2/28/2012 12:31:00 PM

The 8 Most Annoying Questions Asked in Restaurants

The question "Would you like sparkling, still or filtered tap?" set off a tidal wave of comments in our recent 10 Most Annoying Restaurant Trends post, and also clued us in to some other annoying queries that irk diners as well as servers. Based on your feedback, check out our list of the most annoying questions asked in restaurants. Did we miss your pet peeves? Shout 'em out in the comments.


129 comments :

  1. I must admit, as a server, I'm guilty of a few of these! But one of my biggest pet peeves is when a customer asks, "Is the __________ good? or how's the _________________?" Many times I'll answer with my honest opinion, but if I'm busy and need to get to the next table, I'll tell you it's the best thing on the menu - I don't care what it is!

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    1. What an ass! You do not belong in the service business. Try the dish room.

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    2. Really? Let me know to avoid your restaurant. It's one thing to ask "what's your favorite thing" but I really do appreciate the server's input in narrowing down my final choice. Perhaps I should walk around and ask the other diners, lest I inconvenience you when you're busy? Give me a break!

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    3. I've come to realize that some restaurant owners are in a world of their own when it comes to staffing levels at restaurants, so I understand the original reply, as a server I'm often alone in a 26 table restaurant - maybe not a lot by some standards, but our place is set up such that you can't see your guests when you need to get to the drink/coffee station and the kitchen. So yeah, replier Anonymous #1 & 2 - if you really like the food at the establishment have a little compassion, you don't know the situation behind why there may be slow or ultra "hurry it up please" service.

      Sure, if your server is being a putz and hasn't a clue how to move about to get the job done with what he or she has then I'd say be an ass diner, like you should. But if you observe the server busting their ass with what they go to get everyone served, don't take it out on them.

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    4. I often ask the same question to see if the server really cares. If you work for tips you should try to provide the best service.

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    5. Really? One server in a 26 table dining room? Did anyone in the place get any good service? Most competent restaurant owners would not staff a restaurant like this.

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    6. I cringe when I get that question not because I don't want to help the customer, but because sometimes when I think something is good and I tell the customer that I find it delicious, they try it and hate it and they like to put the blame on me. In fact, there was a pinot noir that I had tried months prior while training and remembered liking, and when the customer asked if it was good I replied that "yes it was good, and it was very light with notes of cherry". The customer got the glass of wine and jumped down my throat because it was "undrinkable" and that I knew nothing about wine. It's possible that the bottle was not as good as the one I tried, or maybe I simply didn't remember because it had been so long since I had tried it... or I have a very different palate. From my experience with other customers, I don't think I am a total idiot.

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  2. Was "upselling" ever on any of the peeves lists? It should be! "Would you like any sides with that?" No! If I did, I would have told you!

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    1. What's wrong with up-selling? If in the end it makes your experience more enjoyable or are you just a cheap ass. A simple "no thanks" is fine.

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    2. Worse is when the question is posed: "Soup or salad?" And you don't find out until you get the check that it was extra! And I'm sorry but another $8-$10 for a salad made up of lettuce, one cherry tomato and 2 croutons is ridiculous.

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  3. Kelly- Great piece, fun and entertaining. A personal pet peeve of mine, when dining alone, is constantly being asked, "Is it just you?" followed by an aggressively dramatical removal of silverware determined to make said diner feel even more alone than when they first walked in. As a result, I am often tempted to answer, "Is it just you?" with "Yes, unfortunately, my wife and kids were killed in a recent car accident," but never have.

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    1. I like to reply to that one with: "What, am I not enough? If not, I can dine somewhere else"

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    2. I like single diners. But not when they sit at a table for four at the beginning of a rush. Hence, the sometimes seemingly aggressive removal of three sets of silverware.

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    3. I so agree with you. I dine out alone frequently and there are variety of ways the host greets you but one of the worst is: "Party of 1?" How can you have a party with one person.

      And if it's a problem seating one person at a 4-top - don't do it! If you do - drop the attitude - if follows you through the entire service and affects you tip.

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    4. As a host at a restaurant, I HAVE to ask if it is "just one"... I try to be as tactful as possible. Sometimes people don't make it clear to me when they enter the restaurant how many they are. I think that there is a possibility that you are taking this a little more personally than you need to. Often I am so busy and perhaps taking silver away briskly is only because I want to be a quick and efficient as possible to get to the line at the door. I do appreciate knowing that perhaps it can be taken the wrong way by a guest, but please understand that there is a reason people are asking you and it is not because they are upset... at least usually.

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  4. Server: "Do you need change?"
    I just put down a twenty to pay for an $8 hamburger. Do I look like the kind of person who tips that way to impress himself?

