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.

3 thoughts on “The Unnecessary Theater of Ordering Food at a Restaurant”

  1. You are missing the other option that is glaring to me. Float in to my world for a moment and assume that the waiter is so incredibly lazy that he can not bring him self to jot down your order. the sheer work of transporting a notebook and pencil is far to much for him. First he is a waiter so he hates life to begin with second why does he really even give a shit if your food is right. The worst possible penalty for him is the loss of a few dollars in your tip. The pay off for him is the ability to feed his immense laziness.

  2. Centaur, where have you been. I visit often but am left with nothing. Clearly you have deep thoughts but have been fickle in sharing them. As far as the waiter. Well said. He/she doesn’t need to work so hard to impress. You don’t see this bravado on the airplane do you? The stewardess writes down the drink order by seat number and then scoots off, rolls by later with a cart and your drink order. No mistakes, no showing off….just simple, reliable services…at 10,000 feet in the air. Centaur please don’t leave us hanging for more deep thoughts.

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