A nice thing about being a regular customer in France is that on the day you are officially recognised as such, you start having your hand shaken in welcome by the staff. No one says anything unusual like "We officially announce that you have joined the honourable rank of 'Establishment Regular' because we have seen your face on consecutive Fridays for the last 5 weeks", no, it's just a hand-shake in addition to the habitual 'bonjour'.
You are now, thus, reading the words of a Regular of Le Trinque Fougasse in Montpellier. Yesterday, I attained that heady rank by virtue of... being a regular there on Friday lunchtimes. I lunch with pals from work on Fridays, and we used to go to a wonderful little restaurant called the Bel Canto which served a lovely three-course lunch including 25cl of wine for 9.90€ each. It closed a few months ago, to our great chagrin, and we had to find somewhere else to offer our custom.
We tried a local pizza place, but first the wine was ghastly, then we decided that waiting 2 hours for a pizza (slight exaggeration) was not on, so we varied things with lunch in an organic caff, and the Latitude restaurant which is lovely in nice weather on the terrace but cramped otherwise.
Then we ventured further afield to what used to be called le Jogging (silly but memorable name) which is now the Trinque Fougasse. They do a lunch menu for 14.50€ not including wine, but you can buy a glass for less than 4€ having worked your way through all the ones on offer to taste... They function as a cave à vin too, with a nice sommelier who is knowlegable and tells you all about the different wines à déguster. (I seem to be strangely immune to picking up information on wine; it just goes in one ear and out the other, so I'm hoping that if I hear it often enough it'll stick by dint of sheer repetition. There seems to be no other way...) The Trinque Fougasse also organises events and has regular jazz evenings. It's a professional and lively place, so it is with pride that I am regarded as a Regular!
I even asked for, and got, a doggy bag to take home the delicious remains of my poulet pané au parmesan and potatoes yesterday! When I put the question, I was told they had never been asked this before so the waiter would have to check. He came back and said it would be okay, and he brought me a plastic dish with two compartments in which I put the food, then he took it away to cover it with cling film. Now, would he have done that had I not achieved Regular status?
It always pays to be a cheery, well-mannered customer. If you are boorish, inconsiderate and condescending, you are not likely to be appreciated, and if you need help, it's unlikely you will get it with good grace. This will probably make you even more condescending, thus perpetuating the vicious circle of gracelessness.
You will never be considered a Regular, either!