8 Signs You’re in a Good Restaurant

8 Signs You’re in a Good Restaurant

The standard of really good service is a little different for each person. Some are really hard task masters and others are very forgiving and don’t like to complain. It’s that way when I eat out with my husband. I can be very particular and have no qualms about voicing an issue. Z on the other hand is quite laid back and I can see him cringe as soon as I spot something I don’t like because he can see I’m going to call the waiter over. There’s something to be said for going with the flow. You’ll probably live a little longer. But there are a few non negotiables in any restaurant. As someone who eats out alot, and I mean a…lot, here are my recommendations for knowing when you’re in a good restaurant.

1. You are spotted and attended to as soon as you walk in the door. Don’t you hate it when you walk into a restaurant and spend 10 minutes at the door or trying to get someone’s attention before they can seat you? A good establishment will at least come over to welcome you and let you know if and when they can seat you.

2. The bathrooms are clean. They don’t have to be pretty but hygiene is an absolute non negotiable. Unless you know you’re coming to a dive and you want that kind of experience.

3. The manager makes an effort to pop over and check on you. At least once during your meal. Not just the waiter mind you. It’s important that a shift manager is not just drifting about on the floor watching the waiters. There’s a lot to be said for making contact with your customers and building relationships. It’s what keeps them coming back.

4. Smile! A ready smile and friendly greeting sets the tone for the rest of your experience. Surly waiters and an unfriendly attitude has no place in the service industry.

5. You can have a conversation without shouting. Unless you’re in a restaurant featuring live music or a band, the background music must never be so loud that you have to shout for your dinner partner to hear you.

6. Your food comes at the same time. If you’re a large group of people, a good restaurant will make sure that everyone’s food comes at once even if that means assigning more than one waiter to the table. If you’re just 2 people and one of your dishes needs some TLC, it’s thoughtful to offer to keep the other’s plate warm as well so you can both eat together.

7. Your waiter is knowledgeable. The waiter should know the ingredients and be able to describe the flavour of a dish. Some restaurants have their waiters sample the dishes themselves so they can give a proper recommendation. You can always tell when a waiter is just giving the menu description or if they have a genuine opinion.

8. There is a space between courses or before clearing. I hate it when the waiters are right on top of you before you’re ready to order or as soon as you’ve put down your cutlery and you’re still chewing. A short pause before clearing is classy. But wait too long and your table starts to feel messy. It’s a fine balance, but the good ones get it right.

What are your must haves when you eat out? Share your pet peeves in the comments.


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  • It is standard for me to order water soon after I have been seated.
    And sure enough it it the one item i do not receive,
    My food will come and go and the water still has not appeared.

    On numerous occasions I had to remind our waiter that I ordered water several times.
    Is water so forgettable???? or are they angling for me order a beverage????
    I do not drink fizzy drinks or juice and have a dislike for milkshakes. So I prefer water.
    What is so difficult??????

  • Lol, at this one noisy, trendy and crowded place in Florida Road in Durban, Spigad’oro.. the waiters were like little bees buzzing around the table.. as soon as you put the paper from your straw on the table, someone walks past nonchalantly and swipes it off your table. Same thing with a tissue or an empty plate.. was quite amusing.

    At Marco Polo in Mount Edgecombe in Durban, the owner walked around with a giant salt shaker.. or was it pepper, at least a meter long! There wasn’t any at the tables, and he would decide how much salt (or pepper) you needed if you wanted extra.

    • Hey Rohan. One could have a bit of fun at Spigad’oro, just randomly leaving things on the table for the waiters to spot… Think they might get on to you eventually though.