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At a fine restaurant, where sophistication and refinement are expected of staff and patrons alike, couples in dinner attire should not be greeted, “How are you guys, tonight?” Such an informal reception cheapens the moment and can alter the mood for the evening. The maître d’s greeting sets the tone, and the tone should be dignified. Greeting your dinner patrons, “guys” is casual enough when addressing men; it is inappropriate, and might be offensive, to women. (In fact, I’ve wondered why some women who won’t be called “girls” or even “gals” will allow themselves to be called “guys.”) From the moment you enter, the ambiance should enhance the dining experience.

I am neither an elitist nor a fuss-budget. My children don’t call me “sir,” and no one irons my socks. If the maître d’ wants to greet us as “folks,” I’m down with that, but l still don’t want water spots on my wine glass or a server who lets the bottle touch the glass while pouring. These deviations from tradition and etiquette may be minor to some, but I say it’s high time to train the staff.

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