How to Avoid Bad Seating in

A Restaurant


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How to Avoid Bad Seating responds to an e-mail from "ctibbals" who asks:

"ctibbals": How about some suggestions on how the solo diner who, even when arriving early or late to a near-empty restaurant, is first offered a table that is adjacent to the kitchen door or serving station (he eats with the dishes) or bar or bathrooms or in a high-traffic area?

Rather than protesting (which also gets results I usually just get up and move to a table of my suiting. Sometimes I depart from even following the "seater," pick a table, and leave the seater to wander off to some undesirable spot. It is hilarious to see the looks on their faces.

Now, some of the bad seating might be due to attempts to even out the tips among servers, but that's their problem, not mine, and it happens far too frequently to be sheer coincidence.

I am fully aware that solo diners' tables don't generate as big a tips as, say, a table for 4 or more. But that's simply because we order only 1 meal. So we get a bad table for that reason only? I always tip in excess of 20% but that's always after the battle of obtaining a suitable table, and, besides, the poor seating is not the server's fault.

I recently challenged a seater as to her thinking and justification on the matter. She said she had been working there only 1 week. I responded that she must be a very quick learner.

So, rather than trying to change the world, I simply take care of myself first. We applaud your attitude! Rather than being put-off by rude treatment in a restaurant, you persevere until you get what you want and deserve.

(Amazing as it may sound, some people prefer to be seated "near the kitchen" or in some other less appealing area. In dim sum-serving restaurants, "near the kitchen" is prized seating. Everyone wants first access to those freshly laden carts. And as for other less appealing seating options we heard from one gentleman who preferred it. Why? Because he met interesting people who stopped to offer condolences.)

Fortunately, more restaurateurs than ever before are interested in catering to solo diners (A weak economy helps!); however, there will always be a certain number of unenlightened ones (and staff members).

Here are more strategies that will help you side-step undesirable seating:

* Keep seating surprise to a minimum plan ahead. Make a reservation; discuss your seating options and agree upon one. (For tips on how to prequalify solo diner-friendly restaurants, click: here)

* Try a little sugar. If you find yourself being steered toward an undesirable table, get the attention of the person offering the table. Let him or her know where you would prefer to sit, suggest you'd be pleased to wait 10-15 minutes and add, "Thanks, I know you want me to enjoy my meal."

* When you eat out with family and friends, make note of restaurants where solo diners appear content. Give them your precious business the next time you treat yourself to a solo meal.

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Sooner or later, EVERYONE business and pleasure travelers, singles, those divorced or widowed, very-marrieds whose spouses are on the road, harried moms and dads, etc. faces the challenge of eating out alone!

cover - the art and satisfaction of dining alone revealed

THE How-to Booklet of Solo Dining Tips & Strategies:

The Art and Satisfaction of Dining Alone REVEALED!

is now available for purchase in PDF format!

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