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Rosie

Restaurant/Bar Annoyances

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I only do it when it's my husband or other family with me, because it is an idiosyncracy and not acceptable etiquette.  :smile:  And I'm the one who asks the wait staff to take it, not the other way around.

Sorry, HJ :sad:, didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. Actually I wasn't refering to you but to someone else (can't recall whom now) who implied it was their restaurant/waitstaff's policy to remove plates even while others at the table were still eating.

Chad

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(wow, I've chosen a hot topic to de-lurk into :raz: )

I do love the European method of waiting tables. That, of course, will only truly happen over here when the tipping system is abolished, and servers are paid a livable wage by their employers.

[waits for laughter from anyone who has worked in/for/owns a restaurant in America to subside]

Well, it's true. Servers here feel the need to turn tables quickly, in order to seat the most tables they can, to earn more money. I've actually seen managers pressure servers to push a table out, as well, so I guess I can't completely blame the servers. There are managers who actually think it's the server's fault that the table has the audacity to sit and have a conversation over coffee or whatever. sigh.

Yes, I waited tables, once upon a time. It actually makes me much more picky about service than everyone I dine with. :hmmm:

Servers in chain restaurants are trained to be annoying to guests. There is a timeline ('sequence of service', or whatever snappy title it might have now) that they are required to follow. If they don't ask you how things are at set moments (yes, it is calculated out to exact minutes), ask you if want specific drinks, appetizers, entrees, desserts, help with the menu, smothersmother etcetc, they can easily be put on probation once, and fired if it happens again. The chains employ 'secret shoppers' to test the servers. Managers get bonuses for themselves if their restaurants get high shopper scores. The incentive is there. They are not interested in having you in the restaurant for more than 45 minutes, and if it means clearing your tables of everything but the salt and pepper shakers, and that one remaining guest's plate, they will.

Can you feel the bitterness through your screen? :biggrin: I did love working at restaurants, I swear!

Complaining directly to the management is always the best response. If you don't like having to box your own food (though, yes, some states have laws against servers doing it. As someone else pointed out, they are handling money and dirty plates of other guests all the time), say something to the management. The server might just be lazy. There are people who like boxing their own food, though.

Just like there are people who like to have their plates cleared, regardless of the status of others' meals at the table. Again, it's a judgement call, and servers aren't psychic. If you want it cleared, ask them.

I should stress here that I am mostly referring to mid-range restaurants. I also have a feeling that most of what I have said here has been said before, in some thread I haven't located yet. :unsure: These forums are huge!

One more time, for the record: complain to the management. Silent protests and witholding tips might make you feel a little bit better, but the only way anything has a chance of being done about the problem is if the manager knows about it. It's pretty rare that a server goes up to them at the end of the shift and says "wow, I sure did chase away a perfectly good customer this evening! Let me tell you how!"

... it's hard to believe it's been almost 5 years since I've worked in a restaurant. Just thinking about these topics is causing me stress. :laugh:

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If it is a truck stop, I almost do want to be called Buddy though. Funny, eh?

Where do you stand on sweetie and hon?

Unless I'm in a diner in the south, where it's part of the whole feel of the place, I loathe being called sweetie, hon, sugar, darlin', or whatever the endearing term du jour happens to be.

I had a former coworker constantly refer to me as honey in semi-social situations (client dinners, company happy hours, etc.) One day I decided to refer to him as gramps. He got the idea. I should do the same with servers. Gramps, kiddo, old hag, whatever term fits the bill. :rolleyes:

Edit: typos, lots of 'em. :blush:


Edited by sherribabee (log)

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Ohh, I though of another thing...servers who doubt your choice--like if you order something particularly spicy they have to tell you, "Oh, I should tell you, that's really spicy". If I had an issue with spicyness, and was unsure if the dish I wanted was spicy, wouldn't I ask?

This happened a lot when I was a kid, I would order things that were rather fancy or weird for someone my age and the server would be compelled to tell me what that dish was like and if I still wanted it. Now I am 24, and I look young, but not THAT young.

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I do love the European method of waiting tables.  That, of course, will only truly happen over here when the tipping system is abolished, and servers are paid a livable wage by their employers.

Welcome to eG. :smile:

A day I hope that day will *never* come. My friends in the service industry in Europe are all green with envy for the amount of tips earned on this side of the pond. See, they work for tips too, but have a fair wage. In short they wish to have the tipping culture, presence and acceptance in Europe as it does in the States.

But should my employer abolish tipping, in all honesty, they could never pay me wages equitable nor commensurate to what I earn in tips. Think about it and why so many remain in the biz refusing management positions. I made the error for opting for salaried management and gladly (read quickly) walked away from it too. And this is a gal with one semester of law school from Meechigan under the belt. The absolute freedom of my schedule and how it can and will indulge my whim or need to work I'll never return to the briefcase, pantyhose and conservative suit days I, admittedly, was once a sorry rat race participant.

