Eating out at a restaurant can be an absolutely divine experience. Great food, the perfect ambiance, that sinfully good dessert that you might regret later but who cares ... you know what I mean. Then there are times that eating out is utter disasterpiece theater.
It doesn't always take a major motion picture level screw-up to ruin a meal. Sometimes it's the little things that ruin a restaurant experience.
Reddit user Juaninazio asked:
And here's what we learned diners really want: keep the volume down, keep your kids in check, it would be lovely if the place wasn't sticky and basic hygiene is much appreciated. You'd be surprised how hard that combination is to find, apparently...
Not Here To Make New Friends
I wouldn't say it ruins the meal, but I don't like it when they have tables seated so close to each other that everyone can hear everyone else's conversations. Totally ruins the experience for me.
I hate places where they have long benches and tables about 2 feet from the next. I don't want to be almost sitting with another party of people. I hate it!
Forget Me Not
Being held hostage. I understand that working in a restaurant can be unpredictable, but I've been to a few places where it feels like the server straight up forgets you exist. The worst is when you are done and ready to leave, but they take another 15-20 minutes to return to your table just to give you the check, and then another 10 minutes to actually process your payment.
I waited tables for a few years. One time I straight up forgot I had a table. Got in my car and drove 20mins... Then it hit me. "Oh no!" I returned for my evening shift, and found out that they just left without paying (can't say I blame them).
The Sink Is There For A ReasonGiphy
My wife's story: Goes to the restaurant, gets seated, gives her order, goes to the restroom to wash up. While in restroom someone in the stall is vomiting. The person comes out, obviously in server uniform, bypasses the sink and goes out the door. My wife turns to other person in the restroom, also obviously a server, and asks if vomiting person is a worker. The answer is yes. Wife finishes washing up goes out and sees vomiting person behind the bar, washing dishes and serving drinks.
Wife left after explaining to manager what happened.
Floor For Sure
Filthy floors. Like, crushed crackers, chunks of food, etc. Sure, maybe the table looks clean and wiped down, but if the floor is noticeably nasty that ruins it for me.
Same here. If the floors are dirty in areas visible to the customers (doesn't have to be perfect, but not disgusting) then what do you think that kitchen, where the floor isn't visible to customers, looks like?
Floor For Sure - The Rebuttal
As a manager at a high end restaurant I will say that if you have carpeted floors, most restaurants do, the vitriol from customers if you were to vacuum far outweighs the complaints of a dirty floor.
No kidding. Well after close one night, we were doing the last of our work while a table of campers continued to not take the repeated hints that we wanted them to finish up and roll out. So my manager had me vacuum the one small strip of carpet like we normally do at the very end of the night so that maybe they'd get it. Nope! One of the women came over to me and started scolding me for being rude.
Sorry lady, you're in the restaurant over an hour after we've closed and it's been longer than that since you finished your food, and everyone on the staff clearly wants to go home. It's not me that's being rude. We're not a bar, we closed at 9. Go somewhere else that's still open if you want to continue your social hour.
I can't imagine the reactions if you started vacuuming during service.
When things are weirdly sticky. The tables, the chair, the menus, whatever. I worked as a waitress for a while and made a point to clean things really really well because it's such a pet peeve of mine.
Live Like The Locals
High strung people complaining about little things in a dive the locals love. Especially if it gets famous.
I get it if you're expecting fine dining; but if you're joining a giant line behind a bunch of drunks to grab the best whatever ever then get over it and do it like the locals do. Nobody wants to hear (or cares) about your issue with paper plates, or not getting enough mustard or whatever.
My Aunt and cousin were out visiting from out of town a few years back, and my wife and I took them to a local pizza joint around the corner that we frequent a lot. You know the type of place, owner knows you by name, will come up to the bar and have a beer with you, etc.
They proceeded to just dump all over every single thing about the joint. They're from San Francisco, and of course that was all we and everyone in earshot heard about the whole time we were there.
This was several years ago and I haven't seen them since and do not plan to.
My Own Fault
When the restaurant is too cold and I've forgotten to bring a sweater. To be clear, this is my own fault, I don't expect them to cater to my personal temperature preferences ... but it totally ruins a meal if I'm trying to eat while shivering.
Children - Or More Accurately - Their ParentsGiphy
Children running around, oblivious parents, and a wait staff that is too chicken to do anything about it.
So we were out for dinner with the family and the table behind us had two children aged around 5 or 6. These two kids were running up and down the restaurant screaming, the parents clearly didn't give a damn as they didn't even look up from their meals. The poor servers were having to dodge treading on these little crotch gremlins as they crawled from one persons table to another.
Anyway I'm sitting there tutting profusely and becoming more irritated by the minute and my older sister tells me to stop whining and kicks me under the table. Obviously I booted her back as hard as I could only to hear a scream come from under our table.
My sister hadn't kicked me at all. it was one of the crotch gremlins hiding under our table that had just taken the full force of my boot. Both sprogs scurried off back to mummy and daddy and didn't move from their table the rest of their meal.
Not at a restaurant, but I was at a brewery where some parents let their kids raise hell while they drank. One of them bumped into a guy and made him break his glass on a table where people were eating. Mom was making sure that the kid was okay while dad told the guy he should be careful where he's walking.
Everyone hated that couple with a burning passion and the victim got another beer on the house by a bartender. I think the couple either got asked to leave or left shortly after.
Screaming or misbehaving kids. I get that people with kids need to get out sometimes and that "kids will be kids", but sometimes the kid is just a total jerkbag who wasn't brought up right. A screaming infant gets a pass. A 5 or 6 year old kid yelling, freaking out or generally being a nuisance is a pain in the ass.
Worst restaurant experience I ever had was delicious food but the table across from us decided to change their toddler's diaper on the booth. So it was full view and smell of poopy diaper. Disgusting.
Obnoxious And Loud
Went to a teppanyaki grill where you usually share the grill/table with one or two other parties. This big group of obnoxious loudmouth older men (one or two had a wife there but it was 80% men) got seated at the grill next to ours, facing us. They definitely pre-gamed before going to dinner and just generally acted incredibly classless the entire time—calling the waitress "beer lady", making comments about us and the diners at our table, and telling stories about how one of them got some gross nickname, all at top volume. If I was the owner I would have kicked them out. Such an awkward dinner trying to ignore those idiots.
Obnoxious, loud, or otherwise intrusive diners at other tables. No, I don't want to hear about that time you... uh, anything, and telling the story at 95 decibels doesn't make it any better.
A couple days ago me and my SO were at a restaurant for a quick dessert before they closed and we spotted this group of 60 year old men who looked like they came from a golf/yacht club. Anyways, they were drunk and they were loud but the biggest problem was what we heard out of their mouths.
We heard "handies and holies", "freshmen orientation" and a bunch of other sexual stuff that you'd expect out of drunk frat boys. They were SO obnoxious - they were a disaster. Just too much information all the way. Like no we don't need to hear about your nights in bed getting some for the whole restaurant to hear, so thank you for coming my TED talk.