Restaurant Behavior

A lot of things can be said about eating in and out but a few things that are rather different with regards to restaurants between Europe and the US I want to point

The job of a hostess: seat you and give you a menu. Don't ignore her, pic:


Unless you are eating at McDonalds or some such place you walk into the restaurant, stop at the hostess’ table and have her either seat your right away or take your name down on a wait list.  A variation is to write your own name down on a list provided for that purpose.  Still, a hostess will seat you eventually.  You never, ever just walk into a place and grab a table.  Even in an almost empty restaurant that is completely unacceptable behavior.

If there are several tables available you may ask politely to be seated at a specific one, often that is possible, sometimes not and that’s that.

In Germany the rules are different, in most restaurants you walk in and grab whatever table you fancy and is available.  If it means you have to outrun a possible competitor around a few fellow diners so be it.  You might shy away from knocking the other person down to gain an advantage but not-fancy places I have witnessed scenes that involved at least some pushing and the strategic deployment of elbows.

I have to admit, the American way is much more civilized.

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