January 7th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

This is the third installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.

Yesterday, I was happily slurping away at my noodle and bok choy soup, when suddenly I felt it: sand rasping against my molars. I pushed the bowl away and swished my mouth out with a few tall glasses of water, but I was haunted by phantom gravel for the rest of the day.

Yes, there are far more pressing issues in the world than a little bit of foreign matter in my food, but we've all got our issues. When a restaurant can't take the time to properly rinse its greens, I can't help but wonder what else they're skimping on. I have an intense and visceral reaction to the feeling of grit in my food and if I do happen to return to a restaurant where that happened, I find myself bracing before each bite. It's mostly easier for me not to return.

Was I too easily aggrieved? I turned to Twitter to ask people what might cause them to cross a restaurant off their list. The answers came in fast and furious from food writers, chefs, servers and diners alike.

Here are a few of the most frequently mentioned or just plain nasty restaurant turnoffs:

1. Butt out!

@ChefChrisCody: "A dirty restaurant: dirty ceiling fan, unkept restrooms, servers w/ any towels, notepads, or nething touching their butt."

Say what? The New Orleans chef clarified.

"You never see waitstaff hang towels or put things in their back pockets?...I have staged at some high end places where the chef wants you to hang your towels from your front or backside. Just watch.

2. Hairy situation

@loganpass: "Curly hair in my omelet. The restaurant has since been overhauled, but I feel like it's cursed."

The frequency of errant hair might be why planting it is a go-to trick of dirty-dealing diners looking to get their meals comped.

3. Beastly bathrooms

@JeeWPark: "A dirty restroom to me equals dirty kitchen."

@shilo101: "Dirty restrooms are the worst. if they don't keep it clean where customers CAN see, imagine what they can't. (Bourdain)"

@KatieBe_NC: "I have cut restaurants for dirty restrooms."

(And yet, that doesn't stop some people from going ahead and chowing down in a stall.)

4. He who smelt it...should get the heck out!

@ChristineMuhlke: "That dish-room smell (sad mats)."

@AmyTaraKoch: "Septic-like stench (paris), waitstaff eating/ choming gum, bugs in water, dirty cutlery/ napkin"

5. Halt the salt! Or, conversely, don't be stingy

@dollopfinefoods: "UNDER seasoning combined with arrogant lack of good salt & pepper on table"

@RLStrickland: "Over-salting. If you can't nail salt, I have a lot of trouble trusting your palate."

@CourtsBS: "SALT! Too much in everything & I won't be back"

@RDclark4: "Oversalted food is a sure fire turn off....no coming back from that!"

@leeannewong: "#lackofsalt"

Chef Wong knows of what she speaks. Not only did she finish in the top four of her season of Top Chef - in her subsequent tenure as culinary producer of the show, she saw her fair share of cheftestants pack their knives and go home for the crime of insufficient seasoning.

6. Pasta that's a flop

@loves_zin: "Over cooked pasta"

@shirtlessjosh: "Wet pasta."

@local_kitchen: "Gummy pasta. And it happens so often. Al dente: it's not that hard, people."

7. Worst of all: service with a shrug

@fordgal15: "Slow service, cold food and dirty tables!"

