Restaurant Protocol in the Digital Age

Over the years, I have watched as shows like Master Chef, Come Dine with Me, Kitchen Rules create an unparalleled interest in TourofFoodieHomefood, whether it is cooking at home, entertaining friends or going out to a restaurant. I’m naturally interested in watching people whilst I am out and about and restaurants are no different.

So it came as no surprise when an article came out this week about a restaurant absolutely perplexed as to why they were receiving complaints when they were increasing staff, training and decreasing menu items to improve kitchen efficiency. Their dilemma was frustrating but the reason was surprisingly simple … Read the Article here.

I’ve seen it, been guilty of it and judged people for it. What is appropriate restaurant protocol?

Restaurants seat you as quickly as possible, have a vested interested in providing good food and service and moving you on efficiently and happily. Covers are critical to many restaurants and they hope to seat the table at least twice in a shift to cover costs and hopefully make a profit.

Any delays, issues or unreasonable behaviour can cause headaches.

  1. Make a booking and make sure you let the restaurant know of any allergies/intolerances/vegans/vegetarians/breatharians!
  2. If the number in your booking changes, let the restaurant know as far ahead as possible (some may put on extra staff to accommodate a large table)
  3. Arrive on time with your whole party (meet earlier for drinks nearby so you all arrive together)
  4. If you are running late, call the restaurant and let them know with a quick call (trust me it helps)
  5. Feel the need to do some selfies with your friends? Do it outside the restaurant a few minutes before you go in to avoid delays and interruptions to other diners.
  6. Order your drinks straight up and ask for any specials immediately.
  7. At this time, I always ask if it is ok to photograph the food, usually it is all OK, but the restaurant may not like it if you suddenly start photographing everything!
  8. Use the time after to decide on your selection, by the time your drinks arrive you can place an order and get chatting uninterrupted.
  9. Wait for a lull in service before asking the wait staff to take photos, it can be very stressful in the middle of service, no matter how lovely and polite they are
  10. At the end of the meal, be mindful of the next seating and move on at a reasonable time (maybe that nearby bar?).

Now that shouldn’t be too hard right?

Put the phones down and enjoy each others’ company.


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A passionately positive foodie who loves travelling the world and experiencing what the best chefs in the world have to offer. Based in Sydney, Australia, Mookie also loves to dine locally and uncover great restaurants, chefs and food combinations with her #foodiemookie crew.