Recently, I was looking at some reviews of local restaurants posted by their customers. After a short time I noticed a pattern among them. Those who had patronized restaurants that required it’s customers to go through a buffet line or to order their food from a person behind the counter commonly complained of slow service. I then went to one of these eateries. It was a Thai place. You had to stand on line until you reached a person behind the cash register. When you got to him you told him what you wanted to eat. It took about 15 to 20 minutes for me to get to the head of the line even though there were less than 10 people in front of me. The menu was written on a 10 by 15 foot wall directly in front of those waiting to order. The line moved so slowly that the menu could be memorized before a customer reached the ordering point. So what was taking so long? Most of those in line needed even more time looking at the menu (staring them in the face) to be able to make a decision. The reason the service was slow was not the fault of the restaurant but that of its patrons. It was another instance of the rule that is the title of this piece.

In the interest of better service I propose the following rating system for restaurants (fast food joints are excluded) that require  you to go through a buffet line or to order from a central station. You are all familiar with stars and diamonds and the like used to rate places of public accommodation. My system uses brains. A one brain restaurant has an average clientele that reads at a sixth grade level, but just barely. Regardless of the quality of the food you know in advance that you are in for a long wait before you get to place your order. Also if you are a little dimwitted, but alert enough to understand this rating system you will know that you will be comfortable at the restaurant and not be the slowest link ink the food chain.

A two brain eatery has a line that moves a little faster, but still seems slow to those who function at a level beyond that of the average high school dropout. At a two brain establishment you will still spend more time ordering your meal than consuming it, but you will be able to get out in time to make the last show at your local movie emporium. This is the rating that most of the establishments we are discussing will earn.

The three brain rating is given to those restaurants where it’s possible to get through the salad bar in about has much time as it takes to eat your lettuce and tomatoes. You will need an IQ at least one standard deviation above the norm to make it here. Move up another SD and you’re ready for the four brain experience. Here you can get your salad, oysters, shrimp, pasta, three kinds of meat and/or fish, and a large three layer chocolate cake in less time than it takes to recite the Gettysburg Address.

The five brain restaurant is reserved for Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, recipients of the Fields Medal, and extremely hungry members of the National Academy of Sciences who are very fast on their feet. Nobelists in Peace and Literature go to a two brain place. Winners of the Economics Prize are only eligible for take out that can be ordered in advance. At this place the line moves so fast that you’ll be satiated  before you get out of your car.

Last is the dread no brainer ranking. A restaurant with zero brains will require that its patrons carry their tooth brush and an overnight bag with them. Diners here will choose their peas one pea at a time. Time through this line is measured with a calendar. Doctors and other healthcare workers who have worked in a public or university hospital and have spent half their careers waiting for an elevator will feel at home in the no brainer.

I can sense your question. Who will promulgate and enforce this rating system? The federal government, of course. Who else would do it? My choice would be the EPA. They love to make rules and this scheme might help relieve their fixation with carbon. If you have wasted a sizable portion of you gustatory life stuck behind [sexist alert] a lady who can’t decide which beet is better at the salad bar this system may provide a little succor.