5 tips to dine out like a pro

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After yesterday’s groundbreaking suggestion to GTFO of any restaurant you have a bad feeling about, a self-proclaimed “dining expert” contacted me and offered up some tips of their own that they wished all to see on Cactus Hugs. Since no one wants to have a crappy experience when going out to eat, our anonymous expert clearly put a lot of thought into this, and because these 5  tips are pretty legit, I present to you their tips to make dining out as awesome as possible:

1) Modify It

See something that almost looks perfect or you think would be better if you changed one thing? Maybe switching the hamburger bun to Texas toast, holding the onions, a side of fries instead of hash browns, or the chipotle sauce from a different sandwich on the side for your order? Ask if you can do it and then do it.

If you are not ordering exactly what you want, do not order it. Do not let food come to your table and then feel like you need to alter it, there are people in the back paid to do it and make it right for you, so tell them to do it. Don’t dare to dream, make your dreams reality and alter your order to meet you exact specifications.

2) Send It Back

And speaking of making the food correctly – if it is not, or it tastes bad, or even if your mind’s eye imagines something completely different than what rests on the plate in reality in front of you – send it back!

Do not pay for something you do not enjoy, do not wish to eat, or do not eat. After all, you are there to ENJOY your experience and the restaurant WANTS YOU to enjoy your experience. They would rather change your order and have you walking away happy than being upset and never returning.

Pro tip: If you ask for your dish to be remade and not just reheated, slightly changed or thrown back on the grill, then salt it – heavily. If the dish comes back extra salty, you know they didn’t make you a new one as requested.

Editors note: this is actually a really solid tip I will be using from now on.

3) Leave a Tip

Don’t be a dick. Tip. 20%. Maybe 15% is you feel unsatisfied.

Just do it. You don’t like the service? Didn’t enjoy the meal? Felt disrespected by the staff? Take it out on the business, not the minimum wage earner who relies on tips for income. If you are mad, tell the manager. Mad at manager? Ask for owner info or corporate contact.

Let the businesses decide what their employees should earn based on performance – it’s not your job nor should it be. And please PLAN on tipping. Do not order $150 worth of food and shrink back into your seat when you realize with a tip the total is $180 for your night out.

4) Reviews

Reviews are for potential future patrons, not messages to the business – If you had an issue, you should have immediately brought it up. You’re far more likely to have your problem resolved and maybe get something in exchange for your trouble than you would for writing a snarky review later which only serves to aggravate the restaurateur, not provide solid, informed opinions for others interested in dining there.

If you like to post reviews – make them informative, not an attack on some culinary wrongdoer.

5) Compliments

Share compliments immediately – if you had a great time, don’t wait to post it to Yelp later. Do it then while you are at the table or on your way out.

If you enjoy good food or service at an establishment and want to keep it that way, make sure management knows directly, and right away. Your compliments will help keep the good employees there and ensure good food and service in the future.

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