? Who asks their server for a weather forecast? If my server suddenly starts rattling off temperatures and humidity levels I'm going to give a big open mouthed smile and back slowly and smoothly towards the door before I sprint to my car.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2009


God, I hate that crap.

Yes, It's rare, but I've seen it happen a couple of times, and I wasn't a waiter for more than a year and a half. It mostly comes, at worst, as not caring how your food comes out or if it's dropped, and at best as your dining experience getting less and less effort put into it.
posted by cmoj at 11:48 AM on November 5, 2009


Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”

Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.

Wait for the right moment.

Do not ignore a table because it is not your table. Stop, look, listen, lend a hand. (Whether tips are pooled or not.)

If someone wants to meet the chef, make an effort.

Do not serve salad on a freezing cold plate; it usually advertises the fact that it has not been freshly prepared.

Crap that takes more effort and time, neither of which management will supply you with.

Also, is the boss going to pay more to offset tip fishing techniques that work? Is the boss even going to pay minimum wage?

Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient. It is not easy.

I have no idea why people think wait staff should behave like butlers and get paid like serfs. These folks need a union.
posted by clarknova at 11:50 AM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've always appreciated it when the staff at Montana's writes their names upside down and backwards in crayon on the table.

I just don't like it when they don't leave crayons for the rest of us.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:51 AM on November 5, 2009


(9) forecast good weather,

WHO ARE YOU O SCRYING DIVINER, O READER OF THE SKIES, O SOOTHSAYER OF THE BENNIGANS

WHO CAN TELL WHEN THE BURNING YELLOW FACE WILL OUTSHINE THE VERY CLOUDS THEMSELVES

WHOSE NAME IS "CHIP" AND WHO CORRECTLY RECOMMENDED THE POPPERS

PERHAPS A 20% TIP WILL ALLOW ME TO SUP THE WISDOM-MILK FROM YOUR LUCK-TEAT
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:51 AM on November 5, 2009 [38 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: "The Vortex Bar and Grill in Atlanta has a wonderful list of customer rules. (Flash website, click "rules") I haven't been there in a while, but their servers used to wear shirts that read "GIVE ME A REASON TO THROW YOU OUT". My kinda place."

There are tons of places like this in every vacation spot on the east coast: "Fuck You and Order", "Eat and Get Out" and so on. Sometimes they're saucily named like "Dirty Dick's Crab Shack". I dunno. They're exhausting to eat at. A lot of forced laughter.
posted by boo_radley at 11:53 AM on November 5, 2009


kirkaracha : Saying "no problem" implies that it could have been a problem.

Erm, no, it doesn't. It explicitly declares precisely the opposite of that.

Or to take your statement a different way (equally plausible, I hope) - You've made a request. The waitstaff has satisfied that request, and you've thanked them. If you asked to have your water refilled, then you and the waitstaff literally have "no problem" granting your request. If you've asked for the chef's balls on a silver platter, that could present some difficulty.

As for the standby of "You're welcome" - I personally dislike that from anyone I pay for service because it states an outright lie. If "welcome", I wouldn't need a reservation, wouldn't need to pay for the food, and the host/ess would already know my name and greet my warmly at the door. "Welcome" has personal connotations that simply don't apply in a public, commercial service-oriented environment.
posted by pla at 11:55 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


blue_beetle : I just don't like it when they don't leave crayons for the rest of us.

Pro tip - When you walk past where they grab the menus, nab yourself a pack or four of their crayons.

Also works at Olive Garden, but if you only have well-dressed adults in your party, your table probably won't have anything on which to draw.
posted by pla at 11:58 AM on November 5, 2009


That is what it says in the intro, but he also should know that more people will read the headline than will read that sentence, and the headline is broader.
I would think it possible that he didn't write the headline.
posted by Green With You at 11:58 AM on November 5, 2009


Some of you are like super angry and tense about eating in restaurants, but many of you are wicked funny motherfuckers, the venn diagram even overlaps a bit in fact, I love metafilter.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:00 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fine dining is a thing, with its own culture separate from other kinds of dining. I didn't grow up going to nice restaurants, and had to (very consciously) learn this culture as I went. What's acceptable in causal or moderately fancy places just isn't ok at that other level. It really is about class distinctions, which Americans have a... complicated relationship with.

I will say having been lucky enough to go to some really exceptional restaurants, the service defines the experience as much as the food does. The waitstaff and these places are not the sort of people you feel bad for; they are clearly the best at what they do, and are rightfully proud of their professionalism.

I once had my napkin folded three times by two different servers while I was away in the bathroom for 5 minutes. The first two times apparently weren't up to standards.
posted by danny the boy at 12:03 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?...Do not fuck with the people who handle your food. Getting peeved because your plate wasn't removed at the correct time, or [...] That's fucking with your server.

This is not a thread about how to be a good restaurant customer. This is a thread about how to provide good restaurant service, and so many of us Mefites have ourselves waited tables and worked for tips dealing with the rude and inconsiderate that if this were a thread about how to comport oneself while dining out I can assure you the participation would be no less lively.
posted by applemeat at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2009


The Whelk - your comment is exactly the same as the Waiter Rant guy's response to number 23 here - are you the same guy, or is this an incredibly remarkable coincidence? Or were you actually trying to quote and just forgot the attribution? I'm confused!
posted by Wroksie at 12:08 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


(1) introduce themselves by name,
"Hi! I'm Floydd (two "D's") and I'll be your server this evening!"
(2) squat down next to the table when introducing themselves,
"So, (ugh) what kin I git cha? No, I'm just down here so I don't stare down your blouse."
(3) wear big, open mouthed smiles on their faces,
"I've got what in my teeth?"
(4) wear unusual ornaments or items of clothing, (FLAIR!)
"My mother's pantyhose. Thanks for asking"
(5) entertain customers with jokes or puzzles,
"So, what's the closest thing to a fishes' asshole?"
(6) practice suggestive selling,
"Many of our most virile and manly customers order the Surf & Turf!" (hurf durf)
(7) repeat customers’ orders back to them,
"Lemme see if I got this, now. You're having the water, you'll just stick with bread, you'd like a cup of hot water, ketchup, and a spoon, and you, sir, are having the Surf & Turf?" (hurf durf)
(8) touch customers briefly on the arm or shoulder,
"Boy, you carry all your tension in your shoulders, let me work on that...."
(9) forecast good weather,
"They say the roads should be passable again once all the ice melts!"
(10) write “Thank You” on the check,
"No, that's quite clearly a "TH," my "Fs" have a little swirl at the bottom."
(11) draw pictures on the check,
"...and that's a still life of an ear of corn and two tomatoes. Why? What's it look like to you?"
(12) use tip trays embossed with credit card logos,
"We accept cash only, just put it in the tray. You gonna need change?"
(13) call customers by name,
"I thought so, Bob."
(14) give customers after dinner candies.
"You get a Snickers, you get some Laffy Taffy, here's a Tootsie Roll for you, and Bob the big spender gets a PayDay!"
posted by Floydd at 12:10 PM on November 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


The hell? Who asks their server for a weather forecast?

Effect of Beliefs About Future Weather Conditions on Restaurant Tipping
A server in a midscale restaurant wrote on the back of customers' checks either nothing, that the weather would be good the next day, or that the weather would not be so good the next day. Compared to writing nothing (M= 18.73%) or giving an unfavorable forecast (M= 18.18%), giving a favorable forecast (M= 22.21%) resulted in significantly higher tip percentages.
(I found this one too: The Effect of Compliments on Tipping Behavior in Hairstyling Salons PDF)
posted by smackfu at 12:13 PM on November 5, 2009


Wroksie:

There was some weird formatting error and my quotation marks vanished..
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on November 5, 2009


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

God, I hate that crap.


Recently on the green.

posted by applemeat at 12:17 PM on November 5, 2009


cmoj: Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

And you wonder why your profession isn't respected.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:18 PM on November 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


If my server's pen's not moving, I feel pressured to simplify my order and forgo a substitution or minor accommodation

While I'm sure the server could remember any special requests you have, he probably knows that people are reluctant to make those requests if he doesn't write anything down, which is one reason why he works like that.
posted by deanc at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2009


A server in a midscale restaurant wrote on the back of customers' checks either nothing, that the weather would be good the next day, or that the weather would not be so good the next day.

So wait, they either wrote: "Have a good day tomorrow!" or "Have a dreary day tomorrow!" and are surprised that one got more tips than the other?

Yay! SCIENCE!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2009


A server in a midscale restaurant wrote on the back of customers' checks either nothing, that the weather would be good the next day, or that the weather would not be so good the next day. Compared to writing nothing (M= 18.73%) or giving an unfavorable forecast (M= 18.18%), giving a favorable forecast (M= 22.21%) resulted in significantly higher tip percentages.
Who the heck reads the back of their checks?
posted by deanc at 12:28 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


He also admitted that his only experience working as a waiter was part-time, and many years ago.

I am planning on opening an auto repair shop, though I admit that my only experience with cars was changing oil at jiffy lube part time many years ago.

So, who needs their brakes replaced?
posted by deanc at 12:30 PM on November 5, 2009


I would think it possible that he didn't write the headline.

True, but the headline writer is trying to convey the actual thrust of the piece.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:31 PM on November 5, 2009


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

...According to Ask a Waiter, it's mostly an urban legend.


"Mostly an urban legend"? You mean, not an urban legend.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:36 PM on November 5, 2009


Hey, I'm sure at least one person had a bug in her beehive hairdo in history, but that doesn't make the experience commonplace.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:37 PM on November 5, 2009


I LOVE this thread, have laughed and smiled so much on the way through it that I feel as though I've been sitting again for my wedding pictures.

Just a few observations I hope aren't repetitive. First, I too thought of Wodehouse's Jeeves when I read this post, but of course Jeeves didn't need 100 rules, did he? Most of the rules for servers and customers I've seen remind me of the irony of the ethics classes I've taken and taught: those who get it don't really need the class.

It really is about class distinctions, which Americans have a... complicated relationship with.

Absolutely. So much of this thread reflects the warring dialogue within many of us about service: feeling we deserve it because we are paying for it, yet that it is completely wrong to view another as an inferior. I think this internal conflict is enhanced by the fact that a lot of us have been both servers and customers, sometimes both at the same time in our lives.

Finally, just want to quarrel a little with Mr. Buschel about his rules directed at preventing servers from discussing their own knowledge about the menu -- e.g. the lobster is almost gone, the chocolate mousse is incredible. I personally like talking to my servers, and usually our discussion is about what to order. I often ask what the server recommends when i'm choosing between a couple of entrees, for example. Great servers seem to know the menu well, and actually I think that's something expected by good chefs. I cite Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential among other sources for that belief.
posted by bearwife at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


True, but the headline writer is trying to convey the actual thrust of the piece.

