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Waiters employ 'reading' techniques in service (VIDEO)

Monday - 2/27/2012, 7:42am  ET

Alleson Knox, special to WTOP

WASHINGTON - The next time you visit your favorite restaurant, keep in mind that you're being watched.

It's called "reading" the table, a process that allows waiters to know what type of service you prefer without asking.

The Wall Street Journal says the technique is used by restaurants to make service more individualized, compared to using the standard and dated script of, "I'm so-and-so and I will be your server tonight."

The reading helps to determine what type of service will be required. At the table, waiters pay attention to body language, eye contact and interactions between those at the table to establish the pace of the meal, the Journal reports.

The technique reportedly is used in fine dining and inexpensive chain restaurants alike. Restaurants are training staff members to note offhand remarks in order to make service less mechanical and battle for customers' dollars.

The Journal reports something as simple as a guest being on a laptop can suggest a lack of interest in appetizers or cocktails.

To see a list of signals you may be sending that could affect the type of service you receive, read the full article from The Wall Street Journal and check out the video below.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)