Dining out is one of my favorite activities to do with friends and family. Unfortunately, there are sometimes a combination of little grievances that I have with a restaurant and their policies, which can quickly make an enjoyable meal an annoying one instead. Here are my "Top Ten Restaurant Gripes." But I also want to hear about your main complaints too! Let's talk about how we'd like to see our local eateries do a better job. Click on Discussions on our Facebook page. And if you work in the restaurant industry, we'd like to hear your side of the story too.
While in Facebook, please join my Discussion about items for my "Top 10 Food & Wine Bucket List." I'm writing that blogpost next.
Sally's Top 10 Restaurant Gripes
1. Reservations That Aren't Honored
When I go to the trouble to make a restaurant reservation, I expect the restaurant to be reasonably on time. I don't expect to wait more than 10-15 minutes and I'd hope the host or hostess would be pleasant and try to accommodate my fellow diners and me.
2. Noisy Restaurants
When I dine out I want to be able to visit with those at my table. The majority of restaurants today are so noisy that is often hard to do. Much of the problem is due to the acoustics, such as bare floors (often stone), glass walls, no tablecloths, in other words, nothing to "soak up" the noise. Soundproofing foam can be added under tables, seats, or to walls. I know owners think a loud, bustling spot means a popular spot but if you can't visit with others, what's the use in going out?
3. Non-Printed Menus
Although chalkboard menus seem quaint and fun, too often they are placed in a spot that makes them hard to read, the writing is not always legible and sometimes prices are not listed. These menus are acceptable for pub grub, a diner or a place where you order your food at a bar or counter but not a "real" restaurant.
4. Verbal Specials Recited Without Prices
When servers tell me the daily specials, I want to know the prices so I won't be unpleasantly surprised when the bill arrives.
5. Up Selling
I dine out to relax and I don't want to constantly be on guard to make sure I am not going to have to pay more for my meal than I planned. Rolls, appetizers, daily specials, side dishes and desserts are a few of the culprits in this category.
6. Iceless Table Water
The up selling to get you to buy bottled water is bad enough but even worse are restaurants that don't even offer ice in that water.
7. Servings That Are Too Large or Too Small
I don't eat like a pig nor do I eat like a bird. I want to try different foods and not leave the table stuffed. Restaurants know they can charge more if they give you more food but this doesn't work for me.
8. Dirty Restrooms
Another indication of a quality restaurant is a clean restroom.
Need I say more?
9. Clearing of Plates
At upscale restaurants all finished plates should be cleared at the same time. If my plate is cleared before someone else, it could make that diner feel rushed and uncomfortable. Dining out is an event and the atmosphere should be relaxed. At a less expensive diner, those rules change.
10. No Cell Phone Use
This is just plain rude and you see it more and more today. If you must take a call, leave the dining room. But your cell phone should be turned off or on vibrate when you dine out.
Now I'd like to hear about your top restaurant gripes and food and wine bucket list items. Join the Discussion on Facebook. Come "Like" me too!
Read my new Top 10 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets post on Womensforum.com on "Sally's Food for Thought" blog.
Don't miss the discount at the bottom of this eNewsletter from Animal Coffee, the original source of authentic Kopi Luwak on the Internet.
All the best in food, wine, and travel.