Newport Manners & Etiquette: Dating Tips for Twits, Hospitality Etiquette & Presidential Fashion

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Didi Lorillard, GoLocalWorcester Manners + Etiquette Expert

The best questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week focused on restaurant and dating tips as well as presidential fashion, and how to subtly help your alcoholic friend.

Hospitality Etiquette

Q.  My question is about restaurants and hospitality etiquette. We are opening an up-market restaurant in the midst of well-established favorites and looking to be the new go-to place for fine dining.

From a customer's point of view, what should we be aware of in preparing our staff?  Name Withheld, Newport

 

A.  The more expensive the restaurant, the more personal the service. Think of fine dining as a theatrical experience. You, the manager/owner, set the stage and provide the sets and props for a three act play. You are creating an experience that your staff orchestrates with confidence. The performance of excellent service goes beyond your customer's needs and expectations. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, by making the adventure a signature that impresses your patrons. Some establishments offer children's menus, others special senior meals. Make your specialty a pleasurable experience for your target audience. Focus on the quality of the dining experience.

  • The first act starts when the patron enters the restaurant. They should be greeted warmly and enthusiastically by the host, maître d'hôtel, head waiter, or whomever is the "front of the house."
  • Hats, coats, and umbrellas should be stored near the front door by a greeter.
  • If the reservation is for eight o'clock, you shouldn't have to wait longer than ten minutes, if at all: as in the theatre the curtain rises at an appointed time. If the customers arrive late, the meal may be pushed along to accommodate later diners who have reserved that table.
  • Fresh bread or a canapé is offered along with a drink while the customers read the menu and the host is given the wine list. 
  • During this time questions are asked to the waiter. Whom by the way, should go to the customer's side and not talk across the table intruding on the guests' conversation. S/he describes any specialties that are not listed on the menu and adds, "Please, let me know if there are any allergy issues." 
  • There is the option of whether or not you want your waitstaff to introduce themselves by saying, "My name is Jake, I'll be your waiter tonight." Or the "head of the house," while leading the way to the table will say, "Your waiter tonight is James."
  • Again, set policy about how chummy you want your waiter to be with guests. Some won't appreciate having to make small talk with waitstaff when they are on a date or conducting a business dinner.
  • The order is taken guest-by-guest around the table until the last menu is back in the hands of the waiter.
  • Act two begins with the presentation of the first course. Everyone is served at the same time with ladies first.
  • Plates of food are delivered from the right of the guest.
  • The waiter only serves food to the guest from the left when the guest is helping her/himself from a platter held by the waiter. 
  • The waiter asks if everything is all right, and keeps an eye on his charges to make sure his table doesn't want for anything.
  • Should a diner temporarily leave the table, the waiter would assist with the chair and exchange a fresh napkin, placed to the left of the plate before his or her return.
  • When clearing, plates should never be stacked. By first using his left hand to remove the first course dish from the diner's left side, the waiter's right hand places the the next course from the guest's right. It's a choreographed dance.
  • The third act begins after the dessert has been cleared and the coffee or tea have been placed.
  • Traditionally, the check is not presented until someone, presumably the host, asks for it. However, when the waiter doesn't know who is paying for whom, or if the cost is being shared, and nobody has asked for it, the check is laid on the table.
  • At the front door, while coats are being fetched, the "head of the house" checks the guest's pulse to make sure the experience was satisfying.

 

A few dos don'ts for waitstaff:

  • Shower before arriving to work and wear fresh clothing.
  • Use subtle hygiene scents.
  • Never reach or cross your arm in front of a seated diner.
  • Don't touch or fiddle with your hair, nose, ear, mouth, skin, nails or clothing.
  • Don't over pour or under pour wine or champagne.

 

Dating etiquette for twits

Q.  My brother is a twit and can't keep a girlfriend. He's a one-date kind of guy. I don't know where to start in helping him.  Amy, North Scituate, RI
 

A.  Make him a gift of Will Forte's book, 101 THINGS TO DEFINITELY NOT DO IF YOU WANT TO GET A CHICK. Our watered down abbreviated list appears here:

  • Never use cheesy pick-up lines.
  • Never take anyone to dinner without bathing and dressing for the occasion ahead of time.
  • Never compare her to others you've dated.
  • Never confess details of past relationships.
  • Never take her to dinner and attempt to pay with an outdated coupon or credit card.
  • Never use her credit card.
  • Never go on a date with jagged finger nails.
  • Never reveal old grudges.
  • Never tap the table, while dining, as though you're playing a set of drums.
  • Never engage a skywriter to express your feelings.
  • Never take card or board games too seriously.  
  • Never introduce her as your girlfriend early in the relationship.
  • Never brag about knowing a celebrity or name drop.
  • Never be critical, because criticism destroys relationships.
  • Never pick at or scratch your ear, nose, mouth, hair or nails.
  • Never name your boat after her mother.

