Here are some of my biggest restaurant service peeves!
A few weeks ago, I ordered a burger. Since there was no mention of fries, I ordered a side. Twenty minutes later, the burger with a huge mound of fries arrived, as did the side, which was easily large enough to feed three people. Would it have been so hard for the server to say something when I ordered? It was just me, he knew I was alone, and yet he failed to mention that I didn’t really need the side.
The same thing happened later in the week with greens. You’d think I would have learned, but didn’t check when I ordered a side of greens. My table was swimming in them.
I know some people will say this is my fault, and that I should ask, but it seems to me that any server worth their salt might say “You know there is a huge mound of greens under the chop you ordered; did you still want the side?”
Coffee: make an attempt to meet my eyes for a moment before you refill, disturbing the perfect balance that I have achieved in my cup. I may not want any more.
Wine: I’d really rather pour it myself. Sometimes it helps to distribute things evenly, as there is frequently one person at the table that is gulping at double the rate of anyone else.
Water: Do you really need to refill the glass every time I take a sip?
Menus: Please tell me if you are out of things or have specials before I’ve looked at the menu for ten minutes.
Spills: if you splash coffee on my shirt, please just hand me a damp napkin, and don’t try to dab at it yourself. It’s very awkward, and unless you are really good looking, I will probably knock over the water as I recoil.
The tab: Don’t ask me if I need change; it’s awkward. Just bring me the balance, and I will tip appropriately.
spot on…and please tell me the specials before you ask me for my drink order, and don’t post said specials in a place I can’t see them or read them!
Food Dude says
Drives me crazy when I only notice the specials on a chalkboard as I walk out the door.
Don’t read me the specials ever! Give them to me in writing. Is that so hard? I barely even listen when they recite, and have a hard time remembering the 1st one by the time they are done.
I’m just thankful I can afford to eat out. I am also thankful that I have the use of my hands, so that if my coffee/cream/sugar ratio is disturbed I can just go ahead and fix it back up. But God help the S.O.B who fills my water glass too frequently.
Funny, I would rather have a server take my drink order, bring my drink, and then tell me the specials. I prefer to have a drink in my hand while deciding what to order. To each his/her own!
Matt Brown says
My personal favorites include:
1) Wait staff that allow you to search all over their establishment for _____________ (water, napkins, bathroom, etc), but never offer to help.
2) being greeted before you make eye contact. Nothing like hearing a “hello” and having no idea where it came from.
3) signs at the register that make little quips about how anyone who doesn’t tip is a_________________. I survive on tips, but making people feel obligated is the opposite of hospitality.
As a former server of many years, here’s my take:
-The side thing: you are absolutely correct. This is just common sense! But there are so many people, servers or otherwise, who lack “common” sense.
– Coffee: I always made a point of ensuring the customer wanted more, but I don’t begrudge those who don’t. There are too many other things to be irritated by.
-Wine: In this case, I would ask the server not to pour. I think it’s unfair to expect a server to refrain from what is generally expected in good service.
-Water: Now I agree it’s just the bad year. Really? Nothing peeves me more than a server who leaves me without that basic building block of life. I truly appreciate it when my water is kept topped up.
-Menus: Agreed. Again with the common sense not being that common.
-Spills: see above.
-The Bill: My method was always to say, “I’ll bring you your change”. This is the graceful way of allowing the customer to say, “no, it’s yours”, as so many do. (It does help to know if you need to come back to the table or not; economy of means is always the name of the game when you’re running around all day or night, no matter how much you make.)
Food Dude says
I like your way of dealing with change. By the way, servers will have a chance to respond in their own post later today.
No need to narrate “I’ll bring your change”. That is my rightful assumption that’s what you’re going to do with my money. If I want you to keep the change I’ll speak up. This is typical of American servers, who believe they must narrate and describe everything they do when it is so much unnecessary chatter that disrupts the flow of our conversations (“I’ll just get this out of your way”…”I’ll get your change”…”Ooohh that’s my favorite item!”). So yeah, that’s my peeve: too much yakking that serves no useful function. Talk less = more tip from me.