@CozyHerbivore: "Service with attitude, a boring menu. So many great restaurants in Philly, why waste $$on mediocre?" @jenniferjnelson: "I won't go to restaurants in which management stands arms folded while staff, customers need things. Service starts at top." @pinkleopardello: "Rotten service. If you don't like dealing with the public, maybe it's time to fulfil those dreams if becoming a tram driver" @Unchainedfoodie: "Restaurant Turnoffs – nasty restrooms, no server eye contact, long unbussed tables." @NYTFridge: "Biggest restaurant turnoff is inattentive, unprofessional or sloppy service. Guarantees I'll never return." @bosiechampagne: "Turnoff: When you can tell that nobody working there cares about the food or the service...or even wants to be there." @newriversbeau: "Turnoff número uno: lazy, disengaged service. Doesn't need to be 'perfect', but apathy is the biggest sin." Your turn: what's on your personal menu of verboten restaurant behavior? Unburden yourself in the comments below and we'll share the biggest offenders in an upcoming feature. Previously - Eat This List: Food resolutions for 2013 Got someone you want to hear from? Let us know in the comments and we'll try to track them down.  Posted by: Kat Kinsman -- Eatocracy managing editor Filed under: Eat This List • Feature • Restaurants • Service ###### soundoff(851 Responses) 1. big dea nutts employes rag in on each other.pull the knife out chief,the owner's on butt crack, I like my tea bag in my cup (not yours) May 11, 2013 at 12:04 am | Reply 2. Bobbie The worst is smelling the restroom deodorizer in the dining area. Why do they make that stuff so strong? It's a horrid, sweet, stench. I've actually smelled it on my dining partner when she returned from the restroom. Sitting 40ft away from the restroom door and smelling it each time the door opens is ridiculous! April 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Reply 3. chill 1. I don't go to a restaurant to use the bathroom. Use it before you go and carry hand sanitizer. 2. A few places I've been to the manager or owner is lingering around and randomly asking diners if everything was ok. It's just awkward. Find something to do. 3. When did it become common to tip AT LEAST 20%? The economy is tough for everyone, should we not eat out if we can't afford to tip 20+%? 4. HATE HATE HATE loud places. Having the music up too loud or whatever is awful. Part of the dining out experience is talking to the people you came with. It's annoying when you can't talk to someone across from you because of the music. 5. I have to give a compliment. I have food allergies. Every restaurant I have been too has been very accommodating. I've been to places where the server is extremely dilligent or if the server didn't understand the cook/chef came out to get the information. Those servers get a huge tip and I make sure I tell them I appreciate all they have done. April 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply 4. Kmperk There seems to be an a great deal of contention on this comment thread between servers and diners. I don't understand why there is so much snark and aggression in this discussion. Remember, we are all human beings, regardless of what our job is, so let's just be nice to each other, okay? It is possible to discuss likes and dislikes, differences and similarities without attacking each other. I do realize that the internet places up a nice shield, so we can't see each other's faces. This means we are probably saying things we wouldn't normally say to someone's face. Let's try discussing our differences as if we ARE face to face, and that is a living breathing human you are talking to, with feelings and emotions. Having said that, I have been on all sides of the restaurant business. I have been a diner, a guest. I have been a server. I've been a hostess, a floor supervisor. I even married a sous chef. I've worked in other industries as well. Regardless of where you work, being in costumer service of any kind is very difficult. Whether we like it or not, there is this preconceived notion that those in costumer service are beneath those being served. Should this be the case? Absolutely not, but it does go with the territory. Servers know this. They entertain, and act and put on quite a show to hopefully make your visit pleasant enough that you will leave them a tip they can actually pay their bills with. Is this always easy? Definitely not. Servers are still human, and like everyone else, they have good days and bad days. Some days are just plain harder than others to pretend like you are the happiest, friendliest person in the world. When your costumers behave themselves with manors and smile, it can make the task of putting them first over everything else a thousand times easier. When customers are rude, impolite, impatient, or otherwise cruel, it can feel almost impossible to treat them like the center of the universe. Yes, the customer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to not have to cook dinner for themselves, but the server isn't getting that money. Server pay should be downright criminal. Whether we like it or not, servers work for tips. If you cannot afford to eat out at a restaurant and leave a decent tip then you probably have no business eating out. As for the comments about servers choosing their jobs. I can assure that it is only a very small percentage of people who actually CHOOSE to be a server and pick this job as their lifelong career. The same can be said for almost all low paying customer service jobs. People born into poverty or working class families unfortunately just do not have the same opportunities as people born in middle class families and up. There truly is a division of labor in our country. Cycles of poverty are real. I was a Big Sister to a little girl from an extremely poor family. They lived in a very poor are of town which likewise had a very poor school system. This school couldn't even afford for the students to have text books. Education was seriously lacking, mentoring and guidance were obsolete. If a child was acting out for attention, instead of the problem being addressed while that child was still young, the kid would simply get flunked up, or bounced around in detention programs or kicked out of school altogether because there was no money available to pay for someone to give this kid the time of day. And what could the parents do about it? They are working 2 or 3 jobs as servers or in walmarts or mcdonalds. They don't have time for their own children because they are breaking their backs trying to put food on the table, even if it is poorly nutritious, fattening, processed foods from the likes of McDonalds (therefore increasing health related issues that they also cannot afford to address because their jobs usually don't provide health insurance). Do you really believe that a kid from this kind of life has the same opportunity to become a doctor or a lawyer as a kid who is born into a family of doctors and lawyers? No, they just don't. Kids take what they can get. They learn from their parents and their teachers what they can expect to obtain from life. So the absurd notion that we can choose any job or career that we want is just that, absurd. Maybe that server is in college, working to find a better career. Maybe they were moving slow because they've not been getting any sleep because they are in school all day long so that they can work all night long to pay for that elusive degree? I just think that we all would do better in life if we took time to think about what it would be like to be in the other person's shoes. Let's make less harsh judgements and less criticisms based on the narrow amount that we can actually see, and just treat everyone the way that we expect to be treated. Does that excuse a filthy restaurant? Absolutely not. Don't eat somewhere that is gross, but also don't blame everything on your server, or expect them to enjoy your ridicule. Remember that the server is just the person that you see. The restaurant is made up of so many other people, that have much more control over your experience than the server does. February 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply 5. Tim Anything that falls to the floor should not be placed back on the table. I have seen napkins dropped and then placed directly on a table. I have seen the sweetener packets knocked to the floor only to be placed back in the rack on the table by the bus boy. When I see anything like that happen, I never return to the restaurant. That is just inexcusable attention to cleanliness January 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Reply • Jake 5 second rule???? Also if we drop steak on the floor, 10 seconds, just chuck it back on the grill for a min and the bad stuff is gone. Man up. You're not going to die from a napkin being dropped on the floor. May 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply 6. GiGi Eats Celebrities The waitstaff should NEVER judge me by the clothing I am wearing – it says NOTHING about how much money I might spend at the establishment. Perhaps the reason I am wearing SWEAT PANTS is so that I can EAT MORE! Ever think of that? January 27, 2013 at 2:31 am | Reply 7. Jennifer I detest restaurants where grocery store wine is served at a doubled or tripled price. I have also often wondered why a server offers you ketchup with a burger, but nearly always has to be asked for mustard. And then the server gets busy doing something else and forgets to bring the mustard, leaving me to sit there with a cooling burger. Seriously? And of the server who totals the bill with the wrong arithmetic. I was once handed a bill with an extra 100 tacked on. I know it was an addition error made while the restaurant was busy, but the server merely said she was rushed. No apology. By the same token, many restaurants have truly attentive servers with great attitudes. If it can be done at Outback, it can damn well be done anywhere. January 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Reply 8. theman Truly worst experience ever, went in to an applebees and ordered a bacon cheeseburger. I was wondering why it was so tough when I first started eating, I disassembled it, to discover the moron who made it did not take the piece of separator plastic off the slice of cheese and cooked it on the burger. This might have been forgivable, had they immediately replaced it. When I pointed it out to our waitress, she asked us if I would like her to take it off for me. what the heck? When you bring me a burger with packing materials still on it, you throw it away and make me a new one for free!. I have never been back to an applebees since then because of this incident (who knows where the piece of plastic had been besides) and tell all my friends who are considering eating at one to beware January 19, 2013 at 5:57 am | Reply 9. whisperer I've learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you put to create such a excellent informative web site. January 15, 2013 at 3:33 am | Reply 10. Alicia Not controlling poorly-behaving customers. Yes, I said that, and having worked in customer service I know that kicking people out is a very difficult thing to do when "the customer is always right." Still, I have a horror story that will keep me from ever going to a particular IHOP again. One time, I ate at an IHOP where there were several mothers with a bunch of kids at a table near where I was sitting. One of the kids had a poopy diaper and was running around making the restaurant smell like feces. I don't care that those parents were paying customers; my friend and I were not the only ones disgusted. A bunch of people got up and left the restaurant. I even complained to the staff to try to get something done, but not once did I see any staff member approach the women to tell them to do anything about the child's diaper. If any restaurant is okay with letting parents get away with not changing a diaper and stinking up an entire restaurant, I'm not okay with eating there. Period. I am not eating in a place that smells like feces. January 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply 11. lifelong server Some of you people need to take a long hard look at your own behavior! Don't like wobbly tables?...Stop moving my tables around! Some people sit down and pull the table up to themselves instead of scooting their chair up to the table. I'm constantly having to re-level tables! Don't like wet tables?...Stop sitting at dirty tables. I can't dry it with a paper towel, then the sanitizer won't work...it has to air dry. Don't like having to wait for a drink refill?...Stop slamming your damn drink, I just brought you a refill less than five minutes ago! Don't like seeing staff sweeping?...Stop coming in five minutes before we close. You think the bathroom is a mess? Try using the trashcan...the customers made this mess...not the wait staff! And look at the mess you made at your table...is this how you eat at home? Who cleans up after you there? Do you bitch at the cashier at the grocery store because you had to wait in line to pay for your groceries? Do you bitch at your doctor because you had to wait to get into the office to see him/her? After all, you did have a "reservation". Some of you people really need to chill the f*@k out!! I try to anticipate your every want/need. I bring extra napkins with the food, bring a to-go box when I see that you are finished eating...etc. Yes, I come by a few times to check on you...how else do you expect me to be able to read your mind, if I don't know what's going on a t your table. I know what you ordered, I'm not auctioning off your food. I'm doing everything except feeding the food to you. yet, you still think 10% is a good tip. If you want me to make a decent wage without you having to tip, the price of your food is going to double. That's the system...live with it or stay home!! January 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply • Lifelong Server Bitter Much?? As a former kitchen manager, you are an insult to the business. Customers are the reason you have a job. Learn to deal with them or quit. Bitching about where your paycheck comes from is idiotic at best. Have you ever heard the phrase "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Clearly not. Grow up. January 16, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply • devilmonkey1192 I think this server is making some valid points. Servers are oppressed on a daily basis to their opinions and feelings and almost always have to deal with the crap that some customers bring to them without losing their temper as waitstaff. I think almost all of these comments on here are trying to rationalize it too much and about 75% of the people on these forums have never worked in the customer service industry. It is a VERY hard industry to work in where you deal with people who are complete dicks to people who are so nice you'd give them any attention they needed. Rule of thumb as a customer: You are not the only one having a bad day almost 99% of the time, especially on a Friday. Think about how your behavior reflects on waitstaff behavior. How YOU treat others is how YOU will be treated(this is an inevitable life-long lesson, and so cliche yet necessary); waitstaff are just much more discrete a lot of the time in how they treat you back. I guarantee you if you start off very friendly and welcoming of your own presence (treat yourself as the guest and not the waitstaff), you almost most the time will get a much better experience. I have waited tables and every occasion a customer was being a dick, I would just give them less attention, I guarantee you I don't want to see you again; most waitstaff could give less of a f*ck if you return. Rule of thumb for a waiter: You need to be intuitive. If you are, learn how to be f*cking intuitive. The food industry is all about reading customer's reactions, faces, and interactions, not their mind. I was surprised by some of the people that came through the doors at the restaurant I worked at. Most local businesses have it worked out when it comes to customer service, almost every local business I go to the owner is very adamant of the service they provide and who they have on the floor working for them; they want to have the best image. But many restaurants still fail to get decent waitstaff, which in a lot cases, many lower-income workers have a hard time getting other jobs, so it is just inevitable you are going to interact with one of them. The poor waitstaff choices reflect DIRECTLY on the owner and management. If you think the waiter is truly that bad, then DON'T go back. Easy enough. MOST places are very concerning of their customers and will give you a refund and/or replace your food. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT. Waiters could give less f*cks about replacing your food, it's about whatever makes you happy enough to give them a decent tip. Bad food is on the kitchen and management/owner, not the waitstaff. If your food comes out cold, it's because either management sucks and there aren't enough people helping out to run food, or the kitchen is just incompetent. A lot of you should seriously go f*ck yourself. Americans are f*cking warriors to the food industry. Relentless, yet they wonder why they experience such unexceptional scenarios on both sides. Eating out is a privilege that many people take advantage of. SERIOUS FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS UP IN THIS B*TCH. Control your a**. P.S. Of course you are going to see waiters reach out on here, it's because this is the one place they aren't being oppressed by your fat american a$$.

