Dining Out Do’s & Don’ts

 RoofTop restaurant

Please note this was originally written and posted on my old blog 9 years ago but the information inside is still relevant.

Seafood but don’t………
When dining out……….I never buy fish on a Monday because chances are it’s left over from the weekend….even if it was delivered that morning, it has probably sat on ice in a wholesaler’s warehouse over the weekend.

Don’t forget the waiters
If the food and service were good, I always leave a cash tip rather than add it to a credit card bill for several reasons. Some restaurants can take days even weeks to divvy up the tips…2-4 days is acceptable because often it takes that long for the restaurant to get its money from the credit card company.

Trouble is most waiters don’t keep their own records of how much in tips they made on a particular day/night so they are very dependant on the owner/manager to be honest with them often days later.

I have in one case quit a job because as Head Chef I became aware that the owner was skimming the credit card tips to bolster his profits. I often think we Brits are still slow at tipping for good service and food; the minimum should be 10% and 15%-20% if the dining experience was very good or better. And tipping can be a great chance for those guests not paying the bill to contribute to the cost of the meal in some way.

Without doubt…
Without a doubt, the worst case of cheapness I have witnessed was at a rather swanky golf and country club about 5 years ago. The kitchen was running a series of gourmet theme dinner nights to boost midweek business. The captain of this particular club had booked a table of 10.

The head chef was also the owner of the food franchise so the cash register for food was located in the kitchen. He often encouraged members to “pop in and pay” so he could also make sure they were happy with the food & service.

So after a delicious 6-course meal the captain collected up the money from his guests and came into the kitchen to pay. Counting out the money the captain found that the tips were large enough to actually cover the cost of his own meal….so he put his own money back in his pocket and gave the waitress her tip from the chance he was due…..which was 5 pence!!!!!(about 8 cents) She was so incensed by his outrageous meanness that she threw it back at him.

He threatened to have her fired for that act of defiance but backed down when we hinted that various committees would want to investigate what was the cause of her rash behaviour.

Don’t inflict…
Don’t inflict your ill-behaved offspring on others.
Being the proud parent of a 3-year daughter, I am acutely aware of my responsibilities when I take her out to eat. Having taught her good table manners from the beginning, and gotten her use to eating her meals in family groups…not alone in front of the TV! She is a blessing and no problem to take out, indeed many fellow guests fawn over her cuteness & good manners, particularly when dad has put her hair in pigtails (yes men can do this..if in their earlier days they wore a ponytail (a la David Seaman).  Though I can’t speak for David I can confess that in my case I wore long hair for 4-5 years during my thirties as if to slow the march of time…..but it did not.

Anyway back to kids and eating out, guests should not inflict their ill-behaved spawn on other dinners if the child gets cranky take them outside away from the other diners and then try solving the problem before either returning or going home.

Managers who are too lily-livered to quietly request that corrective action be taken by the parent should be forced to baby-sit the miscreant once a week until they are 18.


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