Hello! If you are reading this, you have either expressed an interest in the Haute Plates Industries Series of Guide Books or you are being punished for your negligent life choices. If the former, please enjoy this guide to restaurants and how to interact therewith. If the latter, you got what you deserve, you louse.
Part 1: Restaurants Are People, Too
You have nothing to fear from most restaurants. Much like the common yard snake, restaurants are long and scaly but harmless unless startled. Restaurants are more afraid of you than you are of them, unless you are in a Hungarian restaurant, in which case the restaurant is as confused by you as you are by it. (Pro-tip: Order the goulash, but pronounce it gool-yash.)
Most restaurant employees are human. In the rare instance in which you encounter a non-human restaurant employee, you will most likely be dealing with an orangutan, and you should not make eye contact or wave your arms about wildly. Rely on hand signals; be patient; and if possible, tip with over-ripe fruit.
Note: If you encounter a rodent, this is likely not an employee, and you should not make eye contact or wave your arms about wildly. Tipping is not necessary.
Part 2: Ordering
“Ordering” does not mean what you may think; your patronage of a restaurant does not entitle you to direct the wait staff to perform personal services for you. Here is an example of what to do and what not to do:
DO: “May I have an iced tea?”
DO NOT: “SERVILE HUMAN, SHINE MY FOOTWEAR.”
The former request will result in a cold beverage delivered to your table, the latter in your expulsion from the restaurant. It is a fine distinction, to be sure, but one you would do well to learn.
Part 3: The Menu
Menus are provided for your convenience. You may be tempted to eat the menu, particularly if it bears pictures of food items, but do not be fooled: The menu is not to be eaten unless you are in a restaurant where “modernist cuisine” is being practiced. In this event, you’re on your own. You go right ahead and eat the menu. Eat the table if you want. It’s all up to you; there are no rules!
Most menus in the United States are printed in “English.” If you are not capable of reading English, then you are not reading this.
Menus not only include a list of the food and drink available but also the price you must pay to obtain same. The price usually does not include taxes, a gratuity (tip) for the server, or the money you owe your cousin for that loan you took out in ’09. You should really talk to your cousin. He isn’t happy, and he knows where you live.
Part 4: Manners and Eating
There are many rules regarding silverware and its proper placement, but here is what you need to remember: Use silverware for things that are wet or require more than one bite to consume. Do not use your silverware on your dining companions or the employees of the restaurant.
Unless the silverware is plastic, you should not take it with you unless you think you can get away with it and it’s really sweet stuff.
Once you have placed food in your mouth, it is customary to keep it there. Most restaurant patrons find it convenient to chew and then swallow their food. From that point, it is nobody’s business but yours. Seriously.
Part 5: The Check
You must pay for the food and drink you have consumed at the restaurant. You must do this with currency. In the United States, the “dollar” is legal tender. Most restaurants outside of West Virginia frown on offers to pay “in kind” or “with favors.” When in doubt, clarify this point before you are seated.
On another topic entirely, and this just occurred to Haute Plates Inc., can anyone explain the expression, “A wink is as good as a nod to a blind man”? I mean, Haute Plates Inc. understands that a blind man won’t see a nod or a wink, but what’s the point? In what context would you use that expression? Hey, smart guy, “It doesn’t matter” works just fine. Haute Plates is just saying.
Ahem. Is it hot in here, or is it just Haute Plates? Open a window, maybe?
It is common to leave a gratuity or “tip” for your servers. To calculate the appropriate tip, consult a tip adviser or subscribe to Haute Plates Tip Calculator and Light Industrial Plumbing Company’s “HOW TO TIP RIGHT NOW” newsletter. It is a bargain at any price, but it is particularly a bargain at $17.99 per month. All major credit cards except Discover are accepted. Discover is not a major credit card, and Haute Plates Industries doesn’t care for your opinion on the matter.
Part 6: Leaving
Once you have consumed your food and drink and paid for it, you must leave. Your seats may be comfortable, and the wait staff may seem happy for you to linger, but this is a lie. The wait staff do not want you to linger. They would stab you with your silverware if they could because it is 10:30 and they were supposed to be home an hour ago and they weren’t even supposed to work tonight, you know what I mean? Table seven has gone through 17 glasses of water and sent a salad back three times because there weren’t enough f***ing tomatoes on it, for God’s sake, and now these people WILL. NOT. LEAVE. I swear to God, man, I think this may be the night I snap. We snap, Haute Plates means.
We at Haute Plates Small Mammal Breeding and Motor Oil Co. hope you have enjoyed this Guide to Restaurants and You and that you will continue to patronize our series. Next week: Haute Plates Guide to International Finance and Taxidermy.