Weekly Tip from Your Friendly Server

With the weather as cool as it's been this week, it's almost easy to forget the brutal temperatures we face each summer. During that time, most establishments have an equally fierce chill blowing from the air conditioning.

I don't know if lease agreements with retail stores, museums, or movie theaters demand thermostats be set lower than 60 degrees throughout the year or if there's an underground Freon ring, but either way, cold indoor temperatures appear to be the norm here. And most restaurants are no exception.

If you've lived in the South for a while, you're probably accustomed to this and have adapted accordingly. But for those who haven't acclimated or get the chills often, here's a little tip from your friendly server:

When dining out, bring a sweater.

I feel your pain. I'm cold-prone, too, and get the shivers when I open my refrigerator door. But while I'm working, I'm constantly running around during the shift, so I'm always warm.

The majority of patrons have no complaints on the weather inside, but every so often, there are some who do. As much as I want to make your experience comfortable, if you ask me to dial up the thermostat, I'll surely empathize, but I can't make promises. The decision lies in the hands of the manager, and if he or she complies with your request, the temperature will go up only two or three degrees. The reason is simple: At most restaurants, it's necessary to keep the temperature cool to offset the heat from the stoves, ovens and grills in the kitchen. This is especially true for smaller restaurants that can't afford comprehensive cooling systems.

Other than marginally hiking the thermostat, as a server, I have a few alternatives for those who tend to get the chills while out and about. So bring a cozy sweater to keep yourself toasty.

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This is one of my pet peeves. Beyond personal comfort, hot food starts to get gets cold in 5 minutes; if they warm the plate first it helps, you get a few more minutes. If you want to eat hot food, you have to wolf down your meal instead of having a pleasant time with your dining companions. Same goes with coffee, tea, anything warm. I hate getting halfway through my plate only to find most of the food has gone tepid, and coffee gone cold after a half cup.

I understand the need to keep the temperature comfortable for the staff (especially the kitchen) since they are there all day, but surely there must be some compromise between 65 & cold food & freezing patrons vs 75 & overheated servers. At a minimum warm the plates & cups used for hot food and beverages.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

I'd always heard (completely unscientifically) that people eat more when they are cold.

We used to love to go to Blue Fish sushi for their decent prices are great service. When they remodeled a few years ago they must have installed a new HVAC system because now every time I step in there is it FREEZING. I can't even stand to eat there any more because of it.

Bruce R
Bruce R

If the temperature isn't exactly to my liking then I fake a seizure and demand a free meal.

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