I'm sure many of you are familiar with Bruce Bushel's 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (parts 1 and 2), perhaps you have even contributed your own personal pet peeve(s) in the form of a comment. A recent incident at the restaurant caused me to consider what Restaurant Guests should never do - although I would never be didactic enough to compile 100 items. I mean, really, 100?!?
1. Do not call a restaurant on a Saturday night at 6:45 and demand a table for 10 in 20 minutes. Believe me, I would love to accommodate your party but when you consider the size of a restaurant, the size of your party and the fact that it is Mother's Day weekend, it just isn't happening.
2. When I explain all of these circumstances to you please do not assert that you are "good friends" with the restaurant's owner. You know what? The owner of the restaurant and I share a great mutual respect - and that's why he trusts me to represent his business on the busiest night of the week. By all means - call him. Tell him I said "hi."
3. When your party arrives an hour earlier than your reservation, please make yourself comfortable at the bar and enjoy yourselves. This does not include standing on a booth to take photos of your group. Believe me, your faces are indelibly engraved on quite a few memories after your behavior - no photo necessary.
4. How about acknowledging the fact that you are in a nice restaurant on a Saturday night with your attire? Baseball hats and t-shirts don't really impress anyone or at least not in the right way.
5. Having some fun and shared laughter is wonderful and what the hospitality industry encourages and supports. This does not mean you are welcome to inflict your humor, or a conversation about how "hot " you are, on my entire dining room. They were having their own conversations until the volume of your conversation made their own impossible to maintain.
6. When your excessive volume is pointed out to you, in a direct but quiet manner, the appropriate response is not "REALLY???" Nor is it appropriate to repeatedly give me the stink eye and mumble each time I walk past you. Please - this Saturday thing that I do is supposed to be more dissimilar to my Monday -Friday gig working with teenagers. Really.
7. After spending more than an hour at the bar, completely stiffing the bartender is an irrefutable display of classlessness. Well done.
8. Having a discussion at an elevated volume about whether you are going to stay at the restaurant to eat should have occurred prior to your being graciously brought to your table. And that nice party of 4 at the nearby table might have remained for dessert if they knew you were leaving.
9. When you loudly declare that you are leaving because you are unhappy with the way you have been treated, it probably isn't really necessary to loudly state where you are going to eat instead. Especially since I know people who work there and will be calling them as soon as you leave.
10. Do not equate the possession of cash with the ownership of class. Believe me, I never do.
Photo courtesy Joe Schumacher.