1. Stop asking us what our favorite thing to make is.
This question got old very fast to every chef. Customers tend to ask for recommendations when this is the first time they're at a restaurant or simply aren't sure what they're going to get off the menu. If they have the opportunity to talk to the chefs, this question is pretty common. However, chefs get asked this question so often to the point they've lost the count, and it's the same as telling, "tell us which kid is your favorite" to a chef. We like them all, or else we wouldn't even offer them to you.
2. Stop saying "You don't have enough tattoos."
Some customers have a certain image of chefs in their heads. They imagine us as someone with tattoos and is an expert at making a variety of foods. But, we're not all like the stock photo of a chef you've seen. We might not have tattoos (they're expensive!), or we might not come off as "an expert" because we are too busy to explain every snippet of science we learned to make you that meal. When you say "you are not a real chef, you need more tattoos" - that's insulting. Please stop.
3. Stop telling us how to cook our own recipes.
When you come into our restaurant, you might have a certain idea about how to make an item on our menu. If the kitchen is an open one, customers sometimes literally tell chefs how to make recipes they invented and cook dozens of times a day. It can be outright rude to tell someone to cook your way when this is THEIR recipe and/or restaurant.
4. Connect with us, we are humans, not your servants.
We see you as humans, please do the same for us. Jamaine, the owner of Lipz Cafe in Brooklyn, said it's nice to talk to customers about how they're living when they're not at the cafe. It creates a bond between the restaurant owner and the customer, especially if they're regulars. When you do the same for us, if you see us, talk to us like humans, it adds meaning to what we do. It's OK, to ask a plain old, how are you?
5. Share the good stuff more, please.
Chefs and restaurants are grateful for you choosing our establishments, ever time you do so, because we know you don't have to. A lot of customers are quick to share when they hate a meal, but not as much when they love it. Tell your friends the good stuff too!
6. You're paying for more than the food.
The prices for each food can seem high at times. However, it is important to know you aren't simply paying for the food in front of you. You're also paying for the tablecloths, the napkins, the silverware, the condiments, and to be served. The price for a food item on the menu counts for much more than the steak or pasta itself. Jay Silver, the chef and owner of EJ's Luncheonette adds that the customers who complain about the food prices at a restaurant usually don't understand the basic dynamics of the restaurant business.
7. Please take closing times seriously.
Another important thing is, please respect the business hours of restaurants. We usually work at least a few hours before the opening and a few hours after the closing times you see. Please be considerate of the business hours, and don't stay past closing. Just because the restaurant "closes"doesn't mean we are finished with work.
8. Reservations are a promise that you should uphold.
We take reservations so you don't have wait for the seats to be opened up. It is important to respect reservations and show up on time. If something comes up, it's crucial to let us know beforehand so that we don't end up endlessly waiting for customers that aren't showing up. "No-shows" for reservations have a huge effect on the restaurants because it causes the us to rearrange our work all over again. Everything is planned out for the day, from the number of reservations to the maximum number of possible walk-ins. It has impact on our business when you ghost us.
9. Asking for the "free" food is more expensive than you think.
We sometimes have free bread and butter as complimentary to customers. When you ask for more bread just because it's free, just know such "free" food is expensive. While it might seem harmless to ask for some, it does add up for our business. Franco Francese, the owner of Mattone Restaurant and Bar, said that as an Italian restaurant, the cost of bread, butter, cheese, and olive oil is more expensive than the customers think.
10. We're here because we love it.
We give our best to our customers with the best quality of food. If we don't, you'd look for food somewhere else, and we know that. So while you may not love EVERY aspect of our establishment, please know this our business, and we really made it to share it with YOU. Our industry is a not a high-margin profit one, so none of us came here hoping to get rich - we all knew that wasn't likely when we chose foodservice. Assume we're not here to rip you off, because, well, we are not.