Good manners cost nothing; you don’t need special training and it takes very little of your time. So here’s a list of rules to live by when visiting a restaurant; please remember this is my unscientific opinion based on years of pointing and laughing at assholes in restaurants and even being ashamed at some of our fellow human beings’ treatment of others.
Rule number 1: If you’ve made a reservation, rock up on time – 15 minutes are the most leeway the reasonable restaurant should allow you. If you’re going to be late or the number of guests has changed, phone the restaurant and let them know. How often have you been cheesed off with friends arriving 2 hours late for a braai when the fire is a smouldering wreck, along with your carefully wrought dinner party plans? Restaurants make those very same plans; for us.
Rule number 2: Be friendly and polite to the restaurant staff; heck, this should apply to life in general. Yet some people have lost their way in the same way most BMW’s have lost their turning signals. A simple “good evening” and a smile takes you a long way and is especially helpful when having to complain later on, perhaps.
Rule number 3: Do not chop and change the menu that has been carefully designed by professional chefs and restaurant owners who’ve been doing this longer than you. If you don’t like the menu of the restaurant you’re visiting; then why the hell are you there? If you are one of those people who are allergic to the poop of a civet or life in general, let the restaurant know before you arrive with a demand to serve you chocolate cake with no chocolate.
Rule number 4: Ask questions, hell even ask to see what the dish looks like but make up your mind and stick to it. The “I’ll just have a garden salad…oh wait…that deep fried chicken giblets look fantastic so bring me a full portion” routine and after 20 minutes change your mind to order the double baked cheese soufflé that has a minimum preparation time of 30 minutes might just get you served up for dinner to your starving dinner companions by the waiter. When the dish arrives, don’t suddenly go “oh no, I didn’t think birds’ brains would look like that” – you made the choice sweetie, deal with it.
Rule number 5: When ordering drinks, especially wine, don’t try to show how high your credit rating with Mastercard is. If you don’t know what to order, ask for a recommendation from the other parties at the table (they are supposed to be friends, family or colleagues) and if all else fails, your waitron or sommelier-in-waiting. Then again, if you don’t like wine, then say so and order your usual It’s-dry-but-you-can-drink-it…nobody is expecting you to turn into a connoisseur just because you’ve stepped over the threshold of an establishment that doesn’t offer a toy with your meal.
Five simple rules to live by, then one rule to bring them all and in the dark recesses of all restaurants, bind them: Don’t be an asshole.
Do you agree with Batonage's 5 rules of dining out? Let us know in the comments section below...
Batonage is made up of 2 very passionate foodies and wine lovers. Read their blog here.