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    1. The server can't always see the exact amount of money you're giving them at first, especially of you put it in the black book.

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    2. I worked as a server for many years found the more tactful way to approach this issue is "Let me get your change" which should prompt the diner to tell you if it's not necessary.

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    3. This one is one of mine peeves - - I feel it's "asking for a bigger tip".

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    4. I absolutely hate that question. Sometimes I haven't even figured out how much I am going to tip. My favorite is when I have a credit care in there ... no go ahead keep my credit card. It's just pure laziness. Go get the change and bring it back and say Thank You. It really isn't that much extra work. Just how big is the restaurant you work in?

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    5. Simple solution for the server - always bring change without asking. If customer wants to leave a large tip they can make that decision without your help.

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    6. LOL - one of my biggest pet peeves!

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  5. From the server side, the simplest rule to follow is only to ask for permission. "May I take your order?" "Is there anything I can get you?" "May I clear?"

    Deep inside, we go to a restaurant for service, not interrogation. What WE are thinking - "How IS everything?" - is not a server's business. What the server may do for us IS the server's business. "May I get you anything?" will elicit "This dish is cold," if the dish is cold. Whether or not one buys into this bit of psychodrama, sticking to "May I" will avoid all of the bad server questions listed here and will avoid other questions that diners find intrusive - "How ARE we tonight?" - on any level.

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    1. I like this simple rule. It eliminates some of the awkwardness of serving lingo that I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with. But you really can't just walk up to a table in your average restaurant and say "May I take your order" with a smile. I'm afraid some people would think that cold? But then the usual "Hi, how are you?" isn't really preferable, especially when someone catches you off guard and tells you that things are horrible and you suddenly become a table side therapist for a solid fifteen minutes. Perhaps, a cheerful "Hello" followed by "May I take your order?" is the way to go...

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    2. Sort of gets to the point without trying, I'd say. Economy of speech – nothing to misunderstand. Efficient. Perfect.

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    3. "But you really can't just walk up to a table in your average restaurant and say 'May I take your order' with a smile."

      No, but even a diner waitress can say "What can I get yuz?" And, of course, there are some places where people go for a more egalitarian dynamic.

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    4. I usually start with a cheerful introduction: Hello, welcome to "Restaurant Name", my name is ___ and I will be serving you tonight.

      This avoids the awkward, "How are you" business.

      Then I ask: May I get you (all) started on some drinks while you browse the menus?

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  6. When a waiter refills waters and is thanked by the diner, I loathe the answer "It's not a problem" in place of you're welcome. Of COURSE it's not a problem, it's your JOB! Also, I was once asked in a NY restaurant if I was interested in "something in a tap water" - seriously!

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    1. This is also my personal pet peeve. It happens even in very upscale restaurants these days. Every time a waiter says this, I am tempted to ask them what made them feel it was a problem in the first place.

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    2. when I say thank you, and someone says "no problem" or "not a problem" I reply, "well I am sure am glad it is not a problem, I did not think it would be a PROBLEM" in the most sarcastic tone I can conjure up

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    3. I am sure that the servers enjoy you jumping down their throats. These people handle your food. Treat them with some of the respect you are demanding!!

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    4. The 'no problem' is so ingrained in wait'rage that it is probably going to go on forever.

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    5. Unfortunately "no problem" or "not a problem" has become ingrained throughout usa culture.
      I miss "you're welcome".

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    6. It's incorrect and not an appropriate response. So, yes no problem should rub people the wrong way. I can't stand it and have decided to call the server out when I'm given this response.

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    7. I have actually come to detest 'you're welcome'. I associate it with people saying it sarcastically when they did not receive a thank you. I think it makes more sense for a server to say 'no problem' rather than 'you're welcome'. You're not invconvincing them, it's what they came to do. They're saying no need to thank me; it wasn't a problem. i am here to serve you. Those who insist it is incorrect and those commentators who said things like, "Well I'm glad it wasn't a problem since it is your job!" are contemptible.

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  7. Being addressed by waiters as "guys", as in "can I get you guys anything else?" -- except when I'm out for beers and burgers with my buddies, of course.

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    1. This just happened to me and my dining partner last night at an upscale French restaurant in Philadelphia. Really? (He actually committed several of the faux pas on this list). Le sigh...

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    2. I go nuts when a server refers to us as "you guys" as in can I get you guys anything else.

      If they say it more than 3 times I will do two things - first thing is I'll tell him/her my wife is not a guy.

      If they don't get the drift I'll get up and tell the manager to send me a "real waiter".

      I usually will tip based on service so this would qualify for the low end tip.

