Eating out is an expensive business. So when you do, you really want a good experience. As a food writer who eats out frequently, I love it when a restaurant gets it right – creative chefs, fabulous food, attentive staff and so on. But it seems it’s increasingly easy to get it wrong. Here are the seven things I absolutely cannot stand while eating out.
Can we Have some light please
Some restaurants are so dimly lit that they are perfect spots to take a Tinder date if you look very little like your profile photo and worry that a more strongly lit venue would reveal that. I agree low lighting takes away ages from your face but if I need a miner’s hat to read the menu – then it’s probably too dark.
Cut the chase and get things cracking
When you are tired and would prefer your coffee straight to your veins having to wait 10 minutes for the menu can feel like eternity. Why can’t restaurants just place the water and menus on the table right at the beginning? Some bread would be nice too. Not every occasion is a celebration. Some nights I am there because I am hungry. Simple. Watching food plates pass my table makes my tummy grumble a little more.
Stop…don’t take my plate
Severs swooping down to take my plate away as soon as I put down my spoon annoys me the most. Especially if other people at the table are still eating. Being the only person at the table without a plate is very sad and lonely. And while we are at it, let me make it clear that taking away plates with food without asking is not OK. Don’t assume I like to waste!
Have you seen my waiter?
What’s worse than an up-selling waiter? One who disappears mid meal and keeps you hanging. Nothing is more infuriating to me than when the server ignores me or goes missing. To add salt to injury he finally reappears at the end of the meal with the check, smiling as if everything is all good. Here’s a tip: Flag down the manager and say this as courteously as possible: “Can you help? We haven’t seen out waiter for over half an hour. We just hope he’s okay…”
Don’t hover around me like a helicopter
There is a thin line between showing concern and being irritating. Repeatedly checking if ‘everything is ok, is not OK! It’s so annoying when the waiter descends on me to pop the question just when I am struggling with the spaghetti hanging from my mouth! Happens every time. Tip: pretend to be busy when you see the waiter moving towards you.
Where’s the price dude?
The black board screaming the day’s special has every detail from the inspiration to ingredients and garnish, except the price. I anyways suspect that these specials are really just invented to get rid of last night’s excesses. But even when they are genuine, I want to know the price. Don’t make me ask in front of everyone and look cheap.
Can I just have a salad tonite?
I understand the food business is a tough one and restaurants need to make money to survive. But there are days when I just want to gobble a salad or a soup. Just because I am not ordering a four course meal doesn’t mean I should get treated like a problem. Treat me equally well when I spend Rs 300 and when I spend Rs 2000. That’s when you convert me into a patron.
BY NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR