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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances


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#1 weinoo

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:04 AM

Here are a few things that annoy me when I go out to eat:

At the bar:

People who sit sideways and take up multiple spaces at the bar.

People who think their handbag/coat/poodle/whatever deserve their own seat at the bar.

In the restaurant:

Server: "What will we be having for dinner tonight?" Me: "I didn't realize you'd be dining with us."

Server: " I love everything on the menu."

Items 86ed when they've only been open for an hour. What did you make, one of those?

Reaching across my face to fill a glass/clear a plate/etc.

Partial bussing of table before everyone has finished eating.

Surely - you have something.
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#2 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:35 AM

As a bartender, those items annoy me about bar patrons at least as much as they do you. Actually had a guy the other day sitting sideways in his chair complain to me about a light shining in his eyes and asked if I could turn it off (I couldn't--it is on the same circuit with too many other vital lights). Instead of just turning to sit straight in his chair he continued to whine (rather than move to another stool or whatever) and finally left.

As for the 86 issue...I once worked in a place with a veal chop on the menu. It was such a relatively rare order (that kind of town) they typically only had one on hand. So yeah, one person orders it and it went on the 86 board. Sometime after I moved on they wised up and just took it off the menu. I often wondered what kind of awkwardness ensued when two people at the same table ordered one.

The one that annoys me the most (though it really isnt a big deal) is when servers say things like "Can I get that out of your way?" when clearing plates, along with a laundry list of server cliches (I'll be helping you you tonight). Chalk it up to a perfectionist manager during a formative time in my hospitality career, but those stock phrases are like a rasp on my eardrums now.
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#3 NancyH

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:47 AM

From our recent trip to Florida, where I ask every server the same question: which fish or seafood item is the most local and amazingly fresh. Wrong answer #1: "I like . . . ." Wrong answer #2: "We sell a lot of the . . . . ". I want to know what's fresh and local - not what you like to eat and not what you sell a lot of.
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#4 gfweb

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:54 AM

All good ones.

I hate "Is this you first time here?". Who frigging cares what they have to say next. It won't matter.

#5 mkayahara

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:08 AM

My current pet peeve is "How is everything tasting?" I don't really know why, but I find that phrasing to be like nails on a chalkboard.
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#6 Holly Moore

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:17 AM

No matter the wording, the perfunctory interruption, "How is everything?"

Being held captive at the conclusion of the meal, waiting to receive the check or the change/credit card slip.

Guest check printed on thermal paper.

Hard butter.
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#7 lancastermike

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:44 AM

Mine is this. They say to me "Would you like a drink before dinner?" I order my cocktail and get it and right away they want me to order. I do and before you know it I get an app. yes, I like my drink BEFORE dinner. I love my manhatthan but don't really like it while I am eating. Before dinner, means before dinner. If they are in that big a hurry to turn the table don't aske me about a drink before dinner, ask me if I want it WITH dinner

#8 HungryC

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:53 AM

Silly names for dishes, rather than simple, descriptive names. I don't care if they're named after your kids, your dog, or your best customer. Save me from the story. I don't care.

#9 daisy17

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:00 AM

Reaching across the table is only acceptable if there is no way for the server to get into the space at a better angle. Otherwise, no.

My biggest pet peeve is the auctioning of dishes to the diners by the waitstaff. "Who gets the salmon" is not hospitality. Please use position numbers and put the plates down where they go. Please.

I also cannot stand an obvious upsell, most usually done on water.

Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.

#10 Mjx

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:06 AM

Pretty much all the above bug me, at least a bit.

I also hate when waiters show up to ask whether everything is fine when you have your mouth full; even if everything is awful, all you can really do is duck your head and nod sheepishly, hoping they'll go way. If the food is fantastic, nodding while looking like a wild-eyed hamster isn't the most effective way of communicating that.

Any sort of hovering makes me think about sneaking out through the bathroom window before the first course even appears.

I find forced perkiness really disturbing. That sort of fakery just makes me imagine that, once the waiter goes through the swinging doors, he or she goes out back and does a little primal screaming, or bursts into tears.

Edited by Mjx, 03 March 2011 - 10:07 AM.

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#11 gfweb

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:12 AM

Another thing...When I ask for the check it means I want to leave and soon. Don't ask me if I want dessert and above all get that check out PDQ.

#12 hathor

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:13 AM

First off, Weinoo: I'm shocked your list is so short! You are my favorite curmudgeon!

You've all hit on the majors: How's that tasting for ya?, hard butter.
What's always struck me as ludicrous is people asking, "Is the fish fresh?" No, actually we're really really worried about getting you sick and we need to move that mushy salmon, so you would please order it?