Upon reading Kristi’s comment, I’d like to revise my take on the menus.
I also would like a drink in my hand first thing. I am antsy and irritable until I have it. Hmm, what does that say about me?
“You still workin’ on that?”
“how’s everything tastin’?”
“How’s everything tasting” has been on my radar since
servers started using it several years ago. It seems as if the
servers are only concerned with the kitchen, and not the diner’s
entire restaurant experience, including the service.
God I hate that! We spent a month in Italy this year, and they do not intercede with idiot questions or comments. No “My name is Guilio” or “Can I get that out of your way.” Just polite, presence when you need it. How do they do that?
barman Al says
Being a many-yeared service veteran, I have found that getting the drink order from the guest, then telling them the specials before I leave to place the drink order gives people the time to look at the menu, without feeling rushed. If they wish to mull things over after they have their cocktail, so be it.
Food Dude says
That is exactly what I think it should be done. Get the drink order, tell me the specials.
yes, yes…either way…just don’t leave me stranded without knowing my food options nor being unable to choose my drink(s) based on the specials if I am so inclined. As a barman, I am sure you would also want to the server to sell up those drink specials as well. Seems to be more common in restaurants to have them!
I agree an all point but one, servers are not mind readers. If you do not want your server to pour your wine, just say so. After the initial taste or round has been poured just politely let your server know that you would like to pour the rest. Problem solved, and don’t worry. We won’t be offended, and I actually prefer it when customers want to pour their own wine, for the reason you listed as well as it’s one less thing I have to keep an eye on.
I agree. FD: if you don’t want them to pour, it’s on you to say so. Most diners expect it.
I’ve never seen a pic of food dude, but after reading this piece I think I’ll imagine Art Rooney. This really reads as a 60 minutes rant/piece. Nothing wrong with that, by the way.
Food Dude says
I’m still working on the eyebrows ;)
You mean Andy Rooney. Art Rooney was the founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Waiters who are too lazy to remember which person ordered which dish….on a deuce! Come on!!
Waiters who don’t care to put on a clean/appropriate shirt. (Example: employee at a SW Portland eatery, working tables, a large-ish guy with an even larger white T-shirt on, stained. Definitely OK for back of house, sloppy for front of house)
Waiters who don’t know where the restaurant gets their beef/chicken/pork. I’d like to know if it’s generic Sysco/IBP or if it’s from a local grower. Don’t you discuss this with the chef/owner before service?
That is top on my list too. I don’t care if we are a deuce or party of 20, or if the person serving is not the one who took the order. That’s what the “position #” is all about. Be pro, dammit! This is not Denny’s.
The “dirty server” thing here in town grosses me out so thoroughly. There’s a place in particular that I really love, and the staff are all very nice and funny, and good at what they do and yet they all appear to be 1. filthy and 2. hungover. I realize it’s a “thing” and I am am probably “old” but it seems like a flaunt of basic health code; if you look dirty (or in many case, ARE DIRTY, which I see, and smell, a lot) I don’t like the idea of you prepping, cooking, or serving my food.
these are all problems i had when i was 16 (except of the wine problem). i have new problems now. it seems like everyone is lame lately. the world is crumbling. i feel good when everything i order shows up, which it really does. what is wrong with everyone? your devices suck and make you lame.
Food Dude says
(Note that this comment was not from Nancy Rommelmann)
That’s why you poured the whole pitcher of water over your head last time you had lunch here ;-P
Rick Hamell says
Interesting, I’ve been having a hard time keeping my water glass full during meals, so I’d like the waiter to come by more often.
On the same token, if the specials are posted by the front door in a prominent area (especially in the walkway,) I probably already read them. At least ask me if I’d like to hear them.
