Monday, April 4, 2011

How to get really, REALLY, good service at a restaurant.

I hate shopping, and that’s how this idea came about. The main premise though, for you readers who don’t actually like reading, is to act like a secret shopper while not revealing that you're actually not a secret shopper.

*Paper and pen
*Small camera
*Rigged Geiger counter
*Checkered flag
Obscene entitlement
Extra cash/room on your credit card

*Or use your cell phone, they have apps for everything these days.

Step 1: Act entitled/Don’t ever look flustered.

As a fake secret shopper it’s assumed that you are all powerful. You hold the restaurant, all its employees and their futures, in the palm of your hands. So act like it. Chest puffery, ironic eyebrow raising, and a monocle are all appropriate. Do you like using fake accents? Now is the time to bust one out. Don't forget to grab at least five business cards from the hosts' stand. It's best to wink and smile at the host while pocketing the cards.

  Me, "Ello gov'na. Beeeeeoootifoool noight we'a av'n tooonoit. Tis' O, tis' isn't it!"
Host, "How many for dinner?"
Me, "Two there lil' paaardner."
Host, "K."
Me, "Oopsie poopsie daisy, I seem to have dropsy wopsied my monocley in your generally manageries businessy cardsies. I'll takey ten."
Host, "Please take a seat, we'll be with you in a moment."

Step 2: Judge EVERYTHING as they seat you.
Me, "The seat in this booth looks like it was punctured by a saber toothed tiger-child. Do you keep saber toothed tiger-children here?"
Host, "Sorry, what?"
Me, "Never mind." Picks up a single crumb from the table and hands it to host. "I believe THIS belongs to you?"
Host, "Ummmm...thanks..."
Me, "You're very welcome."

Host, "Your server will be with you in a moment."
Me, "Thanks."
Step 3: Ordering
To avoid being stabbed upon leaving the restaurant you should order lots and lots of food, or medium amounts of food and lots and lots of alcohol, or both lots of food and lots of alcoholic beverages. I prefer various flavored margaritas, but you take your pick.

Step 4: Swan around the restaurant, and remember that you own the joint.
This step is pretty self explanatory. After ordering, ask your server to point out where the restroom is, and wander off in another direction. It's imperative that you do not return to your table until you've circled the entire restaurant, paying special attention to the kitchen, and visited the restroom. Prepare various scenarios for each area of the restaurant. For example:
At another patron's table -
Walk by their table nonchalantly. Stop. Double take. Return to their table. Cover your mouth and dry heave a little. Let sweat bead up on your forehead by holding your breath, and grasp the side of their table for support. Crawl away crying softly.

ACRKAP (As close to the restaurant's kitchen as possible) -
Throw your voice as though it's coming from the machine and repeat as quickly as possible, "Click, click, click, click, click, click." Take a breath and repeat faster and louder, as servers walk by, "clickclickclickclickclickclickclick."

Exiting the restroom -

Me, "What kind of person abandons their baby in a public restroom!"
Step 5: Get the food
When the server returns repeat their name as many times as possible while you thank them for bringing the food so quickly. If you can't remember their name make one up. Exaggerated winking is appropriate at this time.

Step 6: Eat the food
This step may be challenging. Eat as fast as possible, using proper dinner etiquette of course. Ideally you should finish your entire meal while the server is tending to other tables, and before they can return to ask you how the food tastes. Stand on the table, and wave your checkered flag joyously as soon as you finish. Also, do you know how to crow? If yes, then do so now. You can crow when you finish your meal at the restaurant too, but isn't it fun to crow while you read?
Step 7: Tipping
Tip your server very, very, very, very, very, very well. They've probably undergone enough mental anguish, torn with uncertainty about your true identity and purpose, to injure both of their kidneys irreparably. 

Step 8: Returning to the restaurant
Feel free to visit the same restaurant over and over again. With these tips, and any other subtle secret shoppery hints you think of on your own, you should always have good dining experiences.

Bon Appétit!


  1. Not going out to eat with you ever again!

  2. Fair enough Anonymous. I'll wave our checkered flag twice as much for you.