Since this site seems to be the site for my complaints (usually about the dentist, the neurologist or the eye doctor), I thought I'd have Doug take a crack at one of his pet peeves.
Doug is not usually one to complain (shhhh, don't tell him I said that), that is my job. He normally lets things go - too often in my opinion. When something happens over and over again to the point where he actually wants to write about it - it's something, trust me. Especially when it happens more than once during one single weekend trip. Not that this sort of thing has not happened to us for years, but two or three times in as many days put him over the edge.
There was that one Valentine's Day when we actually were able to go out without DC, so we did not have to chose a restaurant that served burgers and or wings. The table for two was half the size of the table pictured above.
We got our drinks and appetizers (table - full). Within 5 minutes time they came out with our entrees (with sides). When we asked where we were supposed to put all of these plates, they offered to wrap our appetizers to go. Seriously. After removing everything from the table; salt and pepper, oil, candle, wine list - they managed to fit everything on the table. But of course now everything was getting cold. 10 or 15 minutes after that fiasco, they brought out the salad - you know, the salad that is supposed to come out after the app and before the entree. Again, they offered to wrap it so I could take it home. Who wants to take a dinner salad home, really?
(In my option, Doug is being nice with his 25% estimate - I do believe it happens far more often than that)
So here, first in the series I am going to call #DougSpeaks is:
Doug's Restaurant Pet Peeve
HELLO HELLO HELLO, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?
Hello class and welcome to Basic Restaurant Service 101. Let me start by mentioning that I don’t care much for fine dining. I am much more comfortable in a 3 or 4-star setting. With that being said, I also understand that I am going to get 3 or 4-star service as well and that is just fine with me as most times the service is acceptable.
When I go with V&DC we usually order appetizers. My gripe is that occasionally, I will say 25% of the time (usually in chain restaurants), the entrees are delivered before we are finished with the appetizer.
Now class let’s read from our dictionary –
APPETIZER: A small dish of food consumed before a meal to stimulate one’s appetite.
Most menus list these items as ‘starters’ or ‘appetizers’, but in many cases the headline should say ‘Slam these down as quickly as you can. Your app will be served with a three-minute timer … Ready? GO!!’
Basic restaurant service guidelines state that an entree should be served 5 to 7 minutes AFTER the appetizer is finished to give time to clear the table and prepare for the oncoming meal. Does anybody read this stuff? I found that information in less than five minutes. Who trains these people? Maybe I/we have a target on my back and it only happens to me, I don’t know, but it happens often enough to start raising awareness.
Here is a typical scenario and a couple of lines you are welcome to use if this happens to you: [table full of plates and appetizers] [server (or someone from the kitchen) arrives with entrees while apps and plates are still on the table]
Response #1: OH GOOD! Please set those down directly on top of our ummm … APPETIZERS!
Response #2: Excuse our ignorance, we don’t get out to eat much. Which of these items are we supposed to eat cold?
Now a good server would recognize that there is a problem here and make an effort to correct or compensate the issue. This has been done at times, but again not very often.
If your comment(s) go unnoticed or ignored DO NOT LEAVE A TIP ON THE APP!
It is possible that I am over reacting and it’s possible the way things are done has changed over the years. After all, if I do have dessert I order it AFTER dinner. (Otherwise it may show up half way through the entree and would probably go something like this: [server shows up at the table with dessert in the middle of dinner] ‘Okay, who had the chocolate sundae?’ ‘I did, just dump it on top of my mashed potatoes and gravy please.’
That brings us to part two of our lesson today which is entitled ‘Taking control of your dining experience’.
As you can probably tell, I am tired of leaving these places feeling rushed and disappointed so they can turn their tables faster. (My apologies to those many servers who got it right)
Here’s a tip that allows you to take the control of the pace of your dining experience and away from them – especially when it’s busy.
Order your appetizers and drinks and only your appetizers and drinks first NO MATTER WHAT THE SERVER SAYS!!
Once you are about ¾ of the way through your appetizer go ahead and order the entrees. Then wait until you are done with the entree, of course, to order dessert if you are so inclined.
Now I’m not one to complain. That’s not how I want to spend my night. I usually just walk out quietly when I’m/we’re done and do my venting (and laughing a little) in the car. If you should run into an app mishap at any time as described above, feel free to leave a copy of this article on the table before you leave as a protest. I haven’t yet, but I may start soon. That concludes our lesson today. Thank You for your attention. ~ Doug