 

The lonely part-time spouse

Q. A well-loved younger friend seems to be having difficulties since her husband took a job in another state and only comes home every other weekend. She frequents community events, which include art gallery openings, concerts, and friends' parties acting rather tipsy. Her social skills are excellent, so at first you don't notice it, but after an hour she is clearly smashed. There is often an unpleasant odor of vomit on her mouth or clothing when she greets you with a hug. Her husband is a good friend, should we talk to him? We worry about her driving home and would offer her a ride, but wouldn't it seem patronizing? Plus, she's always one of the last to leave a party.  TM, Savannah, GA

 

A. Next time you see your young friend out and about stay at the event as long as she does. Walk her to her car to say that you're following her home -- which, by the way, you can do without telling her. Decide if she's too drunk to drive. One of you should offer to take her home and the other can follow. If she resists your assistance, risk challenging her (out of earshot of other guests), before she gets into her car. Otherwise, follow in pursuit and wait until she's securely safe inside her house.

Your friend's husband may or may not know that his wife has a drinking problem. As we age, it is unlikely that we handle liquor as well as we did when we were younger. A known fact you can remind him of without ratting out your friend by name. Putting the ball in his court, you're opening the topic for discussion. Don't do so on the phone, but in a face-to-face conversation.

Trump's presidential fashion

Q.  What fashion advice would you give to Mr. Trump? Between the trucker cap that belongs on the shift manager of a box store, and the flapping tie and comb-over, how do we make him look more presidential?  Name Withheld, Washington, DC

 

A.  Starting with his "presidential hat," an embroidered trucker hat with USA on the front and the number 45, his place in the line of presidents, on the side, think of Abraham Lincoln's iconic stovepipe hat and Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Rider slouch hat, which may be the most memorable -- neither was manufactured to a mass market to make a fast buck. 

World leaders have had their personal style from Winston Churchill's formal Homburg to Muammar Gaddafi's highly decorated officer's hat, but for our current president to go down in history for his seven-foot ties, pleated, light colored chinos, trucker hat and famous comb-over is not overall a dignified image. 

Look closely on this photo below for the double-faced scotch tape attached to the underside of Mr. Trump's tie, that failed to stabilize it from sailing over his shoulder. 

If he buttoned his jacket, his tie would be snuggly captured under the buttons. Alternatively, someone could give him a tie clip to anchor his tie to his shirt. Darker colored, perfectly fitted chinos, or dress khakis, would make Mr. Trump appear slimmer and less sloppy. While they're at it, can someone, please recommend a decent barber to the White House!


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.

  • Cliffside Inn

    Newport, RI

    This Bed & Breakfast is located right in the historic district of Newport, Rhode Island. Each room is unique and complete with amenities like imported linens, spa showers and fireplaces. It is just steps away from the Newport Cliff Walk, providing excellent views of the Atlantic.  Don’t miss the seasonal gourmet breakfast!

     
  • Nantucket Hotel & Resort 

    Nantucket, MA

    Nantucket is a great place to visit no matter what season it is. 

    Couples can visit historic museums, and windmills; visit world-class restaurants, check out great art galleries; and gaze at the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. 

    They’re all waiting for you and your significant other. 

     
  • The Inn at Round Barn Farm

    Waitsfield, VT

    The Inn at Round Barn Farm offers the chance for couples to escape to quiet and relaxation, with whirlpools, king canopy beds and much more. 

    Winter activities include snowshoeing with the resident guide dog during the day and a special candlelit dinner followed by a bonfire at night. 

     
  • Four Seasons Hotel

    Boston, MA

    If you and your partner are looking for a getaway in the city, try the Four Seasons Boston. It has views of the Public Garden and, depending on your room selection, luxurious amenities like velvet chairs and silk pillows.

    The Four Seasons has 273 guest rooms and 77 luxury suites for your enjoyment.

     
  • Foxwoods Resort & Casino

    Mashantucket, CT

    The 9 million sq. ft resort and casino gives you and your significant other plenty to do on your romantic getaway. Gamble, see a show, play golf (weather permitting) or just relax in the hotel and spa area.

    Looking for a romantic getaway? You can't go wrong at Foxwoods.

     
  • Daniel Webster Inn

    Sandwich, MA

    Pamper your mind, body, and soul at the Daniel Webster Inn and Spa.

    Head over to the nearby Heritage Museum and Gardens for some wonderful exhibits.

    One of the more popular attractions is the Carousel Gallery.

    The working carousel was designed by Charles Looff in 1908. Rides are unlimited with the price of admission.

     
  • Killington Mountain Lodge

    Killington, VT

    If you ski, or even if you don't ski, the Killington Mountain Lodge is a great place for couples to spend a romantic weekend. 

    At the lodge, there is an outdoor pool with swim-up fire pit, a movie room with free popcorn,  and amazing mountain views. The lodge offers shuttles to take guests to and from the nearby Killington Ski Resort’s lifts. 

     
  • Cranwell Resort & Spa

    Lenox, MA

    A beautiful brick estate tucked in the Berkshires of Lenox, MA, the Cranwell Resort is ultimate for luxury. Guests have the option of pre-ordering treats to their rooms like chocolate covered strawberries, locally brewed beers, and flowers – perhaps a pleasant surprise for their significant other. There are plenty of dining options that strive to use fresh and locally produced ingredients. Check out their Romance Package or their ski and stay package for those looking for some adventure.  

