Throughout my life, I have eaten out more than most people. I’ve eaten at most restaurant’s in Georgia at least once, as well as every fast food place that I’ve seen. Throughout my years of dining in and getting takeout, I’ve watched people. I’ve seen my share of mistakes at these eating places, and by customers as well. Throughout that time I’ve been able to identify a specific set of restaurant rules for customers, fast food staff, and restaurant staff. A basic set of rules that are very easy to implement, but if implemented successfully would almost guarantee perfect experiences wherever you go.
There are of course situations where it won’t help, but I’ve formed these rules after watching how these places operate, and how customers respond to certain things. Below I’ve taken a few minutes to list out these rules for Restaurants (staff, and patron) and fast food places (Cashiers, servers, and customers as well). I have a strong feeling that if any customer implemented these basic rules every time, and if fast food chains started enforcing these as rules.. then it would change the customer experience a great deal. I feel if any individual food chains started implementing a basic set of rules, and got their employee’s very serious about enforcing them… then it would change the way customer service is done in the fast food and restaurant industry.
The rules are simple and easy to understand, and as such are listed out in bullet point format below each one. Sometimes these rules are hard to follow. Especially if your in a bad mood. With that being said, it’s never too hard to spend a few minutes being polite to someone else, especially if it’s your job. Same for customers.
These are just my opinions, and a few things that I’ve noticed which would make a drastic difference in how people interacted with each other in the fast food, and restaurant business.
Basic Restaurant Rules set
General rules – All roles and situations
- Be polite
Restaurant Rules – Waiters
- Approach new parties within 5 minutes of them being seated, unless your in the middle of something. If your busy, stop by for a second to let them know you’ll be with them shortly.
- When you take orders, double check to make sure it’s correct.
- Always record the orders on paper. I’ve seen some waiters and waitresses who never use paper, and memorize it all. However, we are only human and there are strong chances of things being missed. You won’t find very many who use this method, and get 100% accuracy on all orders. At the very least, writing it down gives the customer more peace of mind.
- Visually check tables (from a distance is fine) every 10-15 minutes for basic stuff. If drinks are running low, top them off. If someone had alcohol, and they get low, offer another. If you see a shortage of silverware, napkins and so forth them bring them. Basic stuff like this can go a long way.
- Without any customer direction, never go more than 20 minutes without checking in. Sometimes though customers are having important, and private conversations. If you feel this might be the case, ask them how often they would like you to check in with them.
- Always quality check everything that comes from the bartender, or kitchen. Make sure drinks are right, alcoholic drinks are right, double check all food that it’s right and to the specifications requested. Double checking should be a general trait that happens every time. Compare the food to the original order receipt each time. Anything that is off, take it back and have it redone. If you have a concern, and aren’t sure deliver it to the customer and check with them on a specific thing (Is the meat too hard, is it too this, or whatever).
- Triple check everything with allergies. At each table, ask if anyone is allergic to anything. If they are, triple and quadruple check. Go above and beyond pertaining to anything with allergies. Most places require managers to step in for such orders as well. Always do everything you can to ensure this is a non-issue.
Restaurant Rules – Customers
- Always leave a tip of around 15% with smaller parties. In large parties (10+) I recommend giving tips around 20% at least. It seems like a lot… but the horrible truth is most restaurant servers make crap pay, if any. Literally around 90% of their income, comes straight from tips.
- Be up front and honest about your allergies. They wont’ know unless you tell them.
Fast Food Rules – Servers
- Always repeat back the order in grave detail, before accepting payment (whether at drive through, or at a counter).
- Double check orders before delivering them to the customer. Even if things are busy, double check every order with a mental check list. Even if it holds up the line slightly. It’s better for a slight delay initially, than people coming inside or going through drive though again when things are wrong. I worked in fast food for awhile. Even when it was very busy, as long as everyone is paying a decent amount of attention, it takes microseconds to mentally review an order before passing things out the window.
- If straws are behind the counter, or it’s drive through always give one straw per drink WHEN The drink is provided. Instead of putting it in the bag, or giving it afterwards. For each drink you pass, including a straw with it as well. This guarantees no mismatch between straws and drinks.
Fast Food Rules – Customers
- Speak a little louder than normal, slowly, and clearly when speaking through a drive through speaker system. Most aren’t built very well, and can be hard to hear on the other end.
- Have payment method ready when you get to the first window.
- Ask them to repeat the order exactly, to double check. If there’s anything they’ve forgotten in the past, remind them at the first and second window to double check it. Especially if they are busy.
General Common Sense
Keeping these restaurant rules in mind is primarily only the beginning. There are a lot of common sense things that I didn’t cover here. The food is a two way street that deserves respect all around. It needs to be from both the people ordering and receiving food, to the people taking orders and preparing food. The world has a lot of restaurant chains and even more fast food places. There are a lot of various things to enjoy, so have fun and treat each other with respect.