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Galeria's menus are probably two or three pounds. Helps you work up an appetite, certainly. The food is really good, and I put up with the menus for it.

Eh, I've eaten there probably 40 times over the last 6 years, and the food has slid WAAAAAAY downhill.

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Galeria's menus are probably two or three pounds. Helps you work up an appetite, certainly. The food is really good, and I put up with the menus for it.

Eh, I've eaten there probably 40 times over the last 6 years, and the food has slid WAAAAAAY downhill.

It's probably laying underneath a huge menu.

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Also, we always remove plates when people are done eating. Waiting until the whole party is through seems negligent to me. I would rather not have a dirty plate with food drying on it in front of me while my 4'9" friend Kim spends another hour on three green beans.

I consider this extremely rude. Not just my pet peeve, though, it goes against the general rules of etiquette. The idea being that those who are still eating will feel very self conscious, especially if they're the last to finish. They feel like everyone is watching them and waiting. Which is, of course, true, because you can't (or shouldn't) order dessert or coffee or light a cigarette until that person is finished. Just plain courtesy, then, to leave all plates on the table until each diner is finished with his meal. I've had to forcibly restrain waiters and waitresses who swoop in and grab my empty plate before my wife has finished her meal. That's why I always leave something on the plate as a decoy so I can claim that I'm still eating.

Chad

Funny, as in some ultra fine dining wherein we did simultaneous service with those ridiculous glass domes, silver charger plates, umpteen forks and distinct order of courses (Italian or French service, I forgot) armed with crumbers and specific 15 points of service for fricking tea....

The removal of a finished plate was first and foremost. Thought being, not rudeness but why have refuse in front of the diner detracting from the aesthetic of the experience. Do you really want to sit there with all of those little legs, shell fragments, tail fins and lobster eyes peering back at you as if you savagely desimated the little delightfully tasting creature? Nope. It is promptly removed and tossed into the garbage, because it is garbage. Remember, even the server assistants wore gloves so as not to personally touch anything that was presented or removed from your table. What to do when that dining companion is slower than the rest? Languish and savour those sips of your glass of wine and continue with the witty reparte!

Life's to short to worry and attribute rudeness when none is clearly present! :raz:

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Thanks for the welcome, beans. :smile: (I love your little chococat, btw)

The pay wouldn't ever be able to match what servers currently make in tips. There is no question about that! I remember being offered a management position at another restaurant (while I was waiting tables). I did show a bit of interest, but immediately backed off once I knew that I'd be working twice the hours of the waitstaff and be lucky if I made half what they did.

The main reason I left the restaurant business was my back problems, and subsequent surgery. I'm now zzzzzzzz... in accounting.

I've thought about the subject more in the last year, as I was living in Australia, and exposed a bit to the restaurant scene through a co-worker there (at Ernst & Young... she waited tables at night). Her hourly wage at E&Y was the same as the one she made at the restaurant. Honestly, I didn't see anything wrong with that. It was nice to be able to go out with a group and not have to police everyone to make sure that the tip was properly covered.

Don't worry. It won't ever happen here! I wasn't exactly advocating it, anyway. I just wanted to illustrate why some servers feel the need to rush people through their meals; more tables = more tips.

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If it is a truck stop, I almost do want to be called Buddy though. Funny, eh?

Where do you stand on sweetie and hon?

Unless I'm in a diner in the south, where it's part of the whole feel of the place, I loathe being called sweetie, hon, sugar, darlin', or whatever the endearing term du jour happens to be.

I had a former coworker constantly refer to me as honey in semi-social situations (client dinners, company happy hours, etc.) One day I decided to refer to him as gramps. He got the idea. I should do the same with servers. Gramps, kiddo, old hag, whatever term fits the bill. :rolleyes:

Edit: typos, lots of 'em. :blush:

aw, honey, c'mere! let gramps give you a hug!

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Ohh, I though of another thing...servers who doubt your choice--like if you order something particularly spicy they have to tell you, "Oh, I should tell you, that's really spicy".  If I had an issue with spicyness, and was unsure if the dish I wanted was spicy, wouldn't I ask?

