Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hail a Waiter

New Yorkers talk about hailing cabs. I live in Rio, therefore, I talk about hailing waiters.

I was bitching to my parents while in the US about how impractical the whole waiting system is in restaurants. So the waiters are supposed to read my mind and show up when I need them. That or essentially live up my ass the entire time I'm eating at their establishment. I mean, I know it's warm and cozy in there but it really is quite distracting.

In Rio de Janeiro, that is so not the case. You could practically throw a roll at a waiter without being offensive. Hell, that's what they get for flirting with the hostess as opposed to checking in with you.

But it works. We went out for lunch today, after a morning at the pool. I lifted my hand up and snapped. It felt so damn good. In the states, I was holding myself back like a 13 yr old boy in a PG13 movie. Finally, I got to let it out and hail the waiter.

People, I've got stuff to do and things to eat. Why am I waiting around for him to notice me. I never did it with boys, why do it with food.

And you know what, he hopped right over and took our order. No harm, no foul.  When we forgot to ask for the 900 ml bottle of beer and had to call him back, he smiled. Then again, my husband told him we had forgotten the most important part of the meal. I think it's a Brazilian thing.

Now if only people would come and serve me when I hailed them at home. A girl can dream, can't she!


  1. Up the ass waiters are soo annoying (definitely can be found in U.S.)-- I think it would be hard to find that here in Brazil. Sometimes my waiter practically goes out to lunch. I get super annoyed waiting for a check without good reason. When the joint is packed, I can wait.

    WHEN I wait 20 minutes to be seated, I can expect a wait for the check or food. But when I got to be somewhere and I am waiting for nothing.... I probably will not be coming back. Campinas and Paulinia has this problem, but it's places lacking a general sense of customer service.

  2. Rachel,

    Let me guess, your waiters in Rio are older than 18 and don't have piercings on their lips, tongue, nose and forehead :)

  3. I actually hate the "service" in Brazil... this can be said about restaurants/bars but surely also banks or people in the supermarket for example... I prefer a polite & attentive approach in stead of most of the Brazilian nitwits who show a little to much they don't like their job....

    BUT I follow you on the part that being to attentive isn't nice either... the "in between" approach should be invented :)

  4. I think people in the supermarket are great!! the boys even carry to my apartment for free!!!

  5. I really like the service here, it varies from place to place but I don't find it difficult to get a waiter's attention. Like you said, raising your hand or finger, saying (or politely yelling) "Moço" (my son is a pro) or making the sound "aahnn"(I really don't know how to write that sound but it works). Or even just making eye contact most times.

    Granted when I first arrived here I found it sort on the rude side and was super-intimidated, but now, I know better!

  6. Oh please -- service here sucks. Don't get me started...

    You could stand up and do jumping jacks and the waiter would not get the hint.

    Plus, the 10% service charge added to your bill? - Guess what? 5% is going to the restaurant owner and the wait staff are getting screwed. Trust me - ask them next time.

    Luiz was a 5 star restaurant waiter for over a decade. I have lond suggested he should be a service consultant for hotels here. THEY NEED IT!

    But then - calma - tudo joia...

  7. I never said it was good service, just glad I can call them over when I want them. Customer service doesn't fit with the "style" here. I got royally pissed of and asked a girl at Tam if she knew what customer service meant.

  8. We also have become pros at flagging down the waiters and have no problem getting their attention. Sometimes when they refuse to bring the check we just get up and start to walk out the restaurant.... That always brings more than one waiter to your side :)

    Of course we would never leave without paying and we always leave something for the guys on top of the 10% even if service is terrible. What's an extra 5 bucks to us when we could possibly helping someone who needs it?


  9. I don't know, Jim, I like the style here better than the US. Oh, sure, it takes ages at times, but I do like the flip side that they are not rushing you out of the restaurant, either. I think I"m with Rachel on this one -- much rather flag the guy down when I'm ready vs. him hovering just over my shoulder as in the US.