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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances


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#31 Anna N

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 02:27 PM

When you go to a casual restaurant, no reservations required, and it's almost empty and the host/hostess decides that all diners want to get cosy and everyone is guided towards the same corner of the restaurant. :wacko:

Edited to fix grammar - sort of.

Edited by Anna N, 03 March 2011 - 02:28 PM.

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#32 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 04:21 PM

When you go to a casual restaurant, no reservations required, and it's almost empty and the host/hostess decides that all diners want to get cosy and everyone is guided towards the same corner of the restaurant. :wacko:

Edited to fix grammar - sort of.


There is sort of a practical consideration here though--a place that empty is likely to have only one or two servers working, and having all their charges grouped together makes the service more efficient and makes you less likely to get forgotten or overlooked because they are having to detour to your table while the others can all be surveyed with a sweep of the eyes.
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#33 azmilsyahmi

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:17 PM

My pet peeves as a the service personnel is
1.Customer asking us " What's nice here ?" Of Course everything listed on the menu is nice, nobody wants to waste time selling an item that is not nice. So what I train my staff to say is "Everything is nice but so so dish is popular here"

2. Customer asking mentioned earlier is the food fresh . Do you think the waiter will tell you that the prawns have been in the fridge for a week or so, and lose your business.

3. Customers holding up the waiter asking questions when there are ther tables waiting to order. That's why put pictures of the dishes in my menus.

#34 NancyH

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 08:23 PM

My pet peeves as a the service personnel is
1.Customer asking us " What's nice here ?" Of Course everything listed on the menu is nice, nobody wants to waste time selling an item that is not nice. So what I train my staff to say is "Everything is nice but so so dish is popular here"

2. Customer asking mentioned earlier is the food fresh . Do you think the waiter will tell you that the prawns have been in the fridge for a week or so, and lose your business.

3. Customers holding up the waiter asking questions when there are ther tables waiting to order. That's why put pictures of the dishes in my menus.


azmilsyahmi - when asking politely about freshness (as pertains to fish and seafood in a fish/seafood type restaurant) - good servers will confide in me that "I'd choose the snapper" or when I ask "do I want the A or the B" will say "if it's between A and B I'd choose B". Mind you, that's NOT the same as telling me what you, the server, likes to eat (which happened a couple of times this year in FL) - it's confiding in me that you know that what's in the kitchen isn't all equal, and since I asked, you're willing to to trust me to use that info discretely to my dining benefit. And I appreciate (and tip extra generously) when that all leads to a delicious meal.
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#35 DianaB

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:16 PM

Having recently returned to live in England I notice things about restaurants/bars that are perhaps less evident to those who have lived through the gradual change brought about by the passing of time. In particular I've found it alarming that the meat course (or equivalent) is now simply referred to as the 'main' in many establishments, from McDonalds and on. I am perhaps old fashioned but for me 'mains' implies not a list of dishes but rather a key part of a sewerage system. The aroma that greets one on entry to the restaurant area of a cross channel ferry these days is perhaps indicative of problems with the plumbing disguising what might, in other circumstances, have been something more enticing.

Best practice in my experience with regards restaurants is demonstrated through waiting staff who are attentive but entirely unobtrusive, glasses are never empty but their replenishment is achieved without intrusion. Serving staff understand and can explain the food in clear and concise terms. Service is team work between kitchen and dining room. The diner is central to an orchestrated performance. Such experiences can be had in modest establishments as well as those marked out by awards.

There are numerous adjectives now applied to food and drink in England that seem to have become embedded in the language during my absence. I guess this is a demonstration of English as an ever evolving language, whether American or English in origin.

I've only recently joined this forum and already I sense that I have learnt enormously from those who progress the various discussions. Wonderful to have come across an intelligent and informed community. Many Thanks,

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#36 weinoo

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:25 PM

Do you think the waiter will tell you that the prawns have been in the fridge for a week or so, and lose your business.

Well, I'd like to know what type of restaurateur or chef is selling week-old prawns?

I've only recently joined this forum and already I sense that I have learnt enormously from those who progress the various discussions. Wonderful to have come across an intelligent and informed community. Many Thanks,

Diana

Welcome to eGullet, Diana B., and thanks, from all of us, for your comments :smile: .
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#37 jsmeeker

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:31 PM

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 HATE this too. Really, really hate it. It gets really bad at large parties. Food starts to arrive. Everyone engaged in conversation at one latge table. Runners don't know where the food goes. People at the table are oblivious to the fact that the food arrive. Runners ask who gets what. They get no response. Eventually, someone in the group decides to join in an yell out "who got the enchiladas?". Then people forget what they ordered.

