The Unnecessary Theater of Ordering Food at a Restaurant

There is a lot of unnecessary theater when ordering food at a restaurant. Recently, I had a waiter who took my table’s order but opted to forgo a notepad or bother to jot anything down. He just nodded approvingly after each request and then walked away. He memorized our order! Needless to say, this display of unwanted showmanship went largely unappreciated.

Similarly, if my accountant were to announce that he had done the math on my tax return entirely in his head, I would be equally nonplussed. While it’s an impressive feat, I would much rather he go ahead and fire up the calculator, sharpen a #2 pencil, generate a paper trail, and do his damnedest to get it right.

From the waiter’s perspective, there’s essentially zero upside to successfully memorizing our order. Why would you put the accuracy of my dinner order in jeopardy? Why even take that unnecessary risk? Who is this guy? Did our waiter recently abandon the cutthroat lifestyle of a riverboat gambler to wait tables at an Olive Garden?

Here’s the waiter’s job, in a nutshell: Relay the message of what I want for dinner to the kitchen staff. When they have prepared my meal, transport it safely from the kitchen to my table. No grandstanding is needed. You don’t need to dazzle me with your short-term memory skills, try to guess my weight or saw my date in half. Simply put, you don’t need to voluntarily make your job more difficult. Leave that to me.

Essentially, the only thing I want a waiter to memorize are the daily specials and what beers are currently on tap. Anything beyond that is excessive theatrics. And frankly, there’s just no room for showboating when it comes to bringing me my dinner.