You look around to see how many tables have food. If half the tables have customers with no food, you know that there is a problem with production. Either the servers or the kitchen cannot keep up. You’re in for a long wait.
That is good observation, but we could be much more interactive.
It’s a matter of teamwork – working together for the common good. If you see someone walk into a restaurant and you are pissed off at the place for some reason there should be a way to warn them while they are still at the door.
We need hand signals.
A potential diner should be able to stand at the door and if none of the customers seated in the restaurant turns to you and signals, then it is ok to go in. But if half the diners in the place turn to you and give some sort of signal, then you can make your own choice based on that information.
For instance, if the food is bad, you could put your open hand up to your throat and gag with your tongue out. If the place is too expensive then you pat your wallet in your back pocket or shake your purse.
So if you look around and three patrons turn and make like they are gagging, you right away know the food is bad.
What other signals could we use?
Choking means the food is bad, the wallet pat means expensive. How about if the service is slow you hold up your wrist and point to your watch with your other hand?
If the place is filthy, you hold your nose.
If it’s noisy, you put your hands over your ears.
If there are bugs, you swat flies.
If the drinks are weak you pantomime drinking from a glass and turn it into a “thumbs down” signal.
If you are standing in the door and see four people shooting at the same three-year-old in a high chair you know you’ve got a screaming kid.
If you see some guy shooting himself in the head and plopping in the mashed potatoes you scoot on out of there.