Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Should we continue with a restaurant series?  Because we don't talk enough about food here, right?

It is well documented that servers in France are sometimes missing from view and often seem barely bothered to even come to your table (with the exception of fine dining).
Photo by Virginia Jones
As someone who has had a healthy dose of restaurants/cafés on both sides of the counter, I feel the importance of giving/having good service. But here is the difference.  Anglophones are busy.  They are busy on their phones, on their computers, at their 30 minute lunch breaks.  They are going, going, going with their multi-tasking, and eating is just 2 small parts of their day, while they are doing something else.
In Paris, eating is your break.  Your social time.  And while it is a struggle even for the French to get a server to the table, they are not likely to notice unless it has been 20 minutes. Because the server and the food are not the center.  The break is.   

Your server is not there to make sure you have a good lunch or evening.  He is there to serve the food while you enjoy the evening with whomever it is your are with.   He shouldn't chat you up or hover around your table expecting you will leave in 30 minutes and he can get a tip and another table.  You are most likely the only people sitting at that table for that lunchtime.  

Never was this more apparent to me when a good French friend of mine actually yelled, yes YELLED at our server. "Can't you see she is trying to have a nice evening out with her mother?  Please stop bothering them!"  And the implication of our roles was utterly clear.

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