You’d think that setting the table wouldn’t that difficult of a task, but often times, when I hear my friends complain about a poor dining experience, it often has as much to do with not getting very simple basic things at the table as it does with the quality of the food and service. Think of it this way: the table is your last chance at a first impression. Customers see a busy lobby area or a hectic hostess struggling to keep things organized, they might get put off, or they might think that if the place is this busy, it must be good. If the table is organized and aesthetically pleasing, it might help keep them around.
First off, break down what you need at the table at all times. The obvious would be silverware (forks, knives, and spoons) for each person at the table. There should also be a glass for water for each (though that might come when they order their drinks), plus any other important items like salt and pepper shakers, napkins, maybe even sweeteners or sugar packets if they order coffee. Depending on the type of restaurant you are, you may have extra items at the table. Fine dining restaurants, for example, will have extra silver options. The table is also an extension of your theme, so if you have a Japanese restaurant, it would serve to reason that you’d have chopsticks at the table as well as conventional silverware.
As far as the placement, that’s really up to you as the restaurant manager/owner. If you want your silverware to arrive in a bucket, cool. If you want a plate of butter instead of a couple of pieces, awesome. If you want a bucket of peanuts waiting for your customers to snack on, then you’ll have at least one loyal customer with me. Feel free to get creative, but no matter what, make sure whatever you do fits with your theme. I wouldn’t take my date to a fancy restaurant for Valentine’s Day if that fancy restaurant let us throw peanut shells on the floor. Or maybe I would…if my date’s into that sort of thing.
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