May 4, 2013 at 2:58 am | Reply
• taco bender

I would make you cry and quit if you waited on me. Get another job loser.

January 16, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
• ChiTown Gal in Houston

You seem to be quite unclear about something. Patrons do not HAVE to tip wait staff. It is a matter of choice and in response to service received. If you need to make more money, seems as though you should have made the life choices that would have lead you down a different career path. If it is such a pain in your azz to do the things restaurant workers are expected to do, find another industry.

January 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Reply
• Douche Bag

You obviously need to be in another type industry cause you don't like what goes on in the one you're presently in.

January 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
• jft

YOU are the problem, and you're too arrogant to realize it.

January 31, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
12. southern cooking

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January 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Reply
13. PRT

Having a waiter be snarky when I don't order an alcoholic beverage. No, I am not unable to make a decision. No, I am not so uninformed nor is my palate so poor that I am incapable of making a pairing. Some times people don't want a cocktail. Don't be pushy. It's ugly.

January 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
14. GiGi Eats Celebrities

As long as the food is OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS, the service is decent and I don't get sick... I don't care if the restaurant is slightly dirty, LOL... Is that bad?

January 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
• Alicia

For me, that depends. If it's a little dirty on the floor but the sanitation score is still decent, I'll eat there. If the sanitation score is under 90, I probably won't – no matter how good the food is.

January 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
15. Besito57

There are turnoffs large and small, but for ANY service establishment, I am immediately turned off walking up to it and seeing employees out front smoking.

January 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
16. joe

I'd have to say, either odd tasting water, or getting the main course immediately after the appetizer are my biggest issues I notice. Also, ridiculously small tables, if you cant fit the bread in-between a table of 2 there's something wrong!

January 10, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
• Capt. Obviousman

Yep. You're in the wrong restaurant buddy.

January 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
17. Helen

I can't stand loud music or television, but worst of all are the places with multiple tv sets tuned to multiple stations and often combined with "background music" and video games. I refuse to patronize these places.

January 10, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply
18. Brian

One time in an upscale restaurant I was seated so as to see past the server's counter to the kitchen entrance. The big burly chef came and stood by the door and proceeded to pull his shirtsleeve up and pop a zit on his shoulder.... left the remainder of my meal, no tip and never returned. Restaurant closed about a year later. I wonder why...

January 10, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
19. charles2

I have trouble at well known fast food places where we are almost forced to eat at on the road, that you cannot get out of the restroom without touching the door handle, they have a blow dryer and a sign saying "all employees must wash hands," but here, you must touch this bathroom door handle to get out, and then the well trained employee makes my food with the gloves on and then makes change with the same gloves on, we are not safe eating out.

January 10, 2013 at 5:11 am | Reply
20. Gloria

Drited grit on glasses, plates and utensils because the dishwasher is not properly cleaning and rinsing them. I don't enjoy drinking or eating anything served on basically dirty dishes anytime and especially during flu season..

January 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Reply
• crazyvermont

I've worked as consultant in restaurant wolrd for close to twenty five years and the first place I go when entering is to the restroom.....find that dirty, and I run, not walk out of the establishment.

January 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
21. Annonymouns

Staff that appear to be unclean or sloppily dressed makes me wonder about the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the food.

January 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Reply
22. k

- Not enough cheese will ruin anything and is usually a management decision instead of a mistake.

- Not buttering and grilling buns. If you dont grill a hamburger bun you have no business running a restaurant, its simple and easy and theres no excuse other than ignorance, which must mean the food sucks since its such a basic fundamental that even Mcdonalds does. Its stupid to even have to say that but Ive been to places that served burgers on cold plain buns.

- If the food comes from a grocery store. Grocery store food is subquality and is something I can make myself for a fraction of the cost. If I go to a restaurant/deli I want high quality food sourced from butchers/bakeries/fishmarkets, not a factory. Luckily almost all restaurants get food from good suppliers since its just easier to have things mailed, but Ive been to some ghetto places that you could tell was just crap from Walmart like Tyson chicken.

January 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
• CowardlyNewWorld

Let us not forget that when you walk into a restaraunt, they better have the silk towels in the bathroom stalls and an attendant to clean you. REALLY?!?! Learn to cook.

January 10, 2013 at 10:24 am | Reply
• lol

congratulations on the most off topic reply ever

January 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
• Not K.......

Not enough cheese?? Really?? What an idiot. Also, most eateries get their food from a supplier. Those that can afford to buy locally do but then have to charge prices that keep the average consumer out of their establishment.

January 16, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
• sumersun1986

i HATE to be the one to burst the bubble you are obviously blissfully inhabiting, "k," but most American restaurants source their food and other supplies from a major chain supplier like Sysco, FSA, etc. if you're searching for fresh, local produce, you better hope you really know where you're eating–many places are getting into this restaurant trend, but it's still unaffordable and largely unattainable for many US eateries. Also, I don't know of any restaurant, ever, that has their produce/supplies "mailed" to them–unless we're talking a super remote location. Even the ones that source locally are getting vehicular deliveries.

January 20, 2013 at 3:38 am | Reply
• jft

Your Majesty, I hate to inform you that most restaurants get their food from suppliers like Sysco, the empire of preprocessed foods. They do not go out in the pearly dawn, picking dew covered produce from organically grown plants, and the animals that are made into meat do not cavort in green fields until the axeman cometh. Research is your friend.

January 31, 2013 at 9:31 am | Reply
23. Jaime D

Sticky, dirty tables/booths are huge turn off. Sure it Sticky surfaces, edges, booths and crumbs or fries in the booths grosses me out. The dining room is the main showroom of an establishments cleanliness. If the dining room is less than sparkling, I cringe at the thought of what lurks in the kitchen.

January 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
24. Berk Demirbulaki

I don't know what everyone is complaining about. I like a little jizz in my food. Makes it tangy.

January 9, 2013 at 10:24 am | Reply
25. LightOne

Yeah...hair is why I stopped eating at Carls Jr. and IHOPS. Hair nets, people. Use them.

