Restaurant customers can sometimes be a pain in the behind(yes, that includes you). We complain, we wear a scowl on our face like Armageddon is upon us, we snap our fingers in defiance of common courtesy. But despite all that and more, there are things we expect to take away from every customer experience. And so as a frequent restaurant patron, I hereby declare these 8 universal rule – codified by the hands of time, deliciously slathered with sweet chili sauce, and dipped into the fountain of eternity – that every restaurant should adhere to, regardless of beliefs, race or whether you think pineapple on pizza is a cardinal sin.
1. You have the right to the same level of service no matter what you look like
Let us take two steps back and really take this in. I think as a matter of some human biological inner working – something only a professional psychologist would know – we’ve all fallen into a trap of judging a book by its cover. It happens all too often. Someone walks in dressed in some getup straight out of a 1990s fashion magazine – or their just really carefree – and our minds instantly default to thinking “yeah, I don’t know why but I wouldn’t like him”. Sometimes I just want to feel comfortable in my ragged jeans and creased up, half stained T-shirt. And as a restaurant customer, I’d appreciate the same level of service all the same. Thank you very much.
2. You have the right to receive your dish the way it was ordered
It matters little how obscenely illogical your order was: you’re entitled to be illogical every now and again and eat your illogical order the way it was ordered. Had a hankering for an extra rubbery well-done steak? If the texture came out any less than what you’d expect from eating a shoe, then something is terribly wrong. You’re a filthy human being who should never meet the gaze of a ribeye ever again but guess what? You paid for the meal and you deserve to receive the order the way it was intended – common sense has no place in it.
3. You have the right to not have your food be at the receiving end of a waiter/waitress spite
Sometimes restaurant customers(myself including) are how do you say “less than nice” and sometimes we’re just downright nasty but that doesn’t translate to a phlegm-filled ball of spit smack right in the middle of our order. To be entirely up front, this doesn’t tend to be a recurring theme. But it definitely has taken place before…somewhere, sometime(humanity has been around for about 6000 years). From what I gathered, most servers are disgusted with the whole idea. But since I’m on the side of humanity, let’s all agree that this is certainly Not Cool.
4. You have the right to be received with open arms and feel like your Aunt’s taking care of you
On a busy night – leaning on the side of empathy – waiters are sometimes flustered by the never-ending waterfall of customers streaming and out and having to attend to every one of them does seem to be a recipe for screaming at the top of their lungs, but it’d be greatly appreciated if they’d skate by to give us a passing “I’ll be right back. Just hang on for a minute. Then I’d feel less like a random passerby who happens to find sitting a fun hobby. I swear it’s not a center-of-attention thing. Seems perfectly rational.
5. You have the right to not be engaged in a heated argument over an order
If you’ve ever dined at a restaurant in the last century, you’ve been through this. You specifically asked for your rare tenderloin steak to be cooked, you guessed it, rare and well, the feel of your knife against the steak says otherwise; perhaps, you ordered your lasagna with less hair or even better, no hair. The waiter’s job description at that point is fairly elementary: address the issue accordingly without mouthing off. What is precisely not their job is to offer up a multitude of excuses on whether your complaint is actually a valid one. Answer: It is.
It’s understandable to say that waiters have had their fair share of unreasonable complaints – some of them erring on the side of extreme self-centeredness. But some servers get some worn out by these instances that valid complaints get misinterpreted as ill-will. As a patron, your concerns should be met with a simple fix.
6. You have the right to not be judged for what you ordered
I’m not exactly ordering a bucket of fried chicken with a side of fries to complement my well-toned abs. Sometimes, I just want to let loose and live a little. And all of the time, it’s none of your business what goes into my body. Leave the bad decisions to me. I’m not looking for a life coach.
On the side of rationality, your server, should they feel be inclined, can hint subtly that your order of ice cream with ketchup is a bad idea. In fact, I’d even appreciate their wholehearted attempt to make my order edible. But they shouldn’t push the issue beyond “thank you but that’s how I like my ice cream”
7. You have the right not to receive an unwanted spill
This one’s more of a chance thing. Most customers(that I know of) don’t like surprise curry showers – doubly so if they didn’t pay for such a service. As a paying customer, you have every right for this not to happen – even if it does and it will.
8. You have the right not to be pursued romantically by your server
As far as fairness goes, this applies both ways – the excitable, ego-high “bro” showing just too much affection towards the waitress, who feigns interest to keep the interaction lighthearted – but as a glaring reminder for the on-shift servers, your job description doesn’t involve romantic gestures. That comes post shift.
Conclusion: Restaurant customers are always right – even when they’re not.
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