When the food is delivered by someone else other then the waiter – then the waiter does not check on us within a couple of minutes.
Lack of contact with the waiter at all. If my meal has been finished for ten minutes and you keep walking by with hands empty, I have issue with that. Same thing when you do take the plates away, then making us wait another ten minutes before asking if I want dessert or the check.
garden girl says
OMG Food Dude did you order the burger and side of fries at bluehour? The same thing happened to me there! But I just thought that my server was too preoccupied gossiping with his pals and looking too cool to let me know that I had ordered two serving of fries.
Food Dude says
No, it wasn’t at Bluehour; last burger I had there was burnt, and I haven’t been back.
Amen on the wine. Maybe it’s just because where I’m from… then again, in Belgium it’s also rude to pour yourself wine until you’ve filled everyone’s glass at the table (but you ask each person if they want more first – with a subtle word or gaze).
The problem, for me, to the waiter serving wine problem, is that he’s interfering to an often intricate play of courteousness between the guests at the table. To me, serving wine is a form of respect and recognition to a fellow diner – the waiter who serves the wine disrupts that process of introduction and recognition.
Good point, Nico. You bring up the larger issue of whole-table procedures such as not clearing everyone’s plates until EVERYONE is done eating. Coordinating with the kitchen to actually fire orders for a given table so the food is ready at about the same time, so the courses don’t pile up, etc.
Yes, grapedog. You hit the nail on the head. All those things contribute to not disturbing the dynamics of the table. But again, that may be because of where I’m from and how we were raised. Having lived in the US for several years, I have started appreciating that the opposite might happen: some diners get nervous if their empty plate is in front of them for too long, which also brings the entire dining party at unease.
Food Dude says
I think it is a bit rude to fill pour yourself a refill without topping off other people at the table too, and I’m not from Belgium. It’s just the polite way to do it (and makes you look like less of a pig)
I like eating at the bar as I largely avoid all of these things mentioned here.
Rarian Rakista says
Serving me wine out of a day old bottle.
I had this problem recently at a restaurant I wouldn’t have expected it from. The food had also gone way down hill and there were fruit flies swarming the bar area. The food and fruit flies I can forgive to an extent, especially at happy hour, but serving me wine that has obviously been opened for more than just that day is inexcusable.
Staff who try take your plate away to make room for the
next course before you’re completely finished with the first.
The Wizard Tim says
So in this scenario, you are the one who happens to eat really really slow. Everyone at the table has been done for 15 minutes, yet you sit there, pushing two bites of food around on your plate. So the waiter says, “Oh Screwgun, I’m ordering the next course”. Should i just wait, along with your dining companions, for another 20 minutes so you can finish your two bites? Couldn’t you be a little more courteous to your dining companions.
Please be friendly but don’t tell me your personal problems.
Thank you, the Customer you’ve just met for the first time.
I think this is a Portland thing. Never had to hear so much unsolicited, “Oprah-style” commentary as I do in some Portland eateries. This, following the classic “Hi, my name is Bob/Jill and i’ll be taking care of you tonight.” Followed by an outpouring of feelings.
Timothy Lehman says
One morning about ten years ago, the staff of Cadillac
Cafe ignored my table for over twenty minutes. As customers
arriving after me were served and staff continued to
fail to meet my pleading eyes, I felt like my table was in
no-man’s land and somehow unassigned to a waiter that morning.
It apparently took me ten years to get over this. I’ve returned
five times this year and have enjoyed the service (and meal) each
By biggest peeve is being ignored at the host stand, and it
happens all the time. I don’t expect the host to drop
everything to talk to me, but it only takes 2 seconds to say “I’ll
be right with you.”
Really? A server keeping a water glass full or touching up a cup of coffee irks you? Pouring wine for a guest?
Too many fries?