The actual thrust of the piece is, "Hi! I am opening a restaurant in a trendy vacation spot for rich people! If you come to my restaurant, I guarantee my staff will not speak unless spoken to! Unlike those so-called "restaurants" that employ actual people! So buy over-priced food from someone who pretends to care about you!"
posted by muddgirl at 12:39 PM on November 5, 2009


How does that Waiter Rant guy wait tables with such an enormous chip on his shoulder? That must be one of the saddest things I've ever partially read. I'm sure he could get a different job if he really wanted to.

First, it's partly tongue-in-cheek and partly venting, I think. "You should have a job you like" does not mean you have to like every single aspect of your job, and it's legitimate to vent about the parts of your job you don't like even if you like your job overall.

Second, don't judge him by this single blog entry. I used to read it regularly, and the whole gives quite a different picture than this single entry. Here's a few of my favorite entries:
Behavioral Mod
Tipping the Bus
Twenty Year Payback
Short-Term Karma
Dying in Vain
Bad Concierge

Third, he did quit and get a different job. Over a year ago. Which I don't begrudge him, but it's kind of a shame because the world could use more waiters like him.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:40 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Finally, just want to quarrel a little with Mr. Buschel about his rules directed at preventing servers from discussing their own knowledge about the menu -- e.g. the lobster is almost gone, the chocolate mousse is incredible

I think you missed the point. He was directing his servers not to share unsolicited advice. He also indicated that waiters should be knowledgeable about each item on the menu, if asked.
posted by muddgirl at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2009


True, but the headline writer is trying to convey the actual thrust of the piece.

The headline writer is trying to get as many people as possible to read the piece while remaining reasonably close to the actual content, not to provide a precise and literally summary of the article.
posted by dersins at 12:42 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Er, "literal," not "literally."
posted by dersins at 12:42 PM on November 5, 2009


Yes, but I've never known anyone who worked at a restaurant where the evening shift didn't start with the chef telling all the servers what they should be pushing that night.

One of my favorite memories as a customer was in my then-favorite restaurant with my then-favorite server: she told our party the specials, including a luxurious-sounding salmon dish which she described in enticing tones... all the while every so slightly, almost indiscernibly, shaking her head "NO."

We did not order the salmon.
posted by Elsa at 12:48 PM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Astro Zombie, we had a cook once who took every complaint personally. I clearly recall the night he was asked to make a pizza, and he shouted something about "Grumble grumble grumble...My KEDS!" as he threw the rolled-out dough on the floor, stamped on it, then returned it to the make table and put it together.

Sure, he was generally a fearsome character outside fo work, but this wasn't his first case of sharing his feelings.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:54 PM on November 5, 2009


"Yes. That can be fairly assumed and need not be made explicit."

That guy threatened to come into the kitchen and cut me with his knife! I helpfully pointed out that the chefs were all in the kitchen and that they had much bigger knives.

"Fine, I'll wait for you out back. Then we'll see how tough you are!"
"I get off at midnight and will kick your mild ass," I replied, knowing full well that I got off at nine.

His date was cracking up the whole time.
posted by klangklangston at 12:57 PM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


The headline writer is trying to get as many people as possible to read the piece while remaining reasonably close to the actual content, not to provide a precise and literally summary of the article.

So is the author when he's writing the intro.

We could go back and forth like this for days!
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:58 PM on November 5, 2009


Let's!
posted by dersins at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2009


Do you have any idea how many bodily fluids most of you consume?

Do you know that I have a normally functioning immune system?

I'm polite to the waitstaff and tip well when I'm in a restaurant. But if I weren't, "the staff will spit, or worse, in your food" wouldn't deter me in the slightest. Not everyone is a shrinking germophobe who's half a step away from living in a plastic bubble. Heck, they could do it right in front of me and I'd eat it, a big ol' shit-eating1 grin on my face the whole time just to spite them.

I'm very much amused whenever anyone thinks "be nice or the staff will spit in your food" is going to convince anyone who was a rude customer before to suddenly become nice.

1See what I did there?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:01 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


In this case, sir, may I advise against the lady eating clam chowder?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:18 PM on November 5, 2009


Astro Zombie, we had a cook once who took every complaint personally. I clearly recall the night he was asked to make a pizza, and he shouted something about "Grumble grumble grumble...My KEDS!" as he threw the rolled-out dough on the floor, stamped on it, then returned it to the make table and put it together.

I'm curious why you didn't report this to management or contact the health department. That sort of behavior isn't merely irresponsible, it's actively illegal.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:26 PM on November 5, 2009


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: You spend your money, I'll spend mine. I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose. I apologize if this ruins your fine dining experience.

What's your policy on people talking in theaters? Or people who use a bus seat for their bags while others are standing? Or people who let their lawn grow over or die or get covered in dog crap in a nice neighborhood? Or people who talk loudly to their companion during redeye flights? Or people who pee on the toilet seat in public restrooms? Or people who manhandle their rented DVDs and return them with scratches?

There is no money you can spend that turns a public business into your personal playground short of actually buying the business and turning it into your personal playground. "You spend your money, I'll spend mine" is not a defense of anything. We're trying to have a civilization here and that means respecting some basic courtesies even if you don't like them.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:28 PM on November 5, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'm a food nerd with a particular soft spot for formal service. I love the choreography, the sense of theater, the feeling that you're in a church of the senses that the combination of lovely food and crisp, perfect service can bring. Most of this list sounded standard (or what should be standard) for fine dining. It's only a shame it needs to be listed out. Obviously, the standards for more casual restaurants are different, but frankly, I've realized that my favorite casual joints are the ones where they don't do the chatty, flirty, tell me their name and we'll make friends nonsense.

And what's funny is, from the ones I know, not all fine dining waiters are bitter and hate their jobs. It's hard work with weird hours, it demands a particular personality type to do well, but there's a pleasure to be had in doing the work well.

I have no idea why people think wait staff should behave like butlers and get paid like serfs. These folks need a union.

Again, servers at TGI Fridays are paid shit, no doubt. But again, for fine dining (where Jeeves is a good model) the money can be quite good. A really dear friend of mine worked as a server in high end New York and San Francisco restaurants for 10 years and made at least $70k a year. He likes people, likes food, and was very good at his job. He quit because he wanted to work daylight hours, but since he's gone into tech support, he sure as hell misses the money and the atmosphere.

I once saw him open a bottle of wine and pour it into plastic cups sitting on the trunk of a car in the Oakland A's parking lot with such elegance and aplomb, I could see why he made a good waiter. Even four years out of business and in that setting, that element of service (even when done partly in jest) made us, the wine, and the sausages we were having it with seem so much more special.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]




I think the flugelhorn remark may be a specific reference to this song, which I will now insist to have accompany my dining at every occasion.
posted by evilcolonel at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2009


"You spend your money, I'll spend mine" is not a defense of anything.

So true. But to be fair, that poster was responding to someone talking about the inanity of feeding kids expensive food, not screaming/tantrumy kids. The second thing interferes with others' enjoyment of the restaurant; the first does not.

My favourite schmancy restaurant in Ottawa had two tables with kids the last time me and the mrs. went. Not a peep from them. No problem for us. I think the poster you quoted was just reacting to a total no-kids kneejerk.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is no money you can spend that turns a public business into your personal playground short of actually buying the business and turning it into your personal playground.

Merely bringing one's own children into a restaurant is not "turning into your personal playground." Granted, some parents do that, but it may astonish you to learn that some children are actually well-behaved.

The fact that some parents allow their children to behave badly in restaurants does not justify a blanket prohibition on all children. And I say that as someone who has no children, nor plans to any time soon. I'm as irritated by screaming children in restaurants as anyone else, but I've also been observant enough to notice that not all children act that way.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefist: that poster was responding to someone talking about the inanity of feeding kids expensive food, not screaming/tantrumy kids.

That's just because it was a selected excerpt... from the rest of the original comment:

jivadravya: Please. If you're going out with your children, the last thing I or other people paying $$$ to enjoy our food want is jibbering children complaining.

You're right though, it was really two points. "Whether I'm feeding my kids expensive stuff they hate is none of your business" was just part of it, and I take no issue with that point.

However, that's not usually a situation that comes up separately from the "I will take my kids to a nice restaurant and if you don't like them screaming and whining and running around then that's your own damn problem" issue.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:48 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


You spend your money, I'll spend mine. I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose. I apologize if this ruins your fine dining experience.

What's your policy on people talking in theaters? Or people who use a bus seat for their bags while others are standing? Or people who let their lawn grow over or die or get covered in dog crap in a nice neighborhood? Or people who talk loudly to their companion during redeye flights? Or people who pee on the toilet seat in public restrooms? Or people who manhandle their rented DVDs and return them with scratches?


The difference between taking your kids to a restaurant and most of those things is that taking your kids to a restaurant is not actively discouraged. If people are talking in a movie theater, you can complain to the management and they can kick the guy out or whatever. So if the restaurant management does not want to have kids there, they can make that their policy, but if they serve kids then you can't really blame people for taking their kids there. The original comment suggested that parents take their kids to Applebee's, but it would be just as reasonable to suggest that people who can't handle being served food in the same room as children should find some sort of establishment that will accommodate them.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:52 PM on November 5, 2009


Merely bringing one's own children into a restaurant is not "turning into your personal playground." Granted, some parents do that, but it may astonish you to learn that some children are actually well-behaved.

And bringing children into more formal surroundings is one way to teach them how we behave in these places.

My parents took all five of us kids to nicer restaurants. If a child misbehaved, they got a warning. On the second warning, there was no more discussion: Dad swooped over and picked up the kid; both Dad and kid spent the rest of the meal waiting in the car, while the remaining children had a pleasant dinner with Mom, probably including a lavish dessert.

(It was not great fun for my Dad, but he knew that Mom spent all damn day with us and deserved a peaceful night out, even if it was without her husband.)

My parents inform me that they had to do this five times only: once for each child, and never again. We all quickly learned to appreciate fine dining, to behave well in restaurants, and to treat our servers and other restaurant staff with courtesy and respect, whether in a fine restaurant or a burger shack.
posted by Elsa at 1:54 PM on November 5, 2009 [17 favorites]


DevilsAdvocate: The fact that some parents allow their children to behave badly in restaurants does not justify a blanket prohibition on all children.

If only the parents with well-behaved children brought them to fine restaurants, I'd have no problem with it.

It's not the children's whining and screaming that bothers me as much as some parents' indifference to the fact that it bothers others. I'm actually, in all honesty, a pretty kid-tolerant person. It's self-righteous adults that get under my skin.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:59 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


We're trying to have a civilization here and that means respecting some basic courtesies even if you don't like them

Start with minding your own business then. If I am so inclined as to feed my kids a 70 dollar steak, of what concern is it of yours ?

Secondly, good luck having a civilization without kids. Kids, however noisy and inconsiderate, are a fact of life and civilization and have been since the beginning.

What's your policy on people talking in theaters? Or people who use a bus seat for their bags while others are standing? Or people who let their lawn grow over or die or get covered in dog crap in a nice neighborhood? Or people who talk loudly to their companion during redeye flights? Or people who pee on the toilet seat in public restrooms? Or people who manhandle their rented DVDs and return them with scratches?


