Patron or explorer: restaurant habits
Some friends of mine habituate certain favorite restaurants, but I enjoy exploring holes in the walls, only occasionally retracing my steps. They get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the menu, what times of day are best, etc. I get to go to new places, taste new dishes, meet new people. I go with my friends when I want more company, they come with me to be challenged.
How do you treat the people who feed you?
It depends. For weekday, workday lunch, I almost always go to the same place because it's cheap and quick. For weekend brunch, I'm often tired and too lazy to go far from the beaten path, so I return to the same places. But I can only afford to go out for a nice dinner about once a week, and with that meal, I spread the wealth and explore different places. I live in NYC and there are too many places to go to that I wouldn't get to if I became a regular at my weekly meal.
a definite explorer.
I attempt to try one new place per week (be it market, restaurant, bar, etc.). I love trying new restaurants and different ethnic foods!
While I definitely go back to places more than once, it is generally only every few months that I would do so. Unless, of course, I was invited by friends to go, or if it is a place close to the apartment (especially take-out).
I am extremely selective when it comes to deciding to become a "regular". And usually it has to be a place in my neighbourhood (for practicality and in solidifying a sense of community). If I do decide to patronize a particular place, I treat the staff the same as I would any other place; with respect. And I expect the same in return. My loyalties are stronger with butchers/patisseries/cheese shops/local food artisans than with restaurants.
If I find a place that I love, I will go more often and tell my friends and try to get them to go. Often, they end up becoming regulars with me. And I always try and get to know the names of the bartenders and servers. I get better service that way. I also love to try new things. I'm not one to go to a new restaurant in the first month it's open (too many times disappointed), but I am often among the more adventurous.
I don't understand the question 100%.
Treat the staff at places I explore, or treat the people who take me to their favorite "go-back-again" restaurants?
I'm an explorer, but there are holes-in-the-wall I return to repeatedly - and at all of them I tip generously (usually I'm welcomed back very warmly).
When friends invite me to one of their homes-away-from-home, I can:
1) Accept and understand that I won't be getting anything exciting, but I can live with an ordinary meal
2) Accept and in advance do a little research about the restaurant's more interesting or best-prepared offerings
3) Accept and eat lightly (nothing wrong with a dinner of bread, wine, salad, etc.)