My family and I eat out quite a bit. As a former waiter, there are certain things about full service restaurants that drive me absolutely crazy when I’m out to eat. The following are my pet peeves, some minor, some that could take an okay restaurant to a great restaurant.
Hiring Immature Hostesses
This is the first impression you give a restaurant guest, and so many place stack the hostess station with people who are still in high school and obviously would much rather be sending text messages than dealing with you. My favorite restaurants are the ones where the hostess takes off on a 100 yard dash across the floor of the restaurant, in an apparent bid to lose you before you can follow them to your table. Once you arrive at your table, the hostess then does the “drop and go” tossing the menus on the table and hoping she can get away before you can say, “I’m sorry, I’d really not like to sit in the lobby of the women’s restroom.”
All Hands On Deck (a.k.a. Only Pies Should Be Left To Cool In The Window)
There is nothing more irritating that waiting for your food to come, seeing your waiter bogged down with other tables, and watching other waiters and waitresses standing around picking their nose. Then you see your waiter disappear into the kitchen and come out with your food. The entire waitstaff should worry about the entire restaurant. The kitchen should be getting everyone and their brother to run food as soon as it hits the window.
The Invisible Man(ager)
The restaurant is packed. You’ve been seated at a dirty table. You’re waiting for someone, anyone to visit your table. You look around for a manager. You find him, making eyes at the underage hostess. Every restauarant should have a manager visible at all times. And they should be assisting their guests and/or staff in anyway they can. It looks good for the restaurant and it makes the staff happier.
How About I Buy Your Next Meal? How About I Force Feed You This Piece of Inedible Crud On My Plate?
When I have a lousy meal, everything tends to go wrong. Wrong food, its cold, waiter disappears for an hour, etc. Invariably, when you complain, the manager usually comes back with something like this……
“I’m sorry about your inconvenience, and I’m going to pick up dessert for you.”
“I tell you what, how about next time you’re here, I pick up your meal?”
I am there for the meal today. If I get a bad one, you need to take care of the bad one. If I wasn’t fond of my $15 steak, a $5 brownie that you stuffed in the microwave and topped with ice cream isn’t adequate compensation.
If I Want Lemonade, I’ll Ask For It
I know I’m in the minority here, but if I ask for water, I don’t want a lemon wedge. Save the money. I’ll take it with my tea. I’ll even take it with my Coke. Speaking of coke, why is it you can give me a whole lemon for free but you charge me $2.20 for a soda that costs you 5 or 10 cents?
Don’t Ask Me if I Need Change Unless I’ve Wet My Pants
I once gave a server a $50 bill for a $30 tab. With no hint of humor in her voice, she said, “do you need change?”
Worse was the time that our waiter took a $50 bill on a $40 check and never came back with change. I had to hunt him down in the back, where he said, “Oh, I didn’t realize you needed change.” I left without realizing that he needed a tip.
As a waiter, you should NEVER assume you’re getting a tip of any size. When someone offers you money to pay for a check, advise them that you’ll get them change. If they say keep it, THEN keep it.
Curbside Service is Not Service and Shouldn’t Take Up Five of the Best Parking Spaces
Am I the only person who hates curbside service? I always feel obligated to tip a person who essentially takes my order and bring a bag to my car. I order carryout specifically because I don’t want to spend an extra 7 or 8 bucks on tips and a drink. It’s not as though it is a hardship for me to get out of my car and work five feet to the door. And while we’re at it, why should I have to park across the street from the restaurant while five “To Go” parking spaces go empty.