Shit happens.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:59 PM on November 5, 2009


Wish I'd previewed. Elsa, I don't mind that at all. I actually think that's a perfect compromise between the interests of parents and childless patrons. If that became the norm, I'd be perfectly fine with it and I agree that it's a great way to teach proper behavior.

I just want to formally clarify my point. I don't think "no kids in fine restaurants" is a law etched in stone handed down from on high. I just think our current grey area where it's impolite but not actively discouraged has led to self-righteous abuse of common courtesy by some parents.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:08 PM on November 5, 2009


"Our finding that even four-second touches increase tips suggests that hospitality managers and employees need not fear that they might accidentally touch customers for too long," Lynn said.

Oh, that is definitely a factor in my dining experience - if the waitstaff were touching me for four solid seconds, they would get the tips of ALL my fingers shoved into their torso, like Fist of the Goddamn North Star. Unless I'm ordering the Filet Mignon with Full Release, keep your hands off of me.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:08 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


picea, about not bringing the check unasked: Outside of North American contexts (or at least in a lot of European and Latin American contexts, with which I'm more familiar), dropping the check on a table unbidden is a discreet but clear way of saying "You are unbearable (for any number of reasons); pay and leave now and never come back." My (South American) parents have this problem all the time when they eat in North America. The server thinks s/he's being all efficient and helpful, but my parents immediately ask "what did we do to offend the management" and start wondering if it has to do with classism or racism. I can't tell you how many times I've had to talk my mother down from a very loud (and, sigh, stereotype-confirming) confrontation with staff over what felt to her like passive-aggressive ejection from a restaurant. It's like a having people over for dinner and then bringing their coats and car keys to the table when they've finished dessert.

More generally, I wanted to address what seems like a false dichotomy that has been appearing all over this thread but is best summarized by bearwife a few comments above: the notion that the only opinions to have about this are "paying several times the value of the actual ingredients means the remaining value should appear as exquisite service" or "employees are only selling their services, not their personhood or their dignity" and never the twain shall meet. I think this dualism remains largely unquestioned here because a lot of folks on here are referring to contexts where food-service isn't considered professional, but rather casual, precarious, unskilled, "flexible" wage-labor (i.e., carrying dishes to and from a table and nothing more). In contexts where waiting is a (respectable) salaried profession and a veritable career, for which you train, in which you remain all of your life, and for which you're paid well, "good service" can be a skill and a talent rather than an unreasonable demand. The very few times that I've been exposed to the higher end of this professional spectrum (2- and 3-star restaurants in France), I haven't seen servility or obsequiousness (which are off-putting and signs of a second-rate restaurant) but rather poise, gracefulness, perceptiveness, eloquence and above all expertise well beyond anything I could ever attempt. Down to the bus-boy/girl these were professionals that radiated a confidence and dignity that commanded my admiration and respect. Of course, it still is all about class, but what interesting is that, at that level of "fine" dining, it's often the server that bestows that glow of sophistication to the table.

So, yes, there will always be worries about respect and dignity whenever someone is tending to somebody else's needs/desires for money, but a lot of these rules/tips/guidelines/whatever are about looking like a professional, rather than a slave.
posted by LMGM at 2:11 PM on November 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: Start with minding your own business then. If I am so inclined as to feed my kids a 70 dollar steak, of what concern is it of yours ?

Secondly, good luck having a civilization without kids. Kids, however noisy and inconsiderate, are a fact of life and civilization and have been since the beginning.


Which right are you defending here? The right to feed your kids expensive food, or the right to let them be annoying to others? I've already agreed that the former is your business and your business alone.

But regarding the latter: of course kids are a fact of life but not every fact of life fits every situation. I'm sorry but as much as I think kids are awesome in their own right and woo bonus that they perpetuate the species, I don't subscribe to the belief that they should be made welcome in every situation.

"Kids are a fact of life and civilization" is no more a defense than "I'll spend my money, you spend yours". You know what else is a fact of life and civilization? Pooping. Next time you let your kids run around in a fine restaurant, I'll try pooping on my table and see how vehemently you defend it. :)
posted by Riki tiki at 2:17 PM on November 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


As curmudgeonly as I am on MeFi, I am confident I'd make a damn fine server in a quality restaurant.

My wife and I are fine cooks. When I go out to a restaurant it is not because I expect to get a higher quality of food — indeed, most of the time I could do it better myself — but because I expect a quality of experience that makes it worth paying $35 for a plate of food that would cost me eight bucks to make at home.

The only thing waitstaff provide that is of any value is service. The 100 tips are a darn fine start toward providing superlative service that will make it worth my while to come back and blow another hard-earned full day's wages on a meal.

People who do not understand that the role of service requires Jeeves-like attention to detail and subservience are people who should go find themselves a job that does not invole serving customers.

Were I a waiter, Jeeves would be my role model.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:22 PM on November 5, 2009


I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose.

I neither desire nor require your permission to key your car on the way out.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


"ceviche w/o crackers is like a man w/o a mustache" - Too right, Divine Wino, that is an epic way to leave a room. I love this line so much that I've been wracking my brain for a way to engineer a situation in which I might deliver it.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2009


Also, fuck children. You have to be a colossal jerk extraordinaire to inflict your snot-faced screaming spawn on a restaurant of quiet, respectful customers who are hoping to have an enjoyable, high-class night out on the town. There is a time and a place for everything. Gettaclue.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:27 PM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose.

I neither desire nor require your permission to key your car on the way out.


One of these is an actual, honest-to-goodness crime in most parts of the world. One is not.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:31 PM on November 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


One of these is an actual, honest-to-goodness crime in most parts of the world. One is not.

One is a life lesson delivered where a punch to the fucking head would be otherwise richly deserved. The other should never happen but, unfortunately, one doesn't need a license to reproduce.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:35 PM on November 5, 2009



Which right are you defending here? The right to feed your kids expensive food, or the right to let them be annoying to others?

Both.

Listen, the world of chock full of annoyances. I hate annoying things as much as anyone else does. But life's too short, yanno ?

That said, this crap about kids not belonging in restaurants ? Rank bullshit. If you want a child free experience, your best bet is to stay home. As a parent and a former (present?) kid, that attitude sucks.

They're kids! That's what kids do! - They annoy!* Suck it up, Nancy.

*(among other things!)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:36 PM on November 5, 2009


Bring your children into a restaurant, that's fine, but for crissakes keep'em quiet, IN THEIR SEATS and, if you insist on asking for some saltine crackers for them to "eat" while awaiting the main course, for the love of god PLEASE wipe up the cracker smashings before you go. Cleaning up dishes and glasses: waitstaff and busstaff job. Cleaning up the half-chewed cracker paste your little darling spits on the table: your job.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2009


That is really interesting about the cultural differences, LMGM; I had never heard that.

kids and servers in the same thread? I can't believe I have to get ready to go to dinner. At a restaurant!
posted by lalex at 2:39 PM on November 5, 2009


People who do not understand that the role of service requires Jeeves-like attention to detail and subservience are people who should go find themselves a job that does not invole serving customers.
While I understand that some people have a love of the aesthetics of the high-class dining experience, I'm more about making sure that the waiter gets the order correct, delivers my food within a reasonable amount of time, and keeps my water glass full.

I have a feeling that people who get obsessed about the minutiae of service aesthetics are just setting themselves up for disappointment. The person who notices that his orders were delivered correctly and in a reasonable amount of time by a polite waitstaff is going to be happier than the one who's disappointed that the server did not angle the water pitcher in just the right manner when refilling his glass, which unfortunately occurred when the water fell beneath the 3/16th line on the glass rather than the 1/4th line.
Listen, the world of chock full of annoyances. I hate annoying things as much as anyone else does. But life's too short, yanno ?
You know what else is one of life's little annoyances? Being out of the right ingredients and burning your food while cooking for yourself. The appeal of going to a nice restaurant is to pay someone else to isolate yourself from ife's annoyances: you are paying for a nice, well-cooked meal in a quiet environment.
posted by deanc at 2:42 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]




One is a life lesson delivered where a punch to the fucking head would be otherwise richly deserved. The other should never happen but, unfortunately, one doesn't need a license to reproduce.

The only thing better than internet tough guys is easily annoyed child free internet tough guys!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:44 PM on November 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


They're kids! That's what kids do! - They annoy!* Suck it up, Nancy.

So you're just trolling at this point, right? I mean no one is really that clueless about common courtesy and social norms, are they?
posted by dersins at 2:50 PM on November 5, 2009


A poster upthread writes:

I'll reiterate my previous point: children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. What's the point? You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for?

"A _______ has neither the discernment or palate for [fine dining]."

In the appropriate historical and cultural context, there are many other groups, people of the wrong race, ethnicity, or class, that have been the subject of this sort of statement.
posted by zippy at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Int. Chez Paul Restaurant

[Jake and Elwood's food arrives]

Mr Fabulous: Hold it, Hold it. What's this?
Customer: Waiter! Sir! Please, waiter!
Mr Fabulous: Yes sir. How are your salads?
Customer:The salads are fine. It's just that, we'd.. we'd like to move to another table, away from those two gentlemen.
Mr Fabulous: Why? Have they been disturbing you?
Customer: No. It's just that.. well frankly, they're offensive. Smelling. I mean they smell bad.
Mr Fabulous: Excuse me sir, I'll see if I can locate another table for you.
Customer: Thank you.

[Jake and Elwoods wine arrives. The wine waiter attempts to serve it]

Waiter: Wrong glass, sir.

[Jake moves over to the Customers table]

Jake: How much for the little girl? The women? How much for the women?
Customer: What?
Jake: Your women. I want to buy your women. The little girl, your daughters. Sell them to me. Sell me your children!
Customer: Matre d'! Matre d'!
Mr Fabulous: [To Jake]

Cut it out. Cut it out. The owners are gonna ask me to call the cops.
Jake: You wouldn't do that to me would ya man?
Elwood: He just got outta Jolliet, he's on parole. You can't call the cops on him man.
Jake: We're putting the band back together.
Mr Fabulous: I said no. Absolutely not.
Jake: [To the customer]

Yo! How much for your wife?

[To Mr. Fabulous]

We're putting the band back together. We need ya man, we need your horn.
Mr Fabulous: I can't, I really can't.
Elwood: We got everybody but Matt guitar Murphy and Blue Lou and we're getting them next.
Mr Fabulous: No way.
Jake: If you say no, Elwood and I will come here for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week.
Mr Fabulous: Okay, okay, I'll play. You got me.

[Jake and Elwood leaves. Mr. Fabulous sits down at their table.]

Customer: Sir? Sir. Sir. Sir! Sir?
posted by mikelieman at 2:55 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only thing better than internet tough guys is easily annoyed child free internet tough guys!

*Shrug*. At least my car has resale value now.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:56 PM on November 5, 2009


In the appropriate historical and cultural context, there are many other groups, people of the wrong race, ethnicity, or class, that have been the subject of this sort of statement.

