Wanted: Diner Gripes

As a companion piece and counterpoint to yesterday’s “25 Things Chefs Hate About You,” we’ll be running a “25 Things Diners Hate About Restaurants” story next Friday, Apr. 17. Got a complaint — or litany of complaints — about service, portions, prices, or anything else? Shoot it over to editor@heavytable.com. The best will get printed in the story, and we’ll keep your name out of it.


  1. Bruce

    I dislike the query, “How is everything tasting.” It isn’t the right question. How is everything (food, service, temperature, wait for food, the fistfight in the men’s room) is the appropriate question.

  2. Moe

    I hate waiting for my bill, and then again for the credit credit slip to sign. Waiting for too long ruins a good meal. I understand the reasons, and don’t get too impatient, but it does suck. Probably the reason I love going to the Bad Waitress or any place where you pay and/or order at a counter. Doesn’t really work for “fine” dining, but I still love it.

  3. Tina

    Moe you just need to have your credit card on the table before the bill comes. Wait staff don’t like having to make extra trips too.

  4. seanr

    The Bad Waitress is awful. The staff is rude and negligent. Never waited so long for a mediocre meal as i have there.

  5. Robert

    I hate poorly timed courses. Especially when a soup, salad or whatever starter takes forever to arrive, and then the main course arrives before being finished. Completely ruins the experience.

  6. Kim

    I hate when I ask for a recommendation from the server and the response is, “Oh, everything’s good!” Clearly, not everything on a menu can be equally good, so if I am asking for your help, please feel free to share some favorites with me.

    Kind of the opposite of Moe’s gripe, I hate when the server brings out the check as soon as we finish eating. I’ve had several dinners where I wanted to order dessert, but the server assumed that we weren’t interested in dessert and brought the check. It feels like I’m being kicked out, or some kind of passive-aggressive suggestion that I should skip dessert. Sometimes I want to let the entree settle before I order dessert. Sometimes I want to have another drink after dinner. Whatever the case, don’t assume that I’m ready for my bill; ask me if I’m ready for the bill.

  7. jane

    I don’t hate anything about restaurants. I love being served. If forced to choose, I’d pick slower service over too-fast service.

    Sorry to be such a Pollyanna; I have plenty of specific gripes, but I think they are very general, like: I don’t like dimwits or jerks, poorly made food, filth, uncomfortable chairs. I apply this to everything, including restaurants.

  8. AM

    It seems like every time I’ve eaten out lately, my boyfriend’s food has been brought out 5-10 minutes before my food. It drives me crazy as he always insists on being polite and waiting for my dish to come out before eating his. It makes us both wait in awkward anticipation and his food is always cold by the time my food is set on the table. When did this become an acceptable thing to do at restaurants? I can understand if you can’t carry all the food and have to make a couple quick trips but waiting that long between dishes?

  9. Joe Below

    You know what really grinds my gears? When my server decides to bring me my check when I am in the middle of my meal. I should qualify this by saying that I am NOT a slow eater. Quite the opposite, and I don’t dine when the restaurants are busy. Its just plain rude and lazy. It doesn’t matter if you tell me to take my time and pay “when I’m ready”. I still feel rushed. And for a 200+ lb. guy in his mid twenties who wolfs food down as it is, there is just no reason for this!

  10. Den

    I agree with the first response by Bruce. I despise the question “How is everything tasting?” It seems to be a fairly new thing. I’ve heard it several times in the Chicago area over the last year or so. I find it very annoying. It’s too…personal or something. I don’t know. I hate it. What happened to “How is everything?” That question covers everything at the table instead of just the taste of the food I’m putting in my mouth. I think it’s weird.

  11. Patricia

    re “I despise the question “How is everything tasting?””
    I agree. It’s disgusting & insulting. It’s a passive-aggressive way of rendering the absolute minimum in service while pretending to care about the diner’s experience. It says to the customer “we don’t want to hear your gripes about the clumsy service, unattractive tablecloths, lousy decor, ear-splitting music or 45-minute wait times between courses. All we feel compelled to ask about is whether the food is really awful or not.” It’s a way of preempting comments about other aspects of the experience by refocussing the diner’s attn on the taste only & then making a clean getaway before the customer can make bold enough to comment on anything else. This is my #1 gripe & even if the food is great, I seriously try never to return to restaurants using this pusillanimous tactic.

  12. Server

    Well, unfortunately for all of you, “How is everything tasting?” is the more acceptable, and usually suggested terminology, when visisting a table after the food has been delivered. Tell me this, how many times had the server been to your table giving you a chance to air any other greivances, before asking you about your food? At least a few, I should hope. And answer this, as a server, how many other things, other than food preparation, are actually in our hands?? If you have a problem with the temperature, wait time, ambiance, table location, or any such mundane details….well, maybe you should relocate. Because, guess what, we have no choice…but you do. Decide what’s most important to you, and other than that, quit your bitching.

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