Thursday, January 12, 2012

please remain seated

Ok people.  This is a simple concept, when you are dining in a restaurant (perhaps with the exception of a diner or Cora's breakfast) you should not get up from your seat to pay your bill.  You may have noticed that your server has brought everthing else to your table throughout the course of your dining experience, there's a good chance they will also take payment while you are seated.

You may think that you are making it easier on your server by 'coming up to the machine' to pay.  This is not the case.  Here is why: your server is keeping an eye on your table and knows that he/she has just dropped off the bill and will come by in a few minutes to sort out payment.  When you vacate your table your server can lose track of you which will probably result in you asking another server to process your card/make change.  This may seem simple but servers have a list of things to do in their minds and for someone who is not taking care of your table, processing your bill is not on that list.

This is even more important when you are in a group of 6 or more, especially with separate cheques.  You may not notice in your oblivious bubble but crowding around the service stand (often where the debit/credit machine is located) makes it difficult for the servers who are using that area to get around you.  You were well situated around your table and now you are congesting the thoroughfares of the restaurant; blocking servers and guests alike.

This type of scenario also makes it more difficult for a server who is processing your multiple cheques to make sure that everyone has paid.  Again, everything is much simpler to do while everyone is seated so that someone doesn't skip on the bill.

The worst part of all of this is when you leave your table prior to getting your bill at all.  You then approach a random server and say "I'm ready to pay!" well that is so nice for you, I have no idea who you are, what you have eaten or who was serving you in the first place.  We then engage in a game of charades, "oh she was about this tall, about your height, hair down to about here, maybe blonde?"  Great, just a moment while I go find your server, ask what table you were at, try to describe you to your server in a similar charade fashion, borrow their swipe card to access your bill and then come back and print and process.  All of this takes more time than if you had just remained seated at your table until your own server had time to process your bill and though I'm sure you're not concerned about the other guests, I have to ignore my tables while I sort this out for you.

Now as always there are exceptions, if you have been waiting a really really really long time for your card to be processed then I can kind of understand.  But 6 minutes does not count as an eternity, have a little patience.


  1. Recently it's been all about the bad customers here. I understand the need to vent ... but the customers you've been describing (with the possible exception of the regular non-tipper) aren't likely to be reading your blog. It makes your tone kind of off-putting, like the rest of us are being chastised. And who wants that when you're hanging out online? Maybe it would be different if I worked in the business ...

  2. You commented, "The worst part of all of this is when you leave your table prior to getting your bill at all."

    Is it still OK to go to the washroom?

  3. just kidding on the last completely out of context comment.

    I disagree with first anon. I actually like hearing these stories. As I am also not in the business it is good to hear the other side. And I've likely done some of them "trying to be helpful".

    keep the posts coming, Faithful Reader.

  4. I have to agree with the previous comments. The customer is starting to sound like the villain in all these pieces.

  5. Oh, Dearest Chew...
    We naughty, naughty customers who over-pay for a grilled cheese sandwich with a fancy name seem to need our bottoms royally slapped.
    No looking away from the bar keep; no lingering to chat after we've eaten; no calling to make reservations when you are busy; and now we are not allowed to get up to pay our bill when we're in a hurry because we've been ignored by our server for the past 20 minutes (perhaps because you were on the phone taking reservations, hm?).
    I think that I prefer my expensive grilled cheese without all of the red tape on the side...

  6. Your grilled cheese with a fancy name probably is much more complex than you are capable of understanding, which is why you pay the expensive price rather than making it yourself...I'm assuming. You don't rush your bank teller, the plumber, the bus driver ext... so I think all this post was saying is that understand that your server is a professional and will make it to you as soon as they can, but remember you're not the only one in the dining room with demands. RELAX! If you can't handle a little honest banter, maybe don't read the blog.

    Thanks "the chew" for your dedication to honesty and for representing food industry professionals!

  7. Here, here to "Your grilled cheese with a fancy name probably is much more complex than you are capable of understanding" If you don't feel you're getting value for the sandwich you've ordered, don't order it again, choose another restaurant or stay home. You have a choice, no one is forcing you to do otherwise.

    I also suggest that you re-read the last paragraph from the original Chew posting.

    Cheer & Good Eats,
    Chef Annon

  8. Oh, give me a break.

    Complex grilled cheese.

    I worked in the restaurant biz for many years, and still work in the hospitality sector.
    Please don't tell me to go elsewhere because I choose to engage in a little healthy banter.
    I may not agree with everything that the Chew has to say, but at least he can spot a little tongue in cheek when he reads it.

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