If, like me, you’re both food obsessed and incompetent at stocking the fridge, it’s probably fair to assume that you eat out quite frequently. But what are some of your biggest pet peeves when dining out?
Working on The Good Food Guide, more often than not the culinary establishments I stumble upon are of spectacular quality.
Yet, there are always things that can let restaurants down, and I’m not talking about the food itself, which brings me to my five foodie pet hates.
1. Service too speedy
We’ve all been there; hovering waiters asking for your order before you’ve even shed your coat, and collecting plates before everyone’s finished. A waiter even, on one of my meals out, started cleaning the table with a strong detergent spray before the bill had been paid.
Not only do over-eager staff it give the distinct impression that they want the customer in and out as quickly as possible, it makes for an impossibly stilted dinner conversation.
2. Double the tip
I’ll happily pay the service charge for a pleasant dining experience, but to be asked to pay an additional tip is a step too far, and all because the automatic service charge often doesn’t benefit the staff. It’s not simply annoying, it’s unfair on both parties.
3. Neglected toilets
Plush seats, romantic lighting, shiny silverware and… draughty, unloved toilets. The ladies and gents are a reflection of a restaurant’s standard and customers are very rarely able to judge them before committing, yet even in swanky eateries they can fall far below the mark.
4. Extra charges
A tantalising bowl of crusty baguette is hard for most of us to resist and I certainly dive in with enthusiasm. Alas, I never learn – diners are often confronted by an additional charge for bread, bottled water and other apparently complimentary sundries. Fair enough, but surely it should be made clear before hungry customers make a beeline for the bread bowl?
5. Pest problems
Like my colleague Jess Moreton, I have been in the unfortunate position of spotting a mouse while dining. Unwilling to cause a fuss, I simply took a deep breath and looked away. However, food hygiene is a problem for diners and proprietors alike. It’s of mutual benefit to raise the issue, ensuring that the establishment is aware of a problem, and able to compensate the customer appropriately.
What can you do?
There’s no change without making a stand, so if you’re unhappy with service or any other aspect of your dining experience, speak to the manager. If you’re a regular restaurant-goer, it’s definitely worth knowing your restaurant rights.
Or you can try and pick good restaurants from the get go by researching beforehand. At The Good Food Guide, we welcome feedback for all restaurants, good and poor, in order to inform subsequent editions of the Guide, which you can now use on the go with our eBook. So, what feeds your frustration when you’re dining out?