Tonight I went to a hot restaurant to have wine and snackies with coworkers. Overall it was lovely, but there were a few moments with our waiter when I wished I could pull him aside and whisper a few pointers. Not that I'm a know it all. It just this: I've been on both sides of the table plenty. There was a year in my life a while back when I waited tables full-time after college at a four-star place. After I got done feeling intellectually superior and above it all, I realized the experience might have some lessons to teach me. So I learned them. Even now, they're still true and serve me well:
1. Assume your guests are knowledgable out of the gate. Listen, if you talk down to your diners (or clients or whomever it is who is buying from you) right from the start you'll most often come off as a pretentious ass. Because believe it or not, most people who enter your realm really do know a thing or two about it. The rest who don't will be obvious soon enough and you can adjust to them.
2. As a guest in your care, I'm trusting you to give me a great experience. So don't let it be boring. A little charm and hedonism will go a long, long way. Make eye contact. Smile. Flirt with the ladies. Flirt with the men. Describe your favorite things. This is no place for reserve. Enjoy it.
3. When a few women sit down for drinks and snacks, don't write them off as a cheap table. You need to maximize the opportunity that's sitting right in front of you. See #2. The extent to which you embrace this truth will be reflected in the total tab and the tip. We could even be your new regulars. And wouldn't you be lucky?