"Restaurants that incorporate the Decoy Effect in their wine list will include one or two top quality and very expensive wines, in order to shift the customer’s view of a reasonable choice to a higher pricing level than would happen if the decoy was not in place."
"Seasoned diners at high-end restaurants scan the wine list descriptions for their favourite wines with little regard for price, so they are less likely to fall for the Decoy Effect."
One mistake people make: "They order from themselves rather than from the chef. I'm not referring to substitutions and such, I mean ordering the boring chicken breast which is only there to appease boring folk."
"People should order what the place is known for, in the manner and progression the restaurant recommends. If at a steakhouse, get a steak – better yet get the cut of steak they are known for."
"Spend the requisite amount of time and money to get the full experience from the place. Don't skip wine/beverage and a first course just to save. If affordability is an issue, better to save up longer than half-a** it."
"Overdressing/Underdressing. This is a serious rookie mistake. And you can tell when someone has dressed for the occasion and feels uncomfortable in their clothes. Come as you are, act as you are, it always works out in the end"
-Roshni Mark (waitressed while in college, at some pretty high-end restaurants for Todd English and Michael Schlow)
“We don’t care if you can’t understand the menu, ask us, we won’t laugh. Most waiting staff will be very happy to help out with the wine selection. This is not a competition to know everything about food and drink. If another guests finds this entertainment then they haven’t observed the advice on arrogance above.”
-Ross Boardman (award-winning restaurateur and author of 101 Restaurant Secrets)
Nod 'yes' after tasting the wine
"The wine taste. Smell it, sip it, do whatever you'd like but just give a happy nod to the server so they can start pouring. Some people will just stare blankly and wonder what the heck is going on. This happens way more often than you'd expect."
"There is no need to sniff the cork, you can look to see if there is a stain from the wine going all the way up and being exposed to air (which is ultra rare) and the server should spot that and not serve it. The only other reason to outright reject a bottle is if it is corked and smells of mildew, which is often subtle. If the wine is not to your taste, say that. Depending on the management, you may be able to send it back and the odds are in your favor if the server or sommelier suggested it. Saying the bottle is bad when it isn’t could lead to a sommelier or manager sitting down to taste it and if you’re wrong and the bottle is expensive that could get awkward."
"Really, just don’t be rude, and don’t be pretentious. Don’t correct the staff. Don’t think you know more than the staff. You are a guest in their house."
-Shawn Ramirez (15 years in the restaurant/bar/catering/chef business)
Don’t be cheap with the bill
"Don’t cringe at the bill. Just tip 20%, and just shrug it off. Even on a $500 bill, an extra $100 is really just a drop in the bucket. Don’t pay for the bill, and then decide not to pay the person that was working for you directly.
If you decide to split the bill in multiple ways, then tip more."
"Always ask for the price of specials if you are considering...
On one occasion a restaurant host asked if I'd like some white truffle shavings on an appetizer. I was occupied with an intriguing guest, so I unconsciously said 'yes' and included her plate. Two quick passes on a grater and my tab increased by $160.
It was a fine meal, but the memory of this and a few others has been spoiled by being careless about money."
"During my years in the luxury hotel and elegant dining segment, one thing stood out: Improper handling of wine glasses. [It's important to know] the correct way to handle a wine glass, as they won’t serve you wine in a Ball jar or a water glass in a high-end restaurant."
-Dan Pepper (early career was in the hospitality industry)
Don't hit on your waiter or waitress
"Don’t hit on [the staff] (it happens far too often, and it does not matter what color the Amex card used to pay is, it’s rude.)"