I work at Costco and if I set a single foot into their food areas, even to quickly check temperatures (takes 5 seconds), I HAVE TO put on a hair net. Why can't all food establishments be like that?

January 9, 2013 at 9:21 am | Reply
• taco bender

I wish Costco would get a 5 or less lane.

January 9, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
26. sonas76

After college, I worked for several years in a busy restaurant. We had a reputation for being a very clean, family place. Our clientele were were very middle class, white collar, and tended to be family groups and older people.

Which brings me to the subject of bathrooms.

We never had over-flowing garbage, dirty toilets, etc. The front staff checked on the bathrooms constantly. Trust me, we had to. Just a few weeks into my job I really, really wanted to know what some of the guests bathrooms looked like back home.

One of the strangest things I ever saw was the day we had a 20+ lunch group of retired teachers come in for a get together. Out of the three ladies stalls, 1 contained soiled underwear, another, a thrown adult diaper. And yes, I could trace it right back to this well dressed, seemingly civilized group.

I have seen many things I cannot even describe, or would want to. Of the things I can: Thrown urinal cakes, adult diapers left on floors (many times), children's diapers left on floors, sinks, and other stranger places, underpants (both sexes), spanx, girdles, pantyhose, what appeared to be a crack pipe, mounds of paper towels left in front of an empty trash can, several hair weaves, people who brushed their teeth and got it all over the sink and mirror, used dental floss, bushels of feminine hygeine produts, wads of chewing tobacco, etc., etc.

Is it so hard to use a trash can?????

January 9, 2013 at 8:37 am | Reply
• Shawn

Pretty funny that women are far nastier than men. The worst thing you will see in a mens bathroom is poop or pee on the toilet seat.

January 10, 2013 at 7:17 am | Reply
• biff mcguzzle

I have seen feces smeared on bathroom walls. ( I worked in restaurants for many years. ) Usually, the worst cases are when you get unattended seniors of limited capacity in the rest rooms.They get stuck and don't know what to do. Their chaperones who are dining outside look at this as their chance to let someone else deal with it.Then there was the time that a lady started changing her baby's diaper right on her dinner table in a crowded dining room. Yumm!

January 10, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
27. Colleen

Let me tell you why we paid for our drinks and then walked out of a restaurant the other night without eating there. First, we walk in, and are told we were looking at a 20 to 30 minute wait. I look into the dining room and find that there are 7 empty tables. Understandable to have to wait if they actually took reservations, but they don't. So, we're crammed into a tiny little space along with about 15 other people waiting for a table. Being January in Minnesota, it was far too cold to wait outside, and even if we do, this restaurant doesn't issue a pager – they yell out your name. So, we wait, and sweat with everyone else, in our winter coats and scarves. Finally, after what feels like a lifetime, we are seated at a table, and the hostess mumbles something at us about our waiter/waitress, and scurries off. After viewing the menu for about 5 minutes our waitress comes over, and tries to sell us a margarita. We order our drinks (not margaritas...) and by the time she leaves to fetch the drinks, my sinuses are on fire and I have a headache, because her perfume was so heavy ( tip: spraying on a ton of perfume does NOT make the cigarette smell better!). We paid for our sodas with the manager, and walked out. We went from there to another restaurant, and after some feesh air to make my head stop hurting, enjoyed a nice meal. Never going back there. Manager seemed completely confused about why anyone would complain about perfume on a waitress... They lost our sale, and any future ones from us. We won't go back!

January 9, 2013 at 7:51 am | Reply
28. Spook89

Manager hitting on the company! Whether it's a spouse, date or friend, I'm sure none at the table welcome it.

January 9, 2013 at 3:45 am | Reply

I treat servers well and I can't recall the last time I had bad service. This is really picky, but I do hate it when I take a bite of something and the waiter comes up and asks me how everything is. I know they are just trying to be attentive, or at least appear to be attentive, but it is annoying.

January 9, 2013 at 2:50 am | Reply
• supaflyirl

Ever think of giving a thumbs up or something and calming down? I'm pretty sure they're not planning their moves around the restaurant based on who is chewing and who isn't.

January 9, 2013 at 3:37 am | Reply
• Thomas

I don't know about that. Sometimes their timing is is pretty good. :)

January 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
• CaliforniaGirl

I have to laugh. Back in high school some friends of mine worked as waitresses and they ALWAYS asked how everything was when the customer had just taken a bite. That way it's a) funny and b) since they don't get an answer, they don't have to do anything. Friend number 2 is now a lawyer.

January 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
• Krystal

Thats funny I actually try to make sure the customer is not chewing so that I can make sure they are happy, and when I can, I check in with them when they have had atleast a few bites rather than one.

April 12, 2013 at 12:12 am | Reply
30. Kelly

I realize that all it takes is one customer to make a clean restroom not clean, so I don't expect a restroom to be perfect. But, I do expect that when you let someone know that bathroom supplies are out - no soap, no paper towels, no toilet paper - that it will be taken care of promptly. One reasonably expensive restaurant I dined at was out of both soap and paper towels, and used towels were spilling out of the overflowing trash can. When I asked for soap and towels to be replenished, they said they would. I was going to wait, but they said it would take a couple minutes. When I went back and it still wasn't done, they told me that the person with the keys to the closet with the supplies was on the day shift and there would be no soap or paper towels!!!! Where were the employees washing their hands?!

January 9, 2013 at 1:59 am | Reply
• Shawn

Yeah that's pretty gross. I know when I worked as a cook in college that whenever I used the bathroom, I would wash my hands like a maniac, and would even put on a show of it if other customers were using the bathroom to show how important having clean hands were to me. Just rinsing off your hands in water doesn't do the trick when you have to handle other peoples food, and customers don't know that if there wasn't any soap there, there was always soap near the sink in the kitchen.

January 9, 2013 at 2:06 am | Reply
• Good for you!

You know, I used to think that finding a hair in my food would be the ultimate restaurant turn-off, but staff not washing their hands after using the bathroom is about the grossest it gets! I actually saw this once in an upscale restaurant. Unfortunately, my husband and I had already finished our meal, so walking out didn't have any impact. You can bet we never went back though and I also told friends about it. I imagine lots of people had similar experiences as the restaurant went out of business about a year later.

January 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
• John

The old " don't have the keys" routine ..I don't buy it ..Keys should be in the kitchen or back room ..Poor excuse to me ..

January 9, 2013 at 6:47 am | Reply
31. Paul S

Hate it when I get hot food delivered on a ice cold plate (nothing cools faster than broiled fish). ...... Or the opposite, such as a salad placed on a hot plate that must have come right out of the dishwasher.

January 9, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
32. Kat

Having been in the customer service field for the last 13 years please do all of us a favor and just stay home. I have come across many customers who are ignorant and arrogant. Wait staff ARE SERVERS NOT SERVANTS. We are not hired to be treated like lower then life pieces of crap because you think you are better then we are. If you think it is so easy to wait tables then please prove it. If you think it is easy to run a restaurant then open one. It is easy for you to sit on your butt and complain about how you think something should be done then to get of your butt and do the job. This comment goes for every service industry from restaurants to Walmart. Its not easy having to listen to people complain about petty little things. We can not spend time sitting in a bathroom waiting for the next person to miss the garbage can or pee on the toilet seat, you complain if we clean or if we don't, you complain about how often we do or don't come by your table. Your life must be every sad when nothing seems to make you happy. The next time you step foot in a store, hotel or restaurant try for once to smile and be nice. Starting off with a smile and being nice will get you a lot further with those in the service industry then walking around like you are better then me.

