There’s probably that one restaurant you’ve been dying to dine at.
Perhaps because that’s where the crème de la crème of your city dines. Or maybe because you’ve heard plenty of positive reviews about how awesome their cuisines are. Whatever the case may be, we all have that one particular restaurant that holds a special place in our hearts.
Unfortunately, sometimes, these restaurants are usually hard to get into. You walk into some, and you’re made to wait in long queues. At some, only people occupying private rooms and VIP sections get attended to quickly.
It can be annoying to be on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, especially if you've gone there in the hopes of being treated nicely.
On another day, you would leave and dine at another restaurant. After all, there are lots of other places to eat near me.
But this is the best restaurant in town – the legendary, brag-worthy diner everybody wants to visit. Walking away is simply not an option.
So, what do you do?
It’s simple. Follow our tips in this post.
1. Start at the counter or the pay point
The normal procedure everybody observes at restaurants is to walk into a booth and then wait for the waitress/waiter to come and take their order. At cafes, you go to the counter, order your food, and serve yourself.
When eating at a classy restaurant, you want to take a different approach.
We advise that you start with an isolated waiter at the counter or the cashier at the pay point. Make sure it is one of these two. The reason is that either of both will give you the attention you need.
Approach anyone you find, and get into small talks with them. The idea is to make them so comfortable that they'll be happy to do your bidding afterward. If you're lucky to meet the Maitre d’ or the restaurant owner at the time, take advantage of the opportunity and get in a cheerful mood with them.
2. Order something strange on the menu
After spending time with the waiter or cashier at the pay point, ask them one teeny-weeny favor. Ask them to kindly ask the chef on your behalf if they have any special cuisines they’ve made and would like people to try.
Usually, all chefs have that special dish they are so proud of and would like for diners to try. Sometimes, they may not have the food on the day because people aren’t really ordering them. So, you're likely going to get a response like, "this and this are the special cuisines." Whether or not the dish is available, you can bet the chef will come out to appreciate your interest in their special delicacies. I've tried this a couple of times, and in almost all cases, I had the cook coming out to say hi to me.
If the dish is available, you simply have to order it and what you originally planned to buy. If not, you can save your bucks and buy what you had in mind to eat. In any case, you've gotten the attention of the restaurant's attendants, and that's what matters.
3. Be early
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Arriving at a restaurant early is a sure way to beat the queue and get the waiter’s attention before anybody else.
If you’re new in an area and you’re not sure of the time a restaurant opens, you can check local food directories like Nicelocal for the right information.
Walk-in during the early hours of the day and score yourself the kind of treatment you've always dreamt of.
4. Visit the restaurant in its early days
If you follow local restaurant directories like Nicelocal, you’ll know when a new diner or restaurant launches in your area.
A beautiful thing about newly-opened restaurants is that they’re always eager to please customers. So, if you find a hot, classy place that’s just recently opened, you can bet that you’ll get a VIP treatment if you eat there.
5. Go back again and again
After patronizing the newly-launched restaurant on the day or week of its launch, don't stop there. Go back the next day. And the next. And the next. Make sure you visit them as regularly as possible. The idea is to register your name and face in the workers' minds.
That way, when the restaurant finally becomes a household name in the neighborhood, you won’t have to struggle with newcomers for attention.
Additionally, dining at a newly-launched restaurant in its early days is also a smart way to build a lasting rapport with waiters. This sort of relationship can come in handy sometime in the future if you ever bump into the waiter at another restaurant.
6. Endure the struggle on the first day but remember to compliment the chef or waiter before leaving
Another tactic to get on the good side of a waiter or a chef at a classy restaurant is to send them sweet compliments at the end of your first meal.
When you visit a classy restaurant for the first time, chances are you'll be made to join the queue or given a less-than-impressive treatment. Don’t feel too disappointed about that.
At the end of your meal, send a heartwarming note to the chef complimenting the dish or to the waiter that served you complimenting their service.
Trust me, only one out of a million diners remember to do this. So, when someone does it, it registers in the heart of the waiter or chef. Next time such a person comes to eat, you can bet they won’t receive the same treatment as the first time they visited.
7. Apply the 25% tip rule
Finally, another old trick in the book: tipping the restaurant workers. Along with the sweet compliments, it makes sense to tip restaurant workers, too.
If you truly like the place and want to visit again and again, pushing tips into waiters' hands will go a long way in scoring you the sort of VIP treatment you desire on your next visit.
Most diners advise that the tip range should be around 25% of the meal price. If you can’t afford that, then it’s probably an indication that you can’t afford the restaurant in the first place. So, go somewhere else.