A Washington Post Food column notes that going smoke‐free pays off for restaurants. Which raises again the question of why we need a one‐size‐fits‐all government ban, when customers are fully capable of sending signals to entrepreneurs.
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE ARE SEATS FREE: Being the businessman that he is, restaurateur Tony Stafford doesn’t like the sight of vacant tables in his sprawling Bonefish Grill (6315 Multiplex Dr., Centreville; 703–815-7427). Yet plenty of booths in the chain seafood restaurant’s 50‐seat bar routinely go unused when customers notice cigarette smoke there. “They turn down immediate seating,” sometimes waiting an hour or longer for a table in the dining room, the managing partner reports. As a result, the establishment is going smoke‐free Nov. 1. With winter on the horizon, and hoping to retain regulars who smoke, “I’ve promised to buy them a heater for the patio outside.”