Author Topic: When should server begin clearing off the table?  (Read 10576 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10289
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2014, 02:04:24 PM »
Different countries do things differently. I really don't think that "I'm not used to this" means, "This is a terrible system." They're just different. In the US, unless you're in a nice restaurant (where there's a reasonable chance that both the patrons and the servers will know and use the formal signals and etiquette), it's really best to just communicate with your server what you want. No need to become enraged if they do things differently than you like. It's possible that the table before you just reamed them out for not doing exactly what you are getting angry at them for.

Great post.

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 14224
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2014, 02:07:19 PM »
Different countries do things differently. I really don't think that "I'm not used to this" means, "This is a terrible system." They're just different. In the US, unless you're in a nice restaurant (where there's a reasonable chance that both the patrons and the servers will know and use the formal signals and etiquette), it's really best to just communicate with your server what you want. No need to become enraged if they do things differently than you like. It's possible that the table before you just reamed them out for not doing exactly what you are getting angry at them for.

I agree.  But any server who takes my plate, without asking, while my fork is still in my hand, deserves any reaming s/he gets, no matter what country you're in.  I would think 'fork (or chopsticks) in hand' is a pretty universal signal for 'I'm not finished, yet.'
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4117
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2014, 02:12:02 PM »
Well one thing I don't understand is to remove a plate that still has food on it without the signal or without asking. Honestly, even if the plate is completely cleaned of food, I'd rather they ask but if they don't, well, ok. But if there's still visibly edible food on it, they really need to ask.

And here is the case where I find it particularly egregious. Salads are served. Five minutes go by so there's no way I've finished my salad yet and here comes the main dish. Well, not only is that bad timing by the server and/or kitchen (I don't know whose fault it is and don't care, it's still bad service) but now, they want to remove my salad plate without asking me first.

That's the kind of service that makes me not want to return to that eatery ever again.

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10289
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2014, 02:16:09 PM »
Different countries do things differently. I really don't think that "I'm not used to this" means, "This is a terrible system." They're just different. In the US, unless you're in a nice restaurant (where there's a reasonable chance that both the patrons and the servers will know and use the formal signals and etiquette), it's really best to just communicate with your server what you want. No need to become enraged if they do things differently than you like. It's possible that the table before you just reamed them out for not doing exactly what you are getting angry at them for.

I agree.  But any server who takes my plate, without asking, while my fork is still in my hand, deserves any reaming s/he gets, no matter what country you're in.  I would think 'fork (or chopsticks) in hand' is a pretty universal signal for 'I'm not finished, yet.'

That is ridiculous, and it's happened to me, too.  :o

Tabby Uprising

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 451
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2014, 02:45:30 PM »
Well one thing I don't understand is to remove a plate that still has food on it without the signal or without asking. Honestly, even if the plate is completely cleaned of food, I'd rather they ask but if they don't, well, ok. But if there's still visibly edible food on it, they really need to ask.

And here is the case where I find it particularly egregious. Salads are served. Five minutes go by so there's no way I've finished my salad yet and here comes the main dish. Well, not only is that bad timing by the server and/or kitchen (I don't know whose fault it is and don't care, it's still bad service) but now, they want to remove my salad plate without asking me first.

That's the kind of service that makes me not want to return to that eatery ever again.

I had a server do that once, but it was my wine glass he whisked away!  There was like an ounce left  :(   My husband and I instantly looked at each other in humor-shock.  It was such a no-no in our eyes, but it was kind of funny in a way too.  And no, it wasn't a case of being cut-off.  That was my only glass the entire evening   :)

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13145
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2014, 03:15:42 PM »
The buffets where you HAVE to get a clean plate off the stack by the food for each trip to the steam tables (in the USA, the health codes will require a clean plate for every trip to the buffet to minimize cross contamination issues) - stacking the used plates at the end of the table where the staff can clear them as they come by to refill glasses is a good idea, it keeps the plates that you want to have cleared where they are easily picked up AND you can ask for a refill or more silverware, if you need it (toddlers have been known to drop silverware on the floor) or get more catsup for the fries....or something.

Some buffets, you pay as you go in, some of them you pay as you leave - but the tipping at the buffet is more along the lines of a dollar (or so) a person (more if the toddler leaves a swath of destruction behind them) - depending on how long you were there, the rules at that place (a true self serve place where you get your own drinks, too - there may be a sign asking that NO TIPS be left - or a tip jar at the cash register to avoid the cash being tossed as the staff clears quickly). 

Money in the trash isn't always seen & retrieved to be "laundered" (joke - but with some truth to it - bills and coins are amazingly "dirty" if you test them). 

If it isn't a buffet - it can depend on if there is enough staff to handle the work load or if someone called in sick (or car break down, weather, etc.) and left them short handed for the day...how much service you get....

