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by Leena Saini


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May 2016
Top 8 Restaurant
Etiquette Tips

Syndi Seid, International Speaker, Trainer, Author and Founder of Advanced Etiquette, is a leading expert on international business protocol and social etiquette, based in the San Francisco Bay area.  Her next program is on Successful Entertaining and Formal Dining, on Sunday, June 12 at the Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur, CA. Participants will learn the ins and outs to entertaining and learn how to navigate through a formal European Style 9-course dinner, accompanied with tastes of wine (with vegetarian options by prior request).  See for complete details and registration.

Here are Syndi's Top 8 Restaurant Etiquette Tips:
  1. Call to cancel a reservation. A restaurant's biggest pet peeve is when someone makes a reservation and doesn't show up or contact them to release the reservation. If you remember only one tip from this list, it's to always call the restaurant if you need to cancel your reservation. It's the right thing to do.
  2. Call when you are late. The second biggest pet peeve is when the guest is late and the restaurant has given away your table. Almost everyone has a cell phone these days, so you have no excuse. Call the restaurant no later than the time of your reservation to let them know-out of courtesy-you'll be late and to please hold the table for you. Restaurants will give your table away after 10-15 minutes if they don't hear from you.
  3. Waiters and the restaurant are not your servants. Always treat waiters with respect. Don't order the staff around in a tone that's unbecoming of a well-educated, kind, and gentle person. Begin each request with a "please" and end with a "thank-you."
  4. Don't be a picky eater. What annoys waiters and bothers me is to be with someone who asks lots of questions about how several of the dishes are prepared, and then tells the waiter to instruct the chef to cook it in certain ways. Unless you have allergies, if you aren't there to enjoy the chef's creations and restaurant's cuisine, stay home and cook. Dining at fine restaurants means enjoying the chef's "art," like going to a gallery or museum.
  5. Leave disagreements for later. While at the restaurant, never allow a situation to become heated. Keep your cool and enjoy the company of the others at the table. There's nothing worse than having the "taste" of an argument  linger throughout the evening. If you have a grievance or complaint, make note of the staff person's name and call the manager immediately afterward. Making a scene while still at the restaurant is unpleasant for everyone.
  6. You don't like the food or wine. Do you send it back? The trend today, especially at high-end restaurants, is not to send food or wine back just because you don't like it. If your medium-rare steak arrives well done, you might mention it when the waiter asks. However, keeping it allows your business lunch or dinner with friends to flow smoothly, without the disruption of waiting for your replaced dish to arrive.
  7. Leave an appropriate tip. The trend again in medium to high-end restaurants is to provide a minimum 18 to 20% gratuity for services, including for wine. This amount encompasses the intricacies of food preparation, ambiance, and the level of care and service provided by multiple staff members. A 15% tip is still appropriate at inexpensive restaurants. Do remember, only tip on the subtotal.  If you tip on the grand total you are tipping on the tax.
  8. Thank the wait staff. When it comes to saying thank-you to servers and other staff, do so at any point during the dining experience and especially as you leave. This is the perfect time to share your comments about how much you enjoyed the service, the food, and other experiences. Doing so often carries more weight than the big gratuity you left.
All the best in food, wine, and travel.
Happy May,
Sally Bernstein 
Sally's Recommendations

As wet salts grow in popularity, Peugeot introduces a Wet Salt Mill with an exclusive new 100% ceramic mechanism. Patented specifically for wet salt, it is the first to offer a high quality and more consistent output, with a new anti-clogging spiral system. It is fully adjustable from fine to coarse by turning the knob, for unprecedented ease in grinding wet salt. The ceramic mechanism contains no steel, which eliminates the risk of corrosion.  The body of the mill is stylishly shaped from high-quality acrylic with a contoured twist. Available in natural and chocolate colors.  Click here  to order.  $35.00 to $40.00 

Lawer Estates is a boutique, family-owned California winery.  Their Rose of Syrah is produced by the classic method for rose production by pressing whole clusters of Syrah grapes and then fermenting the clean juice at cool cellar temperature. This produces a beautiful light salmon color wine with fresh fruit notes of apples, spices and flowers. Their other wines include Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah.  Click here  to order. $22--$56/bottle 
Order  before Mother's Day on May 8 and you'll be doing Mom a favor. Show her how much she is loved and appreciated by buying her one of these three series: S-Series, C-Series or G-Series. Your Vitamix will not only make delicious smoothies but it will also lead you to a healthier and more flavorful life. Click here
to order. $299-$649 
For additional shopping ideas, visit our Shopping Page. 
May Is...

  National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month,  National Egg Month, National Asparagus Month, National Chocolate Custard Month, National Beef Month, National Duckling Month, National Vinegar Month, and Sweet Vidalia Onions Month.

Find daily "May Is" postings on Sally's Place in our The Daily Dish section.