Top 5 Tips To A Great Dining Experience

Working in the Bar/ Service industry for 16 years, I know plenty of the tricks and trade for service. I have both good and bad experiences, whether it be a mom and pop store or a 5 star restaurant. A lot of times customers believe they have no part in their dining experience. Sometimes, yes, your bartender or server is having a bad day or just can’t get their groove. But whether they are having the worst or best day of their life, you actually have ALL the power to make your dining experience a 10.

Now you may think “ how can I expect a bad server or bartender to give me good service, when they are just bad at their job. Well like all relationships, you have to tell people how to treat you, serve you and respect you. So continue reading to always experience a 5 star King/Queen like service.

Tip 1- Be Nice

I believe this is literally the number 1 way to great service. Like I have said before, your server/bartender could be having an off day, or could just be purebred bootyholes. Have you ever heard of “kill them with kindness”? In the service industry it is required the server treat every guest/customer nicely. At times they may not even notice we/they have an attitude or we just don’t care. Well, when  your server greets you, smile. This automatically catches them off guard. This industry meets more mean, egotistical, bougie, rude attitudes than anything else. So a simple smile at the greet will bring down some walls. Being kind shows that you not only have etiquette but you merely there for a  good experience. This nice act has to last through the whole meal, so don’t think you can smile at them then become a bossy, inattentive, forgetful customer. So when the server speaks to you, respond nicely.

Here’s a little secret, servers/bartenders judge every customer that walks in their section. They must read everyone’s body language, so they know what type of customer they will be serving for the next 2 hrs. So surprise them and kill them with kindness and look the straight in their eye without blinking, lol 😉

Tip 2 – Eye Contact

Didn’t your parents tell you when you speak to people make eye contact. Well in this case it is extremely important and will benefit you to the fullest. Eye contact can be intimidating. It shows people that you are confident, you are present and  you are retaining information. Showing your server that you actually care about the specials they are forced to remember or listening to the items that are no longer available for the day, makes for a great start to a great dining experience. For some strange reason, having great eye contact shows that your expectations are higher than most. Servers/ bartenders ( good ones) pick up on this. Now the bad servers/bartenders will be intimidated by your eye contact and have the urge to provide better service than they would have originally. Eye contact won’t carry you through the whole meal, but it will set a tone at the beginning of the meal, for sure.

Tip 3- Be Decisive

Sometimes when you get to a restaurant you are in the mood for a burger. But as you look at the menu you begin to change your mind; the snapper looks amazing, but so does the lasagna! What to do!? Be decisive, take your time and figure out what you are interested in. Servers and bartenders don’t mind giving you time to decide, that’s apart of the game. But if they have given you time and asked you more than 3 times, “are you ready to order”; you are likely to receive a frustrated attitude from your server/bartender which can turn into bad service. “They don’t know what they want”, is what your server will say. At that point the whole restaurant is on alert because you are “a problem table”. Most people that don’t know what they want and ask the server to come back multiple times; tend to be bossy, inattentive, inexperienced customers and are treated as such. So hone into your taste buds and know what type of cuisines may be interested in that day.

Tip 4- Be Knowledgeable

Knowledge is power and you have all the power. Experienced restaurateurs know this fact and it sometimes gets to their head. That’s why tip #1 is important for everyone. But because they have knowledge they probably don’t have as many bad service experiences as good ones. Make sure you know what type of restaurant you are going to. Knowing their menu/cuisine style, customer service ratings, their food ratings and their health inspection ratings will set you up for the best experience. I’m a spontaneous kinda eater, so my research has to happen quickly. Thanks to google, this is possible. But basically, find out if you actually want to eat there, by learning the environment you are about to subject yourself to. When you know the menu especially, you are able to guide your server into the direction of what you like to eat and how you like to eat it. ( that goes for your drinks as well). Being able to articulate your needs is essential.

Tip 5- Articulate

Do you remember in English class when your teacher said, “ you have to describe what you are talking about in writing because they can not see it”? Well it’s the same when you are explaining to a server/bartender. If you have allergies, don’t like something or you want something prepared a certain way, say so. It is unfair to have high expectations without giving the expectation. There are plenty of people that go to fine dining restaurants, and have never eaten in one. So they are unaware of how to sit, where their fork or knife goes, or what anything on the menu means. That’s why it is important to take heed to tip number 4. Being knowledgeable helps you be articulate. If you don’t like cilantro because it taste like soap to you, then say that. If you go to any “type” of Mexican restaurant, you will find cilantro somewhere. So telling them you don’t like cilantro sometimes doesn’t make sense. It is a key ingredient/garnish in a lot of their foods. So if you just say “I don’t like it”, they will only assume you are trying to get a free meal or just want to be difficult. ( if you send your food back, you should not have to pay for it ;)) Which is another thing; if you haven’t had something and are not interested or ready to, tell your server that. They are there to give you what you want, so tell them exactly what you do and don’t want, what you do and don’t like, and what you are and aren’t allergic to. Using descriptive words like, too crunchy, not enough garlic, or too sweet helps the server and chef know what to offer you to make your dining experience better. I once told my mom. “Never be afraid to speak up and never be afraid to send something back”. This is your dining experience and it’s up to you to make it a great one.

I truly believe these tips will help you enjoy going out so much more. Your expectations won’t be the same for Applebee’s as they are for Captiol Grille. I’ve been on both spectrum’s of dining and I’m positive these tips will make your experience so much more grand and liberating. Although the servers have some control over the handling of your food and service, you decide whether it is expected or not. Customers always right.


*Here Are Some Etiquette Tips For The Road


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