No, Waiter Dude, Everything Is Not Great

I'm sure you've been there before. You walk into a restaurant, take your seat and unfold your napkin. You place a drink order with your waiter, and while looking at the menu, you casually ask "So, what's good here?"

Sometimes you'll get a great recommendation or two. Sometimes a waiter will ask about preferences and dislikes and point to a few menu items that really sing or seem to work exceptionally well for previous diners. Most of the time, though, you get the biggest cop out in the history of restaurant recommendations: "Everything is great here!"

The problem is everything isn't great. Even at the very best restaurants, a few dishes always shine a little more brightly that the rest, and there are always a bomb or two. Some dishes have been lingering on the menu a bit too long, and are only ordered occasionally, while others are new dishes a chef has dreamed up and may still be tweaking.

Telling a diner every dish on a menu is as good as the rest is lazy. It robs diners of the chance to interact in a genuine way with a restaurant's staff and lessens the chance that they'll end up with a plate that really speaks to them as a diner -- a plate that makes them want to come back and patronize the restaurant again.

One of the best parts of eating out is the interaction you can have with an enthusiastic staff that is knowledgeable and passionate about a menu. When a customer asks for an opinion, a waiter should spend a little time with the question and try to offer thoughtful advice.

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