Everyone wants the best table in the house when dining out at a restaurant, but very few people know how to find the perfect seating position within a restaurant. Especially if you're on a romantic dinner date or an important business luncheon, getting a killer table will give you an extra dose of VIP status, so it pays to know how to find the perfect seating position within a restaurant.
- Know the restaurant. The best table in the house will vary depending on the type of restaurant, and how it is organized. For instance, a restaurant that offers a waterfront view or popular patio will likely have more prime seating positions, and those seats will also be more in-demand. The location of the kitchen or the bar can turn a normally great table into one of the worst seats in the house, so if you've never been there, it pays to phone the restaurant and ask the hostess what she considers the best seating position. In general, the seats closest to the bathroom and the kitchen area are the least prized, as they're generally the smallest and see the most traffic.
- Remember why you're there. The best seat in the restaurant usually has less to do with geography, and more to do with when you're dining, with whom, and why. Make sure your seating position is appropriate for the event. If you're at a trendy hotspot with friends, you're going to want a table near the front, where you can see and be seen. On the other hand, a romantic dinner date calls for a more secluded seating position—the best are in the corner, or behind a curtain or partition. Knowing why you're there and what impression you're hoping to make will help you find the perfect seating position for your experience.
- Use online reservation services. If you dine out frequently, reservation services like Open Table can have huge advantages. In addition to making the reservation process extremely easy, you can earn points for each restaurant you visit. Accumulating a certain number of points will earn you a gift certificate good at any of thousands of restaurants. More importantly, when you make your reservation, there's a field that allows you to make special instructions to the staff. Requesting a particular seating position in this way means the staff will make a note of your request, and remember to accommodate you.
- Don't wait until the last minute. Even if you're a restaurant's favorite client, you're not likely to find the perfect seating position in the restaurant if you call two hours ahead of time. If you're dining at a particularly trendy or well-reviewed eatery, you'll be lucky to get any table at that late hour. Book your reservation, at the very latest, five days before you plan to dine. If you're looking to dine during prime-time hours on a Friday or Saturday, make it a full week's notice..
- Don't be shy. The best way to find the perfect seating position is to ask. When you make your reservation, explain that you are going to be hosting a business luncheon or on a date, and the perfect seating position would help you create the right impression. You'll generally find that not only will the hostess be happy to help you, but may even have some suggestions on how to create a memorable dining experience..
- Be friendly and courteous. Nothing is going to ensure you get the best table in the house on your next visit better than a little dose of charm. Thank the waiter, compliment the food, and leave a generous tip. If you can, seek out the owner or manager before you leave. If you work for a high-profile business in the area, host a number of social events, be sure to mention this when introducing yourself. When you're seen as friendly and influential, you'll be likely to always receive VIP treatment.
Taking the time to find the perfect seating position within a restaurant gives the impression that you are organized, well-liked, and have impeccable taste. Regardless of the situation, this impression can most certainly help you gain esteem in the eyes of your dining companions.