Ha! Drawing analogies between kids at a fancy restaurant and racism. Awesome.
posted by smackfu at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2009


"A _______ has neither the discernment or palate for [fine dining]."

zippy: In the appropriate historical and cultural context, there are many other groups, people of the wrong race, ethnicity, or class, that have been the subject of this sort of statement.

I think it's fair when applied to a group of people who will happily eat more than one crayon.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:04 PM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


(The music is not for the staff — it’s for the customers.)

As long as the kitchen can have their own boom box. As long as it's punk or heavy metal.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2009


They're kids! That's what kids do! - They annoy!* Suck it up, Nancy.

You can have that attitude, but people are going to become annoyed at a screaming baby at a restaurant, whether you can deal with it or not. Some kids scream so loud you can't hear yourself talk. If the parents won't take care of the situation if it's that bad, I will go tell them they're causing problems, and please could you have some consideration? Your baby doesn't trump everyone else's needs.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2009


I've got a baby, and at a month old, her Grandmother insisted my wife take her with them to Legal Seafoods. OK, it was the one in Warwick, which is like a converted Chili's or something.

1) I was freaking that we were taking our baby someplace very crowded just when flue season kicked off.

2) I was freaking that the adorable little air-raid siren would go off, and completely embarrass us. She didn't, and slept through the whole thing, miracle of miracles.

We were bad parents for letting Grandma bully us into it. If my little one were older, I'd still be a bad parent to take her "someplace nice" that wasn't family appropriate - it's unfair to the kid, and it's unfair to the other patrons who want some quiet and contemplative time with their dinner companions. If they're ten or eleven, Legal Seafoods is a fine venue to introduce them to dining, as opposed to "going out to eat." Any younger, and someplace that serves burgers and chicken fingers, or pizza, or Chinese food by the bucket, would be fun for the squirt and fun for us. We wouldn't worry too much about bugging other people when the table comes with crayons you can use to draw on the placemat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]





So you're just trolling at this point, right? I mean no one is really that clueless about common courtesy and social norms, are they?


No, I'm not trolling. But seriously. Come down off the cross, use the wood to build a bridge, and get over it.

Threats of vandalism and assault ? Seriously ?

And I'm the one that's trolling ?

How very very important must one be, indeed, that you can't tolerate a noisy child interrupting your meal ! The very thought must give the one vapors! How ever do you handle a commute ? Or standing in line ? Or Pooping!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:32 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"24. Never use the same glass for a second drink."really freaking bugs me from a water conservationist point of view. As long as it's the same thing going into the glass, I'd rather keep the glass I've already used. Now, if my second drink is different from the first, then, yeah, give me another glass. But really. "

This is fine if they can refill your drink at the table. If the glass has to return to the bar/kitchen then, in BC anyways, the server is legally required to give you a new glass.

"I always wanted to open a restaurant where customers could be blacklisted for being dicks. I think it'd work in this college town anyway. How you treat your waiter is an excellent test of a person's character, and a restaurant/bar with an enforced no-douchebag rule might work, but would certainly rule."

There are restaurants that are invitation only. In extreme cases you can't even choose when you are going to eat. The restaurant keeps a list of clients which the restaurant schedules. Every month or so you get a call telling you a spot on such and such a day is open and how many people are in your party? You make the reservation right then your you get bumped to the next time they call.

"I have no idea why people think wait staff should behave like butlers and get paid like serfs. These folks need a union."

Wait staff at fine dining establishments make good money. 2-3 hundred dollars a night isn't unusual.

"Pro tip - When you walk past where they grab the menus, nab yourself a pack or four of their crayons."Also works at Olive Garden, but if you only have well-dressed adults in your party, your table probably won't have anything on which to draw."

Just fee free to write right on the table, they won't make that mistake again.

"What's your policy on people talking in theaters? Or people who use a bus seat for their bags while others are standing? Or people who let their lawn grow over or die or get covered in dog crap in a nice neighborhood? Or people who talk loudly to their companion during redeye flights? Or people who pee on the toilet seat in public restrooms? Or people who manhandle their rented DVDs and return them with scratches?"

One of these things is not like the others. If you have time to worry about how green your neighbour's lawn is you need to find a hobby.
posted by Mitheral at 3:33 PM on November 5, 2009


How you treat your waiter is an excellent test of a person's character

Contrary to those who would regard the Waiter Test as an "excellent test," it is at best good on one side only. That is, if someone is a jerk to the waiter, there's a decent chance he's an all-around jerk, but being nice to the waiter hardly implies he's nice all-around. Especially since the Waiter Test has become so widely known and written about. Kind of like people who don't salt food before they taste it at interview lunches, not because they never salt food before they taste it, but because they've heard they shouldn't salt food before they taste it at interview lunches.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:57 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skipping 250+ comments, I just wanted to add: I waited tables for several years at a fairly nice hotel and all of these rules eventually become second nature. And the customers love you for it. And tip well. And return.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I'm the one that's trolling ?

Pretty much. And it is indeed sad that your funbits work. With any luck, nurture will beat nature and the nurturing by others will be what sticks.

How very very important must one be, indeed, that you can't tolerate a noisy child interrupting your meal ! The very thought must give the one vapors! How ever do you handle a commute ? Or standing in line ? Or Pooping!

You do know that we're not talking about you bringing your kid to Mickey Dee's, right?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:06 PM on November 5, 2009


And I'm the one that's trolling ?

Pretty much. And it is indeed sad that your funbits work. With any luck, nurture will beat nature and the nurturing by others will be what sticks.


No kidding around, I read that as "and the nurturing by others will be with sticks."

You lost yourself a favorite, there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


How very very important must one be, indeed, that you can't tolerate a noisy child interrupting your meal !

Look, I can tell that you think you're being clever with the sarcasm and the thespian very very's, but, you know, pretty much any adult's "important enough" to deserve a break from noisy, disruptive children in those relatively few places customarily and historically devoid of noisy, disruptive children. A "white tablecloth" restaurant, for example, is precisely such a place.
posted by applemeat at 4:15 PM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Interesting that this evolved into a discussion about kids at restaurants. My own guidelines on this are as follows:

1. I don't take my kid to any restaurant where I would take my wife alone on a date. Those places are for grown-ups.

2. Kids are fine at restaurants known for being "family-friendly." Most chains fit this bill, as do many neighborhood restaurants. Some diligence may be required to figure this out.

3. If a restaurant is on the borderline between categories (1) and (2), kids are probably ok during the early evening hours (say 5-6), but not after that. Again, diligence on this point is appropriate.

4. I clean up any mess my kid makes and do my best to keep her quiet and entertained. An iPhone loaded with games and storybooks is a wonderful tool in this regard.

5. I tip extra when my kid is along, especially if the server makes our lives easier (brings water in a smaller glass, offers crackers/bread early to feed the beast, supplies crayons, etc.).
posted by brain_drain at 4:16 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're looking solely to provoke an emotional reaction.

And apparently he did. Chill out, dude.
posted by desjardins at 4:24 PM on November 5, 2009


How very very important must one be, indeed, that you can't tolerate a noisy child interrupting your meal !

Pogo: letting a noisy screaming kid run wild unchecked in a fine dining establishment is just plain rude because the noise DOES bother other people. Just like loud rock music, jackhammers, or two adults having a screaming argument in a fine dining establishment would ALSO bother people. It's about the noise element. Civilization does not revolve around a child -- the child has to learn how to behave him or herself, and part of that involves the parent telling them to knock it off if they can't behave properly, or taking them out of the restaurant if they can't.

And everyone else: if a kid IS behaving him or herself in a fine restaurant, then there is nothing for you to worry about. Kids don't have cooties. Kids do not all spontaneously erupt into noise, and parents do not ALL blithely ignore them. So there is no need to have a conniption at the mere SIGHT of a child - it's entirely possible the parents will have things under control, and you won't have anything to worry about.

Okay? can we agree that if the parents actually do something about the kids WHEN AND IF they act up, that everyone else will cut them some slack UNLESS something goes awry?

Sweet god.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:32 PM on November 5, 2009


[few comments removed - not at all okay. be kind to each other, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:37 PM on November 5, 2009


everyone else will cut them some slack UNLESS something goes awry?

I count a grand total of one person saying any different, EC.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:41 PM on November 5, 2009


The absolute best breakfast spot in downtown Olympia has a list of rules for customers pinned to the wall behind the register. It's a small but popular place because the food is goddamn delicious, so most mornings it gets packed out with a quickness. One of the rules says: "We don't know how long the wait for a table will be. If you ask how long the wait is, you will be told that it's an hour."

My parents were visiting last year over a summer weekend and I wanted to take them out to Oly's best breakfast, so we went into this cafe, which was mad busy at the time. My Dad got to the door before me, and up to the counter as well. Before I could stop him, he asked how long the wait would be. And sure enough, the gal told him, "one hour."

Gotta admire consistency.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:57 PM on November 5, 2009


"How very very important must one be, indeed, that you can't tolerate a noisy child interrupting your meal ! The very thought must give the one vapors! How ever do you handle a commute ? Or standing in line ? Or Pooping!"

No, I generally tell them that they're being inconsiderate assholes and that it's not my fault the condom broke so could they take their brat someplace else before I start teaching the kid every foul word in my considerable vocabulary by unleashing it in a vile, angry torrent.

But I have no problem calling people out on bad behavior in line, or on a bus or in a movie theater. I've never had to threaten any sort of violence, but I am really good at just knocking people's bags out of seats on the bus. Since I'm also the guy who's telling the kids scratching tags into windows to knock it the fuck off, I'm not particularly afraid of confrontation.
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 PM on November 5, 2009


I'll reiterate my previous point: children don't belong in fine dining restaurants. What's the point? You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for? Or you're going to require that a kitchen make a speiclal "kidz" menu so jr. can have chicken fingers? Please. If you're going out with your children, the last thing I or other people paying $$$ to enjoy our food want is jibbering children complaining.

The children that I would theoretically bring with me to a restaurant would be children that ate what their parents ate and would know that if they jibbered and/or complained loudly in a restaurant, it would be the last thing they ever did.

My parents took me out plenty when I was a kid. Certainly not to Les Fancies Pantes or whathaveyou (it was Vermont after all), but definitely to some decently nice places. And nary a chicken finger was consumed.

Kids can enjoy nice meals as well, that is, if their parents have given them the tools to do so. If the parents are always cooking them "kid food" and allow them to complain and whine in public, then duh, the kid's not going to be able to handle it. But to lump all kids together in an "OFF MY LAWN AND BY LAWN, I MEAN RESTAURANT!" category is like saying "All Americans are loud and obnoxious!" There's a grain of truth, but if you keep expecting them to behave that way and never actually teach them otherwise, then yeah, they're gonna keep doing it.

I spent some time in Portugal, where it's the norm to go everywhere with your family - children included. And I went to some very nice restaurants. With a 15 mo. old child and an 11 year old in tow. Never did the kids cause a fuss or complain or make demands about the menu because they were totally, totally used to this. It was awesome. Having a family shouldn't mean having to get a babysitter Every. Single. Time. you go out. Sure, it'll never be the norm in the US to do this with kids, and I know I'm not in Portugal, but damn am I ever teaching my kids how to behave so that we can *all* go out.

