Author Topic: What do you expect when dining out?  (Read 6868 times)

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gmatoy

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2013, 11:24:02 PM »
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.

Just tell me that you weren't in Portland, Oregon.  We recently went there and had one bad dining experience after another! Even at a restaurant that we have always loved.  Didn't matter what type of place it was, we had a bad experiences at fast food, casual dining, and up scale restaurant.

What makes this surprising is that we love Portland and go there several times a year.  And we never had this kind of problems before!

kareng57

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2013, 11:57:46 PM »
For me - it depends on the type of restaurant.

When late Dh and I decided to treat ourselves on the rare occasion to a "premium" restaurant - great view, great menu, etc. - we'd expect fairly-attentive service.  In other words, about every ten minutes checking-in, after the meal had been served.

But there's one branch of a local Chinese-food chain in the neighbourhood.  Very good food, very reasonable prices, very quick service, and almost constant attendance by staff.  In other words, they want you to eat fast and get out of there!  I only went with Dh and sons a couple of times - along with everything else, it was very crowded, and I'm a mild claustrophobic who does not do well in crowes.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 12:37:29 AM »
Every ten minutes? That's excessive for me. Sometimes we do require attention and will let staff know if there is something. But if there isn't, it isn't nice to be c stanly hovered over.

DottyG

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 12:53:36 AM »
Quote
about every ten minutes checking-in, after the meal had been served.

That is way more attention than is required - even in a very high-end restaurant. In fact, for a really nice place, that would be very inappropriate. At those places, I expect to be able to eat in peace. And anything done by the waitstaff should be so discreet that I don't even really notice it. If they bother me every 10 minutes asking how I'm doing, I'd be more than extremely annoyed and would be talking to management about it later.


kareng57

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 01:01:28 AM »
Quote
about every ten minutes checking-in, after the meal had been served.

That is way more attention than is required - even in a very high-end restaurant. In fact, for a really nice place, that would be very inappropriate. At those places, I expect to be able to eat in peace. And anything done by the waitstaff should be so discreet that I don't even really notice it. If they bother me every 10 minutes asking how I'm doing, I'd be more than extremely annoyed and would be talking to management about it later.


And again, that's why I didn't like the particular Chinese restaurant that late Dh loved.  Their prices were pretty low, so they made their profits on quick-turnover.  I didn't like the place (too noisy and crowded) - but obviously plenty of other people did.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 01:08:56 AM by kareng57 »

DottyG

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2013, 01:07:20 AM »
That's one of the dangers, I think, of such over-attentiveness. It gives the impression of trying to move people too quickly and not fostering a peaceful, relaxing environment. Granted, there are some places where that is the case understandably. But for a premium place, it's not the atmosphere you want to suggest to customers.

(I'm agreeing with you there, in other words. I just didn't agree with the "every 10 minute" thing.)


kareng57

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2013, 01:13:55 AM »
That's one of the dangers, I think, of such over-attentiveness. It gives the impression of trying to move people too quickly and not fostering a peaceful, relaxing environment. Granted, there are some places where that is the case understandably. But for a premium place, it's not the atmosphere you want to suggest to customers.

(I'm agreeing with you there, in other words. I just didn't agree with the "every 10 minute" thing.)


I do agree that sometimes this is simply cultural.  While I detest sushi, I used to work with a lot of people who loved it, and there was a sushi restaurant nearby.  I heard quite a few stories...

And the owner had no qualms about approaching people at tables saying  "you have stopped eating!  You need to go!  People waiting!".

DottyG

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2013, 01:19:56 AM »
Yikes! I'd go! Wouldn't bother him again, either! :D


Katana_Geldar

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 01:33:51 AM »
That's one of the dangers, I think, of such over-attentiveness. It gives the impression of trying to move people too quickly and not fostering a peaceful, relaxing environment. Granted, there are some places where that is the case understandably. But for a premium place, it's not the atmosphere you want to suggest to customers.

(I'm agreeing with you there, in other words. I just didn't agree with the "every 10 minute" thing.)


I do agree that sometimes this is simply cultural.  While I detest sushi, I used to work with a lot of people who loved it, and there was a sushi restaurant nearby.  I heard quite a few stories...

And the owner had no qualms about approaching people at tables saying  "you have stopped eating!  You need to go!  People waiting!".

Ladies and gentlemen, we ave the sushi nazi!

DottyG

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 02:11:57 AM »
"NO SUSHI FOR YOU!"

:D


cicero

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2013, 03:17:51 AM »
i hate over attentiveness too, but i also hate under-attentiveness, when you need a refill or the check and there is nary a server to be found (or they are there, but just standing around looking at their fingernails or just looking pretty).

I dont' mind if a server is chatty - as long as they are chatty and then leave me to eat in peace.

