It is becoming increasingly more common for restaurants to set a time limit on their diners’ tables. Compliance with health and safety guidelines means that turnover time on a table has doubled since a buser cannot just stack a tray a mile high and wipe up crumbs - proper sanitization methods take TIME! As a diner, how do you make the most of your restaurant experience without feeling so pressured that the meal isn’t enjoyable? Let’s talk about the new dine and dash - and it most certainly includes paying your bill.
First and foremost, have a plan. Almost every restaurant has their menu posted online, so do your research and decide ahead of time what you’ll be ordering and stick to it. Do you and your friends share starters? Check in on the group chat beforehand and discuss whether you’ll be sharing the original plate or asking the server for extras. Make sure that you and your party have agreed what time you’ll meet and do not ask to be seated before everyone has arrived.
Once everyone has arrived and you are seated, agree that you will try to minimize the trips that your server must make to your table. This may look like ordering your whole meal (drinks, starters, main course, and dessert) all at once or the whole table asking for refills at the same time. Let your server know that once food has arrived, they don’t need to continue to return to the table to check-in until you look like you’re wrapping up. If you know that you’re ordering all of the elements of your meal at once, you can ask your server to take your card at the beginning and bring out the bill for signing once they have verified you are satisfied with your meal. Try not to ask for split checks. Appoint one person to cover the meal and the rest of the party can reimburse that person their share of the bill from a multitude of apps.
Last but not least, do not dawdle after you’re done! After you finish eating and drinking, promptly return your mask to your face, pay your bill (tipping generously), and then follow signage or arrows directing flow of traffic out of the restaurant. Say your goodbyes outside and make certain that you and your party are not crowding the lobby or entrance to the building.
We all want to see our favorite businesses survive the pandemic and thrive in a post-covid world, but keep in mind that restaurant workers depend heavily on the number of tables they serve in a night. If you’re not ready to part ways when the meal is over, consider asking for a coffee to-go or taking a walk to a local coffee shop and continuing to enjoy each other’s presence at the park. While you may want to linger and catch up with friends you haven’t seen since quarantine began, your server is calculating how many more guests they need to satisfy in order to make rent next month.
A little bit of coordination and pre-planning can help make your dining experience run quickly and smoothly. We hope that these tips help set you and your party up for a stress-free meal that respects everyone’s time and social distancing boundaries. Enjoy!
Trust20 is the new standard of restaurant safety and diner comfort, based on 20 tactics by health and safety experts. Supported by Gordon Food Service and General Mills, Trust20 provides an independently verified certification of restaurant practices, training, and other resources to help restaurants create safe, healthy, and welcome spaces for diners. www.trust20.co, @Trust20USA