51. If there is a service charge, alert your guests when you present the bill. It’s not a secret or a trick.
74. Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish.
75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course.
76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.
77. Do not disappear.
80. Never insist that a guest settle up at the bar before sitting down; transfer the tab.
82. If you drip or spill something, clean it up, replace it, offer to pay for whatever damage you may have caused. Refrain from touching the wet spots on the guest.
85. Never bring a check until someone asks for it. Then give it to the person who asked for it.
91. If someone complains about the music, do something about it, without upsetting the ambiance. (The music is not for the staff — it’s for the customers.)
48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.
49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.
50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.
The negatives sound harsh, but whenever you curate something, whether it’s a conference or an art show or a magazine (an editor is basically a curator), you never get everything right. My friend Sambit Bal…once told me that when he put together an issue of Gentleman, he would be satisfied if at the end he had a product in which any reader could find three or four pieces they thoroughly enjoyed. No one’s ever going to enjoy everything; and no one piece can satisfy everyone.
By that reckoning, TED India was a success. I’m sure that many TED India attendees will have loved the Talks I hated and not liked the ones I loved. That’s the nature of a conference like this, and on the whole, I’d say the folks at TED did an amazing job. Also, my criticism is all about the Talks. The conference itself was immaculately organised, and the kind of people I got to meet awed and humbled me. It was, if I may lapse into cliche, the experience of a lifetime.