January 9, 2013 at 1:12 am | Reply
• Shawn

That's your job, Kat. You chose to do it. Everyone deals with stuff they don't like within their job, part of working you know. Without customers, even the ones yo u dont like to deal with, you wouldn't have that job.

January 9, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
• chelle chelle

i completely agree with you..i work as a customer service agent..i have nothing but the out most respect for waitstaff and cleaning staff..as well as anyone that deals with the public on a customer service like level..we are the "bottom feeders" of the industry..well at least we're made to seem that way...told that our jobs are easy..that anyone could do our jobs..being told "i am the customer i am right..listen to me complain about xyz..not let you get a word in edgewise to explain why..and then tell you how stupid you are"..we work in an industry that no one should make a career of...we're single parents..working through school..surviving...show some respect and you'll be surprised at the customer service you'll recieve..two side notes...ive credited an account simply due to the fact that the customer was kind..and sweet...and treated me with respect. AND another side note..if you hit a random number..ie 0 thru an ivr..and get to the wrong department without hitting the prompt you need to get to..and being told you need to hold for another 20mins because you knowingly chose the wrong department assuming a live voice will trump a wait time..don't yell at the agent...its not their fault..its yours :P

January 9, 2013 at 1:43 am | Reply
• Chris

Forget what Shawn said – he was just being an ass. Even though I am not a waiter, you are absolutely right. Thanks.

January 9, 2013 at 1:54 am | Reply
• Shawn

lol way to name call, shows how you don't have an actual argument.

Kat, everyone should be polite. If I have a problem with a waitress/waiter, I politely inform them why I am unhappy. Most of the time they fix the problem. Sometimes you get someone who is a malcontent who doesn't care, and lets you know he doesn't care. That's when you contact the manager.

I no longer eat out simply because I can cook better at home than anything I have eaten out, and I don't have to worry about bad service.

January 9, 2013 at 1:57 am | Reply
• Susie

And you have done the service industry a favor by staying home. Thank you.

January 10, 2013 at 9:51 am |
• Ian

I read this: "That's your job, Kat. You chose to do it." Then I wrote : "What a Dick head." I should point out that precious few actually "choose" a job, they get what they can where they can, and those with the luxury of picking and choosing usually don't have 'jobs', they have 'callings'. I should also point out that it is rude to demean another if they have done no wrong, moot in your case given your crass opinion.

January 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
• rob

Listen, people pay good money to go out. The restaurant is an entertainment device, and the server is the one who should direct that experience – they control the entire experience. Now, if the customer orders a burger, they should not expect a steak, that much is for certain, but the server should treat the experience as if the customer did get a steak – get it. Serve the coffee with elegance, as if it were wine. The server is the difference between the customer returning or not, and for that matter, the server will be the reason the ratings are high – not the food, nor manager.

I went to a 5 guys, ordered a bacon cheeseburger, they forgot the cheese, no problem with that. The problem was how they wanted to rectify it. They proposed to hand me a melted piece of cheese on a plate. Now, who is arrogant huh.

I did the fast food thing, ordered Arby's, and when I ordered potato cakes well done and got them cold, the attendant replied "They are well done enough"

I have watched cooks drop porterhouse steaks on the disgusting kitchen floor at Bob Chinn's crab house – as I used to work in the kitchen there – and then the manager directed that the steak be placed back in the oven, and thus served. By the way, that manager is still there after 16 years – go figure.

When you are dropping "money", you should expect at a minimum of what the restaurant claims to do as a business. serve food, hopefully clean and healthy.

Hot food should be hot
Cold food should be cold
The wait staff beyond pleasant – even in the midst of the most difficult customers

And yes, they are paying YOU to be the servant for that experience – some customers are high maintenance, and some are easy and fun.

When you use the word server it makes me think YOU are ONLY expecting to do the absolute minimum for the maximum buck, which would be, take their order, drop their food, say goodbye, and at the price of food these days, especially at mid-range restaurants you bet your @ss that the experience better be good, as it may be the difference between you being employed or not.

Take that...

January 9, 2013 at 2:11 am | Reply
• BB

I don't think you understand the comment. You're probably a nice respectful person when you go out to eat, and you seem to understand good SERVICE, the type of service most servers try to provide. There are certain guests who come in to restaurants expecting bad service. These people, no matter how nice you are and no matter how excellent your service is, will tip only 10% regardless and will be dicks to you throughout the entire course of their meal. These are the people that need to stay home

January 9, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
• amyblankenship

No, these are the people that mean that waitstaff should always be paid at least minimum wage, so if you get a tip, great, and if you don't at least there's a "floor" to what you can make. When waitstaff are paid less than minimum wage, they are forced to make decisions on which customers to spend time on so they can make a living, and this is not to the benefit of the staff, the customer, OR the restaurant.

January 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
• Shawn

What's wrong with 10% tip? It's funny how the EXPECTED tip has doubled in my life time.

