Friday, 9 December 2011

Top 10 Restaurant Pet Peeves

It’s easy to sit there and criticise restaurants for not doing everything perfectly, but there are some things that are unforgivable. And there are some things that just plain irritate me. So without further ado, these are my top 10 restaurant pet-hates.

I just want to pay!
Giving you the bill and leaving you for 20 minutes. I just want to go now, cheers. Maybe I’ll start doing what Michael Winner does and simply get up and leave if they don’t come back quickly enough. (I might not get let off like him though!).

What's the problem, pauper? 
Sneering at you when you order towards the cheaper end of the wine list. DON’T JUDGE ME, you probably can’t afford it either – also, if you don’t want people to buy cheap wine, don’t have it on the list.

What's the drill?
When ordering in say, a gastro-pub, it is often unclear what etiquette is re: ordering – do I sit down or go to the till, or just stand awkwardly until you thrust a menu into my hand and look at me like a moron?

Not acknowledging me when I enter or leave the restaurant. Unbelievable. Such a simple thing to do, can only come down to manners. I know someone who worked at Pizza Express in the 90s and it was staff policy to greet EVERYONE who came through the door IMMEDIATELY, even if you couldn't deal with them straight away. It’s nice to be noticed (And there's an example of a chain that didn't do too badly).

Oi, four eyes!
Writing specials on a board no-one can see – some of us don’t have our contacts in. It’s embarrassing going up to the board and getting so close you smudge the chalk. Ok, maybe that’s just me.

Pretentious, Moi?
Over elaborate dish descriptions, and not calling a spade a spade. If you’re not a French restaurant, don’t pretend you are. It’s steak and chips however you look at it and I don't need to know every single ingredient in the dish. There is beauty in mystery, no need to dress it up. You’re not writing a book.

Cheese Omelette please
Dull vegetarian options. It doesn’t affect me, but seeing it on the menu just irritates me. If I had a penny for every time I’d seen a ‘stuffed field mushroom’ on a menu… I’d have about £4.46. And you can’t even really stuff them.

Service Included 
Charging automatic gratuity. It doesn’t motivate the waiter to be any nicer as they know it's coming and I’d rather choose to tip for good service. Why not simply remove service altogether, increase prices by 15% and pay it to the staff? It's no longer a service charge, it's a surchage.

Picture by @trap_door

You could eat your dinner off that! 
‘Quirky’, 'utilitarian' food serving ideas like food served on chopping boards and chips in buckets. Oh, and enamel camping tins. Unless you are in Shoreditch in 1998 you look slightly try-hard now. Maybe it;'s just me but I quite like the idea of fired porcelain to eat food from, circular, clean and hygienic.

Form an orderly queue! 
No bookings policy. Shit for first dates – there’s nothing more embarrassing than turning up to a restaurant with a prospective girl / boyfriend and having to wait and make awkward conversation for half an hour whilst queuing.


  1. Agree with the no bookings policy (Jamie's Italian, I'm looking at you!).

    My biggest peeve (no, not perve, you bad iPhone autocorrect!) is the sneaky attempts at upselling along the lines of 'would you like some bread & olives' or 'any cheese and bacon with your burger?' without mentioning that you'll get stung an extra £4 or so for a seemingly complimentary treat. GRRRR!

  2. I know, there's nothing like getting a bill and then having a list of items that are not only not free but at massively inflated prices!

  3. Totally agree with you on the queuing thing: I'm tired of this now, but there are 2 places in London that I really want to try & KNOW I'm going to spend a majority of my evening queuing for them unless I get there stupidly early...

    And the " 'utilitarian' food serving ideas " bit just made me crease up laughing... especially the 1998 reference!

    Lady V :)



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