5 Most Annoying Restaurant Pet Peeves
If there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s eating All The Food in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills. It’s one of the best parts of our job not only because the dishes we get to try are often delicious, but also because we get to enjoy visiting the city/town’s best (and sometimes most hidden) restaurants. Dining out is nothing if not a social experience. All that said, not all restos are created equal and while some restaurateurs and servers go over and above, others don’t provide the best dining experience.
So, after months of eating in dozens (probably hundreds, actually) of Halton restaurants, here’s a list of our most prominent pet peeves.
5 - Mopping the floor before closing
Nothing is more enjoyable than eating your favourite dish that you’ve been waiting for all day. The quickest way to ruin the experience? Having that first bite accompanied by the distinct smell of bleach. We get that you want to close up shop, but just wait until the last customer is out before you start mopping the floor! That said, it’s fine to break out the mop if the customer is lingering past closing time. We know you want to go home.
4 - When you walk in during business hours and they immediately tell you when they’re closing
Okay, so this doesn’t happen in the middle of the day, but sometimes life gets in the way of dinner and you end up eating after 9 pm. You rush to the nearest joint that’s open until 10 p.m. on a Monday night and as soon as you walk in, the first thing your server says is, “we close at 10 p.m.” Seriously? Not even a hello? While we understand that servers want to leave on time, this terse reminder simply makes paying customers feel burdensome and unwelcome. Most people can eat in under an hour. Remind people of the closing time at 9:50, not 9:05.
3 - Dirty tables when it’s dead
You know how you know the staff is lazy? When you walk into a place that’s totally dead and you can’t find a place to sit because all the tables are filthy. We once went to a restaurant that could seat more than 100 diners and, even though there were less than 10 patrons eating, we could not find a clean seat. There’s no excuse for this.
2 - Menus that have white out and pen markings on them
Nothing says cheap more than pen marks, whiteout and marker streaks to signify price changes or discontinued items on a menu. This, much like failing to clean tables on a slow night, reeks of extreme laziness. It does not cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to print out an updated page that reflects the menu change. A nice menu goes a long way.
1 - Wait time for food
We know the kitchen gets busy, but excessively long wait-times for simple items speaks of either serious under-staffing or disorganization. Going to a restaurant and waiting an eternity for a dish that the place has probably prepared many times is the worst. We’ve gone to restos where something that should have taken five minutes to cook arrived a full 30 minutes after the order was placed. While this might be expected on a busier night, we’ve had this happen when restos were completely dead.
Lectures on bill-splitting etiquette
This, thankfully, doesn’t happen often, but it shouldn’t happen at all. Not ever. Not once. Once, while dining out a well-known (and very popular) establishment, a server became visibly upset when asked if it would be OK to produce separate bills for a group of about five diners. Instead of saying it wouldn’t be possible, the server launched into a lecture about how it’s unfair to ask for split bills and it’s “a lot of work.” Confronting diners over a common request is never OK. It creates unnecessary awkwardness and tension. No one wants a lecture. If splitting bills or accommodating a request is too inconvenient, simply say it can’t be done and leave it at that.
If the floors are sticky in the front of the house, walk out because the back of the house is worse.
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