Some of the most important things to remember before going out to eat are where they are, who they cater to, and what type of food they serve. This simple knowledge can save you from a lot of discomfort or embarrassment in the restaurant. True luck restaurant is where you are. The better the luck, the better the food and service. When in doubt, choose a busy one. More people makes for more choices and more variety. If possible go at off peak hours or during weekend mornings or evenings.
They are almost always open from morning to night, however there may be exceptions based on seasonality of business or on local government ordinances that ban certain food types from the outside premises during some times of the day. They will likely be closed on holidays (almost always), so you’ll need to check first if you’re planning a special event where access to a restaurant is required. If you’ve never eaten out before, these ten things might seem a bit overwhelming at first but will eventually become second nature if you keep them in mind. Remember these tips when it’s time for your next big outing!
1. Be patient.
Restaurants are built to serve a customer population that is notoriously slow and indecisive. Don’t be that customer. Unless you’re in a major rush, order everything on the menu at least twice; once ahead of time, and once when you arrive so that your server can make decisions on your behalf. It’s a lot easier to order an upgraded dish as an afterthought than to substitute out an underwhelming entree.
2. Don’t be afraid to make your own mistakes.
A great restaurant worker is one that helps you discover the best thing on the menu, not just the thing they want to sell you the most of at whatever price point will net them the highest commission from the food distributor. Have fun with it! After a bad experience don’t be afraid to return and try again once you’ve figured out what went wrong.
3. Pick your battles wisely.
Too many people try to settle their food battles in the restaurant instead of waiting for thirty minutes and a free dessert at the end of a meal for them to “get over it.” To save time, go elsewhere, but if you really have to have your way with someone’s cockroach casserole, order some coffee and settle in. This approach is less likely to result in a screaming match over check by phone than a screaming match inside your cab home.
4. Restaurants are not going out of business anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on them when you’re deciding where to eat out. There are just too many variables to count in the modern food scene to expect a restaurant to be consistently good. If the lighting is dim, or they’re busy, it’s because they’re busy. Simply put: most restaurants are not worth it at their best all the time; some, however, are worth waiting for and all of them can be worth it at their worst.
5. Don’t expect much when you go out for drinks with friends or a celebratory dinner with one’s family.
Bartending is a tough job, and food service is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. Most people who work at bars or restaurants are not there by choice, it’s where they ended up after trying to better themselves financially or personally. They don’t have time to get to know you or any available staff because they are too busy working, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say hello when you enter a restaurant.
6. Know your limits and respect those around you.
Restaurant servers often get a bad rap for being “snobby” or “racist.” But many servers are earning middle-class wages and want to be respected for their work. You can’t find the “old school service” of yesteryear at chain restaurants, but neither should you expect it. If you don’t like public displays of affection in front of other customers, then don’t go to a bar or restaurant where you have to sit near an open door.
7. If you’re having trouble deciding what to order, ask the server what they recommend.
This is likely a job that’s not well paid (the tipped minimum wage is currently $2.13 per hour). They will likely be happy to help you order something that’s good instead of something that just happens to be on special. If they recommend something and you don’t want it, thank them and ask what else they recommend.
8. Be nice.
Most people in the service industry are treated like garbage by the customers, so if you’re kind when you encounter them, they’ll be that much more attentive when you need them to be.
9. If they ask you to refrain from smoking at the table, do so.
Smoking is addicting and hurts a restaurant’s bottom line (it costs more to provide smoking-resistance equipment than non-smoking equipment). If your server requests it, then smoke outside on the sidewalk if you must, but keep it inside the restaurant in the air intake area where it doesn’t harm anyone else’s health (and where those who wish to smoke inside will be able to do so without affecting anyone else).
10. Ask questions.
Most servers are happy to answer the questions you have about menu items, prices and their history. If you’re having trouble deciding on an item, ask! Often the best thing a restaurant has going for it is not on its menu. Say something like “This place looks like it has a great selection, I’m just not sure what to get.”