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What should he have done?

d
ddelicious Oct 1, 2009 06:47 AM

Out for dinner last night with a group in a private room of a restaurant. We were about 10 people, ordering off the regular menu. 9 people ordered soup or salad as an app, and then the main. One person ordered both a soup and salad and main. So, the waiter brought all of the soups together, said enjoy your first course, and left. The people who had ordered salad for apps were wondering where they were. When I checked with the waiter, he was planning to serve the salads as a separate course, because of the person who had ordered both.
I've never worked in a restaurant so am not sure what the standard procedure is in this case. The end result was half the people had to sit and watch the soups be eaten, and then the other half had to sit and watch the salads. Seemed odd. Should he have brought the one person who ordered both the soup and salad at the same time?

  1. t
    ttran88 Oct 4, 2009 10:50 PM

    not sure if this was an etiquette thing. what i mean is the choice was soup or salad- that puts both into the same category.. no? With that said i would think that the server should have brought out both the soups and salads for everyone. as a former server my rule of thumb is to have as many people eating at the same time.

    1. h
      hsk Oct 3, 2009 07:39 PM

      I agree the person who had both should have been asked if they wanted both at the same time. If they didn't, they should have been asked what they wanted first, and be brought that almost immediately, then their second starter brought with everyone else's starters.

      1. k
        Kater Oct 2, 2009 06:43 AM

        Well you've already gotten the correct answer, but let me point out that this scenario should serve as a heads up to anyone who tends to order like your odd man out. When dining with a group, I always try to discern how they plan to order (many courses, entree only, etc..) so that we can order in a similar way. I prefer to taste several different courses when we go out but if that is not how the group is ordering, I follow the majority. I find that most people order two courses, just as in this example, when they are out with a group. Sometimes I choose two appetizers, but at least try to order the same number of courses as your friends!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kater
          f
          fourunder Oct 2, 2009 07:07 AM

          Well you've already gotten the correct answer,
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          So, which side of the fence do you sit on.....

          * served in separate courses
          * served the same time, as in first course for all,
          * let the patron who ordered both to decide if both could be served at the same time...or which he would like first, i.e., the soup or salad

          1. re: fourunder
            k
            Kater Oct 4, 2009 09:04 AM

            First course for all - but I would also like the server to ask the extra course customer whether he would like to be served his second course before his companions' entrees or along with them with his entree to follow.

        2. cuccubear Oct 2, 2009 06:14 AM

          It seems logical to me that if some people order soup, some people order salad, and one person orders both as their first course, that it all be brought out at once, so that everyone has something to eat at the same time.

          1. d
            dtud Oct 1, 2009 04:21 PM

            i often order several appetizers (or soups or salads) as mains - but i always tell the waiter that i'd like them served together as my main (if it is too many - i will say, i'll start with x and have y and z as my dinner entree dinner). i think the problem was with the person who ordered and then with the waiter for not clarifying with the table how they wanted to be served. oh well.

            1. jfood Oct 1, 2009 09:39 AM

              Karl S, as always, has the answer that jfood agrees ith and would have posted but jfood's would have been much less eloquent.

              1. Karl S Oct 1, 2009 07:10 AM

                The waiter should have asked the person who ordered both if they could be presented at the same time with everyone else's first course.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Karl S
                  LindaWhit Oct 1, 2009 09:38 AM

                  Agreed. Half of the group shouldn't have had to wait for just one person who happened to have ordered both soup and salad. Inconveniencing half of your group for one person seems a bit odd to me. Or perhaps "inconveniencing" is the wrong word. But leaving half of the group hanging seems a bit odd.

                  1. re: Karl S
                    im_nomad Oct 2, 2009 04:58 PM

                    I agree with this as well as what you said above as to the difference between dining at home when everyone has each course etc. Occasionally i've ordered a soup and salad as a main, or even an appetizer as a main, and usually am asked when I would like them.

                  2. f
                    fourunder Oct 1, 2009 07:01 AM

                    If you follow the rule......appetizer, soup, salad and last main....you were served appropriately.. I can only surmise this is a better than average restaurant since you were in a private room. Presumably, the server probably thought you were not in a hurry to eat and run. When you first checked with the waiter, you could have requested for the salads to be served,

                    Personally, I could care less about the sequence of appropriate serving of courses....as I like my salad after the main entree is eaten, so whenever it is served, it remains off to the side until I am ready to eat the salad.......for me he could serve both at the same time....but I would imagine for an etiquette purist, the answer would be * no *.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: fourunder
                      rockandroller1 Oct 2, 2009 05:41 AM

                      I agree, this was proper service. App, then soup, then salad, then mains. It is not assumed you would not be able to make conversation while one person is eating soup, and then they make take the bulk of the conversation with someone who has the salad, nor that everyone is in a hurry and wanted to get more courses at once than usual.

                      1. re: rockandroller1
                        f
                        fourunder Oct 2, 2009 05:50 AM

                        let's not forget there was probably bread on the table too for consumption...I have to wonder if the menu was pre-selected, i.e., a limited selection just for the private dining.....or if there was a choice of either soup or salad as part of the dinner with entree. If that were the case, I would probably say the choice of soup or salad should have been served to the entire table at the same time.

                        1. re: fourunder
                          d
                          ddelicious Oct 2, 2009 07:56 AM

                          it was the regular menu, not preselected. it is not an easy answer, because either half the people have to sit hungry (and it was late so we were starving!) or the person ordering both had to eat super fast.

                      2. re: fourunder
                        Karl S Oct 2, 2009 05:56 AM

                        Actually, for an etiquette purist, the predicate is wrong. That is, if you were following etiquette in the home, everyone gets each course. In a restaurant, because that norm is breached by the fact that people can opt out of appetizer or soup course, the rules switch. At that point, the proper thing to do is to ask those who are eating two rather than one course which course(s) they would like brought along with the single course of the other diners.

                      3. s
                        ShelleyCT Oct 1, 2009 07:01 AM

                        Sorry ddelicious, not a real answer, but surely commensense would be to bring the soup and salad at the same time? Nothing worse than watching people eat while you wait. But maybe there is a correct etiquette way to deal with this.

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