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    3. The "You guys" thing really gets me! When Im dining at a nice restaurant with my 99 year old grandmother or my handsome husband, this infuriates me. I am tempted to ask "Do I look like a guy to you?" It is disrespectful and a coarseness if language one doesn't appreciate in a fine restaurant, or anywhere else.
      Another pet peeve is the "Are you still working on that?"
      Overheard last week at an fine restaurant in Brooklyn Heights: "I'll do the bass" Not, "I would like bass", "I think I will have the bass". What ever happened to good manners? Not to mention good grammar!

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    4. To be fair, English doesn't really have a formal "you (plural)" term. The fact that "guys" is a male-gendered word doesn't mean the server thinks that women are male so much as that male plurals are more universal, and people would probably get even more irritated if they used the more egalitarian "y'all".

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    5. How is everyone doing seems to work better than guys. I agree not all are guys. Even a table full of men. They are gentlemen. You wouldn't call a table full of women "girls." Folks or everyone when a table has mixed sexes is appropriate. Ladies or gentlemen when the table is gender specific. It may seem fun and casual to say guys, but it's not proper English and the more improper English one practices, the less serious they are taken.

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  8. The questions are almost as annoying as the server or bus-boy clearing platesbefore all of the diners are finished eating. Totally annoying.

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    1. agreed. I put my hand up between the plates and the bus person as they start to clear and say, "why don't we wait until all have finished"

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    2. I agree. This is the most annoyng thing. For table bussers: Wait until everyone finishes the course set before them, before clearing the table!!!!!! It interrupts the ebb and flow of the diners' conversation, and makes the patrons feel as if either the place is short on dinnerware, or as if you can't wait to turn over the table!

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    3. I dislike sitting with a dirty plate in front of me, so I actually WELCOME having someone take it away when I am done with it.

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    4. Waiting until everyone has finished eating before clearing is the norm in fine dining and in European/Asian countries. Nowadays, most people get peeved if they sit with a dirty plate, or worse, start stacking them so high it looks like the leaning Tower of Pisa on the edge of their table. This one is a damned if you do, damned if you don't rule.

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  9. >>> Diner: "Can I have that cooked between medium and medium rare?"

    This does not belong on the list. Even the Capital Grille will do this; they call it medium rare plus. Many reputable steakhouses will cook your steak to 8 degrees of doneness.

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    1. I agree! It seems like medium rare is the new word for very rare, and the only way to get it not raw is to ask for medium rare plus...

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    2. The point about temperatures not being an exact science in most places is a good one imo.

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    3. The 2 most important things about a steak are the cut of meat you start with, and cooking it to the correct temperature. Not an "exact" science? OK, but not rocket science either. There is a science or art to this, and a good experienced chef knows how to do it. They're human of course, and can make mistakes. But they should know how to do it, and cook it to the temperature you request (but don't make up some exotic, overly complicated request either.) After all, if they want to charge $30, $50 or more for the steak -- it better be a good cut, and cooked to the right temperature.

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    4. Agree! You can rarely order a steak medium and have it cooked properly. I absolutely hate to send food back but I was in an upscale restaurant and my steak arrived very rare (I am not going to try to eat something that makes me physically ill to even look at all that blood). I had to send my steak back 3 times! Think they need a new chef.

      The other item you cannot get prepared properly is eggs! Over medium SHOULD BE whites done, yolk soft - I have stopped ordering eggs because I cannot tolerate runny whites. I will only order eggs if scrambled or in an omelet.

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    5. We actually print on our menu the NAMP and ACF guide to doneness and we still get diners insisting theirs is not cooked properly when it clearly is. The solution is to tell the server what you want if you do not want to follow the guidelines; ie: "may I have that pink with no blood". And as far as eggs go simply say whites cooked, yolks soft, take the variable out of the equation. Cooks understand unambiguous instructions (unless they are simply a bad cook), one person's medium is another's well done.

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    6. There is a specific form to cooking steak/meat properly. The range of temperatures are all very specific. A skilled chef cooks them to their proper temperature. It's not a guess. I don't know where you are eating, but medium is not always prepared wrong. Medium is a warm pink center. Most of the time people don't even know what they want. Know what you want the steak to look like. Tell the server. They will relay the message in terms of medium, medium well, etc. Do not order your steak medium rare plus. There are specifics to each degree of doneness. Rare is a cool red center. Medium rare presents a warm red center. Medium will give you a warm pink center. Medium well is a slight pink to brown center. Well done meat will be brown throughout. The word gray should never be used to describe your meat. Gray meat sounds like it expired last week.

