How do you feel about being a restaurant "regular"?

After reading the OP in this thread, I was reminded of a conversation I had recently wherein we discussed how we felt about being a regular at a restaurant. This was after having played tour guide for a couple of out-of-town visitors that I took to my favorite breakfast place – a location where I was hugged and subsequently harassed by the waitresses that know me best there.

Clearly, I have no problem being a regular, but what’s your take?

I’m guessing you’re going to come back and link the thread you’re talking about…

I like to be recognised, but I’m not on a first name basis with any restaurant workers and I certainly wouldn’t want to be hugged by one unless they were a personal friend of mine.

That would have been useful, eh? :o

This thread.

I like to give my buisness to friendly people. I don’t know if I would like them knowing my order though, because I’m the type of person that likes to try new things, (unless it’s a pizza place). If I ordered the same thing all the time, It would probably be because that’s the only thing worth getting.

I didn’t vote because none of the choices cover my feelings about it…which are torn. I am recognized at my favorite restaurant and the servers know some of my order depending on whether I am there with my husband or my kids or both. [They know if it is just me and Mr. Katze we’ll be ordering guacamole, if it is me and the kids we’ll be ordering espinaca dip, if it is all of us we’ll be ordering both.] But no one knows my name, I don’t think, and don’t try to act like they are my personal friends, which is how I like it.

I recently discussed switching dry cleaners because every time I walk in they say, “Hi Mrs. Katze! Extra starch on everything today?” And for some reason I find that incredibly off-putting. I only didn’t switch because they are close, cheap, and do a great job, and one of the attendants has a crush on my husband and will give him huge discounts when he picks up the cleaning.

I like the customer service that comes with being a regular, but I dislike being recognized…it makes me feel self conscious. I much prefer being an anonymous customer who gets great service because that’s how [whatever business] does it.

I like being recognized as a regular. I tend to be a good tipper, and get excellent service at places where they know me.

Well, in my tiny little WV town, there are three dining establishments within walking distance: a Subway-type sandwich place connected to the 7-11, a greasy spoon around the corner, and a slightly less greasy spoon a little further away.

I usually go to the greasy spoon around the corner for breakfast about once per week after I put my daughter on the bus. I love bacon, eggs, hash browns and whole wheat toast (and plenty of coffee) for breakfast, but don’t like the mess and hassle of making them at home. My daughter also thinks it’s a treat to go there for dinner a couple times a month. And another time or two a month, I’m exhausted and don’t feel like cooking, and order delivery from there. Especially if the weather sucks. Of course, this is a tiny town, so they’d probably know who I was even if I didn’t go as often. It helps that I own the building that one of their cooks lives in. As for the sandwich shop at the 7-11, well, a 7-11 employee rents an apartment from me, too, so they, too, are well aware of who I am.

While I don’t always order the same thing for dinner when we go to the greasy spoon, but at the sub shop it’s always a meatball sub, extra meat, provolone cheese, on whole wheat. And they know it.

I’m sure these people know my name (or at least most of them do), but in a town like this, I’m still “hon”. :smiley:

I don’t really care if they recognize me. I have two restaurants I try to frequent with some regularity because I really, really love the place. One of them is an adorable little Italian restaurant in my neighborhood (which is mostly populated by fried chicken and chinese food places) that has good prices and excellent food. We try to go there once a month and any time we have guests in from out of town we bring them there for dinner. I also have a cool little theme diner downtown that I like so I try to eat there once every 6 weeks or so. Other than that we tend to eat at home. If they recognize us based on that kind of patronage that is cool but I would feel even worse about my eating habits than I already do if the local restaurants started to recognize me on sight.

I don’t like being recognized mostly, it creeps me out.

I don’t, however, mind being recognized at ethnic famly-run restaurants. That’s a totally different kettle of fish.

I’m generally recognized as a regular at a bar, not as restaurant, but yeah, I like it. Makes the whole eating thing less impersonal. In this town, it’s hard not to be recognized everywhere. I’ve probably taught the server, the bus boy, the kitchen staff, or taught their siblings or parents even.

