6/05/2012 03:00:00 PM

The 10 Most Controversial Restaurant Policies: The Final Word

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While there are literally thousands of dining-related issues to debate, two of our editors have definitely covered some of the most controversial ones over the last year or so - including group check-splitting, getting stuff for free when the restaurant screws up or charging no-show diners. Now it's time to take a look back at some of our most heated debates and incorporate some astute comments made by you, our insightful and opinionated users! Which dining topics get you all riled up? Click through the slideshow below to see the opinions of our two blog editors plus a Zagat commenter, then shout out your final word on each controversy in the comments.

56 comments :

  1. Totally agree with James about splitting the bill - if you are all together out for the same meals - especially if you are sharing plates!! - everyone splits the bill. It drives me crazy when people think they should put in $2 less because their entree was 19 and yours was 21. cheap cheap cheap.

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    1. I don't think its really about the $2 entree difference, my main problem is my wife and I may have a couple of lemonades while my friends may have wine and beer, which not only makes the bill go up, but also tax and tip, why should I pay for their alcohol??

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    2. That's one of the prices we pay for dining with friends. I'm not a drinker either and have often paid far more than my share. Regardless, everything balances out over time, so I don't worry about it. It makes it tough on your server when you want your meal itemized separately.

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    3. I agree. There's nothing less classy that saying, your dish cost more than mine. Or whipping out that trusty calculator to figure our your cost of the meal. Here's a suggestion, why not drink and eat as much as everyone else? I actually go out of my way to eat and drink more than everyone else so I would get the better bargain ;) The couple that complained they only had lemonades are basically dummies and deserve to be punished by paying an equal share if not more. But I always try to be classy by offering to pay more if I order more. However, I cannot deny that afterwards, I would always hope somebody would stop me from doing it. I then do my oscar-winning performance of insisting only to give in and split the bill equally...whew, that was a close one!

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    4. totally see where you are coming from philestate, but I agree with #2 - when you are dining with friends, that is just what happens and it makes everything at the end easier and not stressful when you can divide evenly. Additionally, I've had the personal experience of those friends who have ordered less alcohol, appetizers, etc., put in even less than they owe because they feel they're being "gypped" and then you're stuck with less than the bill. needless to say, I don't eat out with those folks anymore.

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    5. I've gone back and forth on this one a lot. I think it's nice when people have eaten (or at least ordered) roughly the same amount to just divide evenly. My boyfriend is always talking about how this is the best way to do it and how "with his French friends there's no question about splitting evenly". But he also happens to be a big eater with very little grasp on money who frequently orders the most expensive dishes plus appetizers plus drinks. So when we're with a group where some people order much less I always try to make sure that they can pay proportionally less.
      That said, I agree with light eaters (or anyone, really) needing to accept that you will likely have to pay more to dine with friends. I have also noticed that these people tend to underestimate their cost. You can absolutely try to approximate what you owe, but then make sure to add a few bucks on. I (and often the big-orderers in my group) frequently put down much than my portion to avoid having to pull money from the penny-pinchers. You may have only had a $10 dish and $6 drink, but putting down $17 "with tax and tip" is not enough...

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    6. #3 demonstrates a great lack of class in trying to eat and drink more than everyone else so she/he does not feel gypped! As a recovering alcoholic, I never order drinks and usually drink water. I am very, very appreciative when my friends don't expect me to pay for their bottles of wine and drinks. (Maybe more so as I am on a limited budget and would not be able to dine out much if they did). If I am dining with people who expect me to pay for their drinks, I don't dine with them again. This issue is best handled based on the circumstances and is a great way to know what kind of "friends" you have. As for being a pain for servers, most POS systems allow servers to divide check either equally or based on what each diner orders quite easily, the pain comes when the table does not bother to mention splitting the check until after the meal is over.