(Or yeah, what Elsa said.)

kids are probably ok during the early evening hours (say 5-6), but not after that. Again, diligence on this point is appropriate.

DEFINITELY. Not only for the waitstaff, for the kid. Keep a kid up past their normal meal/bed times and you're just BEGGING for trouble. Hell, I feed the kids I nanny for a pre-dinner "amuse bouche" every single night (at the request of their parents) so the parents can at least *cook* dinner without air-raid sirens going off. When I went out with the whole family in Portugal, the baby ate *before* we left. He also ate off everybody else's plates because OOOH! Mommy's food is FASCINATING! but he wasn't fussing about because he was hungry.

If you're going to push your kid to a) go to a place they're not ready to deal with b) eat food they don't like and c) do both while they're tired and hungry then DUH. They're going to scream and yell. So yes, I guess I'm coming down on both sides of the coin: Kids should be taught how to enjoy restaurants, but that also means that parents shouldn't be stacking the deck.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess Mr. Buschel has never worked in place that was kick ass crazy busy. I’d write the info down on a piece of paper. Busy waiters don’t have time for arts and crafts projects.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on November 5 [8 favorites has favorites +] [!]


You're the Waiter Rant guy? That came straight from his link....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:19 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Formatting error, my quotes vanished.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on November 5, 2009


When I ask for a drink with my meal, I'd like it with my meal. Not right away, but don't forget about it, either.
posted by Eideteker at 5:46 PM on November 5, 2009


You know what I'd do, if I were the owner/manager of a moderately nice restaurant? Take all the customer service signifiers of the very fancy restaurants that don't have a substantial cost, and implement the hell out of them. You're obviously never going to attract the same kind of talent the really expensive places do, but there's a lot of low hanging fruit on those lists any server can do--things that will directly impact how much people love my place and tip my employees.

Also, regarding children, this is what 'kids eat for half off before 6 pm' is for.
posted by danny the boy at 5:49 PM on November 5, 2009


1. I don't take my kid to any restaurant where I would take my wife alone on a date. Those places are for grown-ups.

I get this, in theory. However, my six and nine year old girls have been out with us a couple times to two of the nicest restaurants in town, one italian and the other french. Both times required extra vigilance on our part to ensure not just good but pristine behavior. But when all was said and done they came away with a better appreciation of regional cuisine and some decent training on comporting themselves in civilized society. We look at it as training for traveling. I'd no sooner eat at an Applebee's while traveling than slam my scrotum in the cab door of a semi so we better get them trained early.

But yeah, if you can't ensure your kids' superlative behavior stay the fuck home.
posted by docpops at 7:19 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, it still is all about class, but what interesting is that, at that level of "fine" dining, it's often the server that bestows that glow of sophistication to the table.

That's one of the things I love about watching Gosford Park. It is the servant class which is concerned above all else about keeping decorum. Those they serve are just living their lives, to whatever level of gauche or refined that may be.
posted by hippybear at 7:20 PM on November 5, 2009


Granted, some parents do that, but it may astonish you to learn that some children are actually well-behaved.

It may also astonish some of the posters in the thread that children get that way but being socialised in places such as, well, restaurants.

I imagine they don't know this from first-hand experience, given their own level of ability to pass in society.

It's self-righteous adults that get under my skin

Physician, heal thyself. And, while you're at it, people whose grasp of child-rearing appears to be stuck in some sort of Victorian model where children vanish for 18 years and emerge perfectly-formed adults. For example:

Also, fuck children. You have to be a colossal jerk extraordinaire to inflict your snot-faced screaming spawn on a restaurant of quiet, respectful customers who are hoping to have an enjoyable, high-class night out on the town. There is a time and a place for everything. Gettaclue.

No, I generally tell them that they're being inconsiderate assholes and that it's not my fault the condom broke so could they take their brat someplace else before I start teaching the kid every foul word in my considerable vocabulary by unleashing it in a vile, angry torrent.

Wow, it really is emotionally retarded Internet tough guy night here today!

You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for?

Jay Rayner and the Fat Duck think you're full of shit.
posted by rodgerd at 8:06 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look, no one is saying you can't take your child out to a restaurant.

In fact, there are restaurants just for that purpose! How convenient for you!

Go to McDonalds. Go to the Family Pantry. Go to Boston Pizza. Hell, if they're at least well-behaved enough to stay in their seat and use inside voices, take 'em to Olive Garden.

But don't bring your improperly-trained child to a fine dining establishment. It is ian nvasive, inconsiderate, jerk-ass behaviour that really does indicate you need a clue-by-fouring.

A time and a place for everything. Unruly children ⊖ fine dining establishment.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 PM on November 5, 2009


You're going to spend $35 for an entree composed of foods that a child has neither the discernment or palate for?

rodgerd: Jay Rayner and the Fat Duck think you're full of shit.

Jay Rayner thinks when children are being picky it's "almost always" because they're not hungry, instead of maybe that the Dora the Explorer episode they watched a few hours ago had a dog in it and they've gotten it into their heads that hot dogs are made of dog meat and they start crying because they're absolutely convinced not only that you killed a dog and put its carcass on their plate but that you killed the SPECIFIC CARTOON DOG from Dora the Explorer and no this is not a hypothetical situation I'm describing.

And Fat Duck basically put a bunch of mystery food in front of some kids and apparently decided in advance that any rejected dish was rejected out of some nuanced critique while simultaneously sharing the anecdote that one of the kids had to be convinced that a banana was a normal banana instead of some elaborate culinary ruse.

I accidentally that whole article and have never been more convinced in my life that children do not have anything resembling a coherent, mature palate. Sorry if that makes me sound self-righteous but at least I'm not projecting adult rational faculties onto someone whose mind is blown by the twist ending of peek-a-boo.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:51 PM on November 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Look, no one is saying you can't take your child out to a restaurant.

Actually, the very person I first responded to said just that :

"I'll reiterate my previous point: children don't belong in fine dining restaurants."

And later on: "pretty much any adult's "important enough" to deserve a break from noisy, disruptive children in those relatively few places customarily and historically devoid of noisy, disruptive children. A "white tablecloth" restaurant, for example, is precisely such a place."

So you could, you know, learn to read.

And then perhaps you could respond to what I actually wrote - Particularly before you deign to tell me what ghetto my family and I might dine at.

I am willing to concede that you have done a marvelous job of decimating that strawman and the others have constructed. I have to admit, rude people with rude children acting rudely are rude. Beyond that, I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:01 PM on November 5, 2009


"It may also astonish some of the posters in the thread that children get that way but being socialised in places such as, well, restaurants."

It may astonish you to note that when I am dining, I do not value the socialization of other people's children above my own dining experience. While I have no problem with well-behaved children, that's clearly not what Pogo was alluding to in the comment I responded to. Perhaps this distinction is too fine for you to make, but for those of us who don't eat from troughs, aesthetics of dining are important.

"Jay Rayner and the Fat Duck think you're full of shit."

Apparently your rush to condescension got in the way of your comprehension. It's OK—presenting an article as one thing when anyone who can read at a third-grade level can see that it supports the opposite conclusions happens to everyone. What actually happened there was that the parents loved the meal, and the children refused the vast majority of it. Which is fine, since they won't remember it anyway.

Anyway, I'm sure you can discuss it with any mewling spawn you may have down at your local Showbiz Pizza (or whatever the local equivalent of animatronic hell is), leaving eating out at big people restaurants for big people.
posted by klangklangston at 9:10 PM on November 5, 2009


"So you could, you know, learn to read.

And then perhaps you could respond to what I actually wrote - Particularly before you deign to tell me what ghetto my family and I might dine at.
"

And perhaps you could quit trying to defend noisy children at fine dining restaurants. Or, you know, learn to love that ghetto.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 PM on November 5, 2009


Hey, SouthPark S13E12 is an allegory for this very thread!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 PM on November 5, 2009


You spend your money, I'll spend mine. I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose. I apologize if this ruins your fine dining experience.

Well, yes, that's reasonable.

Except, the thing is, the restaurant has the right to seat you at the two-top in the back, by the kitchen, so that your children don't annoy the rest of us. And if it takes an hour for that table to open up, you're welcome to wait for it. Why is this? Because you, actually, don't have a "right" to eat at a restaurant. They can't discriminate based on your race or gender (or religion or creed), but they sure as fuck can discriminate based on you having kids, not being dressed correctly, or being rude to their staff.

Don't like it? Eat somewhere else. You'll be happier not to wait, and we'll be happier not hearing your children squealing the whole meal.

It actually freaks me right out when servers/baristas/salespeople remember me. Partly because I'm an introvert, am often in my own world when getting coffee or shopping, and generally prefer to keep interactions with strangers on pleasant but anonymous terms; partly because I view my eating and shopping choices as personal, and when someone I don't recognize knows which two sandwiches I regularly buy, it feels overly intimate, like they've been watching me. I've actually stopped going to places because the staff remembered me.

Oh GOD, me too.

I actually had a really decent restaurant that I went to in Philly all the time. In my early days of going to this joint, I tried the whole menu. After that, I pretty much ordered the same thing--it just became the "egg salad sandwich place" in my head. And then, when I realized that the cook was starting up my food when he saw me through the service window, I stopped going back. Every server, every busboy, all the cooks, and the owner all knew what I liked to eat there.

My wife and I almost had this problem at the best burger/BBQ joint up here in Kitsap. When they first introduced their burgers, we tried them all. Then settled down on a couple of them.

The problem came for me when I didn't order the same thing: it became a big fucking deal. Like, the owner calling across the (mostly-but-not-entirely-empty) house to her husband, "Hey, they ordered something different!" How fucking embarrassing is that? And even embarrassment aside, I want to feel free to order anything off your goddamn menu at the slightest whim. That's why I'm at a restaurant.
posted by Netzapper at 1:59 AM on November 6, 2009


Having someone's place cleared while the rest of us are still eating really bugs me.

I am a very fast eater. I prefer not to sit there for 10 minutes with a dirty plate in front of me while I wait for others to finish; I'd rather have a clean space while I sip my coffee and make conversation.

However, I am comfortable with "do not clear while people are still eating" as a general rule, since if we have a decent attentive server, I can simply ask to have my plate cleared.

But in that case, I would add #101: Do not clear a plate or plates without wiping the table; do not leave odd spilled bits of food or sauce sitting there. It's gross.
posted by not that girl at 2:28 AM on November 6, 2009


A time and a place for everything. Unruly children ⊖ fine dining establishment.

By the same token:

Child in a fine dining establishment =/= UNRULY child.

I'm seeing what looks like a lot of people automatically assuming that ANY child in a fine dining restaurant is going to instantly start screaming and throwing poo or something. I agree with you that the UNRULY children gotta be taken out of there or shouldn't be brought somewhere where the kid can't handle it.

