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December 7-13, 2005

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5 Things to Love

5 Habits of Highly Successful Waiters


By Stett Holbrook

Last week I listed five things waiters do or say that really bug me. Here now are five things they do that I like.

A Speedy Greeting. Even if a waiter at a busy restaurant can't give me his full attention, a quick "Hello, I'll be right with you" shortly after I've been seated goes a long way toward making me feel welcomed.

Good Recommendations. Since the waiter presumably knows more about the menu than I do, I often ask for a recommendation. "It's all good" doesn't cut it; a thoughtful, even opinionated response earns high marks.

Accommodation. Diners can be pains in the butt sometimes with their special requests, but I appreciate it when a waiter does his best to make me happy. That can mean the waiter has to ask the kitchen for a favor, so it makes me feel like the waiter is on my side.

Aiming to Please. If I feel there's something wrong with a dish I've ordered (the fish tastes weird, the steak is overcooked), I don't want to debate it with my waiter. I want it dealt with in a gracious manner. I appreciate the waiter who takes it off the bill and suggests a substitution.

'I'll take this when you're ready.' There's nothing worse than feeling your waiter can't wait to turn your table and fill it with someone else. Dropping off the check with words to the effect of "Whenever you're ready" makes me feel like my waiter isn't trying to hustle me out the door. And it makes me more generous when it comes to leaving a tip.



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