Rules for Dining Out

Definitely inspired by Tyler Cowen’s Six Rules for Dining Out:

Searching and Evaluating

  1. For dinner, earlier is better. Service and food quality decline through the evening.
  2. Great ethnic food is more likely to be found in a strip mall than a city center.
  3. A mural on the wall is a good sign.
  4. More than one generation of the same family on staff is a good sign.
  5. Don’t go to Olive Garden.


  1. If there’s something on the menu named after the restaurant, get that thing.
  2. Get seafood at a seafood restaurant, and get steak at a steakhouse, but don’t get either anywhere else.
  3. If a cheesesteak is referred to as anything other than a cheesesteak (e.g. steak and cheese, Philly steak), don’t get it.
  4. Don’t get tapas.
  5. Don’t get a special.

Paying and Leaving

  1. If the restaurant is full and parties are waiting, don’t order dessert and leave promptly.
  2. Scale your tip not only by the quality of service, but also by the time you used the table.
  3. Don’t split the check more than two ways.
  4. If it’s a small business, pay in cash.