Since Waiter Rant started three years ago, I’ve fielded thousands of querys from the dining public. Questions like “What’s an appropriate tip for takeout?” “Should I stack my plates to assist the bus boy with cleaning the table?” “Is it cool to snort coke in the ladies room?” and “Do you guys really spit in the food?” have popped into my inbox almost since day one. Because I’ve answered so many of the same questions hundreds of times, I toyed with the idea of making an FAQ. In my experience however, FAQ’s are a waste of time. Most seekers of knowledge on the internet are instant gratification/Google types who don’t have the time or inclination to scroll through a disordered jumble of facts to find the answer they’re looking for. Usually they jump over the FAQ and ask the beleaguered webmaster or IT guys their question directly. Besides, what kind of fun would a staid FAQ be for Waiter Rant? Half the appeal of this site is audience participation! To that end I’ve decided to start “Ask the Waiter,” a column that will appear every couple of weeks and post answers to the questions I receive via email.

The guidelines are simple. I will answer any question that pertains to the dining out experience, what happens in the back of the house, and the issues servers have to contend with on a day to day basis. I will not be handing out restaurant recommendations. I’ll leave that job to Bruni and The Zagats.

Also, I do not claim to be the summit and font of restaurant knowledge. People will disagree with my opinion or answers. That’s fine. If I get a question that stumps me I’ll enlist outside expertise to find an answer. Even then, I’m sure I’ll get things wrong from time to time. However, I will always be open to correction or a better answer. That’s what the comments section is for!

Please send any questions to [email protected] and write “Ask the Waiter” in the subject line. Please do not address questions to me through the comments section. OK, that’s it. I’m eager to see what questions you throw at me.

I think.

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