Respectfully Yours: Turning the tables
Dear Jacquelyn, I was out to dinner with my husband and after we were seated, I quickly realized I was seated next to a blazing heater and right under a sound speaker. I asked our server if we could switch to a different table. She moved us to another table but seemed annoyed. Is it bad manners to ask for a different table when you’ve already been seated?
Dear Reader, Sometimes it’s OK. Sometimes, it’s not. The most common restaurant protocol calls for a server to check with the host or hostess to see if tables are reserved.
If you’re dining during peak hours, you may not be able to switch tables. Consider this a lesson learned and make the best of the situation.
If the restaurant is fairly empty, your server will likely accommodate your request.
When the problem is with heating-cooling or loud music, begin by asking your server if she can adjust the settings. You may be fortunate and have a server who is able to solve the problem without having you move to a different table. A server is less likely to become annoyed if you are friendly, not critical. You’re less likely to come across as rude if you keep your tone courteous and positive.
You might try asking, “Are there any other tables available? It’s a bit chilly over here.” or “Would you mind if we had a table further away from the speakers?” You should always ask in a polite way and thank the server.
Dining out is not only about the food. Ambiance is equally as important. For those times when you have a less than ideal table, focus on your dinner companion and do your best to ignore minor inconveniences.
Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn
Have a question? Email: email@example.com. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst