Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Restaurant Semaphore

Flagging down the staff is no longer a figure of speech
  (+33, -2)(+33, -2)(+33, -2)
(+33, -2)
  [vote for,

Sometimes when eating out in a busy place, it's hard to get the attention of the serving staff. I'd imagine it's also difficult for servers to keep track of which tables require attention at a given point in time.

The Restaurant Semaphore system aims to alleviate this by providing customers with a simple flag-based form of communication. Each table is furnished with a small wooden mast which customers can run flags up. Masts come with crow's-nests with actual crows in as standard

Signal Flags

Green Flag: I would like to order please (Half mast for casual request, up top for getting impatient).

Blue flag: I would like a drinks refill.

The Blue Peter: Please bring the bill. Signifies by implication the wish to skip dessert if run up after main course.

Yellow Flag: Messy eaters here, steer clear!

Red Flag: Do not approach the table, we are discussing nuclear secrets/our mutual friend's colostomy woes.

White Flag: Please come quickly! I have accidentally implied my date is fat whilst confessing to an affair - break the moment and there's good tipping in it for you.

Jolly Roger: We be a pirate table! We may offer doubloons for preferential service, or we may just steal food from other tables and welch on the bill. Bring rum in any case.
DocBrown, May 19 2005

?? Yardon ??
[normzone, May 19 2005]

Communicatinating with flags http://www.maineharbors.com/flag.htm
[MikeyTheBikey, May 20 2005]

Office Semaphore Office_20Semaphore
[DrCurry, Feb 23 2006]


       + for any idea involving pirates (provided it's not too silly.)
justaguy, May 19 2005

       Approximately 13% of my ideas involve pirates or piracy, at time of press. It might become a problem in future years but at the moment I think I've got a handle on it.
DocBrown, May 19 2005

       13 percent? Why, that's practically a yardon! Arr!
justaguy, May 19 2005

       Double plus good.   

       Of course my friends (but certainly not I!) would insist on concurrently flying multiple, contradictory flags, just to confuse and annoy the wait staff.
BigBrother, May 19 2005

       "Bring rum in any case."   

       Avast! Any idea incorporatin' pirates is good fer a bun from the likes o' me.
Soterios, May 19 2005

       Bun for [DocBrown]. Recursion lock for [BigBrother].
Shz, May 19 2005

macncheesy, May 19 2005

       I love the way that whenever pirates are mentioned, everybody starts talking like pirates.
Texticle, May 20 2005

       [link] A red flag (Bravo) could be flown when the diner was served with a curry.   

       A blue flag with a yellow bar top and bottom (Delta) could be flown after consumption of the aforementioned rum.   

       The one with black, red, blue and yellow triangles (Zulu) could be flown after a hot, but ultimately frustrating date.   

       The one with two blue stripes and one white stripe (juliet) would indicate a particularly bad date.   

       (ps - if my flag link is broken - click on the 'flag' link)
MikeyTheBikey, May 20 2005

       A flag with half white and half blue with a v tail- signifying I haven't left yet, but I have had to nip under the table to pick up my pen/ wallet/ do something I probably shouldn't do in a restaurant.
meeware, May 20 2005

       Aaarrrrrrr some more.
macncheesy, May 23 2005

       Just before dessert I would run up a yellow flag with a black circle in the middle: "I am altering my course to port".
wagster, May 23 2005

       But, DocBrown, if you eat in the right restaurants with the right waiters, all of this information can be conveyed by the merest flicker of the eyebrow.
Basepair, May 23 2005

       //the merest flicker of the eyebrow// Works for me. But just imagine the chaos in the resataurant service people if all of you should dine at that restaurant together! Yaaaarg! Love it!
MauiChuck, May 24 2005

       Alas [Basepair], I rarely find myself so fortunate - round my way, the right restaurants tend to charge the wrong prices.
DocBrown, May 24 2005

       The main problem would be that there is usually no wind in most restaurants (of the metreological kind!) so the flags would hang limply on the flagpoles. Either the flags would be stiffened or made of cardboard, or fans would be provided to make the flags flap.
Minimal, Feb 23 2006

       I like this idea - a mast and signal lanyards on every table in, say, a seafood restaurant would look attractive and allow flirting between tables (every table would have to have a number or other identifying symbol to allow messages to be directed at particular tables). Wind machines could be used to blow a fresh breeze through the restaurant to make the flags visible.
hippo, Feb 23 2006

       //Yellow Flag: Please bring the bill. Signifies by implication the wish to skip dessert if run up after main course.//

The Yellow Jack was normally used to indicate a ship in quarantine. I would suggest a more appropriate use in restaurants would therefore be 'Messy Eaters. Stand Clear!'
DrBob, Feb 23 2006

       The Blue Peter would be more appropriate for "Can we pay the bill?" as it means "we're about to go/ set sail/ bugger off" in nautical terms.
hippo, Feb 23 2006

       [hippo], [DrB], suggestions noted and incorporated. Cheers chaps.
DocBrown, Feb 23 2006

       This would be especially fitting in a seafood restaurant with a nautical theme....
Minimal, Feb 23 2006

       An empty flag pole - "What do you mean the flags aren't edible?"
hidden truths, Feb 23 2006

       There can be small fans attached atop each flag pole for wind simulation. Thence, 'flying' the flag becomes possible.
xandram, Feb 23 2006

       The Bubba Gump's restaurants (if you haven't been, don't bother) have a simple version of this system. The "RUN FORREST RUN" sign is out when you don't need attention, "STOP FORREST STOP" when you want someone to come by.   

       Still, I like this idea. Particularly the red flag.
weezy, Jun 06 2006

       This would be nice in a themed restaurant...otherwise pretty obscure.   

       There are other types of attention grabbing methods widely used. I live in Dubai now, and its common to see little remote-control bells attached to the table that signals a graphic display of the restaurant floor at the waiting area highlighting the table that requires assistance....this works. well.
shinobi, Jun 07 2006


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