And I do hate it when the servers don't know the food in the restaurant - when you ask them what is in a certain dish,  and they have no idea. I do like it when they do show *some* knowledge - once a friend and i ordered dessert (that we hadn't planned on) just bec the server was so enthusaistic and honest - he didn't say "yes, it's all great", but he did say "i tried this and that and that and they were amazing. I didn't try that and that but based on the other ones that I did try, i'm sure they're good"

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CakeEater

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2013, 04:24:51 AM »
I did a three week tour of China a few years ago, and the service in restaurants everywhere was like this. I must admit that after three weeks of it, I snapped and told a waitress who attempted to refill my glass from my can after I took one sip that I could manage that myself, thankyou.  They also did things like adjust my cutlery back to straight if I bumped it, and put bowls back in a symmetrical pattern if we passed them around during a buffet.

They also had greeters standing at the door of every restaurant just saying hello as you walked in. Not so strange? Often there were up to 6 greeters. 6!

I found it very stifling, but perhaps that's just normal for them, and that's what you're seeing.

They also had some odd ideas about drinks. We went to a bar one night and DH ordered a beer, which was fine, and I asked for a vodka and orange juice. No, they don't serve single shots of spirits. You buy a whole bottle and drink some that night, then you leave it there with your name on it and drink some more tomorrow night.

Plus, no-where we went had cold drinks. It was winter when we were ther, so it was cold outside, so obviously you should be drinking hot drinks. Our cans of Coke were always served out of fridges that weren't turned on, so were always room temp, and on a couple of occasions, they actually warmed them. Warm Coke, not yummy.

Although since we were in their country, perhaps we were the strange ones!

Emmy

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2013, 07:50:22 AM »
I realize that it can be tricky because different people want different things.  Often time the server can pick up cues from the patron.  If the patron engages in small talk with the server he/she probably prefers somebody more chatty, if not, then they would probably not appreciate conversation unrelated to the meal.  I also dislike over attentive service, especially if they keep asking questions for which an answer is expected when I am in the middle of a conversation or chewing my food.  It diminishes the experience significantly for me.  DH and I went out a while ago and every time we got into a conversation, there was always somebody checking on us asking if the food is OK and we need more drinks.  This happened several times during the meal.  I like friendly, but not overly chatty servers.  For example, I'd be happy to hear the specials or get their opinion on a favorite dish, but I don't really enjoy them asking if we are out for a special occasion.  I also don't like the check dropped off while we are still eating or the second we are finished, we usually enjoy relaxing for a few minutes and that feels like rushing us out.

Ideally, I think servers should check that the meal is OK 5-10 minutes after it is served, then only come back when it appears drink glasses are empty to ask about refills.  I hate being thirsty with an empty glass and no waitstaff is in sight.

I expect more from a higher end restaurant.  Ideally, all meals should come out together,  but if my companions and I are paying a premium for the dining experience, we would be especially unhappy if one person was left without a meal for a while.  I went out with DH and my family to a nicer restaurant.  My mother's meal didn't come out until we were halfway finished ours (she insisted we go ahead and eat).  It was disappointing, but the restaurant was nice enough to comp her meal without us asking for anything.

cabbageweevil

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2013, 08:28:39 AM »
I did a three week tour of China a few years ago, and the service in restaurants everywhere was like this. I must admit that after three weeks of it, I snapped and told a waitress who attempted to refill my glass from my can after I took one sip that I could manage that myself, thankyou.  They also did things like adjust my cutlery back to straight if I bumped it, and put bowls back in a symmetrical pattern if we passed them around during a buffet.

They also had greeters standing at the door of every restaurant just saying hello as you walked in. Not so strange? Often there were up to 6 greeters. 6!

I found it very stifling, but perhaps that's just normal for them, and that's what you're seeing.

I'd reckon that the "over-attentive" aspect is indeed often a cultural thing. I find, quite frequently, something akin to (though less wildly over-the-top than) your Chinese experiences, in Indian restaurants in the UK. It would seem that in the culture of the Indian sub-continent, "dancing attendance on people" tends to be seen as something which will please and flatter the recipients; but Brits, overall rather reserved and undemonstrative and big on self-reliance, often find it embarrassing and irritating.

My greatest hate in this general line, is that way that in Indian restaurants here, the waiter often tries to put initial helpings of rice and the main accompanying dish, on your plate.  Tempts me to yell at them, "I'm not two years old !  For heaven's sake, let me do this for myself, and in the way that I want !"

siamesecat2965

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Re: What do you expect when dining out?
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2013, 09:04:08 AM »
I think there definitely is a fine line between being over attentive, and under attentive. Kind of like retail, where you go into a store, and are followed and hounded, or another, and there is no staff anywhere to be found!

For me, I don't mind a bit of chit chat, but once you've taken my order, or come back to check on me, then please leave me be to enjoy my meal!  My mom and I went out twice while i was there for the holidays, to one of our favorite restaurants.  Its small, and both times we were some of the only customers, yet the waitstaff was friendly, pleasant, but not overly so. They gave us their opoinions of certain items on the menu, although everything there is fabulous, and we chatted a bit, but then they left us in peace to eat and enjoy.

I think it may be a cultural thing as I've been to any number of aisan restaurants, and experienced overly friendly and efficient service.