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    7. sorry, but you're wrong. when a server tells the chef "med rare plus" its cooked med rare and thats it, further more most chefs would tell you not to do it again. thats why we get a temp, to get it to that specific temp, no a little of this a little of that, maybe a little more or a little less " i like a little pink but no blood, i dont want it mooing but i want red an juicy oh wtf just butterfly the shit out of it ", blah blah blah, if you dont know how you specifically like your steak coooked, you have NO business eating a $50 steak, so get chicken like all the people who have no idea what theyre doing do !

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  10. All four of the server questions are either efforts to sell the patron something beyond what they've ordered or efforts to hustle the patron out of there and make room for the next one. Either one is likely to be a tip reducer as far as I'm concerned. We all know restaurants are a business, but I'm there to relax and enjoy my meal -- I don't want to feel like I'm buying a car or being rushed through the experience. You will maximize your success if the patrons come back and/or recommend you. You will minimize your success if the patrons never return and tell others to avoid your place.

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  11. In addition to "are you still working on that", I have been asked: "Still munching?", "Are you still picking?" and "Are you done chomping?" At my restaurant that's one of the first rules cited during training. You ask, "May I take your plate?" As for servers or hosts hoping to avoid a needless trip back to the table with change, the simple strategy at my place is to say "I'll be right back with your change." Most folks say, "We're all set. The rest is for our server." Mission accomplished in a less presumptuous manner!

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    1. Sounds like you provide a most pleasant dining experience!

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    2. This is a nice way of handling it, but I believe the bigger problem here is that both patrons and waitstaff no longer recognize silent table etiquette. I was always taught that, between mouthfuls, you left the fork (tines down) and knife crossed over each other over the plate, to let the waitstaff know that you were not finished with the dish. When you are finished, the knife and fork should be placed parallel to each other, across the dish, at ether 10:00 or 2:00. This lets the server know that he can remove the plate (provided everyone at the table has finished the course). Sadly, even some of the best restaurants have not taught their staff this incredibly simple solution.

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    3. In the new digital clock age, these fork and knife silent etiquette notes are pretty old hat.

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    4. At the very least diners should practice the utensils parallel to sign they are finished.

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  12. Answer to the water question: "River water's fine with us".

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  13. With the exception of some places I've been in NYC, most American servers have been trained to ask customers about 5 minutes into a meal "How is everything?" While the intention - to remove the need for a diner to actively seek out a waiter if there's a problem - is benign, in reality it just forces most people to interrupt their meal to acknowledge that everything's just fine, thanks. Why not just keep an eye on diners from afar and allow us to call you over if there's a specific problem? I would do that anyway, and coming by to ask how we are is just an annoyance, as though the restaurant is a. just going through the motions, b. fishing for a compliment, or c. is insecure about their food and needs to conduct a survey to make sure it's OK.

    Why wouldn't everything be fine? Is there something you're not telling us?

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    1. I agree that "How is everything" is vague and indirect. I prefer using "Is there anything else I can get you at the moment" and sometimes get simple last minute requests for a beverage, hot sauce, extra side of ______. The servers (well most) don't want to interrupt you any more than you want to be interrupted. The thing is that I don't like to flag down a server in the midst of a meal when they are in the middle of running around the restaurant juggling fifteen different tasks. I was taught that it is rude unless there is a sufficient problem to warrant immediate attention. So when a server asks a benign "How is everything?" I think that they are just trying to remove that possibility and not be penalized for seemingly ignoring the table. Also sometimes people don't realize they need something until they are asked, especially when engrossed in conversations and iPads.

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    2. I reply - "I don't know, I haven't tried everything, I have only tried my dish, and that is the only reference point I have since no one has shared their meal with me yet"

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    3. Defending the server in many situations:

      Many places keep the server on the floor waiting tables, and use runners to deliver the food order to tables.
      Hence a server does come back to make sure everyone got what they ordered. Sometimes a dish can be left in the kitchen.

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    4. It is surprising how many diners will not beckon their server if they need something or there is something wrong with their meal...only to bitch up one side and down the other to the manager or on Yelp! saying that their server 'never checked on them' after the fact. Servers that check back with guests a few minutes into service are doing the right thing. A good server will know if all is well without having to even say anything if they walk closely by the table and the guests are deep into conversation...as long as the server knows that the diners SAW them in case they needed something.

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    5. 'How is everything?' is fine. As a server, I attend to the table within 2-3 minutes of their food being delivered with said question. If I feel I have arrived a bit early, I might follow 'how is everything?' with 'so far so good?' This is easy to respond to with a 'yes' or 'no' and doesn't require the guest to evaluate their experience. The main reason for this visit to the table is to see if anything else is needed to complete their meal.

