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Restaurant/Bar Annoyances


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#61 jsmeeker

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:17 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!).



Heck.. hard to read, busy fonts in ANY lighting conditions are pet peeve of mine. I really hate it.

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#62 jsmeeker

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:24 PM

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!).


Yeah.. that is the best solution. Bring a completely fresh, new glass of ice tea to the table. I've found that people are very particular about the way beverages are refilled. For many, it seems to be the single most important service element at a restaurant.

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#63 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:36 PM

Yeah.. that is the best solution. Bring a completely fresh, new glass of ice tea to the table. I've found that people are very particular about the way beverages are refilled. For many, it seems to be the single most important service element at a restaurant.


My wife generally divides restaurants into "good water place" and "bad water place."

#64 KarenDW

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 10:20 PM

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

What would be the appropriate protocol for a handbag/coat? Of course, in the ideal world, there would be hooks attached to the bar for handbags. But a coat? What do others do with theirs?
Should said bar become crowded, then I would definitely attempt to move my coat...
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#65 weinoo

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:45 AM

What would be the appropriate protocol for a handbag/coat? Of course, in the ideal world, there would be hooks attached to the bar for handbags. But a coat? What do others do with theirs?
Should said bar become crowded, then I would definitely attempt to move my coat...

How about at your feet? On your lap?
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#66 Kouign Aman

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 12:34 PM

Or on the back of your stool, if it has one, or under you, if it doesnt.
Handbags- over shoulder, at feet (not so safe) or on lap.
Possibly on bar next to your drink.
But I can see using the next stool, if occupancy is low.

Why are rude kids worse than rude adults? :confused:
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#67 patrickamory

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:41 PM

Has anyone posted about waiters regularly filling and overfilling your wine glass in a transparent attempt to empty the bottle and get you to buy another one?

#68 liuzhou

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 05:46 AM

I am in China. Here, in restaurants, they hand you the (48 page) menu and immediately ask "What would you like?" then hover till you order something. Requests to disappear till I've actually read the thing are met with uncomprehending expressions and a repeat of the "What would you like?" mantra. Then they start pointing at random dishes as suggestions.

I did once call one out and ask what the dish she was pointing at actually was. She had no idea. So she pointed at another.

I have a million stories. They haven't worked out 'service' here, at all.

#69 ambra

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 08:12 AM

Why are rude kids worse than rude adults? :confused:


Something about being treated like the "help" by a kid is pretty atrocious. I once had a child speak to me in such a way that his mother couldn't look me in the eyes. I am not at all saying that the kid had the ability to make me feel less than, but it was gross that he attempted it. I also really hate to see kids with no manners when they are old enough to have them..."I want my food!" type bahavior. Glad I'm not a waitress anymore.

#70 hathor

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 05:55 PM

Being upsold. Do you want white truffles on everything?? And they don't tell you the cost.
Or, I think you would enjoy this $100 bottle of wine, and I just sat down...and the place is a 9th Ave. Trattoria. (translation: not where I would spend a hundred bucks on wine without giving it a lot of thought) Give me a break and lay off the sales job. (gee...I sound like Weinoo) :laugh:

#71 weinoo

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 07:34 PM

Being upsold. Do you want white truffles on everything?? And they don't tell you the cost.
Or, I think you would enjoy this $100 bottle of wine, and I just sat down...and the place is a 9th Ave. Trattoria. (translation: not where I would spend a hundred bucks on wine without giving it a lot of thought) Give me a break and lay off the sales job. (gee...I sound like Weinoo) :laugh:

It's getting scary, hathor. Being upsold is annoying. As is when you're told the specials, and usually not told the price. I like to ask the price of the specials just to see the look on the waitperson's face.
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#72 Qwerty

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 08:48 PM

Is there anything that doesn't annoy you guys?

I find these type of threads upsetting. I swear to god it seems like people go out to eat just so they can complain about it. For just about every complaint in this thread there is someone who would complain about the opposite. People complain cause a server fills up the iced tea, while other people complain when server's don't fill it up. Some people want to pour their own wine, while others are offended if they have to touch the bottle themselves.

Want to know who is responsible for bad service? The public.

