The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2016

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4  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2016 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR IN CHIEF In a recent New York Times article, famed restaurateur Danny Meyer listed his five least favorite phrases of service-speak. These are examples of annoying clichés waitstaff are often guilty of saying— usually without thinking or even waiting for a response. I thought it might be useful to circulate this list to the restaurant professionals who read THE TASTING PANEL in hopes of improving the dialogue between service people and customers: "How is everything?" This is usually said as the ser- vice person is speeding past a table he/she has ignored for a while. In most cases the perpetrator doesn't wait for an answer, but just keeps on moving. No need to answer. The expected response is most likely going to be "Fine." "Are you still working on that?" First of all, the implication that eating is "work"—like digging a ditch or fixing a carburetor—is insulting to the food and to the chef. It is also a swipe at your table manners, BTW. What happened to enjoying a meal? It should never be "work." "No problem." The pat answer to just about any request. Maybe you want to communicate your willing- ness to do anything requested, but the message is "If I think of it and if I have time." "Are we enjoying our [insert a dish]?" I didn't know that dining at this restaurant was a shared experience between the customer and the server. Did you bring your own fork or are we using the same one? "I have a little gift from Chef." He stopped everything in a busy kitchen to craft a special amuse just for you. I also have a bridge you might be interested in buying. And here's one of my own: "Can I get that out of your way?" The implication here is that you are like a hyperactive six-year-old who is flailing about, knocking plates, silverware and glassware in every direction. Let me move anything that is breakable out of harm's way before you make a mess. Waitstaff need to treat customers in a personal, atten- tive manner. It's important to communicate to the diner that you are truly invested in making certain they have an exceptional experience. —Anthony Dias Blue The Service-Speak Hall of Shame

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