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  14. All right, I have had it with the fresh pepper question - Would you care for some fresh pepper, which I will dramatically grind over your plate of (salad, soup, fish, meat, pasta, appetizer, main course). I assume that the chef has been trained to properly season my food. I cannot possibly know if the chef accomplished this inherent mission until I've tasted my dish. How many of us have ever before sampled the crazy combinations they are offering anyway, what with reductions, coulees, rare spices, exotic cooking techniques - how could we possibly know in advance if it needs tweaking. Does my steak au poivre need a shot of pepper? I doubt it. Note to restaurant - if my food needs peppering, salting, cooking, please do it in the kitchen - that is what a kitchen is for - a busboy should clear the table, not influence the cuisine.

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    1. Well said! C'mon folks, the day of the overrated peppermill is long over. Just leave the salt and pepper grinders on the table, and the diners will add seasoning themselves,if they've already sampled the fare,and found it not seasoned to their liking. I find the whole pepper grinding "thing" to be an insult to the chef.

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    2.  Offering freshly grated pepper is a professional touch that we appreciate. 
        I love a large grinding of fresh pepper on most salads, especially Caesar Salad, some pasta dishes.
        Many prefer little or none.
        Black pepper is something to be added as a finish at the table, as well as used in cooking. 
        The reason that most restaurants do not have a fresh pepper mill on the table is that they have a way of finding their way into customer's pockets. That is also the reason why they are oversized!

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    3. I guarantee you, you have not had a true Ceasar Salad in many years. Restaurants seem to have forgotten that the anchovies should be mashed into the wooden bowl, and they can no longer use the raw eggs that are an essential fundament of a good CS. Ahh, the days when we could lunch on a big Caesar Salad and Steak Tartare, long gone. Certain foods may call out for a finishing touch at the table, but it is way overdone, unlike a Steak Tartare.

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    4. This is my biggest pet peeve. I always feel like telling the waiter that I don't know if my food needs pepper, as I haven't had time to taste it, yet. I also would like to ask if the chef is too busy to adjust the seasoning. My wife tells me that I would just be rude, so I just decline the offer of fresh pepper, and get on with the meal. My solution would be to have a pepper mill (not shaker) on the table. We have dined extensively in Europe, and never see this affectation over there. Can anyone explain how it became so pervasive in the US? This nonsense smacks of Carrow's.

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  15. Whenever a server asks, "Are you still working on that?" I ALWAYS respond, "I'm not working on it. I'm still enjoying it. If I were working, I'd be getting paid to be here, instead of the other way around." It always kick-starts a conversation and hopefully converts another server to say, instead, "Are you still enjoying that?"

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    1. understood and agreed it is not work, but really, a response like that only means you are an ass.

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    2. No, waiters who say "are you still working on that are asses. I usually say the same thing but am tempted to carry a few power tools in my purse and pull out a n electric drill and start drilling through the plate and say "I'll get er done in a minute bub"

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  16. One that should also be on the list is "I guess you didn't like it" when you've finished and the waiter clears your empty plate. Sorry I didn't leave some for the kitchen cat.

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  17. My biggest annoyance...people that have not been in the Service Industry that comment on the service in Service Industry. Many times, the server is instructed to upsell, use a certain protocol for approaching the table, even how the table should look manicured after every plate is emptied. Often they are being assessed by their managers as to how their service is executed and are rewarded or reprimanded according to that assessment. Sometimes...it is the establishment that dictates how the server acts at the table. While "guys" and "you done with that" are never appropriate, those of us who have had time in the service industry understand it's not always the person you see who is to blame ...and should not be tipped less because you aren't being treated as you'd like. If anyone remembers the movie "the Jerk"...Steve Martin is unhappy with the service he receives at a seemingly upscale restaurant since his PRECEPTION is not equal with what the establishment is offering.

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  18. When a server asks me if I need change it usually costs him or her at least a dollar. If everyone withheld a buck for this question, I predict it would disappear from the restaurant world.

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    1. Yet incredibly effective!

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    2. Do you inform the server that because they asked if you needed change they are loosing a dollar? Otherwise, I don't see how this is effective...

