Do Salt and Pepper Belong in Restaurants?

The Great Salt and Pepper Debate

Salt and pepper are a staple of the American diet. The use of these spices is so common in most American households that they are customarily kept on our dining room tables. However, no matter how familiar their place inside our homes, should they exist on the restaurant table?

What Makes Restaurants Different

When a customer sits down to eat at a restaurant they expect that they will be served food prepared by a professional chef. This implies that the food served will be of a higher quality than they would make for themselves in their homes. For some customers – and their chiefs – this means that the meal should be seasoned in such a manner that the addition of salt and pepper would be not just redundant but offensive. So, should salt and pepper be provided, or does their mere existence at your table insinuate that your food is less than the customer might be hoping for?

The Dining Experience

Every dining experience is different. From elegant meals served in intimate dining rooms to hearty curries served in open-air patios, there are infinite ways a restaurant can define their cuisine. How you create and showcase the experience of dining in your restaurant will define the expectations of your guests regarding the level of savory perfection they expect in your dishes.

If your restaurant is known for its hearty, home-cooked meals your patrons will expect to see, and use, salt and pepper shakers at their table. However, delicate, handcrafted plates designed to be a sensory experience will stand in direct opposition of this choice.

The Customer’s Experience

Do not let your desire to cultivate a particular atmosphere lead you to over-design the experience of your guests. For many, the absence of salt or pepper at their table may be jarring. Culturally, many diners add these spices to their foods regardless of the quality and flavor profile of the dish. Your focus should not be on perceived criticisms, but on meeting your customer's needs. Unless the existence of these spices would actively detract from their experience it is best that they remain.

Contact Waiter Wallet online and let us know what you think.