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    7. Some smaller restaurants in my neighborhood have started asking members of our large group to come to the cashier and pay separately. This honor system seems to have worked in polite Seattle at least. I'm honestly grateful when servers and managers put up with the multi-card split, but the most polite approach, in my opinion is for us to pay one bill to the restaurant/server, settle it among ourselves, preferably in equal shares.

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    8. A nice middle ground when alcohol is involved is to split the food anong the diners and split the bar tab among the drinkers. Not perfect, but getting there.

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    9. First of all, the server should ask how to split the bill. That takes care of the whole problem

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  2. Two main paths to follow: first, if everybody has the same array of first, second, dessert courses and has something to drink, then share equally, even the calorie counters and the foie-gras eaters. Second, if someone does not drink the more-rather-than-less expensive wine or skips the main course that the others have, then some rough depreciation is in order. Use calculators if you must but it's probably more the idea of fairness that will satisfy people than the exact amount.

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  3. Number 4. If, when you make the reservation and are told up-front that there will be a no-show charge. Fine. If Kelly's friend was unaware of the charge, why on Earth would she have given her credit card number to the restaurant in advance?

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  4. People should absolutely be charged for blowing off a reservation! A restaurant can't sell space twice, and if the customer does not have the common courtesy to call it is akin to stealing from the restaurant so charging is fair. Why did the customer think they had to give their cc in the first place?

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    1. if its a good restaurant someone will be at the door begging to get in - the cancelled reservation would not have to be "Sold Twice" I'll bet any of the reservations would gladly be claimed by someone either calling late or walking up to the door

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    2. Depends on how long a restaurant holds your table for. If they hold a table for half hour or more then lose of revenue (for restaurant and employees) does become an issue. Regardless, not cancelling is rude behavior and if you don't like the consequences don't do it!

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    3. In a perfect world, restaurants would not charge for missed reservations, and customers would always cancel if their plans change. Given the few imperfections that remain on the planet, I still think restaurants should not charge, but would put a curse on insensitive patrons rude enough not to cancel. As for being late, the rule to follow is as follows: If you will be more than 10 minutes late, call to ask if the restaurant will hold your reservation. If you are on time and not seated within 30 minutes, even if there's room at the bar, leave after complaining to the host/hostess, and that person might give you a gift certificate for a later date.

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    4. I think that if you owned a very busy restaurant, as I do, you would understand. I have a casual upscale restaurant (80 seats)where the turn time is 1 hour (for a small group) to 1-1/2 hours for a larger group). We used to take reservations for 6 or more. We stopped taking them on the weekends for several reasons:
      1. People would lie and say they were 6 and show up with 3, 4 or 5 people! This is a different table in our restaurant!
      2. One night we held many tables for 45 minutes to accommodate the large group reservations, and every group either showed up as 4 people or didn't show!
      3. MANY times they didn't show up or call to let us know they weren't coming, especially holidays!
      4. A few people from the group would show up, sit down and wait up to an hour for their friends. This pushed back the next group scheduled for that table.
      5. We lost a lot of money holding tables, and when they had a reservation, they thought the table was theirs for the night. Turn time went to 3 hours or more for these tables!
      Since we stopped the reservations on the weekends our revenue is way up, turn time is excellent and our weekends run much smoother. So, YES if I were to take large group reservations again and they don't even have the courtesy to call, I would definitely take a non refundable per person credit card deposit. In our case, we turn down other groups in order to accommodate them! Why should we be expected to lose money in this economy!!!!???

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  5. If the restaurant is up front about the charge for not showing up, it is appropriate. I could visualize exception like accidents or medical emergencies but if you understood that there would be a fee charged if you failed to show you cannot complain later.

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  6. I totally agree that a restaurant can charge a set price for no shows. This in no way would likely cover the amount of profit they might make, but it serves as a deterrent for folks to make multiple reservations and then only honor the one they feel like that night. There is a lot of risk for many restaurants to order or prep food, set aside tables, that they may not recoup if a party doesn't show. If you can call within a reasonable amount of time, the restaurant can always make an exception, but you should not count on it

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  7. I have been in restaurants where the manager politly asked a table that was clearly drunk, loud and somewhat offensive to please tone it down for the comfort of other customers. At least once, it escalated to the point where the diners were asked to leave (to make the point from an earlier question-- yes! it can be appropriate). As a diner sitting nearby, I really appreciated their intervention and the ability to enjoy my meal in a comfortable environment.

