I sometimes get frustrated by slow service. It especially irks me in upscale places where I think I'm paying for quality, efficient service. Is it okay to gesture to waitstaff or should I only communicate with facial expressions?For all the bumptiousness that New Yorkers like to accuse San Francisco
waiters of, service here is pretty damn good: same food knowledge,
less stiff formality. In the case of the rare waiter who seems to bump my
table down to number 47 on his or her priority list, my own
approach ― which I'd say works in three minutes or less 95 percent of the time ― is
to escalate my appeal for attention.
The vast majority of waiters in high-end restaurants respond the moment they spot a facial cue. On the first try, I look at them
expectantly, as if I just thought of a joke they need to hear. On the second try, I raise my eyebrows and look slightly stressed, as if I've just realized my movie is about to start or my water has just
If the waiter looks at me directly and then ignores that clear call, I
then attempt a rebuke: I crane my head to look around. Yes, I know!
Bold stuff, craning the head. But it's not for the waiter's sake ― it's
a message to the front-of-house manager. In any restaurant where the
waiters earn enough to make their student loan payments, any manager
seeing a customer looking around should rush to the table to find out
Now, if I've spent more than two minutes imitating the Marx
Brothers, wiggling my eyebrows and rolling my neck, only then will I go papal.
E-mail your questions to Jonathan.Kauffman@SFWeekly.com.
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