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The Great Debates Smoking in
Restaurants


Reader Feedback:
I own a Cafe' in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have no "non-smoking" section as the cafe seating area in the restaurant is small. It would not matter what "section" of my establishment you sat, you would be able to smell the smoke. A gentleman came into my restaurant and immediately asked me what the "smoking policy" was. He had an attitude about and tone in his voice and I couldn't tell whether he was non smoker testing my waters or a smoker, convinced I was going to tell him he couldn't smoke. I proceeded to tell him we didn't have a smoking policy. He said: "You mean I can smoke in here?" I said: "of course" where is the smoking section? We don't have one, we have no policy and no section. You mean I can smoke anywhere I want to?

I reiterated, we don't have any policy at all here, if you are rude enough to sit next to someone that might not smoke and light one up at high lunch you can both duke it out. No policy means here that it is up to our Guests to deal with each other on this issue. Why should I (we, Restaurateurs) have to take one stance or another. It is up to the individual to do whatever they might. It is known that we have this policy here. I can tell you that we don't have arguments about cigarettes here, people don't smoke here, there is no stance so nobody feels dictated to and it is therefore moot point or issue. The smokers go out by the fountain which is outside of the restaurant, hang out together, socialize and smoke then come back in and eat. I smoke, but not next to someone at lunch whether they smoke or not, period.

Jeff Ensminger, Executive Chef


**Next Post

In response to the letter from Richard, Earl of Bradford, it is vital that restaurant operators understand that tobacco manufacturers give large contributions to the restaurant associations. These manufacturers have won the loyalty of many restaurant association leaders, some of whom write letters espousing how easy it is to accommodate both smokers and nonsmokers by providing separate seating arrangements.

There is only one way to eliminate drift of tobacco smoke, and that is to provide heavy exhaust of 100% of the smoke and zero recirculation. But that begs the real issue: worker safety.

The University of California at San Francisco did a study that demonstrated that waitresses (who work in restaurants that allow smoking) have nearly four times the lung cancer risk and two and a half times the heart disease, as do women in smoke free settings. Waitstaff who smoke have an even greater increased risk of tobacco related disease because of their place of employment.

So while the customers (who chose to return) can be somewhat satisfied when operators are willing to maximize exhaust, this measure does nothing to provide worker safety. The tobacco industry does not care, but restaurant leaders should. Restaurant leaders should not have the right to bargain away the safety of employees. When they finally break their ties with the tobacco industry, it will affect their cash register in a positive way.

David


**Next Post

I recently submitted a passage in the Restaurant Report Newsletter that had to do with the "smoking issue" in restaurants. Originally I had stated that our establishment had set a precedence in Northwestern Ontario regarding our "completely non-smoking bar & grill" policy.

Guess what? No smoking means no bar traffic!!!

As of October the 1st we are implementing a smoking section in our 140 seat bar & grill and are half heartedly expecting business to double. (Word of mouth is a terrible thing regarding a non-smoking bar!)

Look...the fact of the matter is that if you are the one putting your green backs on the table to make a business successful then you have to make the steps necessary to bring in and keep in regular customer traffic flow.

Thanks,
Chris Davidson
P.S. - come check us out in Sioux Lookout, Ontario at Dick & Nellie's Bar and Grill...now happily accepting smokers!


**Next Post

A couple is greeted at the door. They are adamant about sitting in non-smoking. They insist that they sit as far away from the smoking section as possible. Oh no, that table will never do. It's too close to the kitchen. they want the booth that is clearly set for six people. Never mind, they'll be more comfortable. More complaints about smokers and smoke in general.

The server comes to the table. The couple proceeds to order drinks. A double rye on ice coke on the side, easy on the ice, and a strawberry daiquiri, well blended. Oh what the heck make it a double. "Is that a smoker over there? Oh, I sure hope he BUTT"S OUT while we're eating. How rude." Snaps fingers "Oh waitress, we're very thirsty, bring those drinks right away."

Dinner is ordered. Small caesar salad ("We'll share"), an order of fish and chips, with gravy, ketchup, extra tartar sauce, fries extra crispy, and a burger with cheese, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, oh yes, and crispy fries, and gravy. Snaps fingers "do you call THAT a double? I can't taste the rum. Bring me a real double. Does it smell smoky in here?"

Dinner is served. More drinks are served. More complaints about smokers. Dessert? Cheesecake, bread pudding with extra rum sauce, of course coffee, double double. Fingers snap. "We need the bill right away,it's too smoky in here. Besides, we have to be somewhere in TEN MINUTES!" Rush, rush. Waitress smiles, customers deliver one last comment re. smoking issue. Don't worry, when the new smoking bylaw comes into effect, we'll come back with friends! Waitress smiles. Tip is minimal. Waitress smiles. Oh yes you do that. Bring all of your friends. I'll make sure to find your name in the reservation book. (and make sure I'm not the one serving you.)

The shift is over. Now the waitress gets to be herself. She goes out for a late snack. "Smoking or non?" "Smoking please, chain smoking if you have it!"

- mbarker@golden.net


**Next Post

I have a restaurant in Atlanta. We began our 11th year this past September and adopted a total non-smoking policy. Much to my surprise we have only lost 10 steady customers. I totally agree with you. We would have a dining room full on a Saturday evening and 2 smokers. NO ONE would sit next to the smoking section, even my staff wanted nothing to do with it. I wish we had done this years ago. I must say that the majority of the smokers I serve are perfectly happy to step outside to have a cigarette, no complaints.

Keep up the good work,
SP

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