But the way some people are carrying on it's as if, at the mere SIGHT of a child in a fine restaurant, you'd clutch your pearls and say "heavens, how dare you bring that thing in here, it's going to cause all MANNER of noise!" And then you'd sit there on tenterhooks all night just waiting for an "inevitable" outbreak....which may not even come. Because some kids ARE well-behaved.

So -- why assume that ALL children are going to be unruly and say things like "look, if you want to bring your kid to a restaurant there's always Chuck e. Cheese"? which is what it looks like a lot of people are doing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


People also say, "Don't use your cellphone in a fine-dining restaurant". Is that because everyone on a cell phone is annoying? No. It's because the people who are annoying are so disruptive to the dining experience.
posted by smackfu at 5:57 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That Fat Duck article seemed to be little more than an excuse for Jay Rayner to brag about how wonderfully sophisticated his toddler's palate is.

And I can't say I blame those kids for refusing most of the dishes; most of them seemed to present a textural challenge. I counted "jelly" in four of the courses and "ice cream" in three. I'd be a little put off, too, if I were presented plate after plate of slime and foam. I wonder if pigeon presented in bite-size chunks of actual recognizeable meat might have gone over a little better.

(Plus I am a little skeeved out by using the word "delicious" to describe a two-year-old girl.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2009


But don't bring your improperly-trained child to a fine dining establishment. It is ian nvasive, inconsiderate, jerk-ass behaviour that really does indicate you need a clue-by-fouring.

A time and a place for everything. Unruly children ⊖ fine dining establishment.


No one is advocating for bringing howler monkeys into restaurants. The point is that children CAN be well-behaved in restaurants and that the way to train them to do so is to introduce them to restaurants! Imagine that! Of course, as I've stated, this should be done within limits that kids can handle, but there is absolutely no reason that having children should confine you to eating in hellish places for 18 years.

You're missing the point. Well-behaved children do fine in restaurants. And a lot of MeFites are working hard to teach their children manners and how to behave in civilized society. There is no reason to give in to the lowest common denominator just because you have kids - yes, it takes more work to get kids to behave, but a lot of people here are saying "Hey! We put in the work! And our well-behaved kids aren't going to spit in your food, so just let it go!"

I do not value the socialization of other people's children above my own dining experience. While I have no problem with well-behaved children, that's clearly not what Pogo was alluding to in the comment I responded to. Perhaps this distinction is too fine for you to make, but for those of us who don't eat from troughs, aesthetics of dining are important.

Honest question: Did your parents think this way? It constantly puzzles me when people view children as an inherent problem rather than as human beings with, yes, a unique set of needs - but human beings nonetheless. A lot of the comments in this vein sound like we're talking more about pets than family members, which saddens me greatly. Sure, you can choose not to have kids of your own - that's totally cool - but to denigrate an entire category of people like that is really misanthropic. Don't worry about other people's kids. If they're being rude, they're just people being rude.

Like Eddie Izzard said so wonderfully about transvestites: Transvestite in a cave? WEIRDO TRANSVESTITE. Not all transvestites are weirdos. Rude kid? That's a person being rude. Not all kids are rude.

And perhaps you could quit trying to defend noisy children at fine dining restaurants.

I'm not. I'm defending well-behaved children whose parents put in a lot of energy into making sure that the whole family can go out without being sentenced to eating at Applebee's with the unruly children who, yes, probably aren't ready to have nice things.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


73. Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon.

"Is there something wrong with the soup? Just taste the soup."
posted by electroboy at 6:52 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are restaurants to which it is appropriate to take young children and there are ones which are inappropriate. Restaurant dining can be very boring for a child, which can become very irritating for all involved including the bored child. There is limited value in learning to sit still and shut up in an environment which is not child-centric. Children are in general loud and energetic, which does not fit with the 'fine dining' experience. One and a half hours of sitting down making polite conversation is not often a favourite activity for children, even if five minutes of that time is spent consuming some luxurious confection.
Personally, I do not like seeing parents ignoring their children in public, regardless of the location. I would rather see children acting in an age appropriate way, although not necessarily in my general vicinity (when I am eating). I generally do not go to restaurants that are geared toward young children as I do not have any, nor would I invite any friends that would be likely to bring any to these establishments. If I want to be inclusive I find a suitable restaurant for everybody.

I have been to restaurants with parents and children of most ages, and everyone has had a great time. If a child is not happy, a parent will take them somewhere to let off some steam. This is normal behaviour AFAIK. Children like attention, fairly likely due to a genetic predisposition for survival. It is a parent's job to provide this, for pretty much all of their life.

In other news, how the hell do restaurants work without order slips? According to what I am reading in this thread it is a matter of pride for a server to be able to memorise the orders of tables without writing them down. What happens next? How does the order get translated in the kitchen? How does the chef know which orders need satisfying? Are they supposed to memorise all the details of every order (in order)? Does the server simply write down the order in the kitchen and stick it in the queue (as would be the case in every restaurant I have ever worked in or visited as a customer?

Getting the covers right I can understand, but what possible benefit is there in not writing the order down as it is given?
posted by asok at 6:53 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


asok - in the United States, almost every restaurant I've been to has a computerized ordering system now. The waiter takes the order however she sees fit and enters it into a kiosk which sends the order to the kitchen and then, at the end of the night, prints the ticket. It also makes it super-easy to split tickets, if the waiter entered them in correctly.
posted by muddgirl at 7:04 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the kid thing, we learned our lesson by the second time we ate with a friend's toddler at Chez Panisse. The first time was fussing and squawking, a rejected plate of unfamiliar vegetables, and a proffered PBJ.

The second time we placed the contents of a big bag of mouth-filling chewy candy on her plate and we all ate with peace and satisfaction.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:14 AM on November 6, 2009


Children are in general loud and energetic, which does not fit with the 'fine dining' experience.

So every child in the world is CLEARLY identical and can be expected to behave in EXACTLY the same way universally in a given regardless of their age or temperment.

Got it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 AM on November 6, 2009


I've noticed that single diners tend to be much quieter and are less likely to be annoying to me with their loud guffaws and obnoxious complaints to the staff.

People: it is only fair, leave your date or your friend at home. Or go to chuck e cheese.
posted by Rumple at 7:24 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


And a lot of MeFites are working hard to teach their children manners and how to behave in civilized society.

This exactly. I don't go out to fine dining restaurants often, but I'd say by the time my kid was six I was confident she could handle eating out just about anywhere. She enjoys having conversations with us or others we might be dining with, and doesn't spontaneously run around the room or erupt into screams/song/anything else above the normal level of din in a restaurant. She likes trying new things and "fancy" presentation.

As for palate? This kid loves sushi, snails, mussels, and many other foods I didn't come around to appreciating until I was much older. As adults we perform due diligence and get a sense of the menu of anywhere we want to go to make sure there is something she'll like.

Of course, she also likes going to Friendly's and drawing on the placemats and having some mac & cheese and ice cream. Kids are flexible that way.
posted by mikepop at 8:20 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Honest question: Did your parents think this way? It constantly puzzles me when people view children as an inherent problem rather than as human beings with, yes, a unique set of needs - but human beings nonetheless. A lot of the comments in this vein sound like we're talking more about pets than family members, which saddens me greatly. Sure, you can choose not to have kids of your own - that's totally cool - but to denigrate an entire category of people like that is really misanthropic. Don't worry about other people's kids. If they're being rude, they're just people being rude."

My parents got babysitters or went to appropriate restaurants until my brother and I were old enough to behave at a restaurant. This was partly aided by the fact that we were raised vegetarian in mid-Michigan in the '80s—there were simply very few restaurants that catered to us in general.

But it's fine to say that children are human beings. That's not what I have trouble with, and it seems perverse to read my comments as such. I would not put up with screaming and crying from an adult either, nor throwing food, nor running around, nor any other of a set of bad behavior that I've seen from children in restaurants.

Hell, I even like and get along with kids, generally. That doesn't mean that I want to deal with a child running up and trying to grab food off of my table, leaving jelly-smeared blocks in its place. The parents were mortified, but that ignores the obvious point: that child should not have been in the restaurant. The parents could not control the child, therefore it should not have been in the restaurant. Even at the lowest level of restaurant, that wouldn't have been acceptable behavior, but at a more refined and expensive place, the kid basically ruined my meal when I didn't have time to get another entree.

"I'm not. I'm defending well-behaved children whose parents put in a lot of energy into making sure that the whole family can go out without being sentenced to eating at Applebee's with the unruly children who, yes, probably aren't ready to have nice things."

Well, since you're responding to my response to another commenter who is defending noisy kids, perhaps your energy would be better spent on pointing out to her that yes, noisy children are obnoxious, and that obnoxiousness is not conducive to fine dining.

"So every child in the world is CLEARLY identical and can be expected to behave in EXACTLY the same way universally in a given regardless of their age or temperment."

When you quote something, it usually serves as a signal that you've read it. When you quote something that says generally children are loud and energetic, replying to it as if it said that all children were identical and behaved in the same manner makes me wonder if you read it carefully enough.
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 AM on November 6, 2009


So every child in the world is CLEARLY identical and can be expected to behave in EXACTLY the same way universally in a given regardless of their age or temperment.

Empress Eponysterical, your child is not a special snowflake. Please keep him/her/it out of Chez Whatever until he/she/it is sapient.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:53 AM on November 6, 2009


Children are in general loud and energetic, which does not fit with the 'fine dining' experience.
So every child in the world is CLEARLY identical and can be expected to behave in EXACTLY the same way universally in a given regardless of their age or temperment. Got it.


That's a mighty nice strawman you've built.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2009


Empress Eponysterical, your child is not a special snowflake. Please keep him/her/it out of Chez Whatever until he/she/it is sapient.

In the first place, I don't have a child.

In the second place, should I have a child, that's exactly what I intend to do, and what everyone else arguing in favor of bringing children to restaurants DOES do.

But many people in this thread are arguing that EVERY CHILD, SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF BEING A CHILD, should be barred from a restaurant because, SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF BEING A CHILD, they will not behave properly. And that is patently unfair.

Would you say "no one who makes under $30K annually should eat out at a fine dining establishment because they're too lower-class to know how to behave"? Or how about "no one who lives in a depressed part of a city should eat out at a fine dining establishment because they're too lower-class to know how to behave"? Or hey, how about "no one who isn't white should eat out at a fine dining establishment because they won't know how to behave"?

Of course not. You'd know that some people in all of these groups WOULD know how to behave, and you wouldn't even think twice if they walked into Chez Panisse because you would naturally assume they know how to behave. You wouldn't automatically assume that they wouldn't know how to behave themselves properly. You would assume they DID know how to behave unless they proved otherwise.

But not so with children. Why is that? If the child has been sitting there with their parents and behaving properly, why are you still so convinced that THAT ONE CHILD is just going to bust out at any minute? If that child has NOT been misbehaving, why do you still want to bar him or her from a restaurant?

Again, I'm NOT saying that brats should run rampant. And I'm also not cutting oblivious parents some slack. I'm only saying "not all children are brats, so please stop assuming all children ARE brats."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2009


That's a mighty nice strawman you've built.

