Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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The dumbest question in restauranting

I just sent the following email to Jeremy Iggers, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's restaurant critic:

You dine out a lot. (Duh.) Maybe you can answer a question that's been perplexing me for the past year or so. Nobody else I've asked, including a bunch of waiters and former waiters, has been able to.

Where did this fad for asking diners "How's everything tasting?" come from? It's an amazingly stupid and short-sighted question, implying that all they care about is the food - and not anything else that has an impact on the dining experience, like, say, the service or the restaurant's cleanliness or anything else besides what's on your plate.

It seems hopelessly contrived and phony, too. It has the feel of something some bright restaurant consultant came up with over his third apple martini, and honed relentlessly over months with focus groups and other restaurant consultants. Really, now. Until a year or so ago, who in their right mind would have thought to ask what the diner thought in that particular way?

My rooommate and I have taken to answering it with something obviously silly, like "I don't know. I haven't taken a bite out of the table yet." or "I hear the National Petroleum Reserve is a particularly fine vintage this year." If they don't want an honest answer to what they should be asking - feedback on the diner's overall satisfaction, not just the food on their plate - why should I oblige them?

A side note: Somehow, the guy's email address - formed from his first initial and last name - seems appropriate for a restaurant critic...

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