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Feb 17, 2008 01:31 PM

Customers who Split Entrees - Do they Deserve a Table?


Another thread had an interesting sub-thread on whether a customer who orders two appetizers or customers who split an entree deserve a table or should eat at the bar. Likewise another thread described how a threesome seated at a 4-top felt they needed to over-order to make up for the empty seat.

Jfood believes in neither, that he deserves a table, is there to order what he would like and others in his party should as well. While others have stated that there should be consideration for the servers' earnings in both cases.

Just curious what others may think of this interesting splitting of views.

  1. How do you feel about just ordering dessert and coffee/tea in a restaurant? I sometimes do, but always ask first if that's OK. These are the responses we get:

    1. Of course, no problem.
    2. You can have dessert/tea by the bar.
    3. I'm sorry, we're only serving dinner.

    So I'm in the camp of if you're not ordering an entree (or the equivalent of), you should probably ask the waitstaff.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      I think just dessert is slightly different than ordering and splitting an entree and I could see why you might ask in that case. It doesn't bother me in the least when people split/share entrees and or appetizers, you could just as easily order the cheapest things on the menu and have it come out the same. It does bother me a bit when people only order a couple of things and then sit for three hours during dinner rush, but that is an entirely different issue.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        what if i'm eating with a Gf and she wants desert and I want an entre cuz I actually missed my dinnertime and am having a late dinner? Do I get the table or do I have to perch on a bar stool?

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I think dessert-only is dependent on time frame/busyness--8pm on a Sat, please sit at the bar. 8pm with plenty of open tables, you're welcome to one.

        2. I have worked on and off as a server to help pay for school (this semester my research is keeping me far too busy for that even!) Here is my experience from both sides of the table:
          Never once have I seated a three-top and expected them to order for four. I have no problem with mixing and matching combinations of entrees/apps/desserts to suit your appetite (who am I to judge what sounds good to you and how hungry you are). I will add to this that I also don't think its *wrong* if you don't order wine with your meal - what you drink is up to you. Yes, if it's the dinner hour and you want a cup of coffee I might steer you towards the bar, but I won't deny you a table. Of course the larger the bill the larger potential tip, but over time everything really does seem to balance out (the analogy of a portfolio of tables is perfect).
          As a customer I want to order what sounds good to me -period. I have been the recipient of a glare/scoff when I decline the suggested glass of wine or whe I order a feww small apps for my meal (often because this is my only meatless option) and it is the most uncomfortable feeling, and in my opinion rude and unprofessional.

          1. Do they DESERVE a table? Of course they deserve a table. How is one to know whether 1. One doesn't feel good and doesn't feel like eating much, 2. They are on diets, 3. They can't afford to eat out much and this in itself is a treat for them. You never know. Customers are customers. Whether they 'deserve' a table should have nothing to do with that.

            1. Some thoughts:

              Of course a paying customer "deserves" a table. Just as I deserve whatever moving square-footage I take up in my co-op or in Target. I am a retail customer, and retail needs to understand that very customer is not valuable just for the dollar signs floating above his or her head. In merchandise retail, I can be treated equally whether I am buying a$3.00 bottle of aspirin (for the headaches these attitudes create) or a $300.00 electronic gadget. I realize that Target does't seat their customers, but hey - they treat us all the same, despite our final tab. I think retail in the restaurant biz should do the same. REGARDLESS of what one orders. I believe the entree-splitting v. server income has been discussed ad infinitum on these boards.

              Three at a four top feeling guilty? Nonsense. My remaining at-home household is three. If we go out to dine, there's no way I will feel guilty about that head count. Unless perhaps the restaurant has triangular tables for just such a situation yet we inexplicably insist on a square table. <g>

              Eating at the bar is often enjoyable, and I will sometimes opt for that. however, there are as many times that I want to sit face to face with my dinner partner. The fact that we may split apps and an entree shouldnt trump the enjoyment of our restaurant experience. If it does, that restaurant has lost a patron. And without patrons, um, there's no business.

              I loathe and detest rude, boorish, ego-centric, demanding and disruptive patrons, any of which can, do and have exploited the need of a restaurant (or other retail) for patrons and will argue for their-way-or-the-highway. Not what I have in mind. I just think those of us who like to go out to eat should not have to weigh all these little idiosynchratic issues.

              Jeez, I think I am feeling cranky this evening!


              3 Replies
              1. re: cayjohan

                I think I love you, cranky and all!
                I don't understand some of these threads I read...people over-tipping because they split an app, don't order dessert, or don't fill a 6 or 8 top! This makes no sense to me. My mother and I often share an app, we're big on sharing so we can try a little of everything. We rarely eat dessert, but my father will more than make up for any missed income with the wine bill. I'm a great believer in it all working out in the end. The people drinking may take up a table longer, but, you're making the most $ on alcohol. Our favorite rest. is one in Stamford where I order the salad, mom orders the soup, but they know we share and they split everything for us. Do I expect every place to do that? no ! Do I tip well because they do? absolutely! Should I feel "guilty" if I don't order an espresso and profiteroles and therefore tip extra? Absolutely not!
                I think some those threads get a little crazy sometimes!

                1. re: SweetPea914

                  Thanks SP914 - and my crankiness salutes you. ;-)


                2. re: cayjohan

                  LOL at the idea of triangular 3 top tables! that might actually be cute, it would revolutionize seating layouts as we know them! Cay i know you are local to me and i was amazed to go to one of our local italian-american mom & pops and see a table that could only be described as a very elaborate 1-top!!--that or a throne. . . a booth-style seat, generous size for one diner, too small for 2, with a small-ish, semicircular table set before it, place setting for one, facing the rest of the room. not a stretch at all to imagine junior soprano presiding over the small dining area, greeting well-wishers from time to time over courses of antipasti and tumblers of chianti. . . :)

                  to the question at hand (& assuming they can be accommodated), the customer always deserves a table-- the tables are waiting for the customer's use, that's why they exist! splitting apps/mains, whatever, doesn't matter. if the place is packed & the customer's party just wants apps or just wants desserts & coffee, the staff may try to steer them towards the bar/lounge, (& this is in order to improve service to themselves & all customers) & i'd generally follow that suggestion, or wait until after the rush for a table, myself-- in most cases where the place is not packed it is hopefully a non-issue.

                3. "Customers who Split Entrees - Do they Deserve a Table?"

                  Of course they do. Any other answer to that question is ridiculous.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    Of course they deserve a table. Of course paying for four people at a three person table is silly, unless one is an invisible rabbit.

                    I've never had a problem ordering appetizers for both entree and before. It's a routine I've settled on and it works best for me. So do I deserve a table or should I sit at the bar?