‘No Problem,’ ‘Working on That,’ and Other Things Waiters Should Never Say

Photo: istockphoto

Aspiring Hamptons restaurateur Bruce Buschel has now published part two of his list of 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do, and it touches on some things weve griped about before, for instance Do not ask if a guest needs change. Just bring the change. Most of the other edicts are obvious well, except for this one: Do not play brass no brassy Broadway songs, brass bands, marching bands, or big bands that feature brass, except a muted flugelhorn. Ha! Tell that to Sasha Petraske! And: Do not play an entire CD of any artist. Ha again! Dude mustve read our pointer to his first list, in which we recalled Babbo playing Axl Roses entire opus (not that we minded). The rule we love here, though, is Do not ask, Are you still working on that? Dining is not work until questions like this are asked.

Weve heard others complain about this expression, but the truth is that when servers use the alternatives May I clear your plate? or Can I get that out of your way? we often respond, Actually, Im still working on it. True, its an annoying clich, but what else are we going to say Actually, Im still stuffing my fat face? And heres another one weve heard complaints about, from the first half of Buschels list: Saying, No problem is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. My pleasure or Youre welcome will do. Really? The way we see it, No problem just indicates that the waiter doesnt have a problem with making sure your omelette is made with egg whites (because its what theyre paid to do). But is it their pleasure? That expression, it would seem, is the insincere one but then what do we know? We dont get hung up about these things. Except when servers ask us if weve saved room for dessert. So, yes, maybe we do have some pet peeves in this area. What are yours?

100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 2) [You're the Boss/NYT]
Earlier: Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do