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  8. I agree with using calculaters when splitting the bill but make sure you do this as you order or at least before the check comes. It's annoying to wait while everyone scrambles to tally their bill. Also tip at least the standard in your area. I don't know how many times the company I kept would order $50 worth of food and tip $5. And if all else fails.... Find classier friends.

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  9. I do sympathize with restaurants that have customers that often overstay their 'expected' time. However, I also believe it is the job of the restaurant manager to understand what is a reasonable time (based on previous guests behavior) for tables to sit following a meal. That being, said if they consistently misjudge this and you have to wait more than 15-20 minutes for your table, I do believe they should comp you a drink or an appetizer. The good restaurants always seem to recognize this and act accordingly

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    1. Several times when making last minute reservations, I've been told they would need our table by "X time" and would we be willing to relinquish it by then. That gave me the chance to say yes or the option to find another restaurant. This allowed the party with their reservation at "X time" to be seated promptly. Another time when our group was having a particularly chatty and fun dining experience and was taking an unusually long time lingering over coffee, etc.,the manager came over and apologized for interrupting our fun but then explained some people were waiting for the table and if we'd be willing to move to the bar, he'd be happy to provide us with a round of after dinner drinks so we could continue our fun. He was so gracious about it that we were happy to pick up and move locations. It makes such a difference in how it's handled...

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    2. To put this in perspective, when were in Korea and part of a large party with a long lead on reservations, we were seated at a specific time, but were also asked to leave after a certain amount of post prandial festivities (toasting, presents, etc.) were completed. This was clear to our hosts, and I think restaurants need only make things clear, even if guests aren't privy to everything. Another party was in fact waiting.

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  10. There should be a separate comments section for each of these!!!

    #1, I'm basically with James -- ideally, the restaurant should offer them free -- it was their mistake; however, if they arrive in a reasonable period of time, that's fine. HOWEVER, if it's been long enough that the table has eaten halfway through their entrees, that's TOO LONG! In this particular case, the restaurant should not have charged.

    #2, I agree with James and the Commentator (Mike P.) -- if something is not right or as reasonably expected from a description, it should be rejected.

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    1. If you no longer want the item, decline it. I would not eat it and then expect the item's cost to be removed from the bill. After all, if I ate the food, it must not have been that late or that bad. I'm not out to punish the restaurant for a mistake!

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    2. I worked in the food industry when young, and my father was a cook. I don't like to send things back. If it's inedible, don't eat it and don't return. It's the price to pay for adventure. If the server/cook notices you aren't eating it, and wants feedback and engages in amelioration, sometimes good things come out of it. Same goes with things being late.

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  11. #3, with the particular situation as described, it would depend on WHY they sent it back twice -- some people are too picky or fickle. My husband was once in a bad mood when he went into a restaurant and changed his mind three times about what he was ordering. I perfectly understood when the chef came out totally frustrated and confronted him. The one instance I know of where a restaurant told a customer not to return was a Japanese one where the customer would argue politics to other customers at the sushi bar. I thought it entirely appropriate to ask him not to return (and, no, the person didn't argue with me -- I just heard about it).

    #4, I'm with both Kelly and James -- I understand, but it's over the line, UNLESS the restaurant is up front about the charge when the reservation is made. Although I'm in total sympathy with the restaurant, they know that there will always be some no-shows, so should have contingency plans.

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  12. #5, I'm with Kelly on this one. If you say you don't want anything else, then there's nothing to be added to the bill, so why shouldn't they just politely bring it??? I've had that happen and felt no pressure to actually pay and leave -- unless the place is busy and there's a line. If there's no line, then any pressure you feel is totally your own. At times, I've been stuck wanting to pay and leave, but can't find the server so as to request the bill. I'd RATHER they just politely leave it (perhaps with a "there's no rush" comment).

