The Gray Line Tour: Let’s all have a good time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2002


I like going out to dinner. It’s an occasion for me, and I like to dress up and look sharp (hopefully) and go with my wife and see her dolled up and we go out.

It’s a nice feeling to step into a ritzy place, all dressed up and realize that all these people are there to serve me and do everything they can to make our visit enjoyable.

However, the experience at dinner can make or break an evening.

Here’s a few helpful hints for “wait staff” or whatever politically-correct term is current.

First of all, after we’re seated, make sure we have our flatware, napkins and a menu promptly. I can’t remember the number of times we’ve sat down in a plush restaurant and there’s no fork or there’s no menu within a reasonable time. Yes, I would like a drink, but first I’d like to see what you have to eat.

Then, once we do have our menu, try and give us a glance some time within the next half-hour to ascertain if we’re ready to order. Usually, a good five to 10 minutes may do it, depending upon the length of the menu. A multi-page menu takes a little time to absorb; not everyone is a regular.

Listen attentively to our order. There are strict definitions as to “medium” and “well-done.” If I order a well-done steak and my meat is still mooing, I will send it back immediately.

Once we get our order, give us a minute or two, then ask if we need anything else. Sometimes, steak sauce would be nice.

When it comes to asking about dessert, don’t do the hard-sell. If we’re taking a go-box, there’s a reasonable chance we’re full and don’t want dessert.

Finally, bring us our check before we finish eating, and return PROMPTLY with our receipt and/or change.

Nothing roasts me more than to send my credit card away and have to wait a half-hour or more, so we can get out of there.

You don’t need any of the trendy tricks used to boost your tips. Simply be polite, attentive and prompt.

To me, good service will equate to good tips. I’m a pretty good tipper, usually 15 percent but often 20 if I see the wait staff is busy. I’m a pretty understanding guy.

Just serve well.

<strong>LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur. He may be reached at (985) 652-9545.