It’s a scenario that every patron is painfully familiar with: you’ve been sitting in a restaurant for close to half an hour and your order still hasn’t been taken. Trying to flag down the wait staff proves futile — it’s as if they have a blind spot when it comes to your table. Instead of stewing in your rapidly dwindling stomach juices, try calling the restaurant’s phone number and politely inquiring what the hold up is. You’ll be surprised by how quickly service picks up.
Snooty patron picture from Shutterstock
I did this entirely by accident on the weekend during a dinner date with the wife. After being summarily ignored by the wait staff for a good 30 minutes, I tried to call a friend on my smartphone and accidentally dialed the last recorded number. This happened to be the restaurant we were sitting in.
Instead of disconnecting the call, I identified myself as a patron in the restaurant and asked why tonight’s service was so slow. Within 30 seconds, our waiter appeared as if by magic, complete with a sincere apology.
Now, I’m not suggesting you do this when a restaurant is clearly run off its feet — that’s just rude and likely to result in brusque, testy service (and maybe some spit in your food). But if you’re being ignored for no good reason, it can be a highly effective strategy. Getting the maître d’ involved means that the chain of command has been compromised, and they’ll be sure to let the wait staff know about it.
This is less awkward or confrontational than getting all up in the waiter’s grill — and you don’t even have to leave your chair. If you’re paranoid about retribution, make the call covertly; doubtlessly half the other patrons will also be on their phones, giving you the perfect cover.