    #6, I'm between James and Commentator (Marie Parsons). If you knew it was noisy when you were seated, then you should just tolerate it UNLESS it gets significantly worse later. If it does OR the noisy party is seated after you, then the restaurant SHOULD step in IF it's very bad.

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    1. All new restaurants are noisy; some are just noisier than others, and almost all are bad enough to annoy an oyster. I dine out often, and enjoy trying new restaurants, but now have a list of at least a dozen Seattle dining venues that I will never try again. Apparently young people don't like to talk, or the restaurant owners want to create a deafening scene, or the architects think it's cool to emphasize cavernous ceilings and hard-surface floors.

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  13. #7, I lean toward the Commentator (Anonymous), although I don't agree totally with anyone here. The restaurant should NOT wait until everyone is done -- that's ridiculous! Sometimes someone takes significantly longer than the rest to finish -- does everyone have to sit with dirty plates, etc. while they're waiting???? I HATE that! The restaurant SHOULD clear as the diners finish -- and continue to clear until all are done. I can't tell you how many times I've been out to dinner with my husband, he finishes before me, the waitress (usually) clears his plate, I finish, and my plate isn't cleared until after we pay and leave. The last time it happened, the restaurant had only one other table of customers that happened to be next to us and the waitress walked past me three times with her hands empty after delivering something to the other table and never even gave me a glance! This is usually lower end restaurants (diners, etc.), so I don't know if it's the type of restaurant or a form of sexism (because males usually pay the bill, so their tip isn't affected)! It IS polite to ask and NO ONE should be offended at being asked, although I do agree that sometimes this could be phrased better (I HATE the phrase "Are you working on that?" -- one of these days, I'm going to reply "I would hope that it's not work to eat at your restaurant!")

    #8, I'm with the Commentator (emwhitbeck). This is somewhat a gender issue -- males almost always divide checks equally, while women tend to divvy them up based on who orders what. I think that if a person cares, they should discuss it ahead of time.

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    1. I disagree. The reason that the server should wait until everyone is finished before clearing is that not doing so makes the last person eating obvious and self-conscious. It's as though everyone is saying "what's taking you so long?" Rules of etiquette are almost always rooted in consideration of others.

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    2. So it's ok to NOT clear so a slow eater doesn't feel self conscious, the other guests get NO consideration.Ridiculous.

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    3. I prefer to eat in places where plate clearing is polite and unobtrusive. If it's clumsy, requires asking, or (worst of all) they are taking it before you are done, the food has to be extraordinary for me to return. In a large party, plate clearing service can be chaotic with people eating different things; so the advice of mbh, appropriate in most circumstances, might not require strict observance. I agree, however, that consideration is the root, and sexism inappropriate.

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  14. #9, I do NOT understand what the hassle is with confirming! There was some understanding of no-shows with #4, why not here? Many restaurants have no-shows because some people can't be bothered to call to cancel if their plans change -- including my husband. It is only courteous to call to cancel if you know your plans changed and I totally understand restaurants calling to confirm -- doctor's offices never used to do it, either, but now they almost all do.

    #10, none of the responses really addressed the issue. It IS hard for restaurants to judge what customers do, although a certain amount can be guessed and/or estimated. I would suggest 15-30 minutes as reasonable -- if a restaurant cannot seat you within that period of time then it is totally their fault for misjudging the situation, making some kind of mistake in calculating, or being totally inconsiderate.

