The Great Restaurant Checklist

Does this scenario sound familiar?

The group is planning a night out. Decision made – see the new blockbuster movie and grab a bite afterward.

The movie was great, everyone liked it.

Then the question of where to eat comes up – that’s when the train gets derailed.

Forget getting everybody to agree on a choice…a simple majority would be nice.

Can’t go here – he doesn’t like the food…can’t go there – she doesn’t like the décor…that place won’t work – he’s got food allergies…the other place is right out because she doesn’t like the neighborhood…and there’s no way we’re going there because someone heard the chef had a checkered past.

What should take five minutes turns into a 30 minute debate. End result – regardless of where you go, somebody isn’t happy.

If only there was a fair and impartial way that would allow for a fair and democratic decision.

Put it to a vote? No.

Flip a coin? Hardly.

Draw cards? Good luck.

How about a checklist?

Hang on a minute…this could work.

What if there was a checklist containing several important, and a few not-so-important factors in deciding where to eat. A point system is established and the restaurant that gets the most points wins.

We may be on to something here.

But what to put on the checklist? That is the question.

Some things are obvious:

·         Type of food (probably the most important factor)

·         Reputation (I heard the food is…)

·         Level of service (do the servers chew gum while taking your order?)

·         Prices (if you have to ask…)

Then there will some factors which may not be critical – but carry a significant amount of weight (with someone):

·         Location (that’s too far away, I’m starving)

·         Décor (is there art on the walls or fishing gear)

·         Average wait time (the babysitter is paid by the hour)

·         Parking (valet or a six-block walk)

Then there are the things that you might not even consider:

·         Napkins (paper or cloth)

·         Wait staff wardrobe (black tie or brown flip-flops)

·         Entertainment (jazz trio or 27 TVs showing every sporting event known to man)

·         Menu cover (name of restaurant in gold leaf or photographs of entrees)

Obviously this idea doesn’t stand a chance, it was all very tongue-in-cheek. After all, trying to reduce the selection of a restaurant to something such as menu cover would take the all the fun out of engaging in a group discussion with your friends where everybody’s opinion is given careful consideration by the entire group before you decide on the choice of the person who complains the most if they don’t get their way.

Bon appetite!

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