You might find changes to favorite restaurants

Between the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccinations and the easing of related restrictions, more folks are ready to sit and eat at restaurants.

But at many eateries, the experiences aren’t quite the same as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Circumstances such as fewer seats to work with and a worker shortage mean that diners might face with longer wait times and more charges.

Here are tips to make dining out more pleasant for diners and those who serve them.

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Don’t rely on Google listings for restaurants

Be cognizant of any differences in the information listed on Google compared to the restaurant’s website. Sure, the search engine is uber helpful in getting some basic information, but it might not be updated. It’s best to visit the restaurant’s website or call directly about hours and other particulars.

Keep reservations, if you can

Or at least cancel in a timely manner. Restaurants staff and order food based on reservations, so not showing without any notice can cause hardships, particularly when some are still operating at reduced capacity due to social distancing protocols.

That’s led to some eateries to begin charging for no-shows.

Also, avoid making reservations for the same time at multiple restaurants.

Exercise patience as you dine

Remember, many of your favorite restaurants are struggling to hire workers to get fully staffed.

That often means longer wait times for orders and server attention. 

Don’t be so quick with online restaurant bashing

As more workers, servers in particular, are picking up the slack at understaffed places and others get back into the swing of serving customers, you might see more frequent mistakes than you have in the past.

Restaurant operators would prefer you give them a chance to make it right while you’re there, rather than you leaving dissatisfied and then bashing them on social media.

Don’t be surprised if you’re charged a service fee

More restaurateurs are considering a flat charge that would go to servers to increase their compensation. 

Provide notice of large parties

Give the restaurant a heads up if you plan to arrive with a large group. They’ll be better prepared to accommodate you. They’d also appreciate knowing in advance when your party will be smaller than expected.

Zach Perkins pours a beer at Slippery Noodle Inn, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in downtown Indianapolis. The bar, restaurant and music venue is struggling to get enough staff to keep the whole establishment up to it's normal full operation.

Consider a different mealtime 

With the days being longer, late dinners rule right now. That means there’s a rush on those 8:30 p.m. slots. You might want to opt for an earlier mealtime to better the chances of enjoying dinner at your preferred restaurant.

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Don’t camp out at the table

It’s nice to be back inside the restaurants, but other folks want in on the experience as well. Let the waitstaff turn over that table.