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    3. I am amazed at the arrogant, abusive, ill-informed, and vindictive responses I've read here. I would love all of you to come to my restaurant and experience a wonderful meal, with unobtrusive service, and true hospitality. Unfortunately, I fear for my job, and the jobs of any poor waitstaff/barstaff that has to put up with this bitchy group. Zagat is quickly becoming the new Yelp. A place for small, pretentious people, with little to no hospitality experience. Where they can bitch about any ridiculous thing they want. "He asked if I wanted bottled water?" , "She asked how EVERYTHING was?" , "The server asked if I'd like any sides with my meal?" , "OMG! They asked me if I've ever dined here before?"
      There are reasons these questions are asked. Believe it or not, a lot of people order bottled water. If the server doesn't ask how your meal is at the beginning, they can't fix mistakes, e.g. an under/over cooked steak. The restaurant might be a la carte, or you may have only ordered a starter/appetizer, so you might need some sides. Which brings me to the most ridiculous grievance I've ever heard in my career. Asking if you've dined with us before, or if this is your first time in the restaurant, is a great conversation starter. If you're at TGIFridays and get asked that, it's your fault for going to a chain restaurant. If you're at a real restaurant this might be a way to highlight a house specialty (cocktails, wine flights, house cured meats, anything!), or that it is a family style menu, or a small plate/tapas menu, or they want to create real connections and earn your loyalty and repeat business. Not every server/bartender/busboy/manager/owner is trying to ruin your night. Most of us are hard working, dedicated, and tired. If you'd all stop deducting a dollar here and a dollar there for petty grievances, then maybe we'd stop losing all of our truly talented service staff. I'm raising a glass to hoping that the hospitalty industry becomes a desirable career. Not a stepstone on the way to a job blogging about restaurant top 10 lists....

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    4. Cheers to that my friend! I almost lost my bottom jaw reading some of these posts. In particular the way people are reading into waiters saying "no problem". I mean honestly folks, don't lose any sleep over thinking about your petty half wit responses to a waiter simply responding to your thanks. All I know is that in my restaurant we have gained some of our best and most loyal patrons by way of engaging them in ways that add layers their dining experience: whether it's asking them if it's their first time, sharing interesting back stories to different products we carry, helping with suggestions on various menu options.

      Maybe I missed something with all these annoyances and peeves and then I think to myself, oh wait, I actually work in the service industry and have a firm grasp on what should and shouldn't be considered an annoyance and what is actually a part of the SERVICE and the HOSPITALITY.

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    5.   The problem is one of misunderstanding about what restaurants and the service they privide are about.
        They should be about providing service to the customer. Waiters are there to serve the customer, be as unobtrusive as possible, and follow the traditional manner of service in their type of establishment, 
        I have lived in France for many years, and these problems just never come up.
        Waiters are professionals, not working in a restaurant until their ship comes in. They are trained, correct, professionals. If you come back ten years later, the same waiters will still be at their post. 
        They know their job and their place. They are never overly familiar with customers, even regulars. 
       Whether Café, Bistro, Brasserie, small family run restaurant, or Restaurant Gastronomique, they will never clear one diner's place until all have finished, they will never ask if you are still "working"- that would be intrusive and rude. They will never give you your check until asked to do so, lest the guest feel pressured. 

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    6. Anyone see the recent Saturday Night Live skit "White Peoples Problems"? Seems fitting here...

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    7. Very well said. Servers are trained to do what they do for a reason. If they didn't do all of these things you complain about, you would complain about that too.

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  19. It is rude to remove the dishes and utensils of some guests at the table when others are not finished. It rushes the others, and is not needed, there are plenty of plates and bowls in the kitchen. I now move my arm up to stop the action of the wait staff as they reach for mine, and state: "Let's wait until they are finished" with a nice smile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that! A dish should never be removed until everyone has finished the course, unless one of the patrons at the table requests it to be removed.

      Delete
    2. I worked at Windows on the World on my school vacations and summer breaks. We were trained to remove anything on the table that was not in play. I guess I got used to it, and prefer to have dead soldiers removed. You wouldn't leave an empty glass unattended. Joe Baum and Allen Lewis wanted dirty ash-trays cleared, an empty glass was not tolerated. A messy station - never tolerated. Plates cleared, always. I guess times change. Dirty plates now have their place.

      Delete
  20. My BIGGEST restaurant complaint:

    My wife & I arrive; & for whatever reason, while waiting for a table, we go to the bar & order a drink. Meanwhile, our table is ready.

    Now, the moment of TRUTH!

    Paying for the drink(s). Almost ALL good restaurants will be more than happy to transfer the charge to your new location/table. "I only take my wallet out once". This is so customer friendly!

    Unfortunately, MOST restaurants insist on twice - @ the bar & @ the table - very inconvenient.

    As a result, I still request, the bar bill be transferred, to my table. I follow this up, by suggesting. that if denied - NO BAR TIP! "It's your choice". More often, than not, there is no bar tip.

