FOOD - "The Delicious"

NYTIMES: 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do

November 6, 2009

Bruce Bushnel of the The New York Times came up with a list of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do” which was published in two installments.


The first installment was published last week, and the second just yesterday. I thought it was an interesting read, and having mixed reactions, I thought I’d list some of them out:

I Totally Agree

7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.

I don’t think I could have understood this better than after visiting a pizzeria in Florence just a few weeks ago. The waiter was visibly excited to see five girls walk in for an afternoon bite. He gave us free dessert and cappuccinos with our pizzas. Which is great, right??

Would have been — if he didn’t insist on (a) poking us everytime he walked by; (b) creeping up behind us and yelling ‘Boo!’ every five minutes (it got old after the first time); (c) literally trapping us at the restaurant for 2 hours by refusing to give us the check. Not cute.

50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.

I always make note of this. It’s way more obvious than they probably realize.

56. Do not ignore a table because it is not your table. Stop, look, listen, lend a hand. (Whether tips are pooled or not.)

I think this is the difference between a good and great restaurant staff.

64. Specials, spoken and printed, should always have prices.

Yeah, I don’t like surprises either. Especially those in the triple digits.

74. Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than this.

95. Never hover long enough to make people feel they are being watched or hurried, especially when they are figuring out the tip or signing for the check.

I’m a journalist for a reason — I can’t do math. Tip time always gets me frazzled. Being watched definitely doesn’t help.

Made me giggle

9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.

21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.

40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad.

58. Do not bring judgment with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested.

I digress…

10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials.

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I need some advice when I’m overwhelmed with options. [Another Italy story alert] In Florence, we were looking at a menu with all incredible options and when asking the waiter for his opinion he kept saying, “Depends on the taste.” Lucky for us, nothing on the menu was bad so after our amazing meal, we stepped over to the dessert table. Again, everything looked gorgeous, so again, I asked the waiter what he thought would be best between the tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake, and apple pie. “Depends on the taste.” Useless.

Really, you can do that?

97. If a guest goes gaga over a particular dish, get the recipe for him or her.

Check out the list — what do you think of Bushnel’s suggestions for restaurants? Did anything in particular stand out to you?


One thought on “NYTIMES: 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do

  1. shazmeister

    loved this post. i HATE it when waiters/waitresses ignore our table because someone else is serving us!

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