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Oct 1, 2009 06:47 AM

What should he have done?

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?

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  1. 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.

    1. If you follow the rule......appetizer, soup, salad and last 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 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

        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

          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

            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

          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. 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

            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

              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. 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. 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.