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Jul 1, 2010 06:56 AM

Do you like it when your server recognizes you?

Definitely when I'm eating out alone I like it when he/she says they remember me from last makes me feel more welcome and perhaps reduces the loneliness factor. There's a couple places I go to where that happens sometimes.

But I realized recently that if I am with dining companions I'd sometimes feel funny if the server said they remembered me from before. I went for lunch recently with a former coworker and I noticed that the guy who brought our soup had waited on me once before. I don't know if he remembered me or not but oddly I found myself silently praying he wouldn't say anything about my previous visit. (He didn't--either he didn't remember me or he decided not to "intrude" because I was with someone else--see my question at the end).

This might be because I know what my dining companion is like and if the waiter had acted like he remembered me I was worried my friend would have thought, "WTF? Why does John know this waiter? How often does he come here?" My former coworker doesn't eat out much.

Are my feelings about this normal? Also, I'm curious, is there some sort of unwritten rule among servers that says they shouldn't personally greet a familiar customer if the customer is not alone?

Just wondering...

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  1. I always prefer to be recognized, especially at one of my regular places.

    I'm not sure why you care what your friend thinks of such a situation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      That's what I was wondering. Why would the friend's reaction be as severe as you imagine ("WTF?"), and even if it were, why would it bother you ?

    2. It may be that they would want to avoid any possible embarrassment for the customer - who may not now be with someone who, ahem, knows that they frequent this place possibly with someone else (if you get my drift). Dunno though - I've never eaten anywhere often enough that I'm going to get recognised.

      1. Absolutely! The owner of one of my favorite places, Spadaro in New Rochelle, NY, gives me a hug when I go in. Happily, the food is as good as Rena is nice, so it makes for a great dining experience.

        Good customer service is almost as important as very good food in a restaurant, imo.

        As to being greeted when with others -- doesn't bother me at all.

        1. unless you were there with one love interest, and then another, i don't see what the problem is.

          what would be the problem with knowing the waiter, or going someplace often?

          i don;t follow the logic at all.

          i like to be recognized, except perhaps in the situation outlined at the start of my post, were it to ever happen

          7 Replies
          1. re: thew

            HA HA HA, I was thinking the same thing! "Hey, we haven't seen so-and-so for awhile. How's he been?" :) OOPS.

            At places where my face is familiar, I am happy to be recognized (or hugged in certain special places--my hometown diner is one). Or appreciate, "We've missed you." It's nice to be missed.

            1. re: thew

              "Mr. Soprano, months we don't see you. Where you been, Signora Carmela?"

              1. re: thew

                My boyfriend and I frequent a favorite neighborhood sushi place, and we're always recognized by a few of the waitresses when we go. A few months ago, I went to the restaurant with an old friend, who happens to be male, and our usual waitress was giving me strange looks the entire time.

                1. re: whitneybee

                  LMAO!!! an anecdote i remember, as a much younger person: i was very involved with dh, but pre-marriage. i went into my place of employment (bar) with a dashing young male companion. I bought him a drink and we proceeded to catch up in a very amiable and affectionate way. about 20-30 mins into it, i realized i was getting a mild case of cold shoulder/stink-eye glances from the "regular" end of the bar. everything was cleared up when i introduced my kid brother to the lot of them, and dh was amused when he heard the story.

                  where everybody knows your NA -a-ame :)

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    I've had that too at a bar/restaurant near my work. I came in with a date and had the bartender say hi there, how are you, how's that tall guy you're usually here with?
                    The "tall guy" was a coworker, but I still don't think that instilled a lot of confidence in my date.

                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                      Okay...maybe we should amend it to Do you like it when your server recognizes you, unless he or she is a complete nitwit with no social graces whatsoever?

                      Sheesh. What a maroon.

              2. I like getting greeted personally; it adds to the overall welcome. This is especially true at places where I'm a longtime regular, and many servers & managers know me by name. If anything, they're even a bit more solicitous if I'm with someone, while making it a point to not bust in on conversations.

                Like some of the other posters, I can't picture why one would be uncomfortable being recognized in a restaurant, unless, as others have posted, it's with a line like "Hey, that's not the girl/guy you were here with last week!" (Most servers, in my experience, know better.)