Why Have Restaurant Waiters Become Plate-Grabbing Vultures?

Image courtesy of (Kim)



People eat at different speeds. That’s just how eating and people work. Yet there’s a disturbing trend in restaurant dining that some people have noticed: servers lurk, ready to grab your plate whether everyone else at the table is done eating yet or not. Why would they do this? Rushing the whole table makes economic sense for a restaurant, but why snatch away plates when other people are still eating?

That’s what Roberto Ferdman over at Wonkblog wondered, especially after one incident where this happened to him while out to dinner. Not waiting until the whole group is done upsets group dynamics, making people feel rushed when they should have no reason to be. Why are servers doing this?

Sightings of the trend date back to 2008, apparently, and the New York Times made the practice part of a very long list of things that restaurants should avoid doing in 2009.

Some servers and even management told Ferdman that they were under the impression that this is what customers want, apparently never having talked to a customer before. Maybe that’s true in the hottest food spots where tables are at a premium and people are grateful for the opportunity to dine there, but in normal restaurants, people hate feeling rushed.

No, you may not clear my plate: The most annoying restaurant trend happening today [Wonkblog]

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