I notice you've not taken a swing at it.

So you agree that not all children are alike, then?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on November 6, 2009


There is a huge amount of confirmation bias in here, I suspect. For every time a meal of mine in a nice restaurant has been disturbed by unruly children I can think of several times when it has been disturbed by unruly adults: loud dramatic conversations, break-ups, arguments, people wanting to be overhead as they relate their oh-so-special anecdotes, adults crying, chewing out the staff, drunken spillage of wine, talking loudly on cell phones, bumping their fat ass past my chair as they go for their postprandial dump. But if you're predisposed to see children as a problem by there mere presence, that is what you will pick up on no matter how well behaved their manners -- I mean, is there a difference between the sound of a child knocking over a glass and an adult doing so? Its all humanity. If you don't like people, just say so (and stay home).

So give the children a motherfucking break until the adults can 100% at all times control themselves and be as perfect as you are. Otherwise, treat them like individuals.
posted by Rumple at 10:19 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


But many people in this thread are arguing that

My take is that it's a few, they're not the majority, and that ALLCAPS sarcastic responses are not helping people find common ground.
posted by jessamyn at 10:21 AM on November 6, 2009


In the first place, matter how many words you capitalize for emphasis, all I see is "strawman strawman troll troll falsehood strawman."

In the second place, there is no second place. That about covers it.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2009


Rumple's just said what I've been trying to say. That is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2009


I suppose the dim bulbs in this thread then need us to also state that unruly adults should get themselves shitfaced and violent somewhere that isn't a high-end restaurant.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:33 AM on November 6, 2009


60. Bring all the appetizers at the same time, or do not bring the appetizers. Same with entrees and desserts.

Horsefeathers. I'm hungry, we're probably sharing, and the cold food probably takes less time than the hot food. So bring it when it's ready and then we'll take care of the other appetizers later.

The thing is, if you get this at all wrong, either you end up with food that's too cold or, like every episode of Hell's Kitchen, the entire order is scrapped (which would horrify me, as someone who hates to waste food) so they can make it all over again.

Just serve the damn food. Even entrees. If yours hasn't arrived yet, you can have a bite of mine.

Granted, this works for uncouth brutes like me, but not for cultured individuals who actually wait until everyone is served before eating.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:56 AM on November 6, 2009


is there a difference between the sound of a child knocking over a glass and an adult doing so?

While this is a fine observation in a vacuum, I can’t help noticing that in context it is somewhat in bad faith. You can’t be oblivious to the fact that most people are wary of children throwing tantrums, not spilling a glass of water.

Adults, where loud and boorish, are at least accountable for their own behaviour. Few adults flail around screaming and if confronted claim to be unable to prevent it. Yet parents do this with regard to their kids often enough that others become wary of it. You know where else we see that excuse? Dog owners.

So I’ll tell you how I’ll treat your kid. I’ll treat him like a dog. Because dogs, like kids, have someone in charge of them.

There’s a whole dog culture in Vancouver, of bringing dogs into cafes and even some restaurants. Say what you want about the cleanliness aspect of it, those dogs are as good or better behaved than the adults there. I suspect if a poorly trained dog is taken into a cafe, it doesn’t happen a second time.

Owners are legally responsible for bites if they are aware that their dog has a “propensity to bite”. Parents who have a kid with a propensity to scream (don't play coy; you know if you do) should keep the kid out of places where a certain level of etiquette is expected. Other kids, absolutely, bring em along. If it happens, I’m looking to you to deal with it. Nothing more, but nothing less, expected.

Other than that, there’s simply the fact that if your dog does bite or your kid does scream, the suspicion will be that you knew it was going to happen, because not everyone with a snappy dog or shouty kid gives a damn about other people. That is really the only additional price of admission.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:04 PM on November 6, 2009


Oh, and waiters: just because I'm not drinking doesn't mean I'm cheap. I'm probably driving. Assumptions make an ass of you and me. But mostly you. For subsequent bad service, your tip comes home with me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:06 PM on November 6, 2009


Rumple: So give the children a motherfucking break until the adults can 100% at all times control themselves and be as perfect as you are. Otherwise, treat them like individuals.

Or I can criticize both... in fact, I've already drawn an analogy in which I compare children in a fine restaurant to adults being rude in other venues (talking in the theater, for example).

But adults behaving rudely are responsible for their own actions. The fact that children are too young to know any better is not a zero multiplier on the offense. Parents are responsible for their children and so if their children behave rudely then that is because the parents are rude for having brought them there.

That's really what we're talking about here. EmpressCallipygos, I have to add to the chorus of voices telling you that you're misrepresenting our arguments to the point where it seems wilful. People in this thread have, in fact, defended not just children but children behaving rudely.

Though I don't agree with it, I am actually somewhat sympathetic with the idea that it's good to bring children into these environments so they can learn proper behavior and because society is a rich tapestry so we should all love and care for future generations as a community. For example, I vocally approved of Elsa's parents' approach... which undermines the assertion that we believe EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE BARRED HELP I'M TRAPPED IN A CAPITAL LETTER FACTORY.

Let me be explicit: my objection is not to children. It's not their fault when they're rude. My beef is not with parents of well-behaved children. They're doing their jobs.

What I object to is parents who have abused our common ground here. Those who use the fact that children are not "actively discouraged" as a blanket justification for rude behavior.

Worse yet, many of those parents seem deeply offended at the very suggestion that children don't belong in adult venues. That's the self-righteousness I'm referring to. Certainly there are some unreasonably anti-child "Mister Wilson"-types out there, but for the most part the vocal opposition comes from child-tolerant people who just don't think children need always be accomodated.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:13 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


*bites Riki tiki*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:19 PM on November 6, 2009


People in this thread have, in fact, defended not just children but children behaving rudely.

For the record, I also responded to Pogo stating that that view was also rude, and for the same reason you find it rude.

Worse yet, many of those parents seem deeply offended at the very suggestion that children don't belong in adult venues. That's the self-righteousness I'm referring to.

And I am in total and utter agreement with you there that it is misplaced self-righteousness.

I think, honestly, that most of us are on the same page -- that we would all expect parents to withdraw with misbehaving children. However -- I do not have the same confidence that everyone also agrees that, conversely, we should start by giving the parents the benefit of the doubt when they first walk into the restaurant. If the kid acts up and the parents just sit there, yeah, then I'll be there giving them the glare of death too.

But some comments have given the impression that they believe no children at all should be allowed out at restaurants. I'm seeing someone say they have no objection to well-behaved children in one sentence, and then in the next sentence tell a parent "I don't want to be part of socializing your child, take your kid to Chuck E. Cheese" --despite their not even met that child, so there is no way for them to know whether that child even is likely to misbehave in restaurants.

If I've got people in here wrong, okay -- but isn't it possible that it may be because I just may be picking up on a stridency in what others have actually said?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:36 PM on November 6, 2009


Also, seafood =/= fine dining
See how easy it is to make arbitrary pronouncements that people will disagree with?


I don't think people are saying

seafood == !(fine dining)

which would be false.

They are simply saying for all (seafood) there are some (seafood) that are not in the set (fine dining).
posted by Deathalicious at 12:37 PM on November 6, 2009


Clearly the answer to this conundrum is to

1) stop having kids
2) stop eating

Humans die out, problem solved.
posted by desjardins at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Clearly the answer to this conundrum is to

1) stop having kids
2) stop eating


I already don't have kids, but you will only stop me from eating my jambalaya when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on November 6, 2009


Clearly the answer to this conundrum is to

1) stop having kids
2) stop eating


Or 3) start eating kids
posted by Skot at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I'm seeing someone say they have no objection to well-behaved children in one sentence, and then in the next sentence tell a parent "I don't want to be part of socializing your child, take your kid to Chuck E. Cheese" --despite their not even met that child, so there is no way for them to know whether that child even is likely to misbehave in restaurants."

And why could that be? Let's look at the specifics here—You're seeing a person (let's all remain coy and call them Karl Kassel) assume that a second person's child (let's call that person Perry Farrell) is going to be rude prior to meeting them. What might the indicators be? Well, let's note that Perry Farrell is defending the "right" of parents to foist their rude children on society at large. So, noting that this second person is defending taking rude children to fine dining establishments, might it be reasonable to conclude that this person has rude children? And to tell that person that they are being rude, and that if they cannot control their children, that they should eat in places where rude children are seen as a feature?

So, yes, I would think that rude parents are a pretty decent predictor of rude children, especially when rude parents are defending their rude actions, and that your argument is misplaced.
posted by klangklangston at 12:58 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're seeing a person (let's all remain coy and call them Karl Kassel) assume that a second person's child (let's call that person Perry Farrell) is going to be rude prior to meeting them. What might the indicators be? Well, let's note that Perry Farrell is defending the "right" of parents to foist their rude children on society at large. So, noting that this second person is defending taking rude children to fine dining establishments, might it be reasonable to conclude that this person has rude children? And to tell that person that they are being rude, and that if they cannot control their children, that they should eat in places where rude children are seen as a feature?

With all due respect to Mr. Kassel: it was not clear that he was directing those remarks exclusively at Mr. Farrell, or that his remarks were exclusively about young Master Farrell.

I was simply seeking the assurance that Mr. Kassel was one to judge children's behavior on a case-by-case basis, as opposed to making a blanket pronouncement; as it seems that this is the case, then I will simply say that this could all be due to that point being lost in translation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on November 6, 2009


And I apologize for my part in that miscommunication.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:38 PM on November 6, 2009


if you're predisposed to see children as a problem by there mere presence, that is what you will pick up on no matter how well behaved their manners -- I mean, is there a difference between the sound of a child knocking over a glass and an adult doing so? Its all humanity. If you don't like people, just say so (and stay home).

So give the children a motherfucking break until the adults can 100% at all times control themselves and be as perfect as you are. Otherwise, treat them like individuals.


Yes, this exactly.

So I’ll tell you how I’ll treat your kid. I’ll treat him like a dog. Because dogs, like kids, have someone in charge of them.

This is the only thing I've ever read on MetaFilter where I've made a note of your username in my mind to remind myself that your views and mine are fundamentally incompatible in a way that makes me angry with rage.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:27 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


There’s a whole dog culture in Vancouver, of bringing dogs into cafes and even some restaurants.

Sorry, I call bullshit on that statement. Except for companion/service dogs, dogs are not allowed in any restaurant or cafe in British Columbia.
posted by Rumple at 2:47 PM on November 6, 2009


So I’ll tell you how I’ll treat your kid. I’ll treat him like a dog.

You might want to work on an aspect of writing known as "tone."
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:04 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I already don't have kids, but you will only stop me from eating my jambalaya when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands. :-)

If you are eating jambalaya with your hands, please refrain from patronizing my favorite fine dining establishments.
posted by mikepop at 3:05 PM on November 6, 2009


Except for companion/service dogs, dogs are not allowed in any restaurant or cafe in British Columbia.

