Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Saving Time with Restaurants

While most people waste every second they spend in a restaurant because they use that time to buy poison rather than food, let's assume you are not one of those people.

More restaurants are actually including food fit for humans on their menus, these days. In fact, such restaurants are becoming the rule rather than the exception. And you can request sauces and dressings be "on the side," which is a polite way of requesting that those things come in a separate dish so you can have the server remove them untouched later.

I developed some time-saving restaurant techniques while working for an engineering sweatshop about 15 years ago and trying to eat lunch within the tight time limits they allowed. Here are my tips:

  • Go early. You are probably already aware of this one, but do you do it? I eat lunch at 11:30, so I never have to wait on the crowd. The other option is to go late. The "go late" option doesn't work for dinner, because so many people do go late. So, an early dinner is a time-saver but a late dinner usually is not.
  • Make a precise reservation. You'll have to use the 12-hour clock when you make your reservation (I wish we'd all go to the far less confusing 24-hour clock). But don't make a reservation for 5:30. Make it for 5:27. Now, when you arrive at 5:25, you won't have to wait. Those schmucks who reserved at 5:30 will be waiting until 5:40 before they are seated.
  • Chat only after everyone has ordered. When your server appears and tries to get you to buy "appetizers," alcohol, and other high-margin junk that destroys your health, you can say. "We'll skip all of that. We're ready to order now." If your server has to keep coming back to see if you are ready to order, you are going to have a late-running meal.
  • Order simple. Simpler food is better food, and it's also less time-consuming to prepare. Many people think salads take a long time to make. Typically, these are served from a large pre-made batch. Ditto for soup. So, preparation time is minimal. This tip isn't a major one. But things like baked fish, for example, do take longer to prepare than something grilled.
  • Ask for your check when your order arrives. The only reason not to do this is if you plan to order desert. But if you are ordering desert, you are already committed to spending time on dealing with the fallout of poor dietary decisions. Let's assume, instead, you care about your body. There is no reason to wait until you are done to pay. Let the server handle that whole payment thing while you are eating. Then, you can leave without having to sit around glancing at your watch while you are waiting on the check.
  • Tip generously. This is especially important if you plan to go back there. You do get better, faster service if you tip well. Plus, it's the right thing to do. Don't forget about the American Taliban's ruthless policy toward restaurant help. These folks pay income tax on tips whether they make them or not.
  • Tip in advance. If you plan to tip in cash, set your tip out before your food arrives. People have told me that's stupid--what if you are poorly served? Try this, and see if you ever get poorly served. It's not going to happen. Make the server happy before you get served, and guess what happens to your level of service? And the speed....



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.