I know someone who frequents a certain Chinese restaurant so often that she’s practically part of the family that runs it. People that know her well and want to get ahold of her usually call the restaurant before they’ll try her cell.

I agree. We go to a local sushi place about one a week. We usually order their “boat” (a sushi/sashimi meal for two). The staff knows us, and the sushi chef offers us new things he is trying, for our input.

Another place we frequent is a place where we are known by name. The owner will sometimes bring us a taste of something “new/exciting” to try. I refer many people there and have had office holiday dinners there as well. This Valentines Day I called at the last minute for reservations. They were booked, but the owner set up a special table for us!

I love it, it makes going out to eat so much nicer.

I would draw the line at being harassed, though, even in a teasing, friendly way. It’s still a place of business, not someone’s backyard.

So you’ve never had the pleasure of having a waitress launch an ice cube at you from across the room, or had an owner come and snatch your plate off your table after you’ve only taken a single bite of your food? In my opinion, you’re missing out. :smiley:

I don’t mind. My GF and I are regulars at a couple restuarants in Hoboken and the host always recognizes us and hooks us up. My buddy and I have a bar in Midtown where we know like every single bartender, the manager and the owner. When I was unemployed, I even became “known” at the health food place where I would get proteins shakes every other day at the end of my run.

I generally don’t order the same dish enough for them to second guess my order though.

One time it was awkward though was when I lived in Boston back in the 90s. I worked at a dot-com firm in a building that had a restaurant on the lobby level. Needless to say, the close proximity of the restaurant lended itself to frequent frequenting by myself and the rest of the employees. It got to the point where it became a little weird. Guys would date the waitresses and waitresses would always be flirting with us (I guess they all thought we were dot-com millionares or something). Sometimes I would come in there and a waitress would sit me with a group of strangers who happened to work at the company. Combined with the genreally cultiness of my company, it was all really sort of weird.

I enjoy the benefits of being a regular but I always feel that I’m going there too often once they start recognizing me. I normally take it as a sign that I need to cut back or diversify my life. Although it was nice to go back to one of the bars I used to be a regular at and hadn’t been to in two years and to get a hug from the bartender and an 80% discount on my tab.

Our favorite Tex Mex place is about two blocks away. We eat there pretty often, and are recognized by the other regulars as well as the bar and wait staff. We always get good food and good, friendly service. Once I went there for lunch when my wife was out of town and the manager came over to ask if she was OK.

*I love them knowing my name and my “usual” order!

*Except for the name part. I tend to go to the same places for lunch, and have a particular item that I visit those places for. It’s nice to be able to walk in, and just indicate “Large” or “small”, and have it come out exactly as I like it. The indication is usually just a hand spread indicating size.

In college, there was a place that had only one size, and the question was “Here or to go.” The difference being that “Here” meant that there’d be a pint of Guiness coming to the bartop shortly.

I don’t mind being recognized, but I think it’s funny for the waitstaff sometimes.

There’s one caribbean restaurant I go to where they know my bf & I. Sometimes during the week, we’ll arrive separately (we don’t live together) and that always throws the one waittress for a loop. She starts to ask where the other one is, and then stops herself. She always seems relieved to find out we are still together and just arrived at different times.

We tend to joke around with the wait staff a lot - and tip well - so we tend to get good service.

In small restaurants, I love being recognized, and it really doesn’t take going there that often for it to happen.

There is a local Chinese restaurant that we visit maybe once a month, and while they don’t know my name, they definately recognize me. There is a tiny (the owner and his son)Caribbean restaurant that we go to maybe every other month. We’ve followed him through 4 different locations. He knows names, preferences, recognizes our family when we bring them along. My SO and I have even brought him a bottle of his favorite rum, that we found while on vacation.

In a bigger restaurant, with lots of staff? I’d be a little curious as to why they remembered me.