Parisian waiters are a separate breed. I have stepped into a Parisian restaurant and wondered when will anyone show up to seat me. I'm not sure if it shortage in human resources, lack of training or plain indifference. Anyways, I was at a restaurant in Montmartre yesterday with two of my Parisian friends. The topic of discussion gradually veered into waiters primarily because of the boyish antics of the waiter serving our table. That is when the essbama principle was revealed to me.
The essbama principle is all purpose benchmark for waiters. It is written SBMA and pronounced essbama. If you are wondering why, the letter b is not pronounced bee but ba. SBMA is an abbreviation and stands for Sourire, Bon Jour, Merci and Au revoir respectively.
- Sourire means smile.
- Bon Jour translates to good day and a salutation equivalent to hello.
- Merci is thank you.
- Au revoir is goodbye.
As you may have realized by now, the first two letters guide how you greet and last two how you part.
One of the friends, who was with me, works in the hospitality second and this little gem of information comes from this friend. This is a good way of benchmarking waiters all around the world. Next time you are in a restaurant, use this principle to decide on the tip. If you are in Paris, you always have the option of not tipping no matter the quality of service.