As you have undoubtedly noticed (at least our faithful readers anyways) our posts this summer have been less than regular. This is mostly due to the fact that, between Matt and myself, we have been away for a combined month and a half. But our summers have come to a close and things are getting back to normal. Now, during this time abroad, I had the opportunity to dine out at a variety of different restaurants for the majority of my meals. During this time I observed many different situations and scenarios and I feel a discourse is needed on the art of dining out. So, my long lost friends, let’s begin.
Before we jump in, I want to establish some parameters. We are all aware that “dining out” is a very broad term. For the sake of this post, I am going to divide the dining scenarios into two categories: With Kids and Without Kids. As you may or may not know, I am not yet a father so I am not one to offer advice on how to control your little wildlings in a restaurant environment. Matt, on the other hand, is the father of two adorable little bundles of joy and has experience in this department. So, as we pool our knowledge, wisdom, and experience (ok, so it’s probably only enough to fill one of those little kiddie pools you buy at Walmart, but it’s something) we bring you “Man Rules: Restaurant Dining.”
Section One: Dining Without Kids
Ah the peace and tranquility that is dining out without kids. That is until the little nose-picker in the booth behind you starts throwing a fit and screaming it’s adorable (and snot covered) little head off.
Rule #1: Treat the Restaurant Staff with Respect
I can’t help but feel this shouldn’t even need to be a rule. Sadly, I see many people at restaurants walk in and immediately start treating the wait staff as second hand citizens. I have found that 9 times out of 10, the first impression you give to your waiter will directly affect the remainder of your visit. This will also affect how other people in your party interact with you. If you are on a date, don’t try to impress your significant other by acting rudely to the wait staff. That doesn’t make you look macho, it makes you look like a jerk. And no one likes a guys who is a jerk. Except maybe girl jerks.
Rule #2: Tip Well
Ok, I know this is a bit of a hot topic for some people and a lot of folks have very differing opinions on tipping. All I want to communicate is what I believe to be common courtesy. Don’t jump down my throat if you don’t agree. Thank you. That being said, I believe the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM YOU SHOULD TIP IS 15%. Now, if your service is so terrible that tipping 15% seems out of the question, then you have a responsibility (and right) to inform the manager and let them deal with the situation. Please don’t take it upon yourself to lecture the waiter/waitress involved about how they should be doing their job. You probably wouldn’t like it if someone came into your place of employment and starting hammering you about how you are incompetent and unable to perform a simple task (by the way, waiting tables is not a simple task), so don’t do it to someone else.
On the flip side, if your service is beyond what is expected, tip accordingly. I have a checklist that I keep in mind throughout the dining experience that determines if the staff will be tipped more than the measly 15%. Things like keeping my glass filled, clearing the table as dishes are finished, bringing the check quickly, etc.
Rule #3: Don’t Displace Frustration
So, sometimes I think people don’t understand what waiters/waitresses do. I can’t even count how many times I have overheard someone yelling at their waiter because their food was not cooked to their exacting standards. Please remember WAITERS DO NOT COOK FOOD. So when your steak that you ordered medium-well with sautéed onions but no mushrooms and only a little pepper and seasoning with the fat already cut off and an umbrella stuck in it because you feel exotic today doesn’t come with the right colored umbrella, DON’T YELL AT THE WAITER.
Basically fellas, just remember your manners. Oh, and make sure your girl sits first, but that another post for another day.
Section Two: Dining With Kids
Ah children. So cute, so fun, so smelly, so covered in snot (seriously, how do heads and noses that small contain that much snot. I will never understand). Dining out with children is a completely different and foreign experience to me. So I have deferred to Matt for insight on some rules for the situation.
Rule #1: Order the kids food first and ask that it be brought out as soon as it is ready.
Kids are terrible eaters. Seriously, have you ever watched a two year old try to eat? It’s disgusting. AND IT TAKES FOREVER! So, to help with the time crunch and the low patience levels of children, order their food first and ask that it be brought out as soon as it is ready. This helps keep the peace with the kiddos and may actually mean they eat before they start serving breakfast the next day.
Rule #2: Don’t fill kids cups all the way.
Kids spill stuff. ALL THE TIME. I don’t know if I have ever been at a table eating with kids where something wasn’t spilled. To help with this, ask the waiter not to fill their cups all the way. If they have kids cups with lids, even better.
Rule #3: LOTS OF NAPKINS
Kids are messy, “spilly,” snot factories that completely destroy table settings in a matter of moments. Ask your waiter to being extra napkins from the start in order to help combat the wrecking balls that are your children.
Now, for the sake of time and your eyeballs, we are going to close this post here. There are many more rules I would like to discuss, but I think we will save those for another time. But we would love to hear from you, our readers, about what you think we should include in our next Man Rules post. What are those things we have unspoken rules about that maybe it’s time they were spoken? Let’s hear it!