My world, my world…
Food Dude says
Yes, when the server is refilling my water glass every time I take two sips, yes. It interrupts the flow of conversation, and yes, when I’m paying for an additional plate of fries, it does “irk” me.
yes, well… dining out can be uncomfortable… some people demand a water glass topped off if it’s a quarter inch down and some may not.
and it’s bad service if the waiter guesses wrong.
Wine: When the establishment doesn’t list what wines they
are pouring by the glass. Then you ask your sever what they are
pouring and they say “What do you want, red or white?” or “We have
a Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet”, but they don’t tell you what
winery they are from. Then they don’t tell you the prices, or they
don’t know. Yes, I am in the business, but I still think that
most wine drinkers want to know the producer and the cost,
especially since many (you noticed I didn’t say all) restaurants
charge you as much for a glass as they paid for the bottle.
Also, at least let me sit down and look at a wine list (if you have
remember to give me one), before you ask what I want to
Food Dude says
I don’t mind the server reciting today’s specials if there are
three or four, but if there are more than that, I wish they’d
print a sheet of the specials. I also think it’s reasonable to
tell the customer the price of the specials without having to
Let us move on to the question of fries/sides. (sidemeats n/y res.. question everything…) Dude, you did not mention the place what you ordered extra fries from: was, were, are fries mentioned on the menu? if not, who is giving away the free fries? Are you afraid or too shy to ask if fries come with a burger? As to sides, and the ordering of them, do you want servers to question your order? ‘umm, sir, I see your waistline, do you really want extra fries with that? ‘ Perhaps, ‘don’t you think you might want a salad, and not the fritters?’ Yep, this is snarky, but so much of the dining out blogosphere (including this site) is over done with folks who just seem to have a bad time dining out. I am no expert, but ya know, I go out, I ask for something that’s on the menu, and someone brings it to me. I’m happy. Someone could want more? Oh yes, people want more, much more…like some sort of pre-cognitive waiter that knows when my coffee cup has become dis attenuated. What I mean to ask, why go out if it is such a bother?
Food Dude says
Fries were not mentioned on the menu. Pickles yes, fries no. Same with the greens.
If servers questioned my waistline, they wouldn’t let me in the door!
I wish people could just let this one go. The waiter wasn’t OBLIGATED to mention that fries came with the burger; the point is it would have been considerate. I feel like this isn’t an uncommon experience when I leave thinking “why couldn’t they have just SAID something?” It’s as if it’s more important to the server to make a point than to help provide a positive experience.
LOL! I agree with sidemeat. And, yes, you must have had a bad year. While it’s evident that you are a “foodie” and enjoy eating out, I’d think there are some things you would have gotten past by now. Such as the wait staff not being mind-readers. With a toddler at home, working full-time opposite shifts of my husband, I rarely get to go out to eat. So when I do, I reeeeally make a point of enjoying every moment. Why get bunched up over trivialities? I’d much rather have my coffee re-filled without asking than sitting with an empty cup and a fuzzy head for 20 minutes while the server ignores me. Same with water. But I never dine alone, so having the extra food would not bug me either – share! Or doggy-bag it. You’ll be amazed how your perspective will change when/if you ever decide to breed. A fine glass of wine, a strong cup of Stumptown, a cool glass of water at a restaurant will be even better…
kinda snarky…..ya think?
If you are spending $35 (burgers can now top $18 with or without fries+ cocktail) I think the server could say something.
If you haven’t noticed, the standards have slipped, those of us who have been at this a long time get it.
…except about the fries. i’m sure if the server cared he or she could have found a way to inforn you about the “extra” fries without insulting you or your waistline. the water, coffee and wine pouring? come on. just let the server know.
I think that was FD’s point. IF THE SERVER HAD CARED! I too find it irritating and disruptive having the water topped off
Asking if I’ll be having wine for dinner before I have a chance to look at the wine list and menu. Perhaps asking if I’m having a cocktail would be a better start? Clearing the wine glasses out of the way is the objective (if no wine is being served).
Getting a recommendation from you server w/o the gushing answer “this is what I love” verses “this has been a an evening favorite or something to that effect would be appreciated.
