Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pop Quiz

It's time to sharpen your number twos and test your knowledge of the restaurant experience-- from your side of the apron!  There's no time limit and it's open-book;  feel free to consult your notes and neighbors (or favorite server).  An answer key will follow in upcoming posts.

Good luck!

The Diner's IQ Test

1.  You walk into a restaurant, wanting to sit at a table.  Right away, you should:
a.  breeze right past the host stand, the host, and the sign that says, "Please wait to be seated."
b.  reply with a brusque "Two!" when the host greets you with a warm "Welcome!"
c.  not say anything at all-- just hold up the number of fingers to indicate how many people are in your party.

2.  Upon being greeted by your server, it is customary to:
a. stare blankly at her and not respond.

b. continue to look down at your menu and not respond.
c. glance over at the server, turn away, and then start a conversation with your dining companion-- in other words, not respond.

3.  When your server asks if you'd like to start with a glass of tap water, you should:
a. stare blankly at her and not respond.
b. continue to look down at your menu and not respond.
c. glance over at the server, turn away, and then start a conversation with your dining companion-- in other words, not respond.

4.  You madly flag down your server and emphatically say, "We are ready to order!"  The next thing you should do is:
a.  pick up the menu at that moment and begin to peruse it.
b.  say to your dining companion "I guess we should look at the menu.  Are you going to get a starter?  I can't decide between the chicken and the pasta."
c.  ask your server "What should I order?"

5.  When you ask your server for recommendations on the menu, you should respond to her answers by:
a.  making a face and saying "I hate brussels sprouts/ celery/ pineapple/ hot food/ cold food/ food that requires a spoon/ whatever it is you're going to suggest."
b.  making  a face and saying "I don't eat meat."
c.  making  a face and saying "I'm allergic to dairy."
d.  making  a face and saying "That sounds fattening."
e.  making  a face and saying "Ew!  Who eats octopus?  That's disgusting!"
f.  making  a face and saying "I don't eat carbs."
g.  making  a face and saying "I had fish at lunch."

6.  A server approaches your table with searing hot plates burning blisters into her fingertips, and you have your iPad/sunglasses/magazine/forearms resting in front of you where those plates should go.  This provides the perfect opportunity to:
a.  stare blankly at the server and not respond when she says, "Excuse me.  May I set this down?"
b.  say "Right here!" and point at the space in front of you as to suggest that is where the plate should go, except that what you're really suggesting is that you want your pizza on top of your Kindle because you haven't made any effort to move it.
c.  lean further across the table, thereby completely blocking the server's access to the space in front of you, as you continue to tell the person sitting across from you whatever story is so captivating that you can't move yourself out of the way for two seconds, which is twice as long as it actually takes to put down that plate.

7.  Your server is approaching your table of six with both hands and arms filled to capacity with plates.  Before she can even unload the first two dishes on the table, you say:
a.  "Where's my side of spinach?"
b.  (gesturing to someone across the table)  "He ordered the pasta."
c.  "Can I get some salt/ ketchup/ hot sauce/ more water/ a Coke?"

8.  The best thing to do as a server is attempting to refill your water glass is:
a.  grip your glass tightly with both hands and clutch it to your chest.
b.  immediately lift the glass to your lips but take your time drinking one sip.
c.  push the glass toward the server as she is pouring thereby creating a moving target.
d.  cover the glass with your hands not in a gesture of declining more water but as a gesture that you don't understand that your server can't pour water through your hands.

9.  If allergic or averse to certain foods, it is advisable to:
a.  absolutely not tell the server that eating nuts could kill you until the dessert with the pistachios sprinkled on top shows up at your table. 
b.  not predict that in a Mexican restaurant you might encounter cilantro or that in an Italian restaurant you might see parmesan cheese on your dish, and then not let the waiter know that you hate cilantro and parmesan cheese. 
c.  not bother to ask what "pancetta" is, even though it's written in the description of the pasta dish you just ordered, and, being that you're vegetarian, express that the server "should have told" you there was meat in the dish even though the server had no idea you are a vegetarian.

10.  When you are finished, always:
a.  stack your dishes.
b.  put your napkin on top of the pile of plates.
c. hand your plates to the server, then hand her your utensils, so that she has to grab the blade of your knife or the tines of that fork you've been eating with.
d.  move the plates and utensils around on the table as she's trying to pick them up.

11.  If you find hat you have left your table in disarray, you should:
a.  use your hand to brush off the table so that now the floor is all covered with bread crumbs, stray pieces of pasta, and the chunk of tomato that fell off your plate.
b.  use that napkin that you've been wiping your filthy, germ-ridden mouth with to brush off the table so that now the floor is all covered with bread crumbs, stray pieces of pasta, and the chunk of tomato that fell off your plate.
c.  lean with your forearms on the table when the server comes by with a table crumber  to wipe your table, and when she says "Pardon me" as she tries to maneuver around the upper half of your body, don't budge.

12.  If you are dining with a young child, of, say, highchair age, it is best to:
a.  most definitely not acknowledge or apologize for the fact that you've left behind a 2-foot radius of food detritus around the highchair.
b. use the dining room as a playground, allowing your child to run up and down the aisles while the servers, juggling plates of food and balancing trays of drinks, dodge your toddler.
c.  absolutely, under no circumstances, take your howling, screeching baby out of the earshot of every other diner (and staff person) in the restaurant.

13.  You should always:
a.  ask for another fork, plate, or napkin and then not use it.
b.  ask for more water when your glass is still full but ask in that way that makes it sound like your server has been neglecting you.
c.  ask for a refill of coffee or another glass of wine by pointing at your cup or glass, preferably with a grunt for emphasis.

14. If you are in a rush to make it to a movie, the best time to tell the server is when:
a.  you have exactly 45 seconds to ask for the check, pay, and leave.
b.  while you are impatiently waiting for your second course, which your server timed to come out after your first course because you ordered two courses, not one.
c.  after you've ordered the thing on the menu that takes the longest to make, not that you would know how long it would take, though you did know that you needed to be somewhere.

15.  When the check comes:
a.  hide the credit card or cash under the check or in the check presenter so that the server cannot tell if your payment is ready, and then become increasingly impatient when no one comes to take your payment.
b.  take both copies of the credit card receipt with you, so that if you've left a tip on the credit card, the server has no idea what it is and cannot enter that amount into the computer system, thereby losing the tip altogether.
c.  try to pay with an American Express card but then find out that the restaurant doesn't take American Express, and then get angry at the server, and then leave her no tip because you think the restaurant should take American Express, and utterly fail to realize that the server doesn't make those decisions and would take your stupid American Express card if she could.

16.  Servers notice and truly appreciate when customers say "please" and "thank you."
a.  true
b.  false

Congratulations!  You've made it to the end!  Stay tuned for the answers in upcoming posts.


Anonymous said...

Stacking plates? Is this really bad. I do it. It's the mother in me. Should I stop. I'm honestly trying to be helpful.

vanessa vichit-vadakan said...

all (including plate stacking) will be revealed in the answer key...