There are myriad indicators of good hospitality in restaurants: prompt service, thoughtful suggestions, graceful reservation systems, etc. Perhaps the most outright challenging for a restaurant, however, is the time-limited meal, such as what my friend / colleague R and I were obliged to impose on Barcelona gastro-bistrot Coure at the tail end of our Barcelona trip last fall.
This is where the guest shows up, hastily states the name of his reservation, and then explains in the nicest possible terms that he's delighted be here but must leave in under an hour - and can the host or hostess kindly work that out with the waitstaff and kitchen staff? Given the often terse or restricted channels of communication between front-of-house and back-of-house staff in restaurants, this is more challenging than it may initially sound - sort of the triathalon of restaurant communication. I hated having to perform it back in Boston and Los Angeles restaurants, and I hate asking for it myself.
But R and I'd had twenty-four hours in the city without sitting at a table for a meal. We'd worked through the night, we needed lunch, and I'd heard nice things about Coure from my friend Cesar E. Castro Pou from Terroir Santo Domingo (at that time my one Barcelona connection). It seemed worth chancing a last minute sprint, even if it did involve running literally a mile with our suitcases to the restaurant.