Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Etiquette and Manners

Please. Thank you. You're welcome.

Hopefully all of us are familiar with these statements. If you aren't, then please stop reading my blog and learn to be a nicer person. Thanks. For the rest of you (and hopefully the majority) this is a great start. I pride myself in always being courteous to people, especially when I'm dining out. Today in my first class for Essentials of Dining Service I was reminded of other forms of etiquette and learned a few new ones as well.

In this day and age, it's uncommon to have a gentleman rise up from his seat as a woman approaches their table. When asked, only one young man in the class raised his hand to agree that he follows this chivalrous example. How sad is that? Only one person? I'm sure we've all had someone hold the door open for us, but even then, a lot of people will let it just slam shut. I'm a lady and I hold the door open for people all the time. It's just part of being courteous, and it shouldn't be that difficult. I think we should all take a good, hard look at ourselves and start being nicer and more polite to people. It's as simple as offering a smile. Again, if this seems too difficult for you, stop reading and go practice smiling in the mirror. It uses less muscles than frowning, people!

There are a lot of protocols in place in a dining room that aren't always followed in shall-we-say more "mediocre" establishments. A lot of times, clueless food runners or servers will show up and name off the dishes they have to see who ordered them. This is disruptive and annoying. Really, they should know exactly who ordered what (by noting the positions of the diners ahead of time) and make the dining experience as simple for the customers as possible.

One thing that I learned about being a good customer is that you should never try to "help" the server by stacking up empty plates. I often try to "help" by doing this, but apparently it's a big no-no. Servers have a certain way that they at least should bus the dishes from a table (and they also shouldn't do this until everyone at the table has finished the current course, otherwise those who haven't might feel the need to rush to finish or just plain give up the rest of their food) and there's usually a method to it that can be disrupted if you try to "help." Note to self, don't "help" the waitstaff, just eat your food, let them do their jobs, and tip nicely :)

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