The Hostess 10 Commandments:
1. Thou Shalt Not Seat Thyself
Seating yourself directly refers to walking and and just picking whatever table you like. Seating yourself indirectly means a hostess is "seating" you, but really you call the shots. I wish I had a dollar for every guest that has decided they didn't like the table I was taking them to (or sat them at) and wanted another one. If the hostess puts you there, it's for a reason, deal with your issues and sit down and shut up!
2. Thou Shalt Specify Up Front
If you want a booth rather than a table, say so before the hostess starts taking you to a table. If you want to be in a certain place, by a window, away from the window, away from the bathrooms, etc., then tell the hostes that before she sits you down. So many people have come up to me, after they'd been sitting at their table for a while, and asked to sit somewhere else because of such-and-such. I grin and happily (or so appear) take them to another table. When I get back up front, where they can't see my face, I'm frustrated because they didn't tell me what they wanted to begin with and just expected me to read their minds and magically take them exactly where they wanted to sit.
3. Thou Shalt Assume The Hostesses Know What They Are Doing.
If there is a wait, but you see open tables, it is understandable to ask why the tables are open, but not understandable that you demand to sit down and not wait because you see open tables. If there are open tables but the hostesses have a wait list going, there are several possibilities. The first is that the kitchen is backed up and food is coming out late and wrong, in order to minimize mistakes and help the kitchen catch up, the hostesses may be on what is called a "kitchen wait". There is no shortage of open tables, but seating them will cause the kitchen to become even more backed up, causing even more problems with even more guests who are now very hungry and impatient. Another possibility is that the hostesses have the open tables assigned to other guests on the wait, it's just that they haven't sat them all down yet.
4. Thou Shalt Not Be Curt or Uncivil.
Being rude to the hostesses gets you nowhere, it may (in some restaurants) get you food with *special* ingrediants. It's not a very good idea to tick off someone who has acess to the food you are about to eat. If your kids have you especially irritated, that's fine, take it out on your kids, not the hostesses. The hostesses are doing their best to get you a table that will make you happy (mostly because they don't want you coming back and bugging them, but also because it's their job), there is absolutely no excuse to be rude to a person who has been nothing but sunshine and daisies to you since you walked in the door. One rude customer can ruin the rest of a shift, no matter how many nice, friendly, and funny people come in later.
5. Thou Shalt Call Ahead With Large Parties.
If you have a party of 8 or more, pleae call ahead. I cannot stress that enough. People walk in with parties of 25 and expect us to automatically have space for them (we're a small restaurant, we really don't have accomodations for parties like that) and then get impatient and even rude when we tell them they'll have to wait so we can put them at tables together. I've had parties of 20 or 25 walk in during peak hours on a Saturday night (between 6 and 9) and want to know how long ti will be. When I tell them at least an hour, they walk out. Now had they called ahead, had we had some notice, we would have been able to better prepare for a party that size. Those parties were spur of the moment, "hey let's hit a restaurant" ideas so the people didn't have the brains to think that it's dinner time on a Saturday night and that any restaurant they went to would make them wait, no matter the size.
6. Thou Shalt Not Lie, Thou Shalt Not Say 8 or 9 And Thy Grande Total Be 15 or 22
This is another thing that I can't get through people's heads (mostly because I'm not allowed to confront the guests or yet at them). They think that if they give us a lower number, we'll be able to seat them faster than if they give us the real number. Then, when the rest of their party starts trickling in, they start stealing the tables around them to accomodate their growing party.
7. Thou Shalt Be Happy Where The Hostesses Seat Thou
This is pretty self-explanatory and ties in with some others. If the hostess can't seat you where you want (i.e. all the booths are full), be happy you at least have a table. If a booth gets cleaned off 20 minutes after you sit down, don't ask to go sit in that booth, just stay where you are and be glad you at least got a table right away because the people who are going to that booth probably had to wait 20 minutes for that booth to get up and cleaned.
8. Thou Shalt Not Be Angry With The Hostesses Because Thou Art Late
"This happens every time we come at this time!", that's an easy one, then don't come at this time stupid! If we're not on a wait when you call, and don't take your name, then we're on a wait when you arrive, and this happens "every time", either come later or come earlier genius. Leave a half an hour later than usual, that way, when you call, the restaurant will be on a wait and you can put your name on the list, cutting down your in-restaurant wait time. Or, leave a half an hour earlier if possible, that way the restaurant won't be on a wait at all when you get there. Honestly, it's not rocket science people! Another thing, if you're in a semi-large party and you give an arrival time to the restaruant, show up at that time, or earlier. I've had parties that didn't come in until a half an hour after they told us they were coming and we had given their tables away because we figured they were no-shows. Don't sit in the parking lot until the time you gave the restaurant either, just come in and let them know that at least one member of the party has arrived, even if some places will only seat the whole party. It's still better for them to know that the party is coming and not no-shows.
9. Thou Shalt Not Blame The Hostesses For Thy Own Incompetence
Just the other day, I was taking a family of three and a high chair to a booth (just like they wanted I might add), when they see the booth I'm heading for, the dad goes, "No, we'll be too cramped there, can we have that big booth over there?". I say "sure" and take them over, knowing full well that two adults and two kids fit very comfortably in that "cramped" little booth I was originally taking them too. Heck, four adults fit comfortably in those four-top booths. So I sit them in the six-top booth that he had picked out (boy do I wish all the six-tops had been taken or that the last six-top was going to a party of six that had come in just after this family) and they seemed happy, for five minutes. Probably five minutes later, one of the servers (not the one who I had sat this family with) comes up and asks who's section they were sitting in. I asked why, and she said that the guy was really rude and wanted to know if she was their "waitress" and where their "waitress" was because they wanted their drinks and if their "waitress" was sooo busy they didn't want "her" (it was actually a guy that was serving that section) and why would "SHE" (meaning me, who had been all smiles to them) seat them with a server who was busy? I was like, "Ooooh, no, no, no. They are not blaming this one on me. I was taking them to a server that wasn't busy, I was taking them to a server who could have had their appitizers by now, but nooooo, 'We'll be too cramped there, we want that booth, I'm a bloody moron, blah, blah, blah'." I really wish I could say what I'm thinking to guests without getting fired for it...
10. Thou Shall Be Polite and Friendly
Have you ever noticed how much better your day goes when you're in a good mood? Have you ever noticed that if you're happy and friendly to people, they usually smile and are friendly back? Don't you get better results that way? Doesn't it make everything more laid-back and easy-going, in a good way? The same thing applies when you walk into a restaurant. Just because they work in a restaurant does not make the employees any less a person than you or anyone else. Being polite and friendly just makes everyone's day that much better. Restaurant employees catch so much crap all day long (from guests and other employees), it really is refreshing for them to talk and interact with someone who is nice and friendly. You can just brighten someone's day with just a warm smile and friendly "Hi there, how are you today?" and ruin someone's day with a scowel and a "I called ahead, I shouldn't have to wait, give me a table, let me talk to your manager!". How would you rather be remembered in some random employee's blog, as a friendly regular who the hostess just loves talking to, or being chewed out by what the hostess you were rude to with all the things she didn't say while she just smiled and took the crap you dished out?