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How not to Lose Customers and Alienate Diners – A minor guide to not-so-fine dining

vodk He quietly shows your ample party of seven to a miniscule table for three during those packed happy hours. He neglects to pull out the chairs for the ladies but hovers around you to make sure that the complimentary ladies-night vodka shots are in fact being enjoyed by the ladies and not passed around to boyfriends, under the table(Rude Juhu, Please note).

He takes your order for the virgin avatar of your favourite drink with a straight face but does little to hide his grin as he places the beer pitcher that your friends ordered, right next to your very gay and very pink fruity bliss (complete with a bendy straw). And just as you guzzle down the grenadine-syrup lave at the bottom of your glass, he steps on to the counters and breaks into the YMCA. And for those glorious four minutes and forty eight seconds, he has made your day.

Sure the Hard Rock waiters groove real good to them, but they are no Village People. They can pop, lock, b-boy and mix a mean Iced Tea (both Long Island and virgin) – They are every bit a part of what we call the ‘complete’ dining experience.
While HRC quality servers are a dear rarity, there are a few expectations the much-frequented joint in your neighbourhood can meet. For instance, it will take restaurant managers exactly three minutes to explain to their servers what a closed plate looks like (It’s a fork and a spoon resting parallel to each other across the diameter of a plate. The crossed fork and spoon indicates the need for a second helping). This is important so that they don’t whisk away your plate while you politely wait for a serving.

Also, dessert may be ordered with the main course but is always served at the end of the meal – Five Spice, Saki Naka should allocate the title ‘Mission Impossible*’ to the waiter who kept shoving the ripe and luscious pudding at us while we laboured over the Five Spice noodles. We helplessly watched our Rocky-Road* melt into a slushy culvert by the time we got to it. And it doesn’t take catering school training to learn that it’s rude to start clearing plates while other members of the party are still eating.

Minor glitches aside, it’s the little extra that makes you want to keep going back – The Chocolate Sprinkle art on top of your Cappuccino foam, that look of acknowledgement reserved for frequent diners and the willingness to remember regular orders without need of repetition. The noble craft of serving can be rendered lucrative for those willing to shine on and sweep off more than just tips.

PS – A memorable name always helps. For instance, it must be providence that a man named Rhythm ends up at a place like Blue Frog. And no, his brothers are not named Bass and Lead (We did ask and were subject to a very blank response).

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