The New York Times recently posted a list of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do“.
At one time or another, I’ve complained about almost every one of them. Some of my favorites:
- Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral.
- Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.
- Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”
- Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”
- For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.
- Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.
- Do not let guests double-order unintentionally; remind the guest who orders ratatouille that zucchini comes with the entree.
- If there is a prix fixe, let guests know about it. Do not force anyone to ask for the “special” menu.
- Do not serve an amuse-bouche without detailing the ingredients. Allergies are a serious matter; peanut oil can kill
- Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices.
- Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish.
- Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change.
I love this, though, as the author says in the opening, some servers will argue these points. You can read the article here.