You’re Working, I’m Eating

November 9, 2009 · 2 comments

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We were finishing the main course of our anniversary dinner when our waiter returned. He asked “Are you still enjoying this course, or may I take your plates?” I was shocked: he was the first waiter not to ask me “Are you still working on that?” My unspoken response to that question is “You’re working, I’m eating,” but It didn’t even cross my mind.

I could argue that “Are you still enjoying this course?” could be interpreted as “Have you stopped enjoying this course?,” but I’ll stick with the positive interpretation.

Al of this came to mind after I read “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do,” a two-part feature in The New York Times Small Business section (part 1, part 2). There you can find item 78:

Do not ask, “Are you still working on that?” Dining is not work — until questions like this are asked.

I don’t disagree with any of the rules, and I agree with the author’s qualifier:

I realize that every deli needs a wisecracking waiter, most pizza joints can handle heavy metal, and burgers always taste better when delivered by a server with tattoos and tongue piercing(s).

The only thing missing is a set of rules for dealing with waiters who have Too Much Personality: I’m looking at you, Tony at the Summer Shack.

2 comments

Tina November 10, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Yikes, poor Tony…
but then again, contrary to “100 things”, I like knowing my servers name – albeit in a low key, non up-lift sort of way

David November 10, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Tony was two tables away and we could still hear everything he was saying. It was unclear if his captive audience were friends of his or merely unfortunate victims.

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