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Mar 26, 2013 11:59 AM

Ordering several appetizers instead of a main course

Zeitgeist sucker that I am, I'm developing some kind of small-plates chauvinism. Or maybe I just don't get excited by a big hunk of protein. Either way, I'm rarely wowed by the main courses at restaurants, especially at higher end places.

From a restauranteur or servers standpoint, is it bothersome when a customer orders only starters and first courses? I'm not talking about taking up a table and ordering one appetizer, I'm referring to ordering a full meals worth of food.

Is it disrespectful to turn a 3 course place into a tapas restaurant, and in the same way as asking the chef to customize dishes to meet your picky eating habits? Or to the contrary, does the markup happen more for starters, and do restaurants benefit from this type or ordering? Should the tip be adjusted?

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  1. I've yet to meet a restaurant owner that cares. They're happy to fill the seats. Why would you adjust the tip?

    1. There are a large number of small plate places in London so this isn't that much of a problem.
      I did try this in a gastro pub ordering 4 starters rather than 2 starters and mains for two of us. This caused a fair bit of consternation and the waitress said it would cause an issue for the chef in terms of timing and orders. I said just imagine we're a table of four who have all ordered starters and just bring all four starters out at once.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Paprikaboy

        We have also seen more "small plate" restaurants in London, beyond the normal "Tapas" locations. Glad to see it.

        In the US, there is still a big push for "small plates," as though they just discovered them. Good move.


      2. I always order what I want, if the apps offer more choice and are more to my liking, I'll order 2 or 3 depending on how hungry I am. As for the tip, I calculate from what ever the bottom line is, doesn't matter whether it was all apps or an entree.

        1. My family has been doing this for many years and never encountered any problem whatsoever and, for us, the tipping routine is unchanged.

          1. In the Middle East it's called "Mezze" and it is a great way to have a meal and experience many flavors.
            Best done with a group!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Motosport

              <<Many flavors>>

              My sentiments exactly.