    Cranwell is a great option for couples who want some quality time by the fire or in the snow.

     
  • Newport Harbor Hotel

    Newport, RI

    Located right on the water, the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina is an ideal stay for a romantic getaway. They have two packages for couples looking for a sweet vacation. The “Romance by the Sea” includes: overnight harbor view room, champagne, and chocolates right to your room upon your arrival, waterfront dining at Saltwater and breakfast for two the next morning, as well as two passes to the Newport Mansions, International Tennis Hall of Fame, or Newport Vineyard.

     
  • Captain Lord Mansion

    Kennebunkport, ME

    This beautifully restored B&B supplies romantic vacationers with an intimate Maine getaway overlooking the Kennebunk River. After being served a delicious three-course breakfast, visitors are welcome to stroll through the Inn’s elegant gardens, which include fountains and a waterfall, or spend the day at the Captain Lord Mansion’s spa.

    Located only 3 blocks from the Kennebunkport Dock Square, couples can also easily stroll to do some downtown shopping, or enjoy the excellent local restaurants. 

     
  • Harbor View Hotel

    Martha’s Vineyard, MA

    Martha’s Vineyard isn’t just for the summer.

    Enjoy a romantic stay at the Harbor View Hotel, where most rooms have a view of the ocean and every room comes with plush robes to relax in.

    Harbor View Hotel is offering an amazing Valentine's Day special. If you and your significant other go there for dinner, the hotel will pay for your room. Does it get better than that? 

    The hotel’s restaurant, Water Street, has ocean views as well as a view of the Edgartown Lighthouse.  

     
  • Mystic Aquarium

    Mystic, CT

    For something completely different, Mystic Aquarium is a fun destination for a day trip: see the penguins, play with starfish, and enjoy a Sea Lion Show.

    You and your significant other can make reservations for pancakes with penguins and other cool events. 

     
  • Glynn House Inn

    Ashland, NH

    Set directly in the middle of the White Mountains and Lake District of New Hampshire, this finely decorated 1896 Victorian house provides a desirable intimate and cozy getaway. With six bedrooms, five of which are pet-friendly, as well as six custom suites that include double whirlpool baths, the Glynn House provides couples interested in a romantic, adventurous, or laid back weekend.

    Breakfast will be served at individual tables in the dining room, and complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres await you in the afternoon. Whether you are interested in relaxing on the houses’ wrap around porches to enjoy the view, or whether you want to get out and enjoy fishing, fine restaurants, golf, hiking, skiing, or snowmobiling on the nearby mountains, the Glynn Inn may be the place for you.

     
  • Stonecroft Country Inn

    Mystic, CT

    Stonecroft Country Inn is just minutes from downtown Mystic, the Mystic Seaport, and Mystic Aquarium.

    While you are there, do some shopping and be sure to grab a slice at the famous Mystic Pizza.

    When you are done with that, keep warm next to the Inn's fire pit, which is next to their pond and waterfall.

     
  • The Porches Inn

    North Adams, MA

    What was once a series of dilapidated Victorian-era row houses, is now one of the most innovative and romantic hotels in the Berkshires.

    As part of the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (MassMoCA), The Porches Inn features unique designs and bold colors, while still paying homage to the generations of mill workers' families who once lived there.

     
  • Rabbit Hill Inn

    Lower Waterford, VT

    Tucked away in the little town of Lower Waterford, Vermont, the Rabbit Hill Inn is a Bed & Breakfast with incredible views of the White Mountains. Originally built in 1795 as a trader’s tavern, it sits on 15 acres of countryside and comes with its own library of books and games.

    Choose to stay in its Classic rooms with sitting areas to appreciate the mountains, or splurge on its Superior or Luxury rooms complete with a warm fireplace.

     
  • Bear Mountain Lodge

    Bethlehem, NH

    Designed as a couples’ getaway, Bear Mountain Lodge touts 26 wooded acres in the heart of the White Mountains. This log cabin B&B has all the amenities to relax and cozy up with your partner and enjoy a glass of wine together, like in-room Jacuzzis and floor-to-ceiling fireplaces. If you’re looking for more adventure, Bear Mountain Lodge offers guests discounted lift tickets for Bretton Woods and Cannon Mountain for skiing, plus snow-shoe trails right on-site.

     
  • Inn at Sunrise Point

    Camden, ME

    The Inn at Sunrise Point is located on 5 acres of secluded beachfront property and is just a quick drive from Camden, Maine. You’ll plenty of options for accommodations: rooms in the Garden House, the Main House, or private cottages.

    The Inn at Sunrise Point boasts ocean views, fireplaces and decks for all rooms on the property, making it easy for you are your partner to enjoy the sunrise over Penobsecot Bay. If you’re looking for something active to do, day trips to Monhegan Island or Acadia National Park are easy. Or you could try some ice rock climbing.

     
  • Blantyre

    Lenox, MA

    Rated as one of the “10 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” earlier this year by Forbes.com, the Blantyre, is an ideal elegant romantic getaway. 

    Activities include spa treatments at the Potting Shed Spa or in room; as well as outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating and much more. 

     
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