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In our first post, I talked about how huge of a week we had since we were covered on CBC.  Well this past week was doubly special, because we got our first international coverage, but also because it was my birthday on Sunday, and what could be more important than that!

To celebrate, my lovely family treated me to a nice brunch at Jack Astor’s on Harbour Drive.  Of course, I spent the first 10 minutes or so, adding almost every item from their extensive menu to HelpMeOrder, which got me into the mood for experimenting.  I mean, for an indecisive person who hasn’t yet discovered HelpMeOrder, what’s the next best thing?  You guessed it.  Ask the waiter for recommendations.  So I thought I’d try it.  I was pretty sure I was going to order the Chicken Parmigiana in the end (unless of course he said it was terrible, which I highly doubt any waiter has ever said in the history of restaurants) but what had I got to lose.  So I asked him, and he actually gave me a pretty honest answer.  He said that his favorite pasta dish was the Chicken Asiago Bow-Ties, but that the Chicken Parmigiana was also pretty good.  That’s pretty useful.  He also recommended that I get the garlic chips on the side (which ended up being a bad idea cuz they just left them out altogether and I was curious to know what garlic chips even where, but that’s beside the point).

So, on the surface, you would be led to think that asking the waiter for a recommendation is actually pretty useful.  But, what ended up happening of course, is that I went for the Chicken Parmigiana anyway.  My wife, on the other hand went with his recommendation and got the Asiago.  And would you believe it, hers was so dry, she had to send it back for more sauce and when it came back she still didn’t like it very much.  And that’s where the flaw is exposed.  Even if your waiter is super helpful and doesn’t just say “Everything is good here”.  At the end of the day, it’s just one person’s opinion.  Sure, they might say something like “Oh yeah, the Chicken Parmigiana is very popular” but that’s still a pretty subjective answer.  And popular doesn’t necessarily mean good.

confused waiter on white
Not only that, I was recently reading an article in the Montreal Gazette that listed the top 20 pet peeves of Waiters.  At number 16 was the following:

Don’t ask us which plate we like better. Unless we’re eating it with you, I don’t see how our opinion really matters.

So not only is it counterproductive to ask the server for a recommendation, they don’t even like doing it.  So please, if not for your own good, do you it for your kind waiter.  Download HelpMeOrder and find out for yourself which plate is best based on the votes of other people just like you.

As always, we’re interested to hear from you.  What type of answers do you typically get when you ask your waiter “What’s good here”?

Peter Francis

Peter Francis

Co-founder at HelpMeOrder
Peter is an entrepreneur, engineer, husband, father, blogger, and wannabe food critic.
Peter Francis

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