Have you ever sat in a restaurant and been embarrassed for a dining companion who treated the wait staff poorly? You can learn a lot about someone—both good and bad—when you go out to eat with them. If he or she treats the waiter like hired help, it’s obvious to me that they have never been on that side of the fence.
I had gone on several business meetings with one associate who I thought was sweet… until I realized what kind of person she really was, based on how she behaved in a restaurant. When we went out for breakfast, she would literally scold the waiters. One day she asked the waiter to bring kosher salt for her omelet. The waiter brought table salt (which has smaller granules), and she said, “No, I told you I wanted kosher salt. Do you know what kosher salt is?” And so he brought another kind of salt, to which she scathed, “This is not kosher salt. Would you mind bringing me back to the kitchen so I can show you what kosher salt is?”
I was mortified just to be associated with her. I mean, really? It’s just salt... Eat the eggs without salt or use the salt you have... crazy! I actually leaned toward the waiter and mouthed “I’m sorry.” The next time we scheduled a breakfast meeting, all I wanted to do was call in advance and request kosher salt for our table because I couldn’t bear to watch another scene like that again.
I can certainly relate to the waiter because I worked service jobs when I was younger. I mowed lawns, delivered newspapers, and swept floors at a flower shop. When I was a room service waiter, I remember being barked at for any little thing. If I was a second late, the guests had a fit.
Pay attention to people when you go to restaurants—whether it’s a diner or five-star restaurant. Watch how they treat a waiter… it says everything. And by the way, if you’re the one being nasty to your waiter, I’d be a bit worried about my food if I were you! If you’ve seen Waiting..., you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s just like that old saying… you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. A smile, a hello, a please and thank you are such easy things to do and say… and they get you so much in return.