I eat out 7-8 times a week with friends and alone. There are some real heads up you ass wait-staff, there are also excellent ones. I’ve learn to ask for a servers station, much like all the other learning experiences in life.
. . .some cheez with that whine?
In the case of the fries and greens, I would have sent back the duplicate.
If the menu didn’t mention it and the waiter didn’t clarify, why should you (the only one in the triangle of information who didn’t know the dish came with the duplicated item) pay for it?
Food Dude says
Here’s more from the NY Times:
1. Do not let anyone enter the restaurant without a warm greeting.
2. Do not make a singleton feel bad. Do not say, “Are you waiting for someone?” Ask for a reservation. Ask if he or she would like to sit at the bar.
3. Never refuse to seat three guests because a fourth has not yet arrived.
4. If a table is not ready within a reasonable length of time, offer a free drink and/or amuse-bouche. The guests may be tired and hungry and thirsty, and they did everything right.
5. Tables should be level without anyone asking. Fix it before guests are seated.
6. Do not lead the witness with, “Bottled water or just tap?” Both are fine. Remain neutral.
7. Do not announce your name. No jokes, no flirting, no cuteness.
8. Do not interrupt a conversation. For any reason. Especially not to recite specials. Wait for the right moment.
9. Do not recite the specials too fast or robotically or dramatically. It is not a soliloquy. This is not an audition.
10. Do not inject your personal favorites when explaining the specials.
11. Do not hustle the lobsters. That is, do not say, “We only have two lobsters left.” Even if there are only two lobsters left.
12. Do not touch the rim of a water glass. Or any other glass.
13. Handle wine glasses by their stems and silverware by the handles.
14. When you ask, “How’s everything?” or “How was the meal?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right.
15. Never say “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.”
17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.
18. Know before approaching a table who has ordered what. Do not ask, “Who’s having the shrimp?”
19. Offer guests butter and/or olive oil with their bread.
20. Never refuse to substitute one vegetable for another.
21. Never serve anything that looks creepy or runny or wrong.
22. If someone is unsure about a wine choice, help him. That might mean sending someone else to the table or offering a taste or two.
23. If someone likes a wine, steam the label off the bottle and give it to the guest with the bill. It has the year, the vintner, the importer, etc.
24. Never use the same glass for a second drink.
25. Make sure the glasses are clean. Inspect them before placing them on the table.
26. Never assume people want their white wine in an ice bucket. Inquire.
27. For red wine, ask if the guests want to pour their own or prefer the waiter to pour.
28. Do not put your hands all over the spout of a wine bottle while removing the cork.
29. Do not pop a champagne cork. Remove it quietly, gracefully. The less noise the better.
30. Never let the wine bottle touch the glass into which you are pouring. No one wants to drink the dust or dirt from the bottle.
31. Never remove a plate full of food without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something went wrong.
32. Never touch a customer. No excuses. Do not do it. Do not brush them, move them, wipe them or dust them.
33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by.
34. Do not have a personal conversation with another server within earshot of customers.
35. Do not eat or drink in plain view of guests.
36. Never reek from perfume or cigarettes. People want to smell the food and beverage.
37. Do not drink alcohol on the job, even if invited by the guests. “Not when I’m on duty” will suffice.
38.Do not call a guy a “dude.”
39. Do not call a woman “lady.”
40. Never say, “Good choice,” implying that other choices are bad.
41. Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm. “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” will do.
42. Do not compliment a guest’s attire or hairdo or makeup. You are insulting someone else.
43. Never mention what your favorite dessert is. It’s irrelevant.
44. Do not discuss your own eating habits, be you vegan or lactose intolerant or diabetic.
45. Do not curse, no matter how young or hip the guests.
46. Never acknowledge any one guest over and above any other. All guests are equal.
47. Do not gossip about co-workers or guests within earshot of guests.
48. Do not ask what someone is eating or drinking when they ask for more; remember or consult the order.
49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.