I hate that.


This really makes me come to another annoyance. Dining in large groups. Maybe I'll have more on that later.

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#38 patrickamory

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:35 PM

Peeves with both the restaurant staff and my fellow diners:

1. I want - no, need - to order a drink as soon as I am seated. ESPECIALLY if the rest of the party is not there yet.

2. Like Mike, I want time to drink that cocktail before ordering food.

3. I'd like to have the wine list from the get-go.

4. I'd like the wine to arrive before the appetizer - it's a disaster when you've just finished your apps and the wine arrives only then.

5. I'm not interested in learning the waiter's name.

6. I can't stand it when someone at my table asks the waiter, "Would you recommend this, or this?" How on earth is the waiter going to know what a total stranger will enjoy? also, hasn't everyone read Anthony Bourdain? haven't they heard of "merchandising"?

7. Endless wait for the check... followed by endless wait for the check to be picked up with credit card.

Man this makes me come off like a total misanthrope.

(edit): P.S. Restaurants that allow - and in fact encourage - patrons to eat dinner at the bar. The bar is for drinking, and ideally for having a drink while you're waiting to be seated. It's often not appetizing to be having a cocktail while two people are chowing down next to you, and it seems to force the bartenders to play dual roles that don't go well together.

Edited by patrickamory, 06 March 2011 - 03:38 PM.


#39 weinoo

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:04 PM

(edit): P.S. Restaurants that allow - and in fact encourage - patrons to eat dinner at the bar. The bar is for drinking, and ideally for having a drink while you're waiting to be seated. It's often not appetizing to be having a cocktail while two people are chowing down next to you, and it seems to force the bartenders to play dual roles that don't go well together.


This comment opens a big can of worms. There are plenty of people who when dining alone, like to dine at the bar. The bar is for drinking, I agree, but when it's in a restaurant, it's for eating too.
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#40 gfweb

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:04 PM

They forget who gets what because THEY DIDN'T FREAKING WRITE IT DOWN when they took the order...which is one of my peeves.

#41 jsmeeker

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:13 PM

They forget who gets what because THEY DIDN'T FREAKING WRITE IT DOWN when they took the order...which is one of my peeves.


Yup.. They get WHAT was ordered, but not WHO ordered it. OR they get that, but the runners don't pay attention? I dunno.. It's really annoying. And it's not like the group is playing games by switching seating positions after ordering.

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#42 patrickamory

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:27 PM


(edit): P.S. Restaurants that allow - and in fact encourage - patrons to eat dinner at the bar. The bar is for drinking, and ideally for having a drink while you're waiting to be seated. It's often not appetizing to be having a cocktail while two people are chowing down next to you, and it seems to force the bartenders to play dual roles that don't go well together.


This comment opens a big can of worms. There are plenty of people who when dining alone, like to dine at the bar. The bar is for drinking, I agree, but when it's in a restaurant, it's for eating too.


A fairly recent development though, wouldn't you agree?

For solo diners, I guess I see the point. Filling up the whole bar with eaters, as if it were an extension of the restaurant, really kills the vibe in most instances.

A truly great restaurant would make a solo diner at a two-top feel at home. In France, it's never been a problem... and frequently been the rule.

#43 Rob Babcock

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:44 PM

All good ones.

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


Ughhh...Many bad ones here but that one's the worst. Especially when asked at a place I've eaten several dozen times. Yeah, I realize you don't recognize all of your repeat customers but I have to wonder if they pay any attention at all. :hmmm:

I like like the guys that try to get cute or funny, either. Once my brother and I were eating at a big chain and ordered some buffalo wings. When the server came back to take away the plate he says, "Nicely done!" WTF does that even mean? You like the way I eat wings? Explain why I'm supposed to care. If I'd have been dining alone I'd have asked for the check immediately and left.

Lastly I hate servers that have no ability to gauge a patron. Sometimes I'm fine with bantering with the server, but other times I just want to dine in peace. I really dislike the server that starts in like we're long lost buddies before I even get the menu open. How's my day, how about that weather, got any plans for the weekend...What is my server doing, writing a book?

#44 teapot

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:40 PM

"You guys" as in, "What can I get you guys?" 1) I'm not a guy. 2) I'm not eating at McDonalds.

Also bugged when servers, after taking the table's order, singles out a child and asks "Would you like a soda?" Might as well offer a kitten. Grrr . . .

#45 GwennP

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

I hate cold syrup on warm pancakes. Why would I want to cool of my pancakes? And hard butter.

#46 ScoopKW

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:21 PM

Where to start...

