Author Topic: What do you expect when dining out?  (Read 6535 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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What do you expect when dining out?
« on: January 06, 2013, 08:03:19 PM »
The recent thread about the display houses and Swales staff got me wondering about this, particularly how our expectations from different parts of the world.

But I also had a bad experience myself, that I'd like to relate.

There's a Chinese restaurant in a complex part of several restaurants and I've wondered what may be like and I have seen good reviews. So, New Years Eve we went there, and it was a huge mistake...

For starters, the service was shocking. Thought mot in a bad way, but in an overly helpful way that was rather intrusive. Every five minutes there was someone at our table replenishing water, tea, filling up our teapot, asking if everything was ok.... All you had to do was so much look in their general direction and they came rushing over. Just after we ordered drinks, for instance, we were asked if we wanted to order drinks by a different staff member.

Everything was rushed, food was out before we'd even had a proper conversation and. My food arrived just as quickly. With the exception of FH which didn't arrive until it was halfway through my meal. And we had to ask three different people where it was.

Food was ordinary, not worth the wait or the price we paid for it.

But it has got me wondering what is it people expect when they eat out. One of the things I like is to be left alone to enjoy my meal and the company of my FH.

Yet a particular howler was the waitress who did not know what gin was for a gin and tonic and asked if we wanted them served seperately.

AmethystAnne

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 08:21:16 PM »
I don't like over-attentive waitstaff either. It's so intrusive..

The meals you and your FH ordered should have arrived to your table at the same time.

About the G&T, it probably was irritating at the time.....but I gotta tell you, it makes for a good story now.  :)

My DH and I went out for supper last night to a local Italian restaurant. It is good thing that nobody can read minds because  this sentence was in my thoughts, "Boy, I'm so glad that Kathy is not working tonight." Kathy's DD and my DD were in Scouts together many years ago. I guess she's a good waitress, but she sure is attentive! Gets on my nerves.

Annoyed in America

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 08:58:02 PM »
This too is a pet peeve of mine.  Just seems you are getting into a good discussion and the waiter(ress) rudely interrupts you.  Are there any commentors who have been a waiter and what is their take on this?  I hate getting the bums rush out of a restaurant and my tip will reflect it.

Yvaine

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 09:00:57 PM »
Unfortunately, most times I've gone out on NYE, I've either been rushed out because the place was so crowded, or gotten slow service because some employees called out "sick" (i.e. they wanted to go out) and left the rest short-handed, or maybe both. I'd try the restaurant again on a normal night before writing it off, because NYE is just sort of inherently chaotic as far as I can tell. It doesn't make it right, but it just is.

snowdragon

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 09:04:05 PM »
How new is this restaurant? If this is their first season, I would give them a heads up so to speak...if this is an established restaurant, let them know you didn't  enjoy the experience, but I hold out less hope that it will change. IF you don't think you'll be back - let them know that, too.
 I have an issue with either overly or underly attentive wait staff, it's a hard line to walk but if it's you job - you need to learn how.

Bijou

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 09:08:50 PM »
A warm, comfortable atmosphere (warm as in not a chilly room).
Efficient servers, who are not intrusive, but are aware of taking care of the table.
Good food.
Fair prices.

We were out of town last week and had a run of three atrocious restaurant experiences.  The one for lunch was band enough, food wise, but the one we went to for dinner was so bad I couldn't eat it so we stopped at a favorite place for soup and pot stickers.  The PS were OK but the soup was inedible. 
We barely touched it and while we usually greedily bring home every leftover morsel, we left the nearly full soup bowl sitting on the table.

I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Thipu1

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 09:10:56 PM »
NYE is always a problematic time for any restaurant.  The place usually has reservations for late evening with a premium price for a limited menu.  Those who dine earlier without reservations are likely to be rushed a bit.  This is often done by providing over-attentive service because waitstaff are edgy about setting up for the slam to come.   

I would also suggest that you give the place another chance on an ordinary night.  The food might still be ordinary and the service uneven but at least you can say that you gave it a fair trial. 



 

guihong

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 09:11:23 PM »
The over-attentiveness might have been cultural, or an effort to be good servers but trying too hard.  I'd give a pass on that.



Katana_Geldar

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 09:14:18 PM »
It's not new, it's been there for about two years and the owned had a restaurant before that. They have no excuse.

And we did have a reservation, and it wasn't that busy. People were walking in.

It's not the only one in the complex that has something wrong with the service, two others have as we'll.  The Thai place where they don't seem to care and this diner sort of place run by an Asian family that has no idea how to serve western food.

The G&T place we are willing to forgive as they have wonderful food for fantastic prices and have fair priced takeaway too. We should have gone there for NYE. Aside from the G&T, the only other Poole, was they forgot our bread, but they promptly delivered one over plus an extra for the trouble.