    I understand that there are a myriad of reasons for this nasty conduct; but keep in mind 2 things:

    1) All good restaurants are, more than happy, to grant this
    request
    2) Its still your money when you walk thru that front door.
    How & when you spend it - is still your choice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you - it is a pain - but, you are punishing the bartender for a policy beyond his control. You would do better to complain to the manager - a more appropriate threat is that you will be taking your business elsewhere in the future if they refuse to change their pain in the neck policy.

      Delete
    2. A few episodes of paying repeatedly I do complain. How about being asked to pay at each shift change in the bar and then again in the dining room. I've begun to leave only a tip with the last use of my credit card while informing the first waitperson of my intentions. Let the staff argue and figure out the tip--it is an inconvience that a paying customer shouldn't have to deal with. Total BS.

      Delete
  21. Recently went to a restaurant where the server asked one member of our party- "Are you still enjoying that?" in lieu of asking if that person was finished. That works as long as the food is good, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You people are too much. Just go out and enjoy yourselves and stop overanalyzing everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thats the problem, underanalyzing and underperforming. if its free i dont care but i dont go to the welfare line. if i am paying i want civilized service. if you dont, close your pie hole. over the last 5000 years, trying to achieve excellence is what has made our civilization. try reading.

      Delete
  23. There are nice restaurants in Las Vegas hotels whose bathrooms are not in the restaurant but in the lobby or downstairs so the question of "do you have a bathroom?" may not be the answer you expect!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Instead of saying "do you need change"? which really ticks me off. why not say "I'll be right back with your change." If the customer doesn't need change, they will say...no, it's all set, thank you. If they say nothing, return with their change. let the customer deside. don't presume.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Instead of saying "that would be no problem" maybe a reply of
    "just doing my job" with a thumbs up would evoke a more positive response...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why can't the server just respond with the appropriate "You're welcome"? Manners and common courtesies are missing in our society now; people simply do not know how to communicate effectively. I hate to pick on the younger generation (and this does not exclude older people) but with the technologies of the iphone, laptop computers, texting, e-mailing and so on ...with all of the misspelled words and bad grammar in order to shorten messages......this reflects in the way people respond and communicate on a daily basis. Schools need to get back to basics. This particular blog contains responses with proper grammar and spelling but I'm sure you have all read what I'm talking about.

      People go out to a restaurant for relaxation, a break or just a good meal that they didn't have to cook. The servers have made an issue because diners have complained about things that upset them. I interpret this to mean the servers are saying: "Come in, sit down order and eat whatever is served to you and don't complain about. And by the way, don't forget the 25% tip that I probably don't deserve but hey, I work here and that's the "industry standard now". When you start realizing your customers are not repeat customers, the restaurant's revenue has dropped, your hours have been cut which means you are not bringing home the amount of tips you used to - maybe then you will realize that customer has the right to have expectations when they dine out and pay high prices for a meal (and it doesn't have to be at an upscale place) - you (the customer) should receive quality service for coming in and paying the exorbitant prices and supplementing the waitstaff salary by tipping. Yes, there should be standards but based on reading this the way customers are approached is rude. People who dine out are not only paying for the food they order, they are also paying for the service they receive and if that service has not met their expectations it is the servers responsibility. Serving food to your customer that is not prepared the way it was ordered should not be delivered - the chef or whoever cooked should fix it before it is served! To serve a plate that you know is wrong but the responsibility on the diner; it will immediately infuriate the diner and it will affect your tip most likely. No - you didn't prepare it but it was your responsibility to communicate the diner's request clearly & you should stand up the chef, the expediter or whoever so that the meal is correct when it gets served.

      Delete
  26. love when a waiter asks if i want fresh pepper (instead of ground
    pepper) didn't know i had a choice so i'll have the stale pepper

    e

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All ground pepper is stale. A fresh pepper would mush if ground.

      Delete
    2. I like to look them in the eye and ask if the salt is fresh. When they look confused, I tell them it looks as if it could be several million years old. (Which it could be, depending on the source.)

      I've also ordered a steak cooked "extra medium."

      Delete
  27. Shad row is endangered, thats hilarioius

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yes indeed, diners have some nerve. Imagine asking a waiter questions about the food. What would make them think the waiters knew what was good on a menu. The wait staff shouldn't be expected to be familiar with the dishes or have an opinion, should they? How bizarre to ask them what's good on the menu. It makes no sense at all, clearly. Stupid diners.

    And it's also totally unreasonable to ask for a specific degree of doneness on a steak or burger. After all, it's just fire and animal flesh. Humans have been randomly cooking flesh for centuries without knowing if it was raw or burned. There really isn't any system for measuring the temperature of things is there? And the idea that the passage of time could be measured is also ridiculous, meaning that no restaurant should be expected to be any good at cooking meat with any consistency. Their job is really just to bring the animal flesh and fire together...you can't really expect them to have any idea how to get the same color more than once in a row. Stupid diners.