January 10, 2013 at 7:20 am |
• biff mcguzzle

I can tell you what is wrong with a 10% tip. Say I serve a party of four at my restaurant and their bill gets up to $200. I have put in a lot of work for that 200 check. I do my own bartending, their meal would include an appetizer course ,a dinner course, and a dessert course for a$200 check. At my restaurant, the kitchen gets 3% of my sales and the bussers get 2%. So that means out of 10% tip of $20 I am tipping out$6 to the kitchen and $4 to the bussers right off the top. That leaves me with$10. Now, Uncle Sam wants his bite. After that I am left with $7 for waiting on four people for two hours. That$200 is one fourth of my sales on an average night, so if everybody tipped like that I would make $28 dollars for the night in tips.If someone stiffs me, and you do get people who are so cheap that they manufacture some outrage so that they don't have to tip, then I get to pay everyone out of my own pocket. Yes, I lose money. One time I had a bunch of Germans staying at my hotel and they were signing their bills to a master account. They rang up a$2000 check and stiffed me. My boss wouldn't add a tip to the check so it cost me $90 for the pleasure of waiting on them all night. I have one family in mind as I talk about this. Nobody wants to wait on them because theytip so poorly, but I take them all the time because it is a$200 check for the restaurant every time and I don't want my bosses to suffer because the wait staff drove these guys out. I give'em great service and they like me. I have got the guy almost up to 15% now, but I don't do it because of an extra $5 or whatever it is. Some people just don't have money. I have waited on high school couples and I know I am not going to make anything, but I do whatever I can to make them feel special and not out of place. I remember what it was like to be 16 years old and finally got a date with Cynthia. Sometimes old people just don't have money.These people make up a small percentage of lousy tippers. Most of them are just cheap f*#ks who like to treat waitstaff with little respect.They never hesitate to say things to me that they would never dream of saying to another person. Somewhere along the line, it became OK to go completely crazy if your steak was undercooked, as though it was some sort of conspiracy and I just insulted your mother's honor. Then there are the people that treat you like you are a simpleton. Many of the people I have worked with over the years are highly intelligent, as am I. Statistically speaking, in any room of under 100 people, I am the smartest one in the room. I have a 140 IQ, but people assume that I am a dolt because I work as a server. I wish I had a dollar for every moron of a guest that I had to carry through a meal. January 10, 2013 at 8:48 am | • Ian biff: I have put in a lot of work for that 200 check And you got paid by your employer. It is not your party's fault you were paid a waiter's wage instead of a lawyer's, because you're a waiter, not a lawyer. Lawyers put in thousands of hours of schooling, article, and generally work very hard for their good pay, playing with people's lives and destinies, and have no problem dropping a couple C's on dinner especially if they are expensing clients. Waiters occasionally finish high school, watch a 10-minute video on food safety and carry plates to tables – not exactly law school, but for some reason they can't determine why they are not as well paid and apparently feel quite jealous. Please move on, you're whining about your lot, and it's not your party's fault. January 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm | • symone says absolutely positively agree 100%, and well-said i had a similar sentiment, but apparently it is awaiting moderation. "iif you don't like your job, go get another job. do not come to work with an attitude that assumes your customers think they are better than you ..." etc. January 9, 2013 at 9:56 am | Reply • Skye2008 Agree with you 100%. January 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply • danb We all work to live. In Some jobs you deal with people, In some you dont. No matter which, you better care for what you are doing. In this economy everybody is struggling, So why would I spend my hard earned money at a place where nobody cares? It is OK to badmouth a few customers who are bad apples, but to say you dont care?? If Enough people think that it is not worth going to a particular place or eating out, restarants will close down and people lose jobs. January 9, 2013 at 3:14 am | Reply • John That's your job Kat ..If you feel used and abused buy too many nasty customer's- well quit ..Get in another line of work it's soooooo bad ..Too many servers feel that everyone who comes through to door is automatically GOING to be nasty and complain about everything ..Doesn't work like that ..Get yourself a job @ Walmart – the night shift- so you won't have to deal with people .. January 9, 2013 at 6:56 am | Reply • BT Just because she works in the restaurant industry doesn't mean her 'job' is to take sh!t from arrogant pr!cks like you. Courtesy and respect go both ways. You expect it when you walk into the restaurant. Why is is unthinkable that the waitstaff would expect the same from you? January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply • symone says you seem extremely bitter and angry, and i would be greatly surprised if you give friendly helpful, prompt and thorough service, given your assumption that those upon whom you wait may be thinking they are better than you are. given the rest of your comments, i'd posit that you are treated poorly by your customers because you treat them poorly. this is a cause and effect that you might do well to study. surprisingly, most people who walk into your restaurant *have* eaten at other restaurants previously and *do* have standards that they like to see met by those bringing their food. clearly you are not meeting them ... and not just for one person. for enough people that you can't stand your job, and can't stand your customers. maybe you resent the fact that being a server is at the low end of the work totem pole. if that's the case, find another line of work. maybe you think your'e too good to be waiting on these people who are no better than you are; yet somehow they have secured lines of work that are lucrative enough for them to come to your place of employ and be waited upon by you. therefore, you might consider finding another line of work, one for which you may be more suited. i've waited tables before. if you give good service you generally get good tips. if you come to work with a resentful attitude, are rude, have a chip on your shoulder, it's a good bet you'll suck at your job and then you get few or no tips. bottom line, in case you missed my suggestion, you need to find another line of work. it is not healthy to work in a job where you hate what you do and hate those with whom you interact. there must be something you can do that doesn't make you and all around you miserable. life is too short for you to live that way. January 9, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply • symone says trying this again: you seem extremely bitter and angry, and i would be greatly surprised if you give friendly helpful, prompt and thorough service, given your assumption that those upon whom you wait may be thinking they are better than you are. given the rest of your comments, i'd posit that you are treated poorly by your customers because you treat them poorly. this is a cause and effect that you might do well to study. surprisingly, most people who walk into your restaurant *have* eaten at other restaurants previously and *do* have standards that they like to see met by those bringing their food. clearly you are not meeting them ... and not just for one person. for enough people that you can't stand your job, and can't stand your customers. maybe you resent the fact that being a server is at the low end of the work totem pole. if that's the case, find another line of work. maybe you think your'e too good to be waiting on these people who are no better than you are; yet somehow they have secured lines of work that are lucrative enough for them to come to your place of employ and be waited upon by you. therefore, you might consider finding another line of work, one for which you may be more suited. i've waited tables before. if you give good service you generally get good tips. if you come to work with a resentful attitude, are rude, have a chip on your shoulder, it's a good bet you'll [not excel] at your job and then you get few or no tips. bottom line, in case you missed my suggestion, you need to find another line of work. it is not healthy to work in a job where you hate what you do and hate those with whom you interact. there must be something you can do that doesn't make you and all around you miserable. life is too short for you to live that way January 9, 2013 at 9:57 am | Reply • Me You are so wrong. You are there to serve us, not to treat us like crap. If you don't like the job – get an education and do something else. You can't complain about the customers when you are in "Customer" service. Grow up. January 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Reply • BB Do you really think that most of us aren't persuing an education while serving? Most of us are full time restaurant employees AND full time students. Not everyone can go through 4 years + of college living off of mommy and daddy's paycheck. January 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply • fyi yes people should stay home because then youd have to find another job after the restaurant closes, or maybe you thought the restaurant would keep paying you without customers? January 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply • Chuckit True, Some customers act like dicks the moment they sit down. I never act like that because I don't want a disgruntled waiter or cook spitting in my food lol. Smile and go with the flow, If it is that bad, leave...not so complicated. January 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply • Oscar B. A MEN KAT !!!!! :) and to those who say just do your job how would you like us to come to your job and complain about every little thing you do? Sometimes we are busy on the phone at my job because customers want to tell you their life after they complain about being on hold too long! Get my point? Don't mess up the bathroom when you go, don't tell your life story once you finally get though off of hold, be nice smile, tip more than$5 bucks!!! Just before you complain about anything put yourself in the service persons' shoes, do they seem like they are trying? Are they going through things at home? Do they make enough to give a SH#% about you or your petty complaint? Can you cook for yourself? Can you book your own airport shuttle? Would you want them making your job worse? If there is something wrong with the food they will replace it so don't be a jerk about it everyone makes mistakes!

January 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply
• Alicia

Kat.. the field is customer SERVICE. I too have worked in customer service, and customers are expecting 100% from me 100% of the time, and guess what? That's what they're paying for. That's what I am being paid to do. Are customers obnoxious? Yes. Is being screamed at and cussed out over some tiny detail irritating? Yes, it's happened to me a lot of times. Is working a ton of overtime for substandard pay and getting treated like crap just awful? Yes. Do the customers still deserve to get good service? Yes. If you aren't willing to work hard to make the most obnoxious customers happy, even when they're constantly on your case, you should work in a field that doesn't interact with the public much, such as hotel housekeeping, janitorial work, laundry services, etc. Some of those even pay more than waitressing does, and trust me – having worked in several hotels, hotels are constantly hiring housekeepers. There is a lot of turnover in that field, at least at the places I have been.

January 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
33. Canderson

My biggest pet peeve is to sit down at a restaurant and find that they just wiped the table and streaks of water are sitting on the table. For some reason, they then set your napkin on top of this water. Often they do this in front of you because "someone forgot to wipe the table". I will quite often just get up from the table and eat elsewhere.

January 9, 2013 at 12:47 am | Reply
34. Bill Lavery

Server handles the drinks with fingers on the brim. That is like putting their fingers in your mouth. I see this a lot.

January 9, 2013 at 12:40 am | Reply
35. Hockey Fan

When the waiter stabs me in the hand with a fork, now that's BAD service. Brooklyn, New York: I asked the waiter for a napkin because I have some sticky substance on my hand. He's setting the table, doesn't listen to me and doesn't care to move while I show him my dirty hand. Got the sharp prongs right in the hand. He was completely oblivious to everything the whole evening.

January 9, 2013 at 12:40 am | Reply
• supaflyirl

If a waiter is setting a table, putting food down, taking dirty plates away. DON'T MOVE. How difficult is that? Did you feel the need to wave your hands around while the table was being set to demonstrate to the server that your hand was sticky? Like they're too dumb to figure out "My hand is sticky, I need a napkin." from the words alone?

