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Etiquette for the satisfactory fine dining experience

Poll Results: Should the hearing impaired and/or disabled guests be banned from the fine dining restaurants?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 0% (0)
    Yes
  • 53% (8)
    No
  • 26% (4)
    Legally disallowed, I live in a country that forbids discrimination
  • 6% (1)
    Yes; if not for the stupid law that prohibit discrimination, I (we) should have the inalienable right to 86 anybody off my business property for displeasure
  • 6% (1)
    No; if circumstance warrants, the specific guests must be informed with urgency to meet the strict expectations or be subject to 86
  • 0% (0)
    On the fence
  • 6% (1)
    Full compliance to etiquette is critical to receiving the good service. What discrimination? Tough life!
15 Total Votes  
post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am new to the web site ChefTalk. I am employed within the restaurant industry.

 

I have the question(s) regarding the etiquette for fine dining for the host/hostess and guests.

 

If this post isn't appropriate for this forum, please direct me to the specific forum or thread that discuss the etiquette at length with specific questions answered.

 

Allow me to explain my inquiry on the etiquette for the positive fine dining experience and certain improper items -- that should be consciously aversive -- which could negate the fine dining experience.

 

As far as I know, booking and attending the fine dining establishment is a privilege with the set of strict rules, to be enforced by not only the executive chef and his sous chefs, but also the wait staff noting the appropriateness of the behavior of the diners, even if nuanced and slightly oblivious to certain rules.

 

The rules are uniformly unwritten, so it would be expected for the fine dining customers to have the knowledge, besides the appropriate dress code. The common dress code is usually smart casual. 

 

Rarely do certain restaurants, such as the few exorbitantly priced restaurants in New York City, require highly refined clothes, complete with the jacket wear requirement.

 

I found the following pages that might help explain the following listed etiquette:

 

The Top Ten Rules of Fine Dining (Listverse)

 

The Urban Etiquette Handbook (New York Magazine)

 

Restaurant Tipping Guide (Fine Dining Section; iTipping.com)

 

My understanding is it is assumed that the host or hostess is solely responsible for the party's behavior, in addition to his or her action, as the collective guest at the fine dining establishment.

 

I have learned the meaning of the restaurant industry slang term, "86."

 

I'm sure you know what this means. When the chef says "86 that [person]," he or she is summarily banished from ever visiting the fine dining establishment again, for lifetime likely, for failure or not being able to conform to the unwritten rules.

 

My understanding is the usage of the term is dependent on the temperance of the chef after being notified by the wait staff (waiter or server), perhaps buttressed by the "observant" front house manager and/or hostess (booker/cashier) supervisor, of the guest and/or the host's party's behavior that might appear rude.

 

The definition of "rude" is as follows, in no particular order, and one word or all words may be applicable:

 

1. Uncultured

 

2. Uncouth

 

3. Condescending (patronizing towards the waiter and/or server assistant to denote assumed superiority, perhaps)

 

4. Ignorant

 

5. Acrimonious (especially towards the fumbling or interrupting waiter in silent presence, perhaps)

 

6. Oblivious (towards the specific and perhaps obscure fine dining rules which could be construed as disrespectful)

 

 

Here is the hypothesis.

 

Imagine, for a moment, when the hearing impaired diners, the party of two (acquaintances, dating or married couple), four, or more, arrive appropriately dressed for the occasion at the fine dining restaurant, with the knowledge of most fine dining etiquette?

 

Imagine the hearing waiter who is assigned to the table of the deaf persons, whose preferred mode of communication, other than verbal conversation, is sign language that is (perhaps "very") expressive?

 

Assuming the hearing impaired diners observed good manners by learned experience or reading the etiquette list referenced above. Read the menu considerably, look up to the waiter with eye contact, and point, with the index finger, to the menu selection for the choice, or speak out loud in intelligible speech at normal decibel.

 

Yet, after serving two courses over the course of an hour or two, the hearing impaired couple or party is denied the dessert after the order, because the hearing waiter -- perhaps unfamiliar with and ignorant of the deaf culture and linguistics -- has complained to the back of the house (the 'master' chef and assistant chefs), claiming the deaf couple or party is rude by conducting the communication in sign language that appear "too" expressive.

