Dear restaurant worker,

I like to eat out, frequently. To catch up with friends or colleagues, to celebrate special occasions with family, to try different flavours, for dates, and to generally unwind!

Throughout my twice weekly restaurant trips I’ve noticed what distinguishes a good restaurant from a bad restaurant. Have a look and see if you agree..


✓ – Do’s

  • Service with a smile.
  • Asking what I’d like to drink and eat at the same time. It’s a restaurant. I came with food on my mind.
  • Asking if I’ve been to the restaurant before. This is actually spot on seeing as more restaurants are beginning to do a pay-before-you-eat system, making the dining experience more fluid and quicker.
  • Being good at giving recommendations – this also tests how well you know the menu and how much you care about making your customer happy.


X – Don’ts

  • Taking too long to take my order. I have seen restaurant menus that are longer than broadsheet newspapers. But the more time you give me to make up my mind, the more indecisive, agitated, and hungry I get. You shouldn’t take longer than 8-10 minutes to take my order.
  • Having to ask for the bill. Do you not want to get paid? It’s so cringe having to call the waiter as if they’re a housemaid.
  • Forcing allocated seating. If there are free tables that evening, let the diner be free to sit where they are comfortable to. All tables will have to be cleaned at the end of the day – and they are paying for your service.
  • Taking long to collect plates. You’ve seen our plates are finished and have later on been joined by floating fruit flies, is that not a big enough sign?
  • Trying to rush you out the restaurant as if you’ve let the food particles digest in your stomach.

If the food is 10 out of 10 and the service is 2 out of 10, it’s still unlikely that I would return to a restaurant. Good customer service to me is everything. Yes, tough customers do exist, but professionalism and resilience should be key when working in any type of fast paced environment. If you can’t stand the heat, get outta the kitchen – literally!

Below are my favourite restaurants in London with the most splendid customer service (in no particular order):

Yum Yum, Stoke Newington –



Afternoon tea at Liberty –

Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse, Stratford – see here

Burger and Lobster, Central London



Galvin at Windows, Park Lane –

Rodizio Rico, Angel –

Hazev, Canary Wharf –


Devran, North London –

24 hour British Cafe – Polo Bar, Liverpool Street


You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work. ~ Laurie McIntosh

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