When making plans to eat out, whether intentionally as a date or unintentionally dining casually, there are a few minor details we never realize are part of our society that should be common knowledge to the public. Not knowing these practices will result in passive-agressive ridicule and immediate embarrassment. Here is why, and how you can avoid them:
1) Missing the Greeter
Many restaurants have Greeters, some more invisible than others, but they are there. Sometimes these people disappear for a while to manage the customers that came prior to your entrance. Greeters have one job, and it can never be ruined: to offer you hospitality. Find these people and prep for what kind of experience you’re to expect for your time there. This will help your date feel well taken care of and safe spending their meal with you. If there is no Greeter, either treat the restaurant as a cafe, or find another place to enjoy real ambience.
2) Ignorance Is Forgivable
Restaurants don’t expect you to be an expert in anything they do. In fact, it’s their job to introduce you to everything. It works as a double edged sword: it helps them maneuver you to what may be the fresher and tastier choice, and it helps you stay picky without the fatality of potential food poisoning. It’s okay to ask.
3) Ask For Water
Restaurants are not required to ask if you want water before you read your menu. In fact, though it is illegal to deny anyone a glass of water in Los Angeles, it’s become a policy to never mention water unless requested by the customers. When you dine, restaurants expect you to over eat. Hunger can hit you hard, and impair your better judgement. In fact, they make sure they make the food smells good and is prepped colorfully, to tempt you further. This results in you ordering extra things, unconscious of the drawbacks of overspending, over eating, and over tipping. Drink water, since most of the time, you’re not actually hungry, just thirsty. Always request for water, and stay on top of your orders.
4) Never Kill The Messenger
When you find a fly in your soup, or wish to customize your meal according to your allergic issues, or some other difference you have against the plate you’re served, do not yell at your waiter. No, you’re not a victim, and no, they’re not alone in this injustice you’ve just experienced. It might be management, it might be the kitchen, but more than not, the waiter is your best bet in having a better experience. For you see, waiters are actually underpaid. In fact, they work hard for you because they need tip to survive. Their tip usually accumulates a higher amount in comparison to their wage, and hence may even beg the kitchen, manager, or whoever else with power to allure you to open your wallet with better respect and dignity – not just as a customer, but hopefully a patron. If you can, be nice to these people, and they’ll take care of you better than your mother.
5) Revenge Etiquette
In case I was wrong about not killing the messenger, the proper etiquette to state your dissatisfaction is not to leave without tip. No. In fact, that makes them forgive you, and think that you just so happened to forget to tip, or…you’re a foreigner. With so many customers coming in and out of the venue, the waiter needs to have a reminder that what they do is not as important as they believe it is. They are not in a position of power, but they are not above begging. It sounds cruel, but this is the feeling you need to enforce as a dissatisfied customer. And you do this by placing a penny as tip. Put a coin down or write it on the check, but that tiny gesture means hell for them. It is an account of their worth after scraping the barrel for your meal, it stamps disapproval on their heart, revealing the golden handcuff they’ve shackled their very being to, and for what? A Gucci purse they use to hide their insecurities? Pish posh.
6) Tip Etiquette
It’s this simple: 10% for breakfast, 15% for lunch, and 20% for dinner. Never tip $1, no matter how cheap your meal was. Either put down at least $2, or leave the restaurant not tipping at all, and be forgiven as a “forgetful customer”. Foreigners, please remember this rule. You cannot escape the scowl of a waiter’s scorn. Tip is not about how accurate you can pay, it’s the value of life. In fact, dear foreigners, to put it in European perspective, it is like art collecting to us Americans. You put down however much you want according how good the service went, for you. It sounds ridiculous, but your waiters are hungry to please. So please, tip your waiters.