Eating Out - 2004 vs. 2014


Fully vaccinated are you?




Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
I see this activity even in upscale, white table cloth restaurants. Some folks even pull out laptops, ignoring their table companions, typing away. The WIFI/phone activity continues all through the meal. The question is: "Are these the folks posting nasty reviews?" How does a restaurant treat non boors (those who leave phones in pocket or purse)?

Some restaurants invite the boors (free WIFI) encouraging folks to linger and take up space and server time, but NOT spending extra money (versus characters like me who continue to order desserts, drinks, etc. while carrying on conversation with table companions.) My suggestion: if this is a problem, there are two ways to cope:

  1. cancel WIFI
  2. ask patrons BEFORE seating if they are in a hurry (seating fast serve in one area, slow serve in another.)
For my part, as a patron, I advise the host/hostess BEFORE being seated whether I am in a hurry and confirm that with the server who comes to take my order. (If I'm going to a movie, concert, or play, I don't want to be frustrated twiddling my thumbs waiting for the server to check up on me.)

I can't imagine engaging a server in any conversation not pertinent to my meal, certainly not to the extent of showing pictures on my phone or laptop. Conversely, I don't want a Chatty Cathy server engaging me in any conversation about his/her personal life.

Do all the expectations about being a good customer become invalid when we have a single road warrior looking to get some of his "busy work" done during his meal time with no other companions?

An immediate "fix" for bad reviews about delays in serving can be had by going on to those review sites and writing a well-tempered, well-reasoned "white paper" about the pros and cons of service time, commenting that the restaurant will do everything possible to accommodate patrons who ARE looking for fast, efficient service if they ask for it, while assuring others they will NOT be rushed through a meal.

On occasion, I have had to call on a manager to slow servers and kitchen staff in upscale restaurants. I recognize the desire on the restaurant's part to "turn covers," but not at the discomfort of a patron enjoying a meal. The restaurant's responsibility is to establish its niche market and cater to it. If the market is split into two categories - fast or slow serve, it is up to the restaurant to learn which category a patron is in right off the bat.


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Interesting that in the 2014, the kitchen turn time is not mentioned. If Ramsey or Irvine (I enjoy watching them) were to go in there, that would be where they would begin. Then they would likely ream the management, which may not be necessary in this case.

As for the phones/tablets, maybe it is just because I am an older Southerner, but I consider playing with the phone at the table or discussing business at the table (unless agreed beforehand) to be just plain rude. Same if I am discussing with someone (when I was still employed), especially my management, if the phone rang they would give that attention, which to me was also rude. If mine buzzed (I keep on vibrate) I would check and if truly important, excuse myself to take care of it, and the same for dinner, whether business or personal dinner.

I would start by posting a very clear sign that wifi is not available.

Next, don't go to Craig's List. Get in with Trip Advisor and Yelp. The reviews are intelligent and more credible.

I agree with Wes regarding advising about the need for quick service or the servers asking. I do have a slight - but only slight - exception to the "chatty cathy" part, as in the South at least, and diners pretty much everywhere, the servers like to establish a commonality with the customer. Otherwise I agree with Wes.
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