It also greatly depends on the type of establishment. If I'm at a diner, or a casual chain, or something, and the server/runner auctions off the food...so what? Like, are your conversations so important that you can't stop for 10 seconds to get your entree? The higher you progress along the dining scale, the more you should expect from the service.

Your restaurants upsell you so that they make more money. News flash: restaurants try and make money. In these tough times, every cent counts so yeah, maybe you can put up with some upselling. It might be the difference between your favorite Trattoria being in business one week and out the next. Those truffles aren't going to disappear just from the occasional person who asks for them...the servers need to push them because truffles are a) ungodly expensive and b) very perishable.

You know why you don't get a new ice tea glass every time? Cause I like my dishwasher. And he's buried right now. Plus, now it means I have to walk to the dishpit when there might be other things to do. You know why servers top off your glasses? Cause they have time. They might not have time in 5 minutes. You are half empty and I've got the pitcher in my hand? I'm going to top you off. Because, like I said, in 5 minutes I might not have time to fill your glass. Would you rather have to put an extra sweet n low in your tea now, or have an empty glass sit in front of you until I have time to come back around? Cause I know you'd complain if your glass sat empty for longer than 2 minutes.

I'm sorry, this is so frustrating to me. I HATE these massive bitch fest threads about the restaurant business. I guess it just ties into people's love for complaining about everything and feeling entitled to do so. It's a wonder any of you enjoy the experience at all...

#73 Genkinaonna

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:04 PM

I guess it's better to complain here than actually do it at the restaurant. I get frustrated about the upselling, but I understand that restaurants are struggling right now. However, I don't feel being pressured to add something extra to my dish is going to help ensure my return business. In my mind, if the waitstaff is attentive to the best of their ability and the food is consistently good, I'll put up with any other little annoyances. It kind of ties in to the thread on being a "regular." I have certain restaurants that I go to, repeatedly, because they don't push any of my (admittedly personal) buttons. I agree that for everyone that complains about something being done one way, there's another person who complains that it's done the opposite way. It does seem like there are certain things that do rub quite a few people the wrong way, though...

Maybe this thread can count as group therapy, and we can all be nice to our servers next time we head out, even if they over/underfill our glasses, comment on the amount of food we did/didn't eat, or brandish white truffles at us in a threatening manner! :raz:
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#74 Qwerty

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

Geez, I just re-read what I wrote.

Sorry guys. I take this stuff seriously, being my profession, and in this business we hear a lot more bad stuff then good, even at the high levels. A lot of time, absence of criticism is the highest praise.

#75 Genkinaonna

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:23 PM

I always tip well...waitstaff puts up with a lot of crap...people are NOT at their best when they're hungry!
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#76 hathor

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 05:33 PM

I don't take this in the nature of a bitch fest. And I speak only for myself.
I KNOW why restaurants upsell, but there is a way to do it where you don't feel like you are being scammed.
Yes, tell me about the truffles. Tell me how much. Let me make an informed decision.
Tell me about your wine, but don't recommend one of the highest price items without some sort of discussion about
my likes, budgets, etc.
Which comes to the concept of service. The Europeans have much more respect for waiters/waitress, it is a respected profession, so there is an expectation on both sides of professional behavior. Which is why the truffle thing really bugs me because it's a restaurant in Montefalco that I've blogged a few times but they've gone way overboard on the
oversell to stranieri (foreigners) thing. If we go in, just me and my husband, it doesn't happen. We send some British friends and they get SLAMMED. Not right.

#77 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 03:19 AM

Not a great deal bothers me, really. Little things will irk me. You know, it's a quiet night but it's still impossible to get served. Or hearing, every five minutes, 'Is everything okay?' Little things. Or the 'I don't know anything about that dish/We've sold out of that dish/I can't recommend you anything because I don't even know what cuisine they serve here' response. These are rare when you're paying nice restaurant prices, tho', so whatever. Get what you pay for and all that. You can't expect an indifferent overseas student being paid stuff all per hour, working in the restaurant because he can't get anything else or because his visa says he can't work more than x hours in an on-the-books jobs, to be up there with fine dining waitstaff. Enjoy your $10 curry and naan for what they are.