This happened a lot when I was a kid, I would order things that were rather fancy or weird for someone my age and the server would be compelled to tell me what that dish was like and if I still wanted it.  Now I am 24, and I look young, but not THAT young.

i can sorta understand the server there.

a lot of people have issues with spiciness.

many of them, in my experience, don't really feel they do.

for many others, they do need to be reminded.

you, hon, are the exception. :biggrin:

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I recently ate at a small plates venue, the tables were small and crowded and the menus were large. My guest and I ordered an appetizer, three small plate entrees and a couple of sides-on small plates. There were also condiments placed on the tables. The food was okay, but the experience was very crowded and subsequently felt rushed. We were constantly moving the food around and stacking plates to make more room on the table. The ticket was the same as if we ate at a traditional, somewhat upscale resturant. Is small plate/small table a trend that is usually better executed? :wacko:

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Where is it they make you create your own doggie bag (box)? I'd remember if I'd ever seen this. This would be high on my list.

It happens a lot in middle-of-the-road restaurants.

I've never experienced it. Could it be a regional thing?

Last night Karen and I were at a supper club (don't ask). The waitress brought us a whole stack of containers to pack our leftovers in.

I thought of you all.

Bruce

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exactly why i enjoy dining in europe- i live to be ignored!

Did someone say something?

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We used to box food in the kitchen but I had several customers state that they didn't want anyone they don't know touching their food.

This seems completely illogical considering they don't know who made their food in the first place. (where's the perplexed emoticon?)

there's *some* logic here, as the people preparing the food are food-handlers by nature. whereas servers are servers and often money handlers.

Some people have no idea what goes on in a restaurant kitchen.

Bruce

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Now *that's* an ugly can of worms to attempt to open here with several eG members that are in the biz of creating and plating up some fucking awesome food that guests crave.

Let's not revisit this? (as a few points resurfacing here within this thread already tossed about, i.e., 'do you need change' and tipping)

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We used to box food in the kitchen but I had several customers state that they didn't want anyone they don't know touching their food.

This seems completely illogical considering they don't know who made their food in the first place. (where's the perplexed emoticon?)

there's *some* logic here, as the people preparing the food are food-handlers by nature. whereas servers are servers and often money handlers.

Some people have no idea what goes on in a restaurant kitchen.

Bruce

well, there is a modicum of reason to every statement thus far.

customers want all kinds of weird stuff/make weird requests all the time.

traditionally, you just do the best you can to accomodate, and go on.

how's that? let's leave it at that.

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Also hate having the bill automatically handed to him.

For some reason my wife never objects to this. happy37.gif

It only bugs me when I ask for the bill, and it's given to the man at the table. :angry:

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-- a waiter that tells me "good choice" when I place my order

-- having red wine or egg foo yung spilled on me

-- having to wait my turn for the restroom and stare at the whole dining room

-- having someone waiting for the restroom 2 feet from my table because there's no other place to wait

-- watching the staff standing around talking to each other while my water glass is empty

-- having an empty (or 2/3 empty) water glass

-- not being told about or have it clearly indicated somewhere that a "service charge" is included

-- not being told about specials before studying the menu for 5 minutes

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Studying the menu, placing the order, then overhearing a waitstaff person recite specials that you were not told about to another table :angry: .

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Oooo. That does suck.

Along the same lines, not getting the amuse bouche that everyone else seemed to have gotten.

Admittedly, this only happened to me once. I was eating at the bar at Gary Danko's. I thought that people at the bar didn't get the amuse bouche, until the couple who orderd after me got theirs.

Bruce

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Along the line of Katie's post, I hate when the waiters/runners assume I'm the one who ordered the chicken or salad because I'm a woman.  Why is it that if I order beef and my husband orders the chicken, when the food arrives the chicken is set in front of me?  Is there some rule that says chicks can't eat beef?

This thread has gone a long way in just a few days, but I just stumbled on the above quote and I'm reminded of a restaurant in Prague I visited with my wife.

This place had very stuffy, formal service, and the waiter had a set list of recommendations-- several choices he suggested for appetizer, entree, and drinks. And each of his lists was especially designed for either "ladies" or men. This presentation was so over the top, we found it hilarious. And, being comfortable with our genders and not particularly worried about appearances, we felt no need to follow his suggestions. I ordered one of the dishes for the ladies (I do believe it was chicken) and felt a little naughty.

I don't think we've ever had this kind of experience in New York, though.

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If it is a truck stop, I almost do want to be called Buddy though. Funny, eh?

Where do you stand on sweetie and hon?

Depends....does she wear her hear in a bee-hive?

It's pretty much the same deal - it's a context thing. If I'm at the Waffle House, I expect it - and that's part of why I go. It suits a need, just the same as the biscuits and gravy I'll probably order.

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Galeria's menus are probably two or three pounds. Helps you work up an appetite, certainly. The food is really good, and I put up with the menus for it.

Eh, I've eaten there probably 40 times over the last 6 years, and the food has slid WAAAAAAY downhill.

It's probably laying underneath a huge menu.

:smile::biggrin::laugh:

exactly why i enjoy dining in europe- i live to be ignored!

Did someone say something?

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

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