I can see asking, what came in today, if you are at fish restaurant. But, do you seriously expect your wait person to tell you the truth or tell you what he needs to move?

#13 runwestierun

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:26 AM

My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Sorry for yelling.

Also, I don't like when words are used so far away from their original definition as to render everything meaningless. Example: carpaccio of watermelon. Really? Because I was thinking of having the tenderloin of yam with some leaves of veal. And I'll have a stalk of San Pellegrino.
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#14 mkayahara

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:43 AM

My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.
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#15 gfweb

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:49 AM

Yes, BS-y adjectives are annoying. I want to know if the sauce has blue cheese in it, not that it is "prepared to perfection"

#16 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:58 AM



Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.


I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.


I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.
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#17 daisy17

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:11 AM




Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.


I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.


I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.


Sorry, I should clarify: I have no problem with rounding on change. But what's happening here - it's now happened several times at different places - is rounding in the house's favor, not in mine. (For example, the bill is $21.40, I put down $30, and I get back $8.) Again, this is not about the money, and I am far from cheap (really, I swear, I am not cheap). I don't need or want more coins or my 60 cents back. It smacks of presumption on the part of the server to round in their own/the house's favor.

#18 Mjx

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:14 AM


My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.


But... it still has nothing to do with art :wink:

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#19 NancyH

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:30 AM

First off, Weinoo: I'm shocked your list is so short! You are my favorite curmudgeon!

You've all hit on the majors: How's that tasting for ya?, hard butter.
What's always struck me as ludicrous is people asking, "Is the fish fresh?" No, actually we're really really worried about getting you sick and we need to move that mushy salmon, so you would please order it?

I can see asking, what came in today, if you are at fish restaurant. But, do you seriously expect your wait person to tell you the truth or tell you what he needs to move?


Hathor - I am indeed referring to fish restaurants. We've been touristing Destin for 9 years, and it is amazing how some places that claim to have local fish/seafood will sell you crap (even if you ask). I've learned to always ask.
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#20 mkayahara

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:46 AM



My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.


But... it still has nothing to do with art :wink:

Maybe not, but I'm sure runwestierun has nothing against eating food that's skilfully prepared. :wink:
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#21 Jenni

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:14 PM

Isn't the question "Is the fish fresh?" also designed to find out whether the fish is frozen or if it's actually fresh fish?

Also, I've only ever had change rounded in my favour, not the restaurants. A couple of times in India when the change is Rs.5 or less and they don't have a coin, I have been given a sweet. It kind of annoys me a little, not because of the money, but just because I don't really want a sweet!

My main pet peeve is waiters who are too clingy and ask you how you are every two seconds, especially when you're in the middle of a conversation or if you have your mouthful. I also hate it when someone tries to clear the table when someone at it is still eating.

#22 Mel Z

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:21 PM

From our recent trip to Florida, where I ask every server the same question: which fish or seafood item is the most local and amazingly fresh. Wrong answer #1: "I like . . . ." Wrong answer #2: "We sell a lot of the . . . . ". I want to know what's fresh and local - not what you like to eat and not what you sell a lot of.


Similar pet peeve--at one of my favorite local restaurants, I was stuck between two menu items and asked the server's opinion (on the assumption that the servers have tasted the menu items). She responded with "x item is really popular." I made the mistake of ordering the popular item, which was quite uninspired, and spent the rest of the meal envying my companion's order (which he kindly shared). I love the rest of their menu, but didn't consider the difference between "good" and "popular" until this incident.

Also, the tendency to ask a question on the quality of the meal while everyone has just taken a bite. Do people train servers to do this? It stifles the actual response into a quick nod, getting rid of any potential sharing of information.

#23 runwestierun

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:29 PM


My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.


:wub: <----I am totally pretending that this is the "blushing" emoticon.

I mixed up the Artful Dodger and the Mad Hatter. Wasn't that artful of me?? :laugh:

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write. :wub: <----blushing again.

I thought that even when artful meant skillful or clever, it meant it in the negative sense, skillful as in a skillfully executed con, clever as in deceitful. And the word has ties to the old timey definition of artist, which is closer to con-artist than the meaning of the word today. But it seems I am wrong, and that's what I get for hollering online. :laugh:

#24 gfweb

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:32 PM

She responded with "x item is really popular."



Mc Donalds is popular. TGI Friday's is popular. Subway is popular.

Maybe popularity is a marker for junky food.