One that gets me at fine dining restaurants, tho', probably sounds odd and maybe even uncultured to a lot of you wine lovers--and it's a lack of a serious beer list. The other week a friend and I went to a restaurant with a nice list of local and imported beers. Not a mediocre mass produced beer in sight. It was all good quality stuff that'd been carefully and lovingly made. Thought had been put into whether it would work well with the kind of food this restaurant served. The waiter knew a lot about good beer and basically set me up with a menu of matching beers for the degustation. He--and obviously his employer--understood that beer is a complex drink. It's not all cheap lager from a can. It's equally as valid as wine as a drink for people who like nice things (and I'll say the same about spirits and everything else). This is very, very, very rare. Sure, most nice restaurants will have one or two truly nice local or imported beers, but mostly they stock the same old shit--probably in response to customer demand, but given the growing appreciation for beer and the fact these are restaurants for people who like nice things, I'm not sure if the restaurants are keeping pace with consumer demand or if they're a couple of years behind it. I hate it when the website or drinks list only shows wine.

I think that there's a certain elitism when it comes to wine. This notion that it's a superior product, somehow, to a nice beer (or cider or whisky or whatever). I think restaurants take that in, to a certain extent, from the community, but also fuel it and perpetuate it. And I'm sure, about here, them's fighting words and I'll be howled down because beer/cider/etc aren't anywhere near as valid a drink for matching with a nice meal as wine.

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#78 Corinna

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 05:28 AM

I think that there's a certain elitism when it comes to wine. This notion that it's a superior product, somehow, to a nice beer (or cider or whisky or whatever). I think restaurants take that in, to a certain extent, from the community, but also fuel it and perpetuate it. And I'm sure, about here, them's fighting words and I'll be howled down because beer/cider/etc aren't anywhere near as valid a drink for matching with a nice meal as wine.


This is changing, slowly, of course, and it depends on where you go. Wine is generally my go-to drink and I work in the industry, but I think the idea of pairing meals with all sorts of beverages (including non-alcoholic) is very exciting. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
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#79 Slamdunkpro

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:38 AM

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

What would be the appropriate protocol for a handbag/coat? Of course, in the ideal world, there would be hooks attached to the bar for handbags. But a coat? What do others do with theirs?
Should said bar become crowded, then I would definitely attempt to move my coat...

How about the coat check? (if they have one) We used to get that all the time, people would bypass the staffed coat room and want to take up a bar stool for their coat/hat/gloves to save $1.

#80 gastronaut

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 12:21 PM

Along with many of the previous responses, overly wordy menu's seem to get me the most. I really never care about if it's "famous" or "skillfully prepared"(as such everything should be on the menu).

Just tell me what is in it and how it's cooked.
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#81 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 01:14 PM


I think that there's a certain elitism when it comes to wine. This notion that it's a superior product, somehow, to a nice beer (or cider or whisky or whatever). I think restaurants take that in, to a certain extent, from the community, but also fuel it and perpetuate it. And I'm sure, about here, them's fighting words and I'll be howled down because beer/cider/etc aren't anywhere near as valid a drink for matching with a nice meal as wine.


This is changing, slowly, of course, and it depends on where you go. Wine is generally my go-to drink and I work in the industry, but I think the idea of pairing meals with all sorts of beverages (including non-alcoholic) is very exciting. I'm sure I'm not the only one.


True.

I thought it was cool when I saw Noma would pair the various courses in their degustation with juices (there's also a wine option, of course). All non-alcoholic, probably, but I'd try it for the sheer novelty of it.

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#82 Big Mike

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 01:52 PM

I don't like places that are always refilling iced tea; I like my iced tea a certain way


I hate when anyone says Ice Tea. It's Iced Tea or Iced Coffee.

Also, as someone who's worked as a musician in hundreds of bars and restaurants, hear's a list of stuff that drives me crazy enough to kill or at least seriously maim:

Leaving the house music on in the bar while the band is playing in the restaurant

Leaving the house music on but just lowering it

Having 100 televisions tuned to 30 different channels. Stay home and watch Law and Order or don't have a band at your bar. Sports Bars are the exception, good luck competing with the 50 foot Wall of Distraction.

Karaoke machines. 'Nuff said

Guitar players...oops, that wasn't really germane to this discussion was it. Oh well, it's true. Tune up and turn down please, my tinnitus thanks you.

