2/09/2012 05:04:00 PM

Open Call: Are There "Signs" That You May Be In Bad Restaurant?

Where did that staple gun come from? Image via Flickr/Steve Snodgrass
As any good restaurateur will tell you - details matter. From ice to music to decor, sometimes it's the little things that can make a bad first impression with diners (and others may really annoy them). Some will tell you that an empty restaurant (at peak hours) may say something about the quality of the food. While for many a food snob, paper napkins or the opening line of "hi, I'm ____ and I'll be your server tonight," may signal disaster as well. What are the "red flags" of a bad restaurant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

19 comments :

  1. Here are a few: Waiters are hanging out with their friends and not paying attention to patrons 2) the food is overpriced for the portions and 3) the service is more "you're lucky to be here" than "what can we do for you"

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  2. Plastic table clothes, unless you are at the beach and sitting outside.

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  3. sauce and mayonnaise in plastic packets. Waiters who dont acknowledge you when you walk in- I walk straight back out. Paper napkins are fine by me if the food is good and the service is good. So many businesses do not get that service is part of the dining experience- its one of the reasons why you go out! Its staggering

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  4. Some of the best food I have ever had has been in little places with plastic table clothes. Because someone who loves what he or she does is smiling out from the kitchen. Its all about the food and the service. the rest are just props and red herrings.

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  5. Slimy salt and pepper shakers.

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  6. Artificial plants are dusty, smells sour, takes longer than 5min to get wster or a maitre'd.

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  7. If The handwash soap in toilet is too liquid (they add more water to the soap to save money)

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  8. These are just a few of my red flags: Deteriorating menus full of grease, waiters who seem to be bothered that you need to have more than one glass of water with your meal, an unidentifiable odor (it's happened, I swear), and an eternity passes between courses where you can't even remember what you ordered.

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  9. Inattentive host staff and dirty poor bathroom maintenance.

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  10. Dirty bathrooms (big turn off), no soap, no paper.
    Dirty salt & pepper shakers, ketchup, etc.
    Old, used bread, crackers
    Dirty utensils, table and menus.
    Waitstaff with a runny nose.

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  11. Dirty Bathrooms
    Dusty fixtures in dining area
    No sense of urgency in staff
    Dirty menus
    Dirty windows
    Absent owner

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  12. Time to Serve food (they need to inform us if the order is going to take more time beforehand), dirty bathrooms, sad service staff

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  13. 1) Food menu over 3 pages in length. (does not apply to thai/chinese where most is a combination of a few key ingreds) If it is a long, varied menu, there's a great chance you'll be eating old, reheated, food. It's impossible to keep fresh ingredients on hand and have it stay fresh for a large menu.
    2) A waiter/waitress who is not familiar w/the food. I want a recommendation based on their experience w/customers & their own tastings.

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  14. Even if I'm starving and their is no other restaurant in sight, if I walk in to a place that is basically empty during peak dining hours I'll leave.

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  15. Menus with photos of every dish. Restaurants with waiters or other spruikers out front trying to entice passersby to dine there.

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  16. Bad things that some decent (i.e., good food/OK service) restaurants do:
    1)Removing plates from the table while others at the same table are still eating and asking if you want coffe/dessert -- why rush?
    2)Server never comes back to check in (e.g. food OK? need a drink? water? anything?)
    3) When you can smell the bathroom deodorizer in the dining room, this is happening a lot on Long Island in many pizza/restaurant joints. Must be the same pizza supply house pushing that awful bathroom fruity-smelling deodorizer. A BIG turnoff! Yuck.

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  17. Dining room staff that query, "are you still working on that." If it's "work," shouldn't they be paying me for my travail? Also, if it is "work," I must not be expected to be enjoying what has been served to me.

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