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  15. I guess people don't understand good service or don't go to better restaurants. The point of not clearing until the table is finished is so the slower eater doesn't feel rushed or uncomfortable that they're eating slower than their companions.
    I've eaten in (and worked in) restaurants where the manager would ask guests to have dessert (comped) at the bar to help open up table. If that didn't work, then free drinks should definitely be offered if your table isn't ready in 15 minutes.
    Agree with whoever else commented about the credit card being charged for a no-show. If you've given the restaurant your CC# then you must have agreed to the charge in advance. Most high end restaurants in LA can't fill the table for a no-show because they won't let the valet park your car if you don't have a res.

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    1. I am one of the world's slowest eaters, as I like to savor every bite. Also, I go out to dinner to enjoy an evening with friends and don't want to be rushed through the meal. If a waiter starts putting on pressure to hurry (which includes removing the plates of others who have finished), then I simply close down, stop eating, and take the remains home. The best way to avoid being hurried along is to dine late - say, 8 p.m. or later. That way, there won't usually be another party waiting for your table.

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  16. I've only read through four of the ten so far and I can already feel my blood pressure rising. The burning question in my mind is "Why in the world did Zagat hire Kelly Dobkin to be a blog editor?" Gracious, our three kids aged 18-23 know more about dining out than she does. I'm afraid to read more of her nonsense ...

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  17. Okay, having now read through all ten, I'd like to amend my previous comment. Kelly and James take turns being clueless. I'm guessing they are each playing devil's advocate in order to get the conversation started.

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  18. In the "better" restaurants the table is cleared when everyone has finished, period. If you're one of those who clears as each person is done then your not in the "better" restaurant category. Having dined in Michelin 1,2 & 3 star restaurants in many parts of the globe I can state unequivocally that's how it's done. Why you ask? Because clearing disrupts the table and puts pressure on those who are still eating. That's not the way to dine.

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  19. Re what to do about people being loud and obnoxious: If it's a bar, where drinking is primary, then it should be "buyer beware." But if it's a restaurant, where the food is primary, then diners have a right to expect to be able to enjoy the food in a civil environment and it should be the restaurant's obligation to monitor behavior and, if necessary, throw out the bums.

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  20. Re restaurant's obligation to stick to the reservation times: I know it's hard for restaurants to plan, but if you can't stick to reservation times then you shouldn't offer reservations. A reservation is essentially a contract between you and the restaurant; you promise to show up within 15 minutes of your reservation time or the restaurant can give up your table and (increasingly) even charge you for it; this should be balanced by requiring them to compensate you if they aren't able to seat you within 15 minutes of your reservation time. I am sick and tired of trendy restaurants that seem to automatically plan not to seat you until an hour after your reservation time in order to force you to spend more money at the bar.

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  21. As an owner if the something happens that makes you feel uncomfortable then you have to train your managers to react. If you become jaded and let everything become " no big deal" then the customers will eventually figure you out. The have a choice and everyday you have make them either a FAN. FANs tell others your great and a small jesture goes a long way.

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  22. Clearing a plate before the entire table is finished with their meals is rude!!! It is done to encourage those who are not done to hurry up and finish. When a server tries to clear a plate before the entire table is finished eating I tell them no to do so. I'm not dining in a good restaurant with a goal of turning over my table on the restaurant's schedule. A fine dining establishment is not Denny's, so the waitstaff shouldn't make it so!!!

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  23. Okay, here's my offer: I'll make reservations, confirm by phone, and be there or be charged a fee. In return, the restaurant WILL have my table ready within 5 minutes of my reservation, or will offer my a round of drinks and sincere apologies. Fair enough?

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    1. this is the other side of the earlier question about whether they should hustle a table out because "they're time is up". Either you're willing to be hustled out, in which case you have a right to expect your reservation time to be honored, or you want to leave when you're ready, in which case you have to accept waiting for you table. Each restaurant should have a policy for both, and make it known!

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  24. #5--the check. We often have the opposite problem--we are ready to pay and the waiter is nowhere to be found! We're sitting there contemplating leaving without paying because we've been searching for the waiter so we can pay and get out.

