The rule is simple. Do what is best for the customer, not what is most convenient for you.
The New York Times has a terrific “most e-mailed” article by Bruce Buschel, “Herewith is a modest list of dos and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant I am building…” —
100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1), with the first 50 things. (the next 50 arrive next week).
Here are the first 5:
1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.
2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.
3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.
4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right.
5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated. — (Personal – amen and amen to number 5).
Read the list in the article. It will make you want to eat in his restaurant…
As I said at the beginning, the rule is simple. Do what is best for the customer, not what is most convenient for you.