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TSR Blog

Top 5 Restaurant Etiquette Tips

Paul Fielding - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little repect to your waiter goes a long way! Enjoy a little contribution from our Perth waiters, and plently of industry experience...

1. Refrain from ‘Self Seating’

Unless you’re visiting your local café or ultra-regular restaurant, as a guest you must not waltz in to a restaurant and seat yourself. Even worse is moving tables, chairs and place settings to suit your requirements- this is a sure fire way to be falsely told by the host that the establishment is ‘fully booked’.

2. Listen to (and order!) the Specials

Sorry, I mean LISTEN to the specials. Picture the meal on the plate, and ask questions of the dish if you’re unsure. Specials are the chef’s daily showcase of talent and fresh produce. They are inspired by a combination of seasonal ingredients, experimentation and an expression of the kitchen team’s willing to entertain your tastes. They are not ‘leftovers’, or any variation of. When asked what you thought of the meal, be constructive. And if the blackboard happens to be sold out, that is a good sign- just come back next week.

3. Manners

Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised. Ask a waiter to wear a wire for the night, then sit back and enjoy the highlight reel. Waiters and their restaurant managers and supervisors are on duty to ensure that your meal goes well. That’s it. If you enter a restaurant with the attitude that your waiters are clueless or will undoubtedly show you a bad experience, then the attitude will be mirrored- it’s human psychology.

Say please, say thank you, ask your waiter’s name, and please don’t raise your hand and click your fingers!

Leave the entertaining to us, leave your inner ‘wanker’ at the door, and sit back and relax. You, and your guests, will be the big winners on the night.

4. Tipping

What a bone of contention tipping is in our country. In Europe, tipping is expected, and in many restaurants already added to your bill. In the U.S, tipping is expected to the extent that waiters are paid next to nothing.

Yes, waiters are paid to do a job. No, we don’t tip many professions in our country. No, you don’t receive tips for serving cars, working in a bank or driving a bus.

I ask however, that you embrace the fact that tipping in a restaurant to show your appreciation of good service is what happens in Australia, and accept the fact that if you want service levels in restaurants to remain consistently high in general, waiters must be shown this appreciation. As little as a $25 bottle of wine at the end of the night goes a long way to retaining great people.

You hear Americans on TV struggling to “know how much to tip”; divide the bill by 10 and work upwards from there.

5. Eat like a King

You’re here for a good time right? Splash out a little. I know everyone loves a great bargain feed (myself included), but save that for dumplings in Chinatown or pot-and-parma night at the local pub.

Have a cocktail while you browse the menu. Order a bottle of wine, or try a different glass for each course- many restaurants, and especially wineries, will print their recommended accompaniments. Share an entrée or dessert when you wouldn’t normally. Have a Roman coffee. Try new things, ask your waiter’s opinion (they’ll be honest I promise!), and most of all just soak up the experience. And don’t forget to come back soon!

For more info regarding waiters for hire, click the links above.

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