(Trying to avoid duplication....)

1) Servers who reek of cigarettes.

2) Patrons seated next to me who take cell phone calls. And then have loud, long, animated conversations about their colonoscopy.

3) Precious people who bring their miserable little rat dogs into restaurants. Leave the damned dog at home. Even worse are the precious people who have their miserable little rat dogs certified as guide animals so they can bring them into restaurants/airplanes/etc. when they have no reason whatsoever for doing so. I'm not talking about guide dogs for the sightless and the dogs that warn owners about impending seizures. I'm talking about the misbehaving teacup "pocket dogs" that Paris Hilton wannabees bring to restaurants. The yappy, biting, piss-over-everything curs that have no business at the table next to mine.

4) Patrons who have no clue what a dress code implies. We get this in Vegas all the time -- morons who dress like Larry the Cable Guy at a Michelin-starred restaurant. I don't want to see hairy armpits and tattoos that read "Born to Lose" while I'm trying to enjoy my meal.

5) Couples who decide to have the "big pre-divorce blowout" in the restaurant.

6) The parents of 90% of the children in restaurants. Can't get a hyper, spoiled, loud, shrieking miserable whelp to sit still for two hours? Take the little bastard to Chuck-E-Cheese.

7) Elderly men who loudly insist to their mistresses that, "Ten percent is a perfectly acceptable tip. I'm not tipping a dime more." Yeah, buddy, last time 10% was acceptable, the tip WAS a dime. The Great Depression has been over for a very long time.

8) Drunkard cheapskates who drink 3/4 of a bottle of wine, then try to send it back as "corked."

9) Groups of six or more who arrive completely blotto and shriek and howl during the entire meal.
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#47 judiu

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:27 AM

Skip, well put, and thank you!
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#48 GwennP

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 03:53 PM

[6) The parents of 90% of the children in restaurants. Can't get a hyper, spoiled, loud, shrieking miserable whelp to sit still for two hours? Take the little bastard to Chuck-E-Cheese.

My sentiments exactly!!!

#49 eternal

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:15 PM

I agree with most of these as well.

There's a local sushi restaurant, which is actually very good. One of my favorites. But on their fresh sheet the last two times, they've listed Copper River Salmon. Copper River Salmon season starts in May and ands a few weeks later. There is no way this is fresh. I ask the waitress about it nicely if it is fresh or frozen and she tells me it is fresh. I'm with clients at that time so I don't push the issue but it annoys the hell out of me.

I sometimes sit sideways at an open bar because I have a knee issue, but I would immediately turn forward if somebody came in looking for that spot.

#50 Kouign Aman

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:33 PM

Please dont tell me 'how the menu works'. If its designed properly, I can figure it out faster than you can describe it.
Why do you care if I've been here before? Does the food get better?
If I have, and my guest hasnt, dont you trust me to explain things, given I liked the place well enough to return?
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#51 Tri2Cook

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 06:23 PM

6) The parents of 90% of the children in restaurants. Can't get a hyper, spoiled, loud, shrieking miserable whelp to sit still for two hours?

I agree with that one. It's not the kids that annoy me, it's the parents that do absolutely nothing to stop the disruptive behavior and flash those "isn't my little angel just adorable" smiles around the room at all of the annoyed people.

Another thing that annoys me are loud groups that want everybody in the place to know how cool they are and how much fun they're having.

The thing that annoys me most from servers is never seeing them again once they drop the food. Having to either do without something or flag down another employee to get it. I don't expect them to keep a constant watch on me but drop by a time or two and see if anybody needs anything.

Overall, not many things really bother me in most situations. I don't expect servers to bow and scrape or pretend to be invisible. I don't want to pretend they're part of the furniture and not people. I don't need to feel that spending my money puts me on a higher level than them. I can accept that there are different personality types among servers just like there are among any other group of people. Attentive service (within the scope of the establishment, I don't expect the same from a 60 seat diner during a busy lunch with two waitresses to provide the same attention that I'd get at a high end place with an entire fleet of service staff) and good food are really all I need to be happy with a restaurant.
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#52 munchymom

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 07:48 PM

6) The parents of 90% of the children in restaurants. Can't get a hyper, spoiled, loud, shrieking miserable whelp to sit still for two hours?
I agree with that one. It's not the kids that annoy me, it's the parents that do absolutely nothing to stop the disruptive behavior and flash those "isn't my little angel just adorable" smiles around the room at all of the annoyed people.