50. Do not turn on the charm when it’s tip time. Be consistent throughout.
Perfect list. Agree with them all. I’ll add:
51. Never address the table of customers as “You guys”.
52. When a single diner comes through the door, never say “Just one?”
Also, please don’t say “my specials tonight are..”. They are not your specials. They are the chefs.
Mr (Mrs) Bartender,
I find it very disgusting when you dig your hands (washed or not) into the jar/bar caddy of olives for my martini. Maybe do the side work ahead of time to “skewer” your olives, but God forbid, reach your dirty paws into the olive jar in front of me….Even if I ordered a Dirty Martini.
Do not call address a group of older ladies as “hey guys or folks” at one time or another you WILL get called out by one of them, making you look like a complete ass
Food Dude says
I don’t get it. What’s wrong with “folks”?
The Wizard Tim says
I will refer to you as Ma’am, which is an old Latin term for “bitch”.
‘Folks’ is right up there with the undesired topping up of a coffee cup.
A small thing, something that should be of no consequence,
likely meant in a kindly fashion,
but for some people it just sets their teeth on edge.
A waiter, (not to offend anyone, I use the term for all possible genders), will serve perhaps a thousand people in a month.
And utterly piss off several of them unknowingly.
Not everyone agrees on the rules of dining, most people say it is correct to wait until everyone at the table is finished prior to clearing,
but what about that person that has piled the plates and silverware and thrown their napkin on top? You know, the one that glares.
Serve from the guests left, sure, but if two guests are in close conversation and one other inviolate rule is never to interrupt,
what does one do?
The rules of robotics list three, the rules for waiters dozens, and many self contradictory,
the rule for guests?
I am right.
The Wizard Tim says
+1, if being addressed as “folks” is enough to ruin your day, then you’ve had a pretty perfect f#*@ing day in my opinion.
THe one that’s been getting me lately is not being asked how I want my burger or steak cooked. That is never a given. Also, see my post above about dirty servers. Oh, and the final thing: Having to sort my own recycling at a self-service place. I realize that some people like to do that, but sometimes there are about 9 separate tubs that are typically right next to the water dispenser or extra fork station, and I refuse to stand there in someone else’s way and figure out which fucking tub they want me to put my biodegradable fork in, which is separate from the “paper” tub and the “plastic basket” tub and also the “other plastic thingies” tub. I realize it’s meant to encourage people to recycle,but to me it seems awkward and give me my damn tip back, then, if I am doing your job for you.
That’s why at self-service places I gauge the tip accordingly if expected to bus my table.
“How are ‘we’ doing tonight?” What is this? You’re not part of my group. I don’t know how ‘you’ are doing tonight. Maybe it’s colloquial, but it sounds stupid to me. I called someone out it once, ‘I don’t know, how are you doing?’ and she was confused for the rest of the evening.
The Wizard Tim says
Because that put you off sooooo much you couldn’t even be civil to another human being?
For God’s sake people, unless you have a degree in communication, with preferably at least a minor in English, do not even consider serving in this town. I mean, how dare you say such drivel like, “Hi folks”, or ask such a stupid question like, “how are ‘we’ doing tonight”? Your idiocy drives me nuts, and you know what, it makes me MAD. Who do you think you are introducing yourself to me? Why would anyone want to know YOUR name? I could care less. And if you do say something so stupid, I will giggle with glee while you bend over backwards with insecurity as I make you feel bad about yourself for uttering something so ignorant. For I am perfect, and will accept nothing less. It is a privilege to earn close to poverty level income. Do not squander this opportunity with asinine comments. Oh, and while you’re at, forget about the health insurance, your better off spending your exorbitant wages enrolling in a writing class at your local university. You disgust me.
