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20-40-60 Etiquette: Restaurant seating doesn't have to be distasteful

20-40-60 Rtiquette: I'd like a better table at a restaurant. Is it OK to ask for one. 20-40-60 etiquette answers, with Jane Jayroe as guest.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Published: November 4, 2013

QUESTION: We have observed that a certain restaurant habitually, for years, tries to seat people at the least desirable tables (near restroom and kitchen) first, even though there is plenty of available seating. When it happens to us we request seating elsewhere. We believe their reason is to spread the customers among the wait staff.

However, we also believe early arrivals should get preferential seating, or at least not the worst. Are we being unreasonable? How do you all see it?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: I think that if you would like to sit somewhere else in the restaurant you should ask to be moved. If other people do not like where they are sitting they will say something if they would like to move as well. I don't think you need to let this bother you. Enjoy your meal!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: If there are plenty of open tables, then I don't see a problem with asking nicely to move to a different one. The other tables may be reserved, or the restaurant may have a policy about where it sits early guests, but until you ask, you're not going to know. In the end, though, it's probably not worth making a huge deal about where you sit. You're there to enjoy the food and your company. If seating is a priority, then call ahead and ask those questions in advance.

HELEN'S ANSWER: Restaurant owners probably have a seating plan about the areas they would like to fill up first. Maybe it looks better if the far tables are filled with people. However, if you don't like where they are taking you, and it might be a booth instead of a table that you might like, speak up in a friendly tone. The maitre d' probably does not care where you are located.

Also, when people make dinner reservations, it is possible that the seats up front are already spoken for at a certain time. Always check to see if reservations are required. And if you call ahead, state your seating preference.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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