 

What happens thereafter is the deaf couple or party will be discomforted and impatient, awaiting the dessert and the waiter's attention (unreasonable wait). They had been ignored by the waiter who see them in view, yet continue serving the other tables. Even after the host or guest raised the index finger, politely with eye contact. 

 

The couple or party is not informed by the waiter, front house manager, or hostess supervisor that their behavior, comprising the utilization of sign language that seems expressive but do not emit any noise whatsoever, appears rude, which angers the back of the house when the waiter enters to state the allegation of rude behavior.

 

Consequently, following the waiter's complaint in allegation -- perhaps reaffirmed by the observant front house manager and the supervisor (perhaps also ignorant of the deaf culture and linguistics like the main waiter), the chef states the verbal order to make the couple or party leave by voluntary resignation through the pressure of inordinate wait time followed by the bill payment with a tip proportionate to the service. Or, in the extreme (hypothetical) case, expelled by pressure by physical contact or insistent verbal directive, forced to pay the bill under the watchful eye of the front house manager and the supervisor, and then summarily banned? ("86'd")

 

Let's assume the hearing impaired couple or party indeed comply with the dress code and conducted themselves reasonably according to the etiquette by self-education.

 

Yet they receive the improper, substandard or negligible service simply because they communicate using expressive sign language, which emit inaudible or silent sound, which might be (mis)construed as rude that purportedly violate the unwritten code that "absolute politeness" is an essential component of the fine dining experience with the decent or superior wait service?

 

The last detail is that the back of the house with the crucial staff -- the chefs -- feel insulted to the point of, for the lack of expression, murderous rage by the alleged rude behavior of the hearing impaired couple or party, based on the statements of the otherwise presumptuous and ignorant waiter, manager, and supervisor as the collaborating reporters.

 

Here's the non-hypothesis. The above happened recently, supposedly.

 

To the point, the conformance to the fine dining rules, unwritten or implied to be informed by experience or helpful instruction, is essential to the enjoyment of the experience as one of the highlights of our lives, as the guests.

 

Perhaps it should be made clear that absolute politeness in verbal communication and behavioral rigor, in addition to the etiquette outlined in the web site references, will make the experience happy and vital, without denial of service or deliberately slow service.

 

Maybe the deaf (and disabled) people who rely on sign language as the means of communication should be banished as the matter of policy, in explicitly stated posted notice or silent code, from every fine dining establishment.

 

But there might be the problem with certain laws in certain countries that prohibit discrimination, especially the United Kingdom and U.S., regarding the treatment of certain guests on the business property. I.E., the fine dining restaurant governed by the owner or executive/master chef & sous chef(s).


Edited by KitchenBoy - 10/2/12 at 7:58pm
post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenBoy View Post
I have the question(s) regarding the etiquette for fine dining for the host/hostess and guests.

I never did find the question in the post; but to be honest, the post was a bit long for my attention span. What was the question?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 32
Quote:

Originally Posted by KitchenBoy View Post.

Imagine, for a moment, when the hearing impaired diners, the party of two (acquaintances, dating or married couple), four, or more, arrive appropriately dressed for the occasion at the fine dining restaurant, with the knowledge of most fine dining etiquette?

 

Imagine the hearing waiter who is assigned to the table of the deaf persons, whose preferred mode of communication, other than verbal conversation, is sign language that is (perhaps "very") expressive?...

 

Yet they receive the improper, substandard or negligible service simply because they communicate using expressive sign language, which emit inaudible or silent sound, which might be (mis)construed as rude that purportedly violate the unwritten code that "absolute politeness" is an essential component of the fine dining experience with the decent or superior wait service?

 

 

My apologies, I found them I think. I still don't quite see questions though, however I can imagine waiting on hearing impaired guests as I did so numerous times during the years when  waiter was my profession. Never was a big deal because the guests were not new with being hearing impaired and therefore were quite adept at communicating with their hearing waiter who went about his job like he did with every other table of guests in the dining room. It was always a non event.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #4 of 32

It is my opinion that the basic premise, "As far as I know, booking and attending the fine dining establishment is a privilege with the set of strict rules, to be enforced by not only the executive chef and his sous chefs, but also the wait staff noting the appropriateness of the behavior of the diners, even if nuanced and slightly oblivious to certain rules." is wrong, hence the discussion is "rude" in accordance with all attributes of "rude" presented in the original posting.  But that's just my opinion so...