DottyG

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 09:23:09 PM »
Leave me alone!!!!

I want to yell that sometimes.

I often go out to eat alone. I time it such that I'm not taking up a table that would be needed by others; I go at slow times. Since I'm alone, I don't want to sit there staring at the walls, so I usually bring something to read or sit there with my phone and read (often EHell). I'm not taking any more time than someone who's there with other people and talking. In fact, I'm there less time. But I hate being bothered every few seconds. "How's your meal?" "Are you still ok?" "Do you want this?" "Do you want that?" "How's your meal now?" "Wait. You just took another bite. Still taste good?" "Oops. Been 3seconds since I came over here. You doing ok?"

Dang it. Ask me once, if you must. And I'll respond to you cheerfully that the meal is yummy. After that, you'll start to notice that I'm still nice, but starting to look a bit annoyed. When you get me to the "frosty, curt 'yes, I'm fine'" response, realize that the generous tip I usually leave (because I know I'm just one person, and I do compensate you a bit for taking up your table) is starting to reflect my annoyance.


misha412

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 09:41:38 PM »
UGH...overattentive is just as bad as inattentive service. >:(

We have a Chinese buffet a couple of towns over where the food is great. But I didn't go in there for several years after the wait staff was consistently OVERattentive. I would go in with my party, everyone would place drink orders, and go get the first round of food, come back and sit down. Everything would be normal. Then the fun would start. Every few minutes one of the wait staff would come by to top off drinks. They would not ask if you wanted your drink topped off. They would grab the glass and top it off from a pitcher.

When I say every few minutes, I mean every 5 minutes or less. You would see this hand come across your line of vision and it would grab your glass. Or it would take a dish you just emptied. I got to the point I wanted to put a fork into the hand of anyone who just grabbed a glass off the table to top it off.

I went back in there for the first time a month or so ago. Their service is much better and I didn't feel like assaulting the wait staff with my fork. (stuffing EvilMisha back into her box).


Lynn2000

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 10:04:20 PM »
It is funny what different people expect when dining out. For example, my parents and I don't like "overly chummy" waitstaff. Of course they should smile and speak in a pleasant tone, and it's expected that they might push their daily specials unasked or something like that. But we don't want several lines of actual small talk--"How's your day been? Are you guys out shopping? Are you celebrating a special occasion?" or rapturous paragraphs about multiple dishes in a row. Greet us, bring our drinks, and let us have a few minutes of peace and quiet to look over the menu. Generally we are not the type to have many questions.

My friend Amy's family, on the other hand, is quite different. They love the small talk. They'll initiate it. In a college town where a lot of servers are students, they'll ask them what their major is, for example, and chat further if it's anything they know about.  And, they ask a lot of questions about the menu, like what the server's favorite dessert is, or if X soup goes well with Y salad.

I don't think either way is wrong; but a server going too far in one direction could easily alienate customers who are expecting the opposite. My dad gets really irritated with chatty servers, for example, and those who don't bring the bill the instant we're done eating; and since he usually pays, it can be reflected in the tip. Sometimes I feel bad for servers, having yet one more thing they have to juggle in addition to all the other stuff.
~Lynn2000

Katana_Geldar

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 10:16:47 PM »
Well, they do need to judge what sort of service the customer needs. Whether they want a chatty server or not. That can be tricky but needs to be done.

I don't mind a chatty server as long as they go away. And not be at my elbow every five minutes.

One hotel I stayed at they took your plate e minute they trout you were doe with it, even if you still had a half eaten piece of toast on there!

Yvaine

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 10:24:39 PM »
Well, they do need to judge what sort of service the customer needs. Whether they want a chatty server or not. That can be tricky but needs to be done.

At some places the demeanor is mandated, if I'm not mistaken. (Think "flair.") Obviously someone who's really excellent can probably find a way to adapt to the customer and still stay within the rules to an extent, but some places you're required to be bubbly, just like at some stores you're required to pester the customer exactly 3 times, that sort of thing. (And these tend to become restaurants I don't go to often, because I'd really rather have calm service!  ;D )

Katana_Geldar

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 10:51:31 PM »
There's a restaurant that FH went to only once, but it's my favourite place to go. The service there is flawless, but you pay for it! They have all sorts of freebies too, bread roll and small glass of soup. My meat wasn't completely cooked, but they took it back to the kitchen and gave me a new plate, including new potato treats that I gobbled up before I finished my meat.

They even got the atmosphere right, realising that a lot of the customers were going to be in full sun but also wanted to appreciate the stunning views the restaurant have.

I want to go back, but it's so expensive!