Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"SERVICE PLEASE" light

A restaurant version of the "flight attendant call button"
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I remember once upon a time eating at a restaurant where each table had a little light with a button on it. Push the button and the light will go on, indicating to the waitstaff that you would like some service. Don't push the button and the waitstaff will leave you alone. With modern technology, this could be improved slightly by having the button also trigger an annunciator in the kitchen or (in larger restaurants) in another room. Additionally, the light could be made to blink at a rate indicating how long it has been on (e.g. push the button and light goes on. After 60 seconds it starts to blink slowly. After 2 minutes it blinks faster. Another minute and it starts blinking rapidly. This would allow the waitstaff to somewhat prioritize service to the customer who has been waiting longest. Anyone else like this idea? I wonder why I haven't seen it elsewhere? BTW, I think the restaurant was York Steak House in the Janesville Mall (Janesville, WI); I would have been there circa 1986 or so.
supercat, Oct 27 2000

Automatic Restaurant Table http://www.halfbake...0Restaurant_20Table
Related 'brilliant' idea [blahginger, Oct 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       Baked in Israel (R'Anana, 1999; they treated it as if it were a common thing that guests understood implicitly.) Wooden bell-shaped devices with call buttons on each table in a restaurant; acoustic signal when the button is pressed.
jutta, Oct 27 2000
  

       And if they haven't come by five minutes, it starts kneecapping the waitrons that go by...   

       Friend of mine won the 'president's award' for the company and was flown to NY...they had dinner in this Brazilian restaraunt,and everybody was sitting around with their salads and waiting for the food to arrive...half an hour later, he picks up this red coaster and plays with it out of boredom, then puts it back down with the green side up, and suddenly people are materializing out of the floor with swords covered in flaming meat. With the green side up it indicates you want service, red side means none, but nobody told them...
StarChaser, Oct 28 2000
  

       This could be useful in some restaurants, particularly where table service is a bottom-rung job. But in places like Europe, and especially France, where it is a respectable profession, such a device would be a blatant admission that the restaurant employed waiters/waitresses who didn't know how to do their job.   

       BTW, those Brazilian restaurants (they're called churrascarias - and I believe the "rr" is pronounced like an "h" in English) are great! And in Brazil, you can get that whole all-you-can-eat meal for about the price of a visit to McDonalds.
beauxeault, Oct 28 2000
  

       You definitely could not use this in Europe. Too much of Europe is used to the slow, drawn out service of the waitstaff-on-a-power-trip kind. But in America, where waitrons (props-Starchaser) really bust ass for tips, it could benefit the waistaff and especially the customer. The graduated blinking is a nice touch also. It doesnt surprise me that some restaurants use a derivative of this technique but keep it a secret from casual diners. Maybe its not implemented on a large scale because of the misuse that may spring from it. "I didnt hit the button! Are you calling me a liar? "   

       Also, I think restaurants like it when their waitrons come to a table and "suggest" another beer or bottle of Dom to diners. It seems 9 times out of 10 the diner will agree. Some people need that extra push to have another one. If they had to push a button for it they wouldnt, but if some waitress and going to ask then sure, why not?
darth_smoothies, Jan 31 2001
  

       At the poolside at a hotel in Vegas, you flip a flag (like those on mailboxes) on the side of your chaise, and you are brought another cocktail!
DreamGoddess, Feb 01 2001
  

       Baked in Japan. Buttons, telephones, etc.
Vance, Feb 07 2001
  

       darth_s - Yes baked in Europe as well - although in the north. A rather nice restaurant in Copenhagen called Peder Oxe. I'd recommend it. In addition this restaurant has the most charming waitresses (sigh).
Gordon Comstock, Feb 13 2001
  

       At the "Poncho's" Mexican restaurant in my city, theres a little miniature flagpole with a flag on it that you raise to get service.
BinaryCookies, Aug 25 2002
  

       To add to this, you should be able to talk into a microphone and say what you want, so the waiter/waitress doesn't have to make unnecessary trips. Kind of like the drive-through.
ilyar, Apr 29 2003
  
      
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