Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Restaurant Best Practices

So last week I ranted against what drives me crazy in restaurants. But it takes very little to make me happy and want to come back again. The following list is of the those very things that I appreciate when dining out:

    Being made to feel genuinely welcome

    Good recommendations from the wait staff--not "everything here is great!"

    An amuse-bouche or any delicious surprise from the kitchen

    Coat check or a hook where I can put my jacket or coat

    Signature dishes identified on the menu or by the wait staff

    A basket of warm homemade chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant

    Complimentary glass of wine while waiting for a table, especially if I have a reservation and the table's not ready

    Full disclosure on the price of specials

    Reasonable portions of dessert--excess is so passe

    Warm plates--not searingly hot

    Seasonal fruits, vegetables and fish incorporated into the menu selections

    Small plates at smaller-than-entree prices

    Basket of fresh baked goods at breakfast

    A full pitcher of water for the table

    The option of ordering half portions or splitting an order

    Wait staff that anticipates my needs

    No charge for refills on iced tea, lemonade, etc.

    Having my doggie bag packed up away from the table

    Breakfast served all day

    Specials that really are special

    A good selection of tea not just that "brisk" brand

    Not being rushed out the door

    Fresh bread, especially served hot from the oven

    Simple syrup for ice tea instead of sugar

What else are restaurants doing right? Anything you've experienced lately that made your day?