- Hosts: When leading diners to their table, it is mandatory to turn your head ever so slightly to ask: “How’s your day been, so far?” This will make the restaurant’s patrons feel like you really care (which, of course, you don’t). 10 points.
- Servers: As you approach the table to take your diners’ orders, it is mandatory that you interrupt their prattle without apologizing. This will put you “in command,” ultimately turning the table over faster and allowing the restaurant to squeeze in an extra seating. 5 points per diner.
- Should you slip into the Standard Server’s Script of 20 years ago and say: “My name is Brittany and I’ll be your server tonight,” deduct 5 points per diner. Instead, it is the Host’s job to say: “Brittany will be your server, today. She’ll be right with you.” Which, of course, you won’t be. Take your time so your new table of diners can work up a thirst. 15 points for each diner who orders an alcoholic drink.
- As the diners make their selections, it is mandatory to say of each: “Excellent choice!” or “Purr-fect!” Knowing they’ve chosen menu items that meet with your approval will boost their self-esteem. 10 points per diner.
- If someone asks: “What would you recommend?” stifle the urge to tell her Escoffier is dead. Just name the second-most expensive thing on the menu, even if you’ve never actually tried it. 50 bonus points if she orders it.
- Midway through the meal, it is mandatory to stop by the diners’ table to ask: “How’s everything tasting, so far?” Rehearse those exact words. Deviations from the Standard Server’s Script will result in demerit points. Once again, the diners in your charge will be impressed by your interest and attention, as if you really cared. 15 points per diner.
- Should a diner make a little moué that suggests a concern about - for example - the steak (i.e., the usual bitches about doneness, tenderness, seasoning, sauce, or temperature ... What do these people expect for $25 bucks?), it is mandatory that you display a moment’s hesitation to allow fleeting bewilderment and pain to flicker over your face. Smile wanly. Say: “If you wa-a-ant, I can take it ba-a-ack …” Zero points if the complainant agrees; 15 points if s/he shrugs and says: “It’s okay!”
- And now, the equivalent of what photographers term “the money shot.” This is the moment when the final coffees have been poured and you present the bill and pretend you are your diners’ BFF - that magic, mellow moment when someone at the table volunteers to pick up the tab. Who will it be? Not that idiot in the worn-out sneakers, you hope. He looks like he doesn’t have a pot to … Aha! It’s the woman wearing the bling! You pegged her as a serious tipper the minute she sat down, so (after your empty but mandatory gesture to the other diners of “Who’ll do the honors?”) you showed her the wine label and offered her the first sip. Besides, she wants (needs!) to feel the admiration (jealousy!) of her friends when you later glance at her tip and smile: “Thank yo-o-ou!”
The standard technique in achieving a sizeable tip is to feign disinterest as the moron’s pen hovers over the tally. If the wait feels too long, engage her dining companions (and yes, this is mandatory) with the scripted line: “What are your plans for the rest of the day?” This will give the other diners a warm, fuzzy feeling of “bonding” with you as they mumble their answers - thus erasing any memory of the coffees you “forgot” to refill when the stupid cows took too long to eat their lunch.
Then add a breezy: “No rush! Stay as long as you like!” They won’t, of course, because from this moment, no beverages will be refilled and their table will become invisible. Your body language will make it plain that you want them to get outta Dodge.
No sooner has a server-in-training cleared the table than you see another herd of diners trotting after the host, who - without breaking stride - briefly turns to ask: “How’s your day been so far?”
More recipes when I’m able, Dollinks! xox Nicole