- train my staff to say 'Certainly, Madam,' or 'This way, sir', or 'I'll just ask the chef to make sure, sir,' 'Okay', 'That's fine, or just 'Yes' - anything other than 'No Problem.' Worst of all are those who manage to say it several times while taking one order. I would make clear that 'No Problem' is a three-strikes-and-you're-out offence. Possibly with a punch in the face.
- fire on the spot any waiter who addressed my customers as 'you guys'. Particularly if they are over 40, or if the waiter is young enough to be their offspring. Unless those customers say 'can I get' when asking for what they would like, in which case you can call them anything you damn well like.
- insist that my staff take twenty minutes or so each evening to actually find out about the stuff that's on the menu, so they can answer simple questions like 'What flavours of ice cream do you have?'
- teach the staff that when middle-aged people have a liqueur after dinner, they are having a liqueur after dinner, not 'doing shots'. Last night, when I asked for a Sambucca, the waiter asked my dinner companions if they were 'doing shots as well'.
- make sure they know the difference between a small wine glass, a small sherry glass, a liqueur glass, etc.
- get the chef to put the main item of food on a plate, with the vegetables in serving dishes if necessary. Not arrange the main item on a large oval plate with the other items in daft little pots all round it. Last night, one of my friends was given his chips in what looked like a miniature basket from a deep fat fryer, placed on his plate. Is it so hard to just empty them out? Or was the basket supposed to look cute/stylish/trendy? Masterchef has a lot to answer for.
- not change the whole menu for the sake of it, so that people who have eaten there six months before and loved it, find that there is nothing even vaguely resembling anything they ate there last time.
- have something on the menu for non-meat eaters apart from one not very interesting pasta dish (okay, okay, I should have found out first).
On the subject of stupid things some people say, my friend Amy who was with me last night is a vegan, as am I, but we are keen not to be a pain in the arse about it; we will, thus, eat vegetarian if out, because otherwise you have to find vegan restaurants, which is inconsiderate towards the rest of the people you are with who maybe fancy the odd prawn or sauce with butter.
We also agree that if we going to someone's house for dinner we will tell them we don't eat meat or fish, but will not expect them to cook special dishes for us (for instance, if they are serving fish, potatoes and vegetables, we will just not have the fish), and certainly won't insist on non-dairy. In other words, we will eat what we are given.
Amy (who is a trendy young thing, but thinks for herself instead of latching onto every trendy-young-thing buzzword) told me that some TYTs who adhere to this way of thinking call themselves 'flexitarians'.
I understand 'flexitarian' can also mean eating meat sometimes, and dairy/fish, etc, whenever. And there was me thinking that consuming a varied diet according to what one fancies/what is available was normally referred to simply as 'eating'.