Has that changed in the last 5 years? If not, I call bullshit on your bullshit.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:13 PM on November 6, 2009


in a way that makes me angry with rage.

Well, I guess I'll add you to the list of people who don't do analogies, even where the very connecting principle is explicitly stated. Because of course "someone in charge of them" is less fun than to read in "because I expect them to drink from a water bowl at your feet" or "smack them on the nose with a newspaper" or whatever your raging imagination fancies.

Children are not "little adults". We can't expect them to be. We can, however, expect the people in charge of them to take charge of them. If they don't, there are going to be words.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:17 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist: I do analogies just fine, and I'm not pretending that children are small adults. (I know fairly well as working with small children is what I do all day long.) What I take issue with is equating a human being with an animal. Children are not dogs, they are not pets. They are human beings with their own sets of needs. I'm not taking issue with someone being "in charge of" them, I'm taking issue with equating a person to a dog.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:25 PM on November 6, 2009


What I take issue with is equating a human being with an animal.

Equating? It doesn't sound like you do analogies "just fine" to me.

And Rumple: actually, scratch five years. I was there there two winters ago, and the coffee shop on Dunbar and... somewhere around 26th -- I think it's a Bean Town -- had owners wander in with dogs as usual. (but that was the only cafe I hit on that trip)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:33 PM on November 6, 2009


dog/cafe: I'll call both your bullshits, and assert that BC Law is that animals aren't allowed in eating establishment and there are establishments where animals are allowed inside, it's just that no one who goes to the place has any desire to kick up a fuss.

With all due respect to Mr. Kassel: it was not clear that he was directing those remarks exclusively at Mr. Farrell, or that his remarks were exclusively about young Master Farrell.

I was simply seeking the assurance that Mr. Kassel was one to judge children's behavior on a case-by-case basis, as opposed to making a blanket pronouncement; as it seems that this is the case, then I will simply say that this could all be due to that point being lost in translation.


Or you could read it with a bit of cluefulness, and recognize that Mr. Kassel was directing those remarks at Mr. Farrel and all those who are assholes like Mr. Farrel.

Children are not dogs

Children who are misbehaving like an untrained dog might behave, are very likely to be treated like a dog by a stranger who has had enough of that bullshit, and they are very likely to be treated that way because it works efficiently to terminate the behaviour.

It has nothing to do with their value, and everything to do with ending the misbehaviour in a final and immediate manner.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:45 PM on November 6, 2009


Children who are misbehaving like an untrained dog might behave, are very likely to be treated like a dog by a stranger who has had enough of that bullshit, and they are very likely to be treated that way because it works efficiently to terminate the behaviour.

How often do you reprimand someone else's dog? Are you now telling me that not only is that ok, but it's ok to reprimand someone else's child who is not behaving to your standards?

That's totally, totally absurd. Not to mention the notion of "ending misbehavior" which is a life-long process of socialization that works best when you work with the child's developmental abilities and not just "punish" them.

The sorts of things that work with dogs? Newspaper, yelling, rubbing their nose in it... Yeah, none of those work with kids. I'm a child trainer by profession and the way to get kids to behave and treating them like dogs have nothing in common.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:12 PM on November 6, 2009


Durn Bronzefest, you may well have seen a dog in a cafe. I myself have seen all kinds of people breaking the law in all kinds of ways.

Sadly for you, there are no laws against children in restaurants.
posted by Rumple at 6:50 PM on November 6, 2009


Not to mention the notion of "ending misbehavior" which is a life-long process of socialization that works best when you work with the child's developmental abilities and not just "punish" them.

If I were a patron at the finest dining establishment, I might speak sharply at the child if it gets into my space. At most any restaurant I'm likely to go to, I might ask the waiter to do something about it (presumably tell the owner or top manager/waiter). I typically don't go to chain restaurants, fwtw.

If the unruly child is not soon made to conform to the mature social behaviours of a fine dining establishment, it is very likely that I'll be a repeat customer. I have plenty of other options where I have not encountered unruly customers. The vast majority of patrons at these places are seeking an adult, service-oriented, high-class dining affair. I hope the manager or owner would realize that and hop on the problem pronto.

I stay out of the child-friendly restaurants precisely because I expect them to be noisier, to have more children moving about, to have the occasional major and minor social misbehaviours that go along with learning to behave at a restaurant. By the time a child is attending fine dining restaurants, it sure as hell should never be frequently out of its seat and never noisy or paying attention to other diners.

It's true, you can certainly choose to bring a child to a high-end restaurant where people expect to enjoy a thoroughly mature, gracious, classy evening of spoiling themselves with great food, great service, and great conversation; and you can even choose to let your little hellspawn shriek and race about and point at others. Yup, you can do that. You can be a douchebag, it is perfectly true and absolutely legal.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:31 PM on November 6, 2009


Aw, come on people. Life's short and almost all of us are on the same page, so let's drop it. As others above have several times already noted, virtually all of this thread’s "child haters" [hint: we're not really] have been, for the most part, reacting to one provocative poster who essentially (at best) and/or expressly (at worst) stated that he'll take his child(ren) anywhere, fuckyouverymuch, and there they'll do whatever they please. This poster’s provocative contribution, taken against the thread as a whole, constitutes an outlier, and there is no need for impassioned, hectoring treatises about the worth of children.
posted by applemeat at 7:48 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rumple: Sadly for you, there are no laws against children in restaurants.

Yeah, too bad. Oh wait. Remember this?

My favourite schmancy restaurant in Ottawa had two tables with kids the last time me and the mrs. went. Not a peep from them. No problem for us.

Yeah, that was me. One of the ones arguing that it's about behaviour, not age.
Reading skills. Look into it.

gfm: The sorts of things that work with dogs? Newspaper, yelling, rubbing their nose in it...

If that's how you think a dog should be treated, I don't blame you for expecting a sharp divide between behaviour directed at dogs and kids. I suggest you stick with the kids.

I was specifically responding to this: "So give the children a motherfucking break until the adults can 100% at all times control themselves and be as perfect as you are."

It's not about giving the children a break, because they are not responsible for their behaviour. Their parents are. And I don't give adults a break when they themselves are acting badly, or their kids are acting badly if they're doing nothing about it. Capice? Or is someone going to object to putting studded collars on kids next. Because I think we've taken critical analogy density about as far as it can go.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:50 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoah, no. Dealing with somebody else's dog? I don't think so. The analogy was made because there is a parent in one case and an owner in the other. In either case, the dependent is not responsible for their behaviour -- their guardian is. So you "deal with" the situation by dealing with the guardian. Taking it out on someone else's kids or someone else's dog is a good way to start the biggest fight you'll ever see. Do not do this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:53 PM on November 6, 2009


A few sharp, strong words did just fine for the kid that was putting his hands on my ass, trying to get my wallet. He didn't fuck around like that again. It was a perfectly fine solution to the issue, and did not need to involve the parents embarrassment.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on November 6, 2009


?! I was picturing a 2-year old screaming in a parent's lap, or a 5-year old running around. A kid tried to lift your wallet? How old was he? What a bizarre scene.

Still, you have to be damn careful reprimanding other people's kids (or dogs). Playing with serious fire.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:31 PM on November 6, 2009


"How often do you reprimand someone else's dog? Are you now telling me that not only is that ok, but it's ok to reprimand someone else's child who is not behaving to your standards?"

Yes, of course.

This might be a culture issue. Where I grew up it was expected that everyone in the neighborhood would reprimand an unruly child.

"The sorts of things that work with dogs? Newspaper, yelling, rubbing their nose in it... Yeah, none of those work with kids."

Yeah, none of those work with dogs either. You create good behavior in dogs by eliminating opportunities for bad behavior, until they're so habituated to good behavior that they don't hesitate when you give them a command.
posted by klangklangston at 9:57 PM on November 6, 2009


As others above have several times already noted, virtually all of this thread’s "child haters" [hint: we're not really] have been, for the most part, reacting to one provocative poster who essentially (at best) and/or expressly (at worst) stated that he'll take his child(ren) anywhere, fuckyouverymuch, and there they'll do whatever they please.

Is that what I wrote ? Cause I don't think that's what I wrote. Let's fire up the wayback machine and have a look:

"You spend your money, I'll spend mine. I neither desire nor require your permission or approval to feed my kids at any restaurant I choose. I apologize if this ruins your fine dining experience."

So far, the only really provocative thing is the utter lack of reading comprehension.

See, I said nothing at all about what my children would or wouldn't do.

I should probably bold and underline and blink tag that. But whatevs.

The uptight nincompoops in this thread (you in particular) have done an excellent job of inferring all sorts of things into my statement in an effort to demonstrate what a terrible, horrible, ugly people I and other parents are...

And it'd be humorous enough if it stopped at merely not fully reading what I had written. But then there's the lies, the threats, and comparison of my children to service animals.

And here's the funniest thing: I've already conceded that rude people with rude kids are rude!

But with all of the gnashing of teeth and deconstruction of strawmen the thing that has been missed is that there is no blanket rule regarding kids in restaurants. By and large, in fact, it's illegal to discriminate against people with children and in fact the overwhelming bulk of public places works hard to accommodate them.

So no, I will not concede that children do not belong in restaurants. That doesn't work in theory, it doesn't work in practice, and I can find, nor have been shown, any compelling rationale for it.

It was my experience as a dishpig, bus, wait, host, prep cook, line cook, kitchen manager, and restaurant manager that children and their parents were welcome there. Of all the places that I've worked at, worked with, or ever even been too, I can't recall a single one that would turn kids away save for one - Bennet's and, well, they're closed now. (and the food sucked anyway)

TL;DR - You're not allowed to tell parents where to go with their kids. Not any more than you can compel people not to socks and sandals. You may very well consider it the worst crime against humanity - but you know, so what ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:38 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm going to acknowledge that as someone whose career is working with young children that my feelings on the issue are far, far too strong and too touchy to be level-headed, so I'm going to bow out on this derail. I'm sorry for continuing it this long.

On topic: I actually wish some places would ask whether or not you want water before giving it to you, because usually, I don't. I don't enjoy plain water and I especially do NOT want a friggin' lemon slice in it. So, maybe if you asked me first, it'd save a glass of water and a lemon slice. I feel bad wasting the water when third world children are thirsty and other patrons need their glasses filled.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:22 AM on November 7, 2009


"Refrain from touching the wet spots on the guest" has been the funniest thing I've heard all day.
posted by biochemist at 12:17 AM on November 8, 2009


Call: Which right are you defending here? The right to feed your kids expensive food, or the right to let them be annoying to others?

Response: Both.

I think the reasonable people here are more upset at this response and not the one you selectively linked to.
posted by Green With You at 11:58 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reasonable child-possessing people can find a restaurant for their family dinner.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on November 11, 2009




Oh, please, my daughters had better table manners at two than most adults I've seen in public. They were less likely to disrupt everyone's meal than the drunk at the bar.

Bratty, obnoxious children... yes, please leave them at home. But poor manners are not entirely age related.
posted by _paegan_ at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2009


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