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KitchenBoy View Post
I have the question(s) regarding the etiquette for fine dining for the host/hostess and guests.

 

Quote:
I never did find the question in the post; but to be honest, the post was a bit long for my attention span. What was the question?

 

I am sorry for the length of the post.

 

The question is, should there be the rigid enforcement of etiquette against certain diners by the threat of 86'ing, especially hearing impaired couple or party, that might be construed as impolite just for using sign language, albeit in mildly exaggerated expression that might offend or concern the otherwise ignorant waiter, who will report the claim of rudeness to the back of the kitchen that cause the wrath to rise, being presumptuous based on ignorance?

 

I would think based on where the country is, especially the United States with the federal law Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that might be the cause for the legal action against the fine dining establishment for alleged discriminatory treatment, speaking rationally.

post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

It is my opinion that the basic premise, "As far as I know, booking and attending the fine dining establishment is a privilege with the set of strict rules, to be enforced by not only the executive chef and his sous chefs, but also the wait staff noting the appropriateness of the behavior of the diners, even if nuanced and slightly oblivious to certain rules." is wrong, hence the discussion is "rude" in accordance with all attributes of "rude" presented in the original posting.  But that's just my opinion so...

 

You may assume what I said is wrong, but from my experience, going to the fine dining restaurant is a privilege, by conforming to the proprietor's and the executive chef's "unspoken" rules.

 

Your attitude is presumptuous and prejudiced, hence dismissive, which is rude. Just my opinion, so...

post #7 of 32

What you propose is a basic lack of human decency.  If the deaf people were flailing their arms in animated conversation and knocking candles over, then there may be a safety issue.  If they were unwashed, then perhaps a hygiene issue (but that applies to all people, deaf or otherwise).  If they are just plain unattractive, why not kick them out too?  Is it better for business in a fine dining establishment to only allow rich good-looking people with straight teeth and well-coiffed hair who use neither cane nor walker and can communicate verbally in the native language to dine?

 

Why not 86 diners who meet all of your criteria but fail to extend their pinkie finger whilst drinking their cup of tea?

 

Perhaps a bit of waiter education is in order so the waiter is a bit less ignorant.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenBoy View Post

 

You may assume what I said is wrong, but from my experience, going to the fine dining restaurant is a privilege, by conforming to the proprietor's and the executive chef's "unspoken" rules.

 

.

 

You are correct.  It is the customer's duty to serve the restaurant.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #9 of 32

I am confused by this thread.

I don't understand the premise.

Are you implying that people with disabilities, the bad and ugly should be barred from fine dining establishments?

 

I can't imagine the concept.

 

Those deaf people were simply communicating. 

I agree the FOH needs more training.

post #10 of 32

...

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

 

You are correct.  It is the customer's duty to serve the restaurant.

 

mjb.

That's right -- NO SOUP FOR YOU!

post #12 of 32

KitchenBoy, no offence is intended, but is English your first language?

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Mano, yes, English is my first language. Why do you suppose my writing style to be? Stilted and strangely worded?

Have you met certain chefs whose written English is subpar?
post #14 of 32

This is so funny.

I just lost my appetite!

post #15 of 32

Pardon me

post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kippers View Post

Pardon me

If you say that in sign language you'll be asked to leave the forum.  lol.gif

post #17 of 32

This entire post sound like they are being served by either an untrained waiter or a complete jackass. In any civilized restaurant they would be treated as any other guest and if not the restaurant   would be open to not only extreemly bad publisity but probly to civil litigation and in some countries to potential criminal libalities. Also I've read the links and nothing there  applies in this case.  Also, a restaurant is there to accomadate it's patrons, no to discrimanate against against it's patrons.

post #18 of 32
[quote name="KitchenBoy"

When the chef says "86 that [person]," he or she is summarily banished from ever visiting the fine dining establishment again, for lifetime likely, for failure or not being able to conform to the unwritten rules.[/quote]

Dang man, that's worse then the Soup Nazi.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenBoy View Post
. When the chef says "86 that [person]," he or she is summarily banished from ever visiting the fine dining establishment again, for lifetime likely, for failure or not being able to conform to the unwritten rules.
 