Seriously, 90 percent? I think you might be suffering from a bit of confirmation bias (i.e. the well-behaved kids are out there, but you don't notice them, because they're well-behaved.) Around here everyone takes their kids to restaurants, and I can think of literally one time in the past ten years that my meal was significantly disrupted by a child. For the record, my kid has eaten in restaurants of (almost) every level, and we don't let him run around, shout, or disrupt anyone's experience. When we go to restaurants, the vast majority of the time nobody is running around, shouting, or being disruptive. (Except for that table full of drunken sales guys in town for a corporate junket who think it's funny to sexually harass the waitress, of course.)

My peeve is when I order a glass of wine to be served with my main course, and it doesn't show up until I remind the waiter, by which time half the course has been eaten.
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#53 ScoopKW

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

Seriously, 90 percent? I think you might be suffering from a bit of confirmation bias (i.e. the well-behaved kids are out there, but you don't notice them, because they're well-behaved.)



Seriously, 90 percent.

That's Las Vegas for you. The parents have this "Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" attitude, as their holy terrors ruin the dining experiences for dozens, nee, hundreds of diners. We don't call them "ankle biters" for no reason, dontchaknow.

Maybe, Munchymom, your child/children are beatific. Unfortunately, most children I come across in fine-dining venues in Las Vegas are NOT beatific. They're in need of a good beating.

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#54 munchymom

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:34 PM

Heh. Our trips to Las Vegas have always been child-free as we see that as an adult destination (and the kid gets to be spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa!) But still, we've eaten there in buffets, cafes, mid-range places, high-end places, and I don't recall having even one meal ruined by a disruptive child. Poorly dressed and ill-mannered grownups, that's another story.

ETA a Las Vegas-specific peeve: Fine dining restaurants that open onto the casino floor. Where people smoke. A lot. Ew, ew, ew.

Edited by munchymom, 11 March 2011 - 09:40 PM.

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#55 GwennP

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:00 AM




Seriously, 90 percent? I think you might be suffering from a bit of confirmation bias (i.e. the well-behaved kids are out there, but you don't notice them, because they're well-behaved.)



Seriously, 90 percent.

That's Las Vegas for you. The parents have this "Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" attitude, as their holy terrors ruin the dining experiences for dozens, nee, hundreds of diners. We don't call them "ankle biters" for no reason, dontchaknow.

Maybe, Munchymom, your child/children are beatific. Unfortunately, most children I come across in fine-dining venues in Las Vegas are NOT beatific. They're in need of a good beating.

Hyperbole? Yes. But barely.



Actually parents in Westchester county NY have the same attitude.

#56 Yajna Patni

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 12:13 PM

I kind of enjoy the pre-divorce blow out couple. What I can't stand is the get a room couples.

#57 ambra

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:48 PM

5) Couples who decide to have the "big pre-divorce blowout" in the restaurant.

6



I totally forgot about this until you reminded me with this comment but I was once working in an UES establishment and a couple got into a heated argument at the table. The man got up and HIT the woman. She started screaming and the waiters physically removed the man. He waited on the corner for her though. After, the waiters tried to help the girl get home, call a friend, call the police whatever and allllllllllll she wanted to do, was chase the dude down the street. Which she did.

Then there was the another time when the patron threw plates across the room and the owner threw him out and decked him on the street when he tried to get back in the place.

Sorry for the tangent. Just reminded me!

P.S.

I HATE music that is sooooo loud that you can't hear the people at the table.

I HATE it when the staff is seen doing something totally normal like sneeze or cough in their hands but they then handle your plates.

And from the service side, I hate rude children waaaaaay more than rude adults.

#58 teapot

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:56 PM

How about dimly lit restaurants with unreadable menus? What is the rationale for using a size 8 cursive font? I can't count how many times we've had to pass the votive around so we could see what the hell was being offered. (Thank heavens for the flashlight app on my new Iphone!).

#59 BeeZee

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:11 AM

Could you refill my water glass, please, without me having to flag you down? Last night hubby and I were out and he asked the waiter for more water (both of our glasses were half full) and the water refilled his glass and walked away. Heelllooo????
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#60 bmdaniel

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:33 AM

I don't like places that are always refilling iced tea; I like my iced tea a certain way (right amount of lemon, right amount of sweetener) and then you turn your head for a second and your half-empty glass is refilled and you are back at square one.

It also illustrates why some of these are hard - I wouldn't be surprised if some people have a pet peeve that their tea isn't refilled all the time. The best solution I've seen is always bring a new glass for iced tea drinkers (with new ice and a new lemon, another related ice tea peeve) when the tea starts getting low (but don't take the old glass until it's done!).

Another major MAJOR peeve is waiters that comment on how much you've eaten (e.g. "you must've hated that" said sarcastically; desired response "not until now").