#25 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:36 PM





Lately I've noticed this one (in NY restaurants only so far) - when my "change" arrives, it actually contains no change (coins). I haven't noticed it when dining at tables, only at the bar, and it would bother me less at a table (I realize that servers on the floor may not have access to a register as easily, but a bartender should). I don't really care about 75 cents and that's not what it's about - to me, it smacks of entitlement and laziness. Not a fan.


I do this almost every time I give change but in my defense I always round in favor of the guest. A check presenter full of dimes and nickels is a metallic shower waiting to happen when it get picked up before being opened.


I do use quarters usually, if it is not close to a whole dollar amount.


Sorry, I should clarify: I have no problem with rounding on change. But what's happening here - it's now happened several times at different places - is rounding in the house's favor, not in mine. (For example, the bill is $21.40, I put down $30, and I get back $8.) Again, this is not about the money, and I am far from cheap (really, I swear, I am not cheap). I don't need or want more coins or my 60 cents back. It smacks of presumption on the part of the server to round in their own/the house's favor.


Agreed, that's bad form to say the least.
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#26 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:39 PM



She responded with "x item is really popular."



Mc Donalds is popular. TGI Friday's is popular. Subway is popular.

Maybe popularity is a marker for junky food.


I think more than junky, "popular" menu items, be they foods or drinks, are more of a marker for "safe" items. When people ask me how a "safe" item is that I think is unexciting, I always tell them that it is in fact "popular" (and in all likelyhood artfully executed :raz:) but that I think items x, y, and z are more interesting.
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#27 judiu

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:49 PM



My complaints are mostly semantic.

Don't tell me something is artfully prepared. THE WORD "ARTFUL" DOES NOT MEAN "FULL OF ART"! It means "deceptive". Remember the Artful Dodger in Alice and Wonderland? I will not eat something that is deceptively prepared.

Actually, I think you'll find the Artful Dodger is from Oliver Twist. Moreover, my dictionary gives "skilful, clever" as the first definition for "artful," and "crafty, deceitful" as sense 2.


:wub: <----I am totally pretending that this is the "blushing" emoticon.

I mixed up the Artful Dodger and the Mad Hatter. Wasn't that artful of me?? :laugh:

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write. :wub: <----blushing again.

I thought that even when artful meant skillful or clever, it meant it in the negative sense, skillful as in a skillfully executed con, clever as in deceitful. And the word has ties to the old timey definition of artist, which is closer to con-artist than the meaning of the word today. But it seems I am wrong, and that's what I get for hollering online. :laugh:

@Runnwestierun, I guess it's all in the personal interpretation of the word "artful". I would not hesitate to say that, eg. "dcarch's dishes are artfully prepared and presented." Craft as art, no?
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#28 PetersCreek

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 01:08 PM

In the bar:

It annoys me when bar staff don't have a basic familiarity with their liquor stock. I can't count the number of times I've asked about their single malt or bourbon selection, only to hear the likes of Johnnie Walker Black or Jack Daniels on the list and frequently topping it. It would be better and faster if they just gave me a drink menu, instead.

I suppose I should stop asking for my whisky neat since a lot of the younger bar staff don't know what the term means. Some aren't even real sure about "straight" either and pour it over ice. "Oh, I thought you meant without Coke."

#29 abadoozy

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 02:02 PM

Staff who haven't even tried the food and fall over themselves to admit it. I still remember a time over 15 years ago at a casual steakhouse, asking about an item on the menu. The waitress said, with no prompting at all, that she was a vegetarian and had not tried anything except the one lone vegy entree.

Even worse - "I don't like <x>, so I haven't tried it." Had that one thrown at me at a fish place once. "I don't like fish so I can't say!"

If you're going to work at a restaurant where you can't/won't eat the majority of the food, at least put some time into finding out about the various choices so you can answer questions. And if it's a high-end/pricey place? I want the waitstaff to try everything and have the ability to talk intelligently about the choices.

#30 Mjx

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 02:07 PM

. . . .

I don't have any dictionaries here, I only have the web, and we all know you can't believe everything that's written on the web, especially apparently what I write.
. . . .

What?! There are the dictionary.com, and Merriam Webster sites, all online. And many others, too, some hilariously inaccurate.


And I nearly forgot: In bars, I sort of hate it when I get the curling lip and hairy eyeball if I request a sweet liqueur. I know, I know, it's considered sort of gauche/tacky, but it's not as though I'm asking the bartender to drink the Mozart liqueur or Creme de Violette. And it's sort of freaky to be watched by bar/waitstaff while drinking, it too, as though I were a particularly unwholesome-looking vagrant drinking cheap cologne straight from the bottle.

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