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  25. Dropping the check is different at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I find it very frustrating to be out to breakfast or lunch and have to chase the server for your check. Drop it after the 3 minute check at breakfast, and after dessert is declined at lunch. Especially in a business area. The server needs to be very adept at reading a table at dinner, but after dessert is served and diners have indicated they want nothing more the check should be dropped so that the customer has the option to pay and leave or stay.

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  26. In response to #1, I own a restaurant and do not take food back if it's not "what someone expected". Ask first, the server & chef both know what it is. If you have an idea in your head as to what it should be, ASK to confirm that you're both on the same page. Also if there's something that you particularly do not care for, ASK if it's an ingredient. Don't assume it's not in there because YOU don't like it. Examples: If you don't care for onions in your salad ask first as they are a common ingredient. They could have been omitted. Don't order food that is clearly described as spicy then tell your server you don't like spicy food. Just because nationwide chains "comp" everything for any reason does not make this acceptable. I was in a chain restaurant where a dinner sat down, dined, cleaned his plate, then wanted it for free. Why, he said the booth was damp when he sat down. That however caused him NO problem while he sat there for more then 45 min. He had the audacity to get rude w/ the server who then called for a manager. The person just clearly wanted a free meal. The manager politely refused, instead offering to pay for the dry cleaning of his slacks. The customer refused his offer. Had the pants been the REAL issue, this was more then an acceptable solution!
    It is wrong of customers to come in and expect a chef to create a dish of their design. Eat at an establishment that prepares the kind of food you seek. If you want to be the chef, do just that,stay home & cook!

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    1. When I said "what... was expected", I meant by reading the description of the item on the menu. I still remember ordering an egg roll-type of appetizer in an upscale non-Chinese restaurant. Based on the description of the item, there was nothing about it or in it that I didn't like. HOWEVER, there was balsamic vinegar drizzled ALL over it when it arrived -- and that was NOT in the description. There was no vinegar at all in the description, nor would one have expected it based on the description or the general expectations associated with egg rolls. I HATE balsamic vinegar and had to send it back. I don't LIKE doing that, but what else could I have done??? I couldn't eat it.

      Another example: I ordered an item described as moussaka in a non-Greek restaurant. Again, based on the description on the menu, the dish was fine. Also, I've ordered moussaka in several Greek restaurants and loved it. However, this dish was totally unlike any other moussaka I've ever had and you would never have known it from the description! I managed to eat most of it, but complained to the server that if it was unlike true Greek moussaka, they ought to SAY so on the menu.

      Last example: I ordered (in the same restaurant as example #2) a pasta dish with shrimp, mushrooms, and artichokes in a scampi sauce. Green peppers were also listed as an ingredient, so I asked for it without, because I hate peppers. I could barely eat the dish because it was so spicy! There was nothing other than what I've described in the description: pasta, shrimp, mushrooms, artichokes, green peppers, scampi sauce. I asked for it without the peppers -- so what was spicy???? I again complained to the server, saying that it was spicy and I couldn't imagine what was spicy without the peppers. He looked puzzled, and agreed that there oughtn't to be anything else. I tried one item at a time by itself, and the only thing I could figure out is that somehow the artichokes were spicy! The pasta, shrimp, mushrooms, and sauce were fine after I picked out the artichokes. How could one have expected this?????

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    2. "Not what you expected" is a very relative thing. I agree with person above, a lot of restaurants give very poor descriptions of their items....in those establishments it can be very frustrating. Even if you are not looking for a refund, and just want to order another item for your meal it ruins the meal.

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  27. -A restaurant can charge for a missed reservation; however, they MUST give you a gift certificate for the amount charged.
    -If you go to a restaurant as a group, either ask for separate checks or pay as a group, regardless of who ate what or how much.
    -If a group or individual is noticably excessivley loud, abnoxious, or ligitimately disturbing other guests and diminishing their dining experience, the manager on duty must tell the offender(s) to tone it down. HOWEVER, you cannot go to a place known for their boisterous/loud atmosphere and expect to have an itimate converstation.
    -if a restaurant keeps you waiting more than 10 minutes, they should extend a courtesy and let you know AHEAD they're running late and comp you something--this goes the other way too: if you're late for your reservation, then call and let the restaurant know you're running late

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  28. As someone who has worked in the industry for 20 years, I find this extremely interesting- Basically, you can't please everyone, no matter what course you take! The exact same service at two different tables could be interpreted completely differently, this is the trick we try to master every day.