January 9, 2013 at 3:45 am | Reply
• Ian

What kind of chump has the stones to actually sit down at a dirty table then demand it be cleaned? Who the hell are you?

January 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Reply
36. Mark Beasley

Restaurant owners: turn the hot water on. The last thing customers want to do after enjoying a nice meal is to culminate the experience with a cold, contemptuous blast of ice while washing their hands. As the ESPN spot says, "Come on, man!"

January 9, 2013 at 12:36 am | Reply
37. ohsnap

Restaurants that put that butcher paper over the tablecloths. WHY???? Immediately off my list.

January 8, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Reply
• Shawn

I would assume its to keep the tablecloths cleaner. Cleaners are expensive and can run a business hundreds of dollars a day.

January 9, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply
38. bob aussie

Surprised that none of these "go to people on Twitter" mentioned that bad food was an issue. As the bible states that a multitude of sins can be forgiven with charitable works, so can a lot of nasty things at a restaurant can be overlooked if the food is good.

January 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Reply
39. cacique

Eating at home beats eating at the best restaurants, a high price does not warrant a good service, nor a good portion of tasty well prepared food. Sad but true.

January 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Reply
40. cacique

..and then there are those Parisian waiters, I wonder how many of them have cought their noses in the ceiling fans.

January 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Reply
41. Janet

I worked as a server/dining room capt. for several yrs.in fine dining . My biggest pet peeve is guests who order their meats well done and then complain that it is tough and "chewy".

January 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Reply
• Nate

If you can't cook meals well done without burning it then find a new career! I'm a novice cook and I can do it so why can't a professional chef?

January 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Reply
• Canderson

Well done and you can't make it tender? Then you are not a chef... just a "cook". "Well done" means no red in the center.. a little pink is fine.... the cut should still be tender and juicy, yet fully cooked. Learn how to do this, because more and more people are ordering meats cooked more thoroughly these days due to health concerns. I suggest you find a top chef and ask how it's done. Swallow your pride a bit and you'll come out a winner.

January 9, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply
• JJB

I'm with ya here. Ive been a fine dining server for 15 years. Only about 10% of people order their steak WD. Its just a bad idea. BTW, a chef doesn't cook steak.

January 9, 2013 at 2:02 am | Reply
• Michael

I don't know if your statistics are correct, but if they are, I would bet that so few people ask for well done steak because so few cooks seem to have a clue about cooking a well done steak. It isn't hard to do–I do it all the time. Any cook who can't do this needs another job.

January 9, 2013 at 3:23 am | Reply
• supaflyirl

No, it's because if you need your steak well done you should probably just order a hamburger.

January 9, 2013 at 3:47 am |
• Michael

I'm sorry, but that is just plain ridiculous. I cook steak probably once a week, I cook my steaks well done, and they come out perfectly every time. EVERY TIME. Any "cook" who can't cook a well done steak isn't a cook. If I can do it, a professional cook should be able to do it. And don't give me some crap about "the meat is supposed to be pink." You aren't the one eating it, so stop being so arrogant and cook it the way I asked or get another job.

January 9, 2013 at 3:20 am | Reply
• JMK

My experience is that in certain parts of the country, particularly in the southeast, meat is routinely over-cooked and over-salted. I speculate that this is because there were historically problems with quality, safety, and refrigeration, and a taste for over-cooked, over-salted meats developed in these regions for very practical reasons. When I visit these parts of the country, I always order it light on salt, and one shade more rare than I actually want. Ordering medium-rare has resulted in a good medium almost every time.

January 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Reply
42. C504

I read a bunch of these comments earlier today at work. And I noticed a lot of employees in the service industry getting very defensive in the wrong way over some of the complaints.

So I wanted to thank Shamrock for providing level-headed responses and even some suggestions for how to avoid some of the issues people were complaining about. I hope your employer knows what an asset you are! I would be thankful to be a customer where ever you work!

Thank you for your patience here today!

January 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
43. ala-kat

Up until a few years ago, I ate out ALL THE TIME. Yes, all the time.

It was very rare to come across hair in the food, and actually have no memory of that ever happening. The occasional dirty piece of silverware happens, A quick request will have that taken care of quickly.

Clean restrooms...is it not up to standards due a recent visit by a guest. If so then perhaps they've not a chance to address the issue. Or does it look like a bigger, ongoing issue? That would be a total turn off.

Service I want to be friendly, timely and the person to know the menu. If service is somewhat lacking, I try to see if it is because it is a busy time and they are short staffed, and still trying hard. Or are they standing around with their thumbs up their bottom and just lazy. I also know that I am going to want extra things...be it extra dressing, lemon, napkins, whatever...and am ready to convey that information all at one time.

The food...say I don't like a dish. Is it because the food really is gross, or is it just not to my liking. Certainly makes a difference. If the food is not to my liking, and I try again and it is still not to my liking, perhaps it is just me. I probably won't go back, but nor will I rake them over the coals for crappy food (especially when others enjoy it).

I don't require a lot, and I don't go looking for the negative, but I do take in the situation and try to evaluate on its merits. Some of the best meals I've had have been in dives, and some of the worst meals have been a high end places.

January 8, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Reply
44. bill davis

I'll none of us ever read any newspaper with mispelled words..and a few lies..

January 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
• Canderson

Don't respond to these posts while intoxicated. You didn't make a bit of sense.

January 9, 2013 at 12:40 am | Reply
• Bill Lavery

Did you purposely misspell the word misspell? Trying to be funny?

January 9, 2013 at 12:44 am | Reply
45. I Sit Corrected

Hair in food is rare or unnoticed. You may not order pasta or use the restroom. But when the staff is rude or inattentive, that is something that is an instant turn-off. Sometimes they're trying to be nice but are so forgetful or overworked and that is also a spoiler but not enough to never go back.

January 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Reply
• cust0m3r

A hair in food is rare or unnoticed? I don't think so. It happens often, and not many people eat the hair and don't notice they are doing it.

January 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
46. JoJo

The waitress ASKED for her tip. I won't go there again.

January 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Reply
• 1=>0

no kidding. A tip is EARNED, not OWED. The amount is based on overall experience, none of that "average is 15-20%" crap.

January 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
• supaflyirl

The government assumes you make at least 10% and taxes accordingly.

January 9, 2013 at 3:49 am | Reply
47. J

As a fine dining server of many years I agree that many of the things mentioned should never happen especially hair in the food, poor service and dirty restrooms. One of the best things about our job is the opportunity we have as servers to be kind, respectful and truly caring toward our guests. I am deeply gratified when I know that I have my guests experience memorable and exceptional. On the other hand, one of the most difficult things I face as a server is the rudeness of some people. I have actually been slapped in the face in front of the entire dining room by a guest. He had gone to the restroom and I cleared his plate which only had one tiny bite left on it. (His friends told he was finished) This is just one example of the outrageous things some people do to those of us who serve them. Please remember when dining out that kindness and courtesy goes both ways.

January 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Reply
• Dawn

Amen! I am not a server, but I have worked in customer service for MANY years. It is true that a lot of guests seem to think it is completely okay to treat the people serving them like less than human. I have been shoved, cussed out, and had someone actually put their finger in my face while screaming (to get their point across I guess). Most of these were a result of something that I had nothing to do with or were completely out of my control. Just as bad is when someone completely ignores you when you try to make polite conversation or simply ask "how was your visit today?" In general, everyone need to be more aware of how they treat one another.

