My love for bottomless mimosas and gourmet egg dishes is not always fun and games. Okay, maybe it’s a lot of fun and games with a sprinkle of formalities. I love for my Saturday morning meal to be as stress free as possible. That means everything from the planning process to signing checks and leaving tips should be a breeze. That’s not always the case. A few easily avoidable spoilers can sometimes kill the perfect brunch vibes we know and love. I’ve put together a mini guide to brunch etiquette because if brunching had rules, these would be at the top of the list.
1. Respect Everyone’s Time
Start with your fellow brunchers and keep the same courtesy for your servers and additional patrons. Many and basically every restaurant I’ve been to will not seat you until everyone’s arrived. With that rule, I’ve begun telling my friends to meet me as early as forty five minutes earlier than the reservation time. This actually backfired two weeks ago when my best friend was waiting for me outside and I was still in bed. In my defense, my first hangover in what felt like forever struck and I didn’t know how to function. (Read about my go-to spot for hungover brunch here) Being on time is important especially when your drinks are only bottomless for a set time. There’s a good chance your table is being reserved for another group so be on time, don’t take forever to order, and give the table up once your drinks are gone and bellies full.
2. Leave Your Phone Alone
I get it. We’re millennials and treat our phones like serious drug addictions. There’s science to prove it; I’m not just being dramatic. When you take the time out of your busy schedule to make plans, plans that probably had to get rescheduled once or twice, make the effort to be present. Actually present not one hand on your phone and half-listening but fully engaged in the conversation. You and your group could make things spicy and play telephone roulette. That’s when everyone puts his or her phone in the center and the first person to reach for it has to pay the entire bill. Even with having this no phone rule, I’m the first one to pause everyone from taking their first bite to make sure I get the perfect shot of the table. A photo of the full spread is one of the commandments of being about this #brunchlife. That brings me to number 3.
3.Keep Photo Taking Simple
Taking photos of your meal is a part of the culture. It’s almost more weird if you don’t take a picture. Keep the distractions to a minimum. This one is simple because the most annoying thing you could do is use flash which isn’t entirely that terrible. I do think flash truly ruins food pictures and will sacrifice pics altogether if the natural lighting isn’t good enough. Time at the table is for quick pictures and maybe a video for your Instagram story. This is not the time to find the perfect filter or arrange your new image into your Instagram feed. The extras can wait.
4.Thou Shall Not Split the Check over Four Ways
I’m being lenient with four. Brunch rush gets crazy and I totally see both sides of this. Waitresses don’t want to spend valuable time swiping six debit cards and going to the ATM feels foreign to some of us. I’ve become the designated annoying person who sorts out bill logistics before we order food. That means, deciding on whether the table is doing separate checks or one bill as early as possible. It’s 2018, Venmo and Chase Quickpay should be your BFFs.
There are three scenarios you may come across when leaving a tip. The most unusual one I’ve seen is that some places are omitting tipping and replacing it with an administrative fee. That means you are charged a little extra so you don’t leave a tip. Secondly, you may see that tip has been included. This is common with large groups. Lastly, we have the open ended tip. I’m not sure why we still have a debate over tipping but we do which warrants this point in the guide. While I don’t believe poor service should result in not leaving a tip, I do make adjustments based on service. If everything is excellent and exceeds expectations, 20%, 15% for everyday regular service, and 10% for poor. A simple solution to the tip conundrum.
Happy brunching ladies and gentlemen.