A Note to anyone who owns, works, or frequents eating establishments:
First, let me clarify. Though I am an author (I have eight books to my credit, so I feel confident using that term) and a licensed dental hygienist (educated and licensed in the state of Indiana) I feel I am qualified to write this post.
After all, I eat everyday.
By definition: eat (verb)
1. put (food) into mouth and chew and swallow it.
synonyms: consume, devour, ingest, partake of; gobble (up/down), wolf (down); swallow, chew, munch, chomp; informal guzzle, nosh, put away, chow down on, tuck into, demolish, dispose of, polish off, pig out on, scarf (down)
Rest assured, I'm not new at eating. I'm nearly 50 years old. I have been eating everyday of my life. To explain that further, 49 years and 6 months equals roughly 18,079.5 days. (Since I've already eaten today, we could probably round that up to 18,080 days!
By all standards I'm an expert.
As a said "expert" I feel it is my duty to inform you what is right and what is wrong with eating establishments. Rest assured that I'm confident that MY opinion is shared by most if not ALL people who "eat".
Therefore, I suggest you listen carefully.
1. UTILIZE BUZZERS:
As a patron I find it offensive when you ask me my name upon entering your establishment. That practice is a blatant and inconsiderate offense. By offering you my name aloud and then later having you call my name out to the masses, you are jeopardizing my right to not only anonymity, but you are also compromising my identity.
Any person in the vicinity can "hear" my name which puts me at risk for identity theft.
If this practice is utilized at your restaurant, know that I will remove your place of business from my list of acceptable establishments.
FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR PATRONS PERSONAL SECURITY, UTILIZE THE LITTLE BUZZERS.
And when you hand that buzzer to me, do not request my name; instead, ask me a random identifying question.
Let me help: "Thank you, miss, for your patronage. To identify YOU with this buzzer, please tell me the name of your first pet."
You can see how much better that will work.
Then, if I don't answer to my buzzer, instead of announcing my name to the masses, you can simply call, "Tinkerbell" "Tinkerbell" "Will Tinkerbell party of five please approach the hostess desk?"
Just imagine how much safer your patrons will feel.
2. "NEW" SHOULD BE FREE:
When your establishment dares to try new dishes and recipes, do not expect me or anyone else to actually pay to try these new dishes.
This concept is rather self explanatory. These dishes are NEW! They have not been proven and therefore do not warrant compensation. As a matter of fact, I am doing YOU a favor by "trying" this new dish.
Again I will help you: On the menu you should have an entire section dedicated to "new" items. And next to each one of the items the price should say "FREE."
Now, more than likely, if I like the new item, I will give you positive feedback. However, you can rest assured that if I DON'T like the item, I will let not only you but EVERYONE I know about it.
Even though it was free, I spent MY precious valuable time eating that new dish. That could have been thirty to sixty minutes of my life that I will never get back!
THIS CONCEPT APPLIES TO NEWLY EMPLOYED CHEFS OR COOKS:
If your chef or cook has not "established" his or her self at your place of business, I should not be expected to pay full price for their meals.
The hours spent preparing those meals, the ingredients that went into the meals, and even the additional staff that is needed for things such as serving, cleaning, and the like, are insignificant.
Do NOT expect us "eaters" to pay for their "practice".
3. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE:
Let me explain to you HOW you should all do your job (remember, I am an expert)
1. Greet me upon arrival. (NOT by name!)
2. Seat me immediately (Yes, you may be a popular restaurant and I may not have a reservation, but I'm the customer. I'm always right)
3. Within the first 30 seconds of my arrival to my table I should be greeted by my server. (again, other customers be damned...this is about me)
4. Do not offer me the "specials" with out a free sample. That is just plain rude. You, nor anyone else, can accurately describe the taste of crepe suzette. I NEED to feel it pass my lips, taste it upon my tongue, and enjoy the sensation of swallowing before I could possibly be expected to make a decision.
5. Bring my requested beverage immediately. (And if I'm unfamiliar with one or two beverages on your menu, see #4)
6. Bring my meal promptly.
7. Check back on my "desired happiness" with said meal. After all, if I DNF I will tell the entire world.
8. See #7, don't do it too much--that's intrusive. Don't do it too little--that's inattentive.
9. Remove empty dishes promptly and refill glasses as needed.
10. Managers / Owners: This restaurant is your "baby" you should ALWAYS be available to the patrons. Do not think that your children, spouse, parents, or anything else is more important. After all, if I message you and you do not respond within a suitable amount of time (I'm not telling you that time period...it's a secret. Good luck with that!) then I will NEVER go back to your restaurant. And again, I will tell the world what an ungrateful owner you are. YOU should remember that I was there the year you opened your doors and now YOU owe me!
11. Do sales! Do a lot of sales. I have other bills. I have other restaurants to frequent. Don't expect me to pay full price for what you have to offer, no matter how unique or good it is.
As I disappear for a time into my "writing cave" I want you to know that I will continue to eat. I will continue to go out to eat. That is why I felt the need to set the record straight.
I sincerely hope this post helps everyone...eaters included!
Aleatha Romig ~ expert consumer of food
(The degree to which you are capable of understanding sarcasm will greatly influence your ability to read the true meaning behind this post.)