Smart tips for dining out on Father’s Day

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Many families celebrate Father’s Day (June 16) by dining out at restaurants or using the services of a catering hall. During busy entertaining days such as this one, knowing a few things about planning events can help the occasion move along smoothly.

Book early

Start shopping around for restaurants as soon as possible. Reservations quickly fill up, but the early bird gets the table. Space may be limited for large parties, so planning several weeks or even months in advance is wise.

Ask about special menus

The regular house menu may not be available for special events and holidays. Some establishments offer an abbreviated menu with just a few offerings to make it easy for kitchen staff to prepare in bulk. Restaurants that cater to large parties may require ordering from a family-style or party menu so they will know in advance what the guests will be dining on and can prepare accordingly. Although these options may limit options, they can make it easier for diners to determine the bill in advance.

Expect some crowds

On popular days to dine out, such as Father’s Day, crowds tend to be large and wait times lengthy. Patience is necessary because the staff is doing their best to accommodate patrons.

To fit more diners, restaurants may push tables closer together or add chairs to increase place settings. If you have any concerns, such as fitting a wheelchair or a baby's highchair, bring it up when making the reservation.

Pay attention to gratuity

When servicing parties of six or more, dining establishments tend to include a gratuity on the bill. Restaurants may need to hire extra staff for busy days or regular staff may work extra hard on holidays. Therefore, automatic gratuities help ensure these workers will be justly compensated. Diners can always increase built-in gratuities for servers who go above and beyond.

Linger within reason

Large parties take up valuable space, and restaurants benefit from high table turnover rates. If the reservation is for a set amount of time (a three-hour dinner, for example), do not linger for longer than that amount of time unless you are willing to pay more. Also, on busy holidays, be courteous and dine efficiently so other patrons can enjoy the day as well.

Ensure children are well-rested

Cranky kids may be no big deal when dining out on a random Tuesday, but during busy service days or parties, they can be disruptive. Naps, snacks and activities to keep young children occupied can make for happier diners all around.

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