I know some of you guys are kidding, but really? Is this really how my fellow Portlanders are? I am distraught over this thread, to the point of considering never looking at this site again. It’s food people!
well outside of PDXzers obviously hyperbolic and sarcastic
post, every other rant seems serious. By serious, I don’t mean
meaningful, I simply mean that is how they honestly feel. Yes it is
sad. A lot of people need to find a hobby…..I would recommend
cooking at home. That way they can avoid going out and having their
lives utterly and forever ruined by the indignity of having to talk
to some lowlife scum bag waiter who might have touched their
parsley garnish on the way out.
There’s no people like food people,
like no people I know…
everything about us is deceiving…
everything this website will allow…
nowhere do I get a happy feeling,
like when I screaming…
“STOP POSTING NOW!”
Food Dude says
Credit for creativity :)
Happened just last weekend at a breakfast place: Brought my coffee, but no spoon and then asked if I wanted cream. So for more than 5 minutes my coffee got cold while waiting for these things. Really? I was a server for many years. Why, as a server, would you make another trip for yourself, especially if you’re busy? Bring all the necessary things for someone to enjoy coffee. It’s what people want most first thing in the morning. So you poured cream in a pitcher and the customer didn’t want it? The next one will.
steve wino says
Pet peeves are not reasons to be banished to the world of home cooking. I sense some serious overreaction here. Maybe those who say “get a life” should . . . ok, I am going to resist the impulse to say “get a life” . . . oops, I said it.
Is it a pet peeve or a service animal?
Depends, I suppose, on which side of the depends you are on.
Many people, more, I think, than most realize
have difficulty sharing food and drink
with people that are either friend, family, or social obligation.
Blurred lines to begin with,
lines separating oncoming lanes of societal traffic
and the hapless server is the traffic cop
for your table
and for as many as ten others. to hear too many managers and owners tell it.
NEVER do this, that or the other, unless circumstance require,
and not then either.
Do not offer uncle Al, first to arrive of a party of several
‘perhaps something to drink, while you wait for the rest of your party to arrive?’
because, idiot server, uncle Al is a recovering alcoholic, and ‘something’ is an enabling moment
and could not include tea, soda or for that matter, anything under the heading of something
that is appropriate, and dinner is ruined.
No no no, under no circumstance, let someone, say… a guest, know that a particular dish, special or dessert might be limited supply.
That would allow them to decide, at a moment, that they want that thing, and you could run back to the kitchen and reserve said item
for them. That’s pressuring, it’s sales, not service. Just take the order, disappoint later, but don’t do that either…
If the host of a table, graciously, offers you a taste of a wine, that you might not have had the pleasure of tasting, cause, you know,
management doesn’t really open $300 bottles for staff tasting, and said host is being polite, kind and inclusive, refuse.
Same if a guest offers some minor flirtation, kindness, or other expression of humanity, do not respond in kind. You be serverbot,
Would you please stop fucking up our dinner?
Did you actually just pour more wine, water or coffee for captain Spaulding?
Why, he was just getting into a story about an elephant and his pajamas,
but now, the moment is gone.
Bad service, it’s rampant, why, you can’t have a pleasant meal in this town anymore.
Depends, are they a bag of tricks and expectation that you have for a restaurant or server or a bag of crap?
Either way, I’m not touching that.
But, if you want a drink, or something to drink,
maybe some sort of food, not pushing mind you,
I can get that for you. With pleasure.
[Reference alert] Capt. Spaulding aka Groucho: I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.
Rick Hamell says
But… all I wanted was my water to be filled up before it got empty.
I need to counter the alcohol I’m usually consuming too.
To be fair – isn’t it time to start a Customer Peeves to give the service/kitchen staff a chance to air their grievances?
How about a heading simply called ‘peeves’?
Front of house v back of house v management,
People what bring toddlers v sensible people
(ohhh, is that a conflict?)