In some scenarios the term "fine dining establishment" could be construed to be an oxymoron.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #20 of 32

It can be scary to think what some might view as fine dining.

oxymoron is right......

 

Petals

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Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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post #21 of 32

You owe me 5 minutes (rounded up) of my life back....

 

Please send the un-tabulated funds to my unwritten address at the best speed that can not be mentioned ASAP!

 

WTF?

 

KitchenBoy what the hell are you smoking?

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #22 of 32

Can you please translate that into sign language?

post #23 of 32

Something happened at work today that made me go "HMMMMMM."  

I think that this thread is a good place to put it because it is right up the alley.

 

The guest who has no restaurant etiquette and is ignorant of food.

I wish these people would just stay home, or at least, get a darn clue.

 

Today I had a luncheon for 15 guests. I served wood grilled bistro steaks on a crouton with Napa Cabbage Slaw and French Fries.

I used a strip loin devoid of all fat and silverskin, and cut them into 1/2": steaks

Of the 15 out there, 2 of them take their steaks medium, the rest....medium rare. I knew this before hand.

The steaks all came out to temperature, but then why did 4 of them, including the one I took the extra time and effort to make sure it was, in fact, medium, send them back to cook some more?

I looked at all 4 steaks in good light. Those suckers were spot on.

What gives?

Why do people do that?

Is their definition of medium rare different then mine?

I mean no offense here, but it seems, women are more likely to send them back then the guys.

Guys are here for free food and beer, they don't care about the food as long as there's a lot and the beer keeps flowing.

Women not so much.

There....I'll step down now.  I just wanted to get this off my chest and go on with my day.......Thanks

 

For the young people here on the forums just starting out in the culinary world....all I have to say is that our jobs would be so much more enjoyable, of it weren't for the customers.  :)

post #24 of 32

What gives?  Well, I suspect that most folks who really like their steak well-done are embarassed to ask for it that way.  Many have been shamed enough already... so they ask for "medium" and then either don't enjoy it or complain.  That's what I think gives.

post #25 of 32

agreed...

 

more signs saying happy to cook it well -done  would help.

 

... even more importantly being able to cook a steak well-done and not having it come out saw-dust dry would be a better solution.

 

... far too many places can't cook a well-done steak done well just because they are hung-up on it.

 

 It can and has been done... well and well-done it just takes a bit more time.

 

I always see an order for 'well-done' or 'done' as a challenge ....

 

.... it's up to you line cooks to meet that challenge!

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

agreed...

 

more signs saying happy to cook it well -done  would help.

 

... even more importantly being able to cook a steak well-done and not having it come out saw-dust dry would be a better solution.

 

... far too many places can't cook a well-done steak done well just because they are hung-up on it.

 

 It can and has been done... well and well-done it just takes a bit more time.

 

I always see an order for 'well-done' or 'done' as a challenge ....

 

.... it's up to you line cooks to meet that challenge!

While I agree with your statement....it pre-supposes that the customer is intelligent enough to know the difference

post #27 of 32

Huh.  Is this a real life scenario?  It's a non issue to me.  Take care of your guest the best you can.

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

While I agree with your statement....it pre-supposes that the customer is intelligent enough to know the difference

Although I find it a bit annoying when waitstaff "reminds" customers with a questioning and/or admonishing tone what the implications of "doneness" request means... it is good because it assures that they know what they really want.

post #29 of 32

The customers know what they want, they sometimes use the wrong words.  If their idea of medium rare is our idea of medium then we should try and match up what they're trying to say with what we are providing to them.  Politely and with respect of course.

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan View Post

The customers know what they want, they sometimes use the wrong words.  If their idea of medium rare is our idea of medium then we should try and match up what they're trying to say with what we are providing to them.  Politely and with respect of course.

Very well said.

 

Something that quite a few 'professionals' should take on board!

 

(printing this thread and taping it to the office door in the morning ~ you'll be famous!)

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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