I have a hundred more but you'll all just think I'm bitter :P
 
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#83 Moopheus

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:35 PM

This is changing, slowly, of course, and it depends on where you go. Wine is generally my go-to drink and I work in the industry, but I think the idea of pairing meals with all sorts of beverages (including non-alcoholic) is very exciting. I'm sure I'm not the only one.


Some restaurants seem to have the idea that they can make ordering a nonalcoholic drink exciting by not listing any on the menu. You know they've got something, even if it's just soda or bottled water. But you have to guess. At least at an Indian restaurant you can usually get a lassi.
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#84 Jenni

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:48 AM

As a non-drinker myself, I have noticed that more casual restaurants now have "mocktails" on their menus. Now, I have a sweet tooth and do enjoy a nice sweet drink on it's own when I'm in the mood, but I do find most of the mocktails too sweet to have with a meal. For example, I like sweet lassi as a refreshing drink on its own, but with a meal I will choose salt lassi (or buttermilk if available) every time. That's not to say I won't drink a mildly sweet drink with my meal, but when half the glass is grenadine syrup, I'm not a fan.

#85 clokwurk

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:03 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.


I sometimes ask a form of this question so that I don't insult them by guiding them (even broadly) around a menu/wine list they might have seen before.
It opens up necessary dialog to many who might not offer up the fact they might be a bit turned around in a new environment.
Ultimately, it's reading the guest. :wink:

But you are right, most times I hear this, there is no connecting response.

Edited by clokwurk, 30 May 2011 - 10:04 PM.


#86 Simon_S

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 09:22 AM

I sometimes ask a form of this question so that I don't insult them by guiding them (even broadly) around a menu/wine list they might have seen before.


I still don't get it. Are menus so difficult to navigate that punters need guidance? Really?

Okay, if I'd never been to a restaurant at all before, then I'd understand it. As a consequence, the question "Have you eaten here before?" immediately translates itself in my mind as "Have you ever eaten in a restaurant before?"

#87 ScoopKW

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:41 AM

the question "Have you eaten here before?" immediately translates itself in my mind as "Have you ever eaten in a restaurant before?"


So answer the question, "No, I haven't eaten here before. Truth be told, this is the first time I've ever eaten at a restaurant. In fact, I just learned how to walk on hind legs. Would you please explain to me this concept of 'money?'"

That'll shut 'em up.
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#88 Deus Mortus

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:45 AM


the question "Have you eaten here before?" immediately translates itself in my mind as "Have you ever eaten in a restaurant before?"


So answer the question, "No, I haven't eaten here before. Truth be told, this is the first time I've ever eaten at a restaurant. In fact, I just learned how to walk on hind legs. Would you please explain to me this concept of 'money?'"

That'll shut 'em up.


Well that and make sure your food is spitshined, I make it a rule to show how good service was by the tip, if people really are that terrible just don't tip. Still seems like little annoyances, hardly any reason for full on rage.

I mean they're people, just because they serve you doesn't mean you don't have to show some respect.

Edited by Deus Mortus, 09 June 2011 - 10:55 AM.

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#89 mkayahara

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:48 AM

It's a fair question in restaurants where the menu structure is not intuitive. I've eaten in many restaurants, but even still, I find menus where, for example, there's no clear division between appetizers and mains, and so I have to ask the service staff for guidance on putting together a meal that will be neither too big nor too small. (I'm looking at you, Black Hoof.)

Obviously, if the menu is structured like most menus, this question can certainly come across as patronizing. Then, at the high end, you've got restaurants where the computer system can tell them whether or not you've been there before, so they can greet you appropriately with "welcome" or "welcome back". :wink:
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#90 Simon_S

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 11:24 AM

Heh, I don't think I'd have the cojones to implement Scoop's suggestion, but I like it. Given a non-intuitive menu (and really, even without an obvious split it's rare things are THAT difficult to follow) I still don't like the 'have you been here before' question as a concept. It suggests to me, almost certainly erroneously, that the answer to the question is going to contribute to the level of my enjoyment. Of course, that may be the case, but I don't want it spelled out that I'm not a regular if I'm not. I think 'let me know if you have any questions about the menu' is a far less patronising way of doing things.