An overwhelmed staff won't be refilling your drink, bringing more lemons or catsup, and similar things that add up to better service.  Much less picking up plates, asking if you want dessert, paying extra attention to see if you need anything else, or bringing your check to the table quickly.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5721
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2014, 03:17:34 PM »
I prefer that all dishes be taken at the same time, BUT I also make sure to time my eating such that the meals end at the same time.

It's fairly unconscious. The only time I remember really doing it was when my boss had invited a potential new student for lunch. We could either order or choose the buffet (one trip only I think). The ordering was done at a window at the buffet, so it wasn't obvious what everyone  did.

We sat down and only the new student had ordered food. I remember being rather hungry but eating super, super slowly so when the new students meal showed up 10 minutes later, he wasn't eating alone.

(He joined the lab, we became friends and years later attended each others weddings)

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4117
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2014, 03:29:40 PM »
Well one thing I don't understand is to remove a plate that still has food on it without the signal or without asking. Honestly, even if the plate is completely cleaned of food, I'd rather they ask but if they don't, well, ok. But if there's still visibly edible food on it, they really need to ask.

And here is the case where I find it particularly egregious. Salads are served. Five minutes go by so there's no way I've finished my salad yet and here comes the main dish. Well, not only is that bad timing by the server and/or kitchen (I don't know whose fault it is and don't care, it's still bad service) but now, they want to remove my salad plate without asking me first.

That's the kind of service that makes me not want to return to that eatery ever again.

I had a server do that once, but it was my wine glass he whisked away!  There was like an ounce left  :(   My husband and I instantly looked at each other in humor-shock.  It was such a no-no in our eyes, but it was kind of funny in a way too.  And no, it wasn't a case of being cut-off.  That was my only glass the entire evening   :)

Oh, they better not take my wine glass away before I'm done! Oh man. Not a good idea. 'Nuff said.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9961
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2014, 04:07:05 PM »
Different countries do things differently. I really don't think that "I'm not used to this" means, "This is a terrible system." They're just different. In the US, unless you're in a nice restaurant (where there's a reasonable chance that both the patrons and the servers will know and use the formal signals and etiquette), it's really best to just communicate with your server what you want. No need to become enraged if they do things differently than you like. It's possible that the table before you just reamed them out for not doing exactly what you are getting angry at them for.

Well said.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1921
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2014, 04:21:44 PM »
Australian here, and I really dislike servers that hover or even those who check that I'm enjoying my meal too often. I don't mind sitting there with an empty plate, constantly coming in to take plates seems as if you're trying to rush me out the door, same with giving the bill too early.

If I can't find a server to give me the bill and we have to go, DH and I will approach the register ourselves as it's the most direct way. Why don't people do that if they want to leave?

Harriet Jones

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6771
  • Yes, we know who you are.
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2014, 04:24:21 PM »
Australian here, and I really dislike servers that hover or even those who check that I'm enjoying my meal too often. I don't mind sitting there with an empty plate, constantly coming in to take plates seems as if you're trying to rush me out the door, same with giving the bill too early.

If I can't find a server to give me the bill and we have to go, DH and I will approach the register ourselves as it's the most direct way. Why don't people do that if they want to leave?

Sometimes there's no register to approach. 

dawbs

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4456
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2014, 04:26:29 PM »
Australian here, and I really dislike servers that hover or even those who check that I'm enjoying my meal too often. I don't mind sitting there with an empty plate, constantly coming in to take plates seems as if you're trying to rush me out the door, same with giving the bill too early.

If I can't find a server to give me the bill and we have to go, DH and I will approach the register ourselves as it's the most direct way. Why don't people do that if they want to leave?

Around here, there's often not a register.
There's a hostess/host stand up front (which may or may not be manned at any given moment) and in some places there's a register there, but at least as often, you give things to the waiter who deal w/ receipts and cash and the like at the POS computer which is often NOT accessible to customers (heck, sometimes it's in the kitchen or office area).

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31342
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2014, 04:28:15 PM »

This is what I would expect and what typically happens.  Even if some people are still working on their meal, the server usually asks if they can clear up any plates...


Re: the bolded phrase:
Famed restauranteur Danny Meyer forbade his servers to use that term. Nobody is "working on" their meal at his restaurant! It's not a chore, he says.

Ever since I read that, I've really hated that phrase.

Katana_Geldar

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1921
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2014, 04:29:19 PM »
There usually is a register at places I've been to, unless it's high end. Or, you order and pay at register and leave whenever you like, food is still brought to you.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31342
Re: When should server begin clearing off the table?
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2014, 04:30:34 PM »
There isn't always  a register, in my experience, but if I can't catch my waiter's eye, I just stand up and go to the front, wherever the maitre d' is, and wait for my check there.
   It may make the server look bad, but that's not my problem.