400,000+ MEMBERS POLL REVEALS WHAT DINERS CAN DO TO HELP ELEVATE THEIR DINING EXPERIENCE
FoodandWine.com partnered with Culinary Agents asked chefs and restaurateurs at the top of their game what restaurant guests can do to help make their nights out the best they can be—for everyone involved. Here are the highlights from the poll:
Since most reservations are made online these days, personal connection and human touch is missed. Communicate your needs/special requests in the NOTES section! Special occasion? Love a specific table? Vegetarian? Most venues love to accommodate and elevate a guest’s experience as long as they are provided the opportunity to.
JUST COMMIT ALREADY
Again, since most reservations are made online, it’s easy to cancel last minute or just not show up. Reservations actually mean the restaurant is holding a table for you which stops them from seating other guests there. You wouldn’t say yes to a private dinner party at someone’s house and just not show up, would you? Show the same courtesy to restaurants. (Tip: No-shows 4x or more in a year from your OpenTable reservations? You may get suspended as a diner from OT!)
JUST GO WITH THE FLOW
Try leaving yourself in the hands of the restaurant team once in a while (or like us- all the time!). Trust us when we say if the staff is really into something, you’ll genuinely enjoy experiencing that on a different level. Chef has a new dish he’s trying out? Seriously, get it! Chances are it may be your favorite dish from the night!
Don’t recognize the wines on the menu? Ask your servers for suggestions and trust them! In the event they are unsure of what to suggest, they’ll get someone knowledgeable from the team to help you make a decision.
SHARE SPECIAL REQUESTS
Allergies? Restrictions? Vegan? Vegetarian? Tell the staff ahead of time! It gives them time to plan a great experience for you. Call a restaurant ahead of your reservations (or leave a NOTE during your online reservation) and explain your requests. Just not a fan of peanuts vs. allergic to peanuts? Specify! So that cross-contamination isn’t an issue in the case of the latter.
FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK
Weren’t a fan of your dining experience? Share during the evening or right after on-the-spot. Leaving reviews (while they are helpful for other diners) can really damage the reputation of the venue. Above all, you aren’t allowing the restaurant team the benefit of real-time feedback and the opportunity to revert your negative experience into a positive one. Trust us, disappointing a guest is the chef’s worst nightmare.
We shouldn’t be stating the obvious but— don’t hit on, flirt with, or touch the serving staff inappropriately. Don’t be that guy. Or that girl.
PARTY WITHIN LIMIT
Friend of family member in your party over indulging? Help the restaurant staff out and step in. Telling someone to chill on their alcohol intake comes a lot easier when it’s from a friend or a family member vs. the restaurant staff. Plus, you’re saving that friend some public embarrassment.
MIND THE CHILDREN