Originally Posted by kennethpollock
(a) My name is Bruce and I'll be taking care of you tonight (who cares what his name is and his purpose is obvious)
(b) you guys (when some of the guests are ladies)
(c) folks (i.e., commoners)
(d) Do you have any questions about the menu? (an insult; I can read English and am an experienced diner)
(e) Let me get this out of your way (as he snatches away a plate that really was not in my way)
(f) my favorite dishes are ----- (who cares?)
(g) tonight's specials are --- (as he reels off 8-10 dishes; mind-boggling; why can't they print it, as the specials are the same nearly every night)
(h) plopping down the bill before it is requested
(i) placing the cork on the table, or even worse, holding it near my nose
(j) tying a napkin around the neck of the wine bottle
(k) what "temperature" do you want your steak? (I usually say "hot")
Wow, these points have a bit a validity (particularly the bill thing), but none of them are so egregious as to merit ripping the whole US service industry. Not to mention that many of these sound like complaints about Americans in general -- overly-familiar, pushy, inappropriate, and the list goes on.
Over the years, I've worked everything from a burger and fries grill to the Ritz-Carleton. Here's the thing: most people are lemmings -- they want to be guided and will follow whomever's leading. Waiters, especially in high-volume places, have to lead many, many guests through the service, literally from soup to nuts. Much of the list you gave is preemptive service. Verbally giving the specials and asking for questions encourage guests to think about the menu; napkin around the bottle is for the guy who insists on pouring his own wine, but dribbles it; offering his favorite dishes reduces the number of times guests ask "What do you like," or "What's good?" Again, people expect to be led through the meal.
You have a problem with the verbiage many waiters use, "what temperature" instead of "how would you like your meat prepared," not properly addressing women, calling people "folks"? Point taken. That was a big issue for training at the Ritz (and at home), then again, I'm sure they didn't recognize that you were royalty
. Don't want your place cleared? A valid point of service for a higher-end restaurant, not making those still eating feel uncomfortable, but not as practical for others who depend upon volume, therefore pace the meal by removing plates, offering dessert instead of waiting for you to ask, and dropping the check without being asked. Proper wine service requires that you present the cork, maybe not waving beneath you nose, but putting it on the table is acceptable. You check the cork for moisture, an arcane ritual in these days of plastic corks, screw tops, and better methods of bottling.
I don't know, maybe you should choose different places (hotel restaurants where there is a larger international clientele and staff) or start conducting seminars on service. No doubt several places could use it.