Bad service at restaurants is not completely uncommon these days, but a recent experience we had at TGI Friday’s really highlighted a number of issues I have seen in the last few years, and prompted me to write this post. This is also inline with the current system of tipping, which I think I may tackle in a separate post. Here are some of the things that I really dislike when servers do:
Pushing Appetizers: When I go to a restaurant, I’m going to order what I want. If I’m going to get an appetizer (which I almost never do), then I’ll order one. If not, I won’t. I don’t need to be asked every time if I want to start out with some of X or maybe some of Y. I have the menu in front of my face, and I had to flip through the appetizer section already since it’s first. The concept of appetizers is not new. Almost ever restaurant has them, so if someone wants some, they will order them. Also, I can rarely ever eat my entire meal due to the massive size of portions. So why would I need an appetizer anyway?
Pushing Beer/Drinks: Same issue as appetizers above. I well aware that they serve beer and drinks. If I want one, I’ll order one. I don’t need them to ask me every time and give me a list of beers.
Fail To Setup High Chairs Before Seating: This is really only an issue when you have small kids, of course, but when we step into a restaurant and say we have 5 total and need 2 high chairs, please wait to seat us until the high chairs are already setup. It’s annoying to be walked to your table and have to stand there holding your kids and wait a minute or two until they bring the high chairs over. Get the table fully ready, then seat us.
Ask If We’ve Ever Eaten Here Before: Is this restaurant really going to be an amazingly different experience than I’ve ever had before? No. If I have questions, I’ll ask. Usually if anything seemed unique or confusing, I’d gladly be the first to mention that to our server and ask.
Tell Us The Specials Without Saying The Price: To many of us, price is a big factor in what we order. If they are going to tell me the specials, tell me how much they cost. Also, it would be nice too if they even asked us if we wanted to hear the specials.
Cut Your Steak, NOW: Seems this is more of a new development that I’ve only started to see in the last year or so. If a steak is ordered, some servers will set it in front of you, and immediately ask you to cut into your steak to make sure it is done the way you want it. There are many issues with this. First, if I ordered it medium-rare, then it should be medium-rare wether I cut into it now or not. Clearly, you can’t trust your cooks if you need to have me check it at the table… Second, I’m never ready to cut into my steak right when the plate is brought to my table. I’ll cut into it when I’m ready to cut into it. I shouldn’t need to do it immediately while the server stands there and waits. Often times my wife and I need 5 minutes or so to help get the kids plates all ready before we even think about eating our own food. So, this is just flat out wrong in my opinion. If, when I get to it, the steak is not cooked properly, I’ll let the server know.
How Does Everything Taste? This one is also probably more of a problem when you have kids, but often times after the food comes, my wife and I will be helping our kids get all situated. There have been many times when the server comes to our table just minutes after the food has been dropped off and asks us how everything tastes. Many times I haven’t even had time yet to take a single bite of food, so I have no idea. So I either need to fake a smile and say everything tastes good and hope that’s true, or say that I have no idea how it tastes yet, which makes for an awkward situation. It seems like the servers are just programmed to come to your table a minute or two after the food comes and ask you how it tastes. But, if they used their eyes and observed what was going on, they could see that we haven’t even begun to eat yet…
Asking If We Saved Room For Desert: No, I definitely didn’t, because the plate of food I was served was massive and I couldn’t even finish it all. Just like with appetizers and drinks, I know they serve desert. If I want desert, I will order it.
Showing Disappointment: At our last experience, she asked us if we had saved any room for desert and listed off two or three desert names. We said no, and she had a look of disappointment and said “awww, dang!” Seriously? A server should never be disappointed because you didn’t order something.