November 18, 2009

The waiting etiquette

For once I am not out here to brag about my punctuality going by the title of this post. This time for a change I am talking about the etiquette that a good waiter should have in a good restaurant towards his/her customers. Of course this post stemmed from a blog on the NY Times. You can find the blog here -
If you did have the patience to go through all 100 of the things on the list, and if you are anything like me, you will agree that a lot of the list was highly obnoxious. It sort of took the humanity out of the waiter and sort of reduced to them to a robot with no feelings and slave-like chores to do. Some made a point but a vast majority simply assumed that the customers were snooty enough not to respect their waiters as other people.
I had my first opportunity to judge the waiting experience for it's merit since reading the article. Normally I am pretty pre-occupied by the conversation at the table and tend to give the waiting experience a break (unless it's exceptionally bad like I remember once in Bali Satay House in Ames). Our group meeting, a quarterly affair, had it's typical 5-6 course luncheon at our college's exclusive restaurant which can compare to a decent 3-star experience anywhere in the world. And I made it a point to notice what the waiter did/did not do over the entire lunching experience. Here are the salient features -
1. He did serve the women first - no matter where they were seated around the 10 seater table (we were 4 out of 10 just for the numbers)
2. No, he didn't introduce himself or encourage us to call him a nickname to call his attention. But this is probably because ours was the only table that he was tending to through the entire lunch.
3. Yes, he did refill the wine/water and replenish the bread on each n every glass/plate as and when they ran out. But he did this in such discrete fashion that it was hardly discernable.
4. He did wait for everyone at the table to finish before clearing out the plates of all. And yes, there was fresh cutlery with evey course and nothing had to be reued or reserved for usage after being used once. And that was certainly refreshing.
5. On being informed that I was vegetarian at the last moment, I was wholesomely still served a full meal keeping with the theme of everyone else's meal and not a measly salad. Of course this had more to do with the chef than the waiter but I mention it here because this was one of the points that the author of those blogs above happened to mention in one of his zillion requirements.
Well, that was all that I distinctly noticed. It was an excellent meal overall and after reading those articles, I can confidently say that I won't have a 100 things for the waiting staff to do. I'd be just as happy with these 5. I am curious - does anyone ook forward to anything from their waiters apart from the basic decency and clean service? Voice up!


Madhumathi said...

When we go to Pizza Hut frequently, we almost know the waiters by face, though not personally. The problme is we are always told to "use the Oregano & Chilli flakes to enhance tase of pizza", "your order will take 12 mins for XXXX, 8 mins for xxxx etc". I mean, am i really counting all those mins. Usage of condiments, we know wht needs to be used, so we need not be told.. But just to be polite with the staff, we just grin & bear it... This might be a pbm with the places you frequent a lot. I am sure this does not apply for places u visit the first time!!

Archana said...

Interesting :) - I've never really paid attention because I am almost always busy talking until the food arrives...I know when someone annoys me - especially the ummu moonjis - or those who wont even let me savor my last bite and are right there to snatch my plate even before I am done..but definitely not to this level of detail...LOL @ #78. Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked.
I've always laughed @ that!

Singaravelavan said...

HI jaya, How r u ? Where are u living nowadays? Where are u working?

Post a Comment