    There is a phrase in the restaurant biz "how to read your tables", this is our way of saying, which of the above commentators are you? And what do you want vs the table next to you? Of course everyone wants great food, fabulous service, and a pleasant atmosphere... but the above responses just go to show how much everyone's opinion differs on these things, i.e., you might be upset the bill is given before asked, but the table next to you is upset that the server doesn't 'anticipate' and drop it before asked; you might be upset that your plate is not cleared, but the table next to you would be upset that a plate is cleared before the entire table was finished (which, is by the way proper service)... just remember the server & restaurant are trying to 'read' the expectations of a lot of varying people at any given time.

    -as for comping, if the restaurant makes a mistake in any way, wrong item, late, cold, etc., and it affects your dining experience (more than 3-4 minutes) something should be comped- but let them know at the time, not at the end. If you order something of your own volition, and it comes out as the proper chef creation, as listed on the menu, and you simply do not like, by all means, feel free to let your server know that you'd like something else, yet do not expect to have this comped (some restaurants may comp this for you as a gesture of 'goodwill' but not all)

    -reservations- if you know you cannot make it, it's just common courtesy to call. As far as charging, some suggested the policy needs to be made clear upon reservation, but if you gave them your cc #, chances are, they already did this. PS- A lot mentioned that this is due to lost tables, which may be true, but my biggest concern, is the people who call and sincerely want to come in for a celebration, or what not, and I have to say "no" because we're booked, then some don't show, so I wish we could have accepted these lovely people.

    -on the flipside, if you arrive for your reservation and it's not ready, remember it's not an exact science and everyone is trying to help you the best they can, but if you have to wait, someone should speak to you early on, and also if it's longer than 15 minutes, they should offer you drinks at the bar, or have apps being sent to your table once you sit.
    ...Just some 'food' for thought, next time you dine out ;)

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  29. I always take MY cost, and add 30% to it. (ie $10.00 x 30% = $13.00) That is somewhat over the amount for tax and 20% tip. I do not eat meat; and sometimes I drink a lot, and sometimes I drink a little. I do not want to pay for YOUR Prime Rib; nor do I want YOU to pay for my Amaretto Sour !

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  30. Why in the world are all the comments consolidated for 10 different topics?

    Anyway, I also hate when workers try to clear your plate from the table before everyone is done, but what I'm finding more and more, even at very high-end restaurants, are bussers who are so aggressive about removing anyone's plates the second it looks like they MIGHT be done. They are clearly inexperienced and/or are not being trained correctly. They are sincere and are just trying to be super fast. I've had to tell more and more of these people NO, I'm not done eating yet. And they don't seem to notice my utensils are in the internationally recognized "don't take my plate yet" position. Don't restaurants teach their employees this anymore???

    As to reservations - it's a challenge for restaurants to gauge exactly how long people are going to take to eat their food. If a table seems to be taking longer than they estimated, they should comp the waiting customers some drinks or appetizers while they're waiting. What the restaurant should NOT do is what happened to me at Michael Mina one December night. Our party of 6, who all were doing the complete tasting menu as well as ordering expensive bottles of wines, took longer than they expected to finish our meal (they did NOT have specified seating times, e.g., 7pm seatings and 9pm seatings, as some restaurants do during very busy seasons). We had taken over 2 hours. They actually ASKED US TO LEAVE because "people were waiting for our table"! And they did NOT buy the waiting customers drinks or appetizers (I checked). I will never eat at another Michael Mina restaurant again.

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  31. Very simple, if you eat it, you should pay for it!

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