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August 1, 2000

What Gets You... The Best Table? The Right Job? First Class?

Turns out the small things-from what you wear to how you sit-are bigger deals than you may have thought. Here, experts spill the inside info on what little tricks you can pull to get big results

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AT THE TABLE Jenni Kwantes is the maitre d' at Koi, a modern Japanese restaurant in New York.

Cynthia Shapiro is the author of Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You To Know-And What To Do About Them.

Katherine Lee is a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines.

"The first things I think a maitre d' notices are a woman's bag and shoes-they're the telltale signs of a girl with style." - Tia, 30, Author.

MAITRE D' JENNI KWANTES SAYS:"We hold the best tables for reservations, but if the people are no-shows after 20 minutes, then those tables open up. Appearance always plays a big part in who gets to sit there."

"Sunday and Monday nights are typically the easiest time to get reservations," Kwantes says. "But don't rule out the weekend. People tend to dine latest on Friday nights, so you can score a great table at an earlier time."

JEWELRY: "I'm impressed by great jewelry-especially rings and earrings," Kwantes says."People who take time with their wardrobe are ready to have fun, like to spend money and time with friends, and are looking for a place to do that again. And that's what we want: for customers to become regulars."

BAGS AND SHOES:"I don't necessarily care about labels or the latest designs, but I like when someone can reinvent a classic outfit or a conservative look with a hot pair of shoes and a new bag," Kwantes says. "It shows me you pay attention to details. Customers who dress to impress make me feel like I want to impress them, too, whether it be better seating, shorter waiting time, or more personal attention."

ACCESSIBILITY:"Though it may sound cliche, if you smile at me at the front door I always notice," Kwantes says. "It doesn't happen nearly often enough! And strike up a conversation: Let me know what you're looking for. If you're having a night out with the girls, I'll know you'd be happier waiting at the bar for a better table than you would be if you were, say, at a graduation celebration with relatives."

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