    It's lucky Zagat has alerted eaters to how unreasonable they're being with items 2 and 4.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Two pet peeves not mentioned:

    1. Servers hovering over the mineral water and topping off after diners have has only a sip or two. Involuntary edema -- bad form.

    2."Vinegarette for vinaigrette. I picture vinegar bottles with happy faces twirling miniature batons at the county fair, or numbered bottles competing for dates on 60s television. "Will vinegarette #2 please come forward..." Vinaigrette, how hard is that? Croissant -- no t how hard is that, no need to overdo the exact French semivowel/semiconsonant, just leave off the t, it's not there. Please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the T IS there its in merlot to and Cabernet so If I'm given a T I'm going to use it. Why do they put in a T when they have no intention of using it? Do you draw your weapon with out planning to use it? Would you draw a blade and not draw blood before you put it away? Of course not. French, What a screwed up language, not like English where everything makes sense.

      Delete
    2. Rough
      Colonel
      Dumb

      Those are all english words, so please feel free to start pronouncing all the letters in those too.

      Delete
  30. Diner: waiters that wear plaid caps, suspenders and carry pocketwatches, I mean come on,what's next? A zoot suit? A tank top with tattoed arms? Where does it end?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I actually dined in a restaurant in Boston that did not have a bathroom and was told to go across the street to use the one in the pastry shop

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think all of you cheapskates should stop asking if you get something free because it's your birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow. People actually have enough time in their day to worry about all these things on the list? And asking about a free birthday drink isn't out of line. Many establishments do it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. how about this from servers: "how is everything"; "can i get that out of the way for you"; "can i get you started on an appetizer", "do you know what you would like", asked 30 seconds after being seated; "no problem". customer service is abysmal in the usa. all servers should apprentice in top restaurants in large u.s. cities or be sent to france for a year. i get better service a my gun show than in most restaurants. i would just as soon stay home and save my money until i can go someplace classy. the paying customer can ask whatever he or she wants.

    ReplyDelete
  35. kneeling waiter ...

    'if it was me, I'd have' ...

    'how vegetarian are you' ...

    'totally vegetarian? ... I can do chicken, fish.'

    'make that two Bombays family sized'

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wow what a bunch of whiny bi**hs. Some of these somewhat annoy me. However I don't care about grammar. Just that I'm treated respectfully. If I don't want dessert I just say "No thank you". The water thing annoys me slightly because generally I don;t drink it anyways. However I just ask for tap and go on to order a martini and a bottle of wine. I think that people on both sides of the table are way to sensitive here. Get over yourselves....

    ReplyDelete
  37. I like Oreo pie. So don't make it sound lame.

    ReplyDelete
  38. ‎"Are you still working on that?" and "Did you save room for dessert?" are two peeves of mine, as my wife knows. Both suggest to me that the diner eats like a pig. However, I often ask servers what they like on their menu, especially in "foodie" restaurants where there are a lot of good choices. If one of them is their chef's must try "signature dish" -- I'd like to know that.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Asking for free things or saying that you "know the manager" so do I d*ckhead, I work here.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Missing from the list is "Professional Complainer Diners." I cannot stand to be seated near a table of professional complainers always speaking loud enough so everyone in the area can hear.. berating the servers on all manner of little problems they have perceived in their own little minds so they can perceive themselves as "special" becuase they know so much!

    I have 34 years professional Chef experience as of 5 years ago, I get up and go the the table of annoying morons and have a chat. "Hate to interrupt your dinner, but are you aware you are speaking loud enough that we are being interrupted but the constant diatribe of crap coming from this table?" "I thought you might want to know as it seems you are not aware how loudly you are speaking about petty things."

    In Denver at a LODO spot I actually had four tables start clapping after the speach..... of course the complainers vacated immediately.

    I won't let you get away with it, I know food and will call you on it if you plan on being a loud asssshat sorrily in need of being told to get off your horse.

    ReplyDelete
  41. First world problems anyone? People are always talking abut service etiquette but what I think people need to focus on is customer etiquette. I can not tell you how many times I have eaten out and seen someone treat the wait staff absolutely horrible.

    ReplyDelete
  42. How bout..."No, we don't have a reservation, but you don't look busy." Oh yeah? Its 5pm on a Saturday...

    ReplyDelete
  43. I can't believe the pretentiousness apparent on this thread. Have a little mercy. If your Sauvignon Blanc comes a whole three minutes after it's supposed to, just breathe . . . people have it far worse than you in other parts of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love reading threads like this when everybody gets all whooped up.

    ReplyDelete