Waitstaff v that cook that rings the bell like an enraged monkey and screams ‘order up!’ 200 times a night,
especially when you’re standing right there…
Staff that take cigarette/phone breaks v staff actually working
Dishwasher v saute guy that puts glowing pans in the pit w/out calling a heads up
That person at the next table who seems to consider ‘RAID’ a cologne,
and, oddly enough, has a cell phone…
Food Dude says
I’m planning on it, as soon as all the other news dies down a bit.
THIS is food biz
Homer's Son says
I was once dining alone and reading a book while wating for my meal. The waiter sat down next to me and told me how much he enjoyed that book.
Three things that make a great experience for me as a diner:
A genuine smile
Someone who checks in if things are running behind
Someone who doesn’t hit on my dining companion
BZZZZTT! oh, we’re sorry homers son/you guy/dude, wrong answer on several counts…
1st, the game is called peeve, and it involves dining out, people that enjoy that should sit on their hands.
2nd, both you and your waiter exhibited signs of recognizing each others humanity, again, it’s called peeve,
and you (inexplicably) are not peeved…
3rd, what, you actually enjoy going out for food?
BONUS bzzzzttt, You only have three rules for dining out.
Really, if your this bad at the game why don’t you just stay home?
maybe you could read a book….
This may not go over well with some people considering the anti-kid sentiment I’ve seen here before, but a big peeve of mine is when my family is eating at a restaurant that touts itself as being family friendly and the waitstaff brings out the adults’ dishes before the kids’ dishes. It’s a little thing, but by the time our food comes my kids are about to bounce off the walls and it’s all my husband and I can do to keep them from exploding out of our table area. After 15 minutes of whining over when their food is going to come to see us get our food first and then have the waitstaff disappear for another 3-5 minutes before bringing out our kids’ food is almost too much for everyone to bear. This just happened to me this weekend in a party of four adults and four kids, but it happens quite often. You can always tell which servers have kids and which don’t.
I’ll take that question, not only because it involves children,
and wasn’t really a question,
but a very common complaint by diners in general.
WHY, oh WHY, does our waiter not bring us our food?
Short answer, because it isn’t prepared yet.
How can that be?
Well, there are longer answers to that question, and who has time?
But, be assured, unless I’ve missed something in many years of service,
involving children of all ages, staff as well as guests,
your food is not just sitting in some corner somewhere,
waiting for some more caring person than your server to bring it.
Because, when it is ready, and no-one picks it up, kitchen people go ape doo doo
and you can tell the children that…
Never too early to teach kids that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. But first, parents need to learn that lesson!
Jessica Roberts says
Responding to Katrus re: kids at restaurants – hopefully it’s OK to offer a relevant non-peeve in this thread! We took our 1-year-old to Ned Ludd a while back. (We went early on a weeknight to stay out of everybody’s hair…) I was very surprised and impressed when the server, a quite young woman, brought out a little plate for our son right after we ordered of thinly sliced bread and apples, mild cheese, and berries. It was incredibly thoughtful, and was the perfect thing to keep the little guy occupied while we waited for our meal.
FD included my personal pet peeve but no-one else has picked up on it, so permit me to expand on it. Very few things ruin a restaurant meal for me more than placing my order and being told “oh, we’re out of that”. Very, very few places tell you ahead of time that they’re out of something. I guess the rest hope to hide it from anyone who doesn’t happen to order that thing. It usually seems to happen to me on nights when I went to *that* restaurant to order *that* thing, and although it would be disappointing no matter what, it’s far worse to find out at the last minute.
Then, compounding the problem, the server stands there and waits while I make a second choice (and a few times they were out of that, too). Being rushed, I usually end up making a choice I regret after the server leaves and I actually have a chance to think about it.
I guess I’m a picky diner, because I agree with most of the peeves expressed here. In my opinion, those who are making fun and saying we should all lighten up are really suggesting that we just put up with sub-standard service. It’s expensive to eat out in Portland; I don’t mind paying well (and tipping well) for good food and good service, but at these prices anything less than top-notch is not acceptable in my book.