January 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Reply
• Dusty

Absolutely unacceptable for someone to slap you in the face – no reason ever for that and if you didn't call the cops, at least I hope the restaurant manager had your back and personally escorted that @sshole out the door!!!!

January 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
• Ian

hear hear

January 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
• Unbelievable rudeness

Slapping a waiter or waitress is totally uncalled for in *any* circumstance! And certainly in this one, especially since the slapper's friends had said he was finished with his plate! I hope your manager was supportive. It is so true that *both* customers and wait staff need to be pleasant.

January 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Reply
48. vickeyd

Restaurants that have the ketchup/sugar and other condiments on the table, and the containers look as if they haven't been wiped or washed ever ! I use a napkin to handle them. Also, when the cook sets my dinner out under the warming lite, and I sit there and watch it sit there for 20 minutes ! I ordered Eggs benedict once, and when I was finally served, the sauce had gone cold and gelatinous.

January 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Reply

this place in anchorage has waitress that run and i mean run at full speed ... make u feel like u want to time them to see whose the fastest keeps u on edge.....

January 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Reply
50. lmpc

Oh, I forgot something! Any restaurant staff or kitchen staff wearing a filthy apron/tunic or seen running their hands through their hair or picking their fingernails will make me walk right out – never to return. It's just gross!

January 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
51. NacMom

Living in a smaller town in Texas, there are few opportunities for "Fine Dining". However, that does not excuse mediocre or poor service at even a chain restaurant. Nasty Bathrooms, Wait staff ignoring us, cups that stay empty, dirty tables...

January 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
52. lmpc

Of those choices you gave, four are equally offensive and #1 reasons I won't return: hair in the food, nasty smells, lazy/poor service, dirty restrooms. If the food is poorly prepared or not dealt with properly when (nicely) pointed out to staff, then I won't go back. Any restaurant given a chance to right a wrong that doesn't, won't get my continued patronage. Money is hard enough to earn – why waste it on an unsatisfactory dining experience?

January 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Reply
53. Mark Anderson

My worst experience.... I had been craving a lobster dinner for months, so I decided to visit a Mexican place nearby that served Puerto Neuvo style lobster. When my meal came I was so excited. I took one bite and the lobster was very dry and totally overcooked. I waited for the server to come back and told her the lobster was overcooked. She said "OH" and disappeared. I waited another 15 mins and no one came. Finally another waiter saw me just sitting there and not eating my food and came over and asked how everything was. I told him the lobster was overcooked and said "oh" and disappeared too, never to come back. I will NEVER EVER go back to that place.

January 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
54. Natn

Lots of flies ... in the winter. Where are they coming from????

January 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
55. Chris

Being held hostage when I'm ready to leave by a server that takes forever to bring the bill. Really, if they don't want to get paid, just tell me up front and I'll be happy to dine and not pay.

January 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
56. theo oconnell

I have worked in lots of resturants and I have also work as an exterminator. The filthiest resturants by far have always been those of Asian style foods. ANd of them the Indi and paki are the worst. Use far too much water when mopping.( perfect habitat for roches) Hot bins and cold bins with caked food residue around their edges. Crude caked in corners. You want a clean resturant? check the corners.

January 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Reply
57. Spam Eater

What about when thry take everyone's identical drinking glasses to the backroom to refill them instead of bringing out a pitcher. I imagine it's a kind of shell game trying to remember whose is whose.

January 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
58. Dekard

How about cleaning the seat and then wiping off the table with same towel. NASTY!

January 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
59. Meaty Portion

I'd say that lazy/poor/rude service is the worst because usually you will find all those other problems spring from the quality of service and the attitude of the staff.

January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
60. donjoy

when I go to a restsurant I request that NO other dishes be put on my plate with my food.you know like when they place a condement dish either on your plate or on your FOOD.That is what I think is a very dirty thing to do( I don't know where that dish has been) cause it's EASIER. That girl who said the waitress was eating her food,(UNREAL) but not surprising.

January 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply
• JJB

you are being silly. Ive been waiting tables for 15 years. This is not an issue, its in your head.

January 9, 2013 at 2:12 am | Reply
61. Star

I once had a cricket run accross my plate and I wasn't done eating. I literally jumped out of my seat! I brought this to the waiters attention and he did nothing, no comped food, and did not bring out a new plate of food. It was at a Mexican food chain restaurant and needless to say, I have never been back since. That was nearly 13 years ago.

January 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply
• JJB

If you're eating outside thats at your own risk. Cant control mother nature.

January 9, 2013 at 2:14 am | Reply
62. imuneek

Wobbly tables.
Skimpy napkins.
Dirty ketchup bottles, goopy dispensers, or otherwise grimy self-service areas.
Obvious pre-packaged food!!! The worst experience I had was ordering a bowl of "soup" from a venue. Right in front of me, the lady cuts open a plastic bag with scissors, slides a pile of glop into a bowl, and sticks it in the microwave. Yuck! I understand not all foodservice places can be bothered to assemble a dish from scratch, but if a place is going to charge me $20 for a glorified TV dinner, at least don't show me the carton. Also... SERVERS WHO HOVER! Sometimes, while at a restaurant, I would like the privacy of conversation with someone. Having the waitress stand around or keep visiting my table unnecessarily is annoying. Really all I need from you is a quick replacement ketchup/creamer/straws/fork, the drink refill, and the check. I don't need my napkin straightened, the rose petals rearranged, or my water glass topped off every 5 minutes, and doing so won't garner a bigger tip. January 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Reply • Beavis "... SERVERS WHO HOVER!"??? What about hoovers who sever? January 10, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply • Ian you posted with the wrong name . . . January 10, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply 63. Margie My pet peeves (and guarantees that I won't return) are cold and/or undercooked food and old, bitter coffee. The worst thing I experienced was watching the waitress eat food from my plate as she was approaching my table, saying "I just had to try that, it looks so good". No, I didn't eat there and have never been back. January 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply • Marc Latex gloves. Ever watch buffet servers or open-view kitchen workers wearing latex gloves? With gloves on, hands go into food bins, pieces pulled out and placed on sandwiches or pizzas, grab cabinet door handle, push glasses up nose, scratch nose, take another hoagie rolls, start a new sandwich, punch buttons on computer to verify order, adjust pants, scratch head, dig deep into meat and cheese bin, pickles on top. Gloves are never changed. Who are they fooling with this charade? Totally false illusions of hygience. Unless they change these gloves between each motion, they may as well use their clean bare hands and wash every two minutes. Latex gloves protect no-one. January 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply • JJB 15 years of restaurant experience. I would say 15% of cooks wear gloves in any situation. You know servers dont wear them. They handle your lemon in your water after handling cash or pick up the spoon for your coffee. Your food is often touched by many different bare hands before reaching your table. Thats reality. January 9, 2013 at 2:20 am | Reply 64. Mike servers and customers can both be slobs. servers and customers can both be rude. For all the complainers, if you think it is so easy to run a restaurant without complaints, try it. My biggest complaint as a fellow guest is the "guest" who cops an attitude of emphasizing the "servant" class of the waiter/waitress. The arrogant rudeness truly spoils my appetite. I have never worked in or owned a restaurant. January 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply 65. Yakobi #5. Salt. It's funny how most chefs have salted the heck out of food for so long, they no longer know what real food tastes like anymore. The customer can always add salt to his heart's [dis]content, but you can't UNsalt food! So, be kind–leave the salt on the shelf. #6. Pasta. Seriously? Who in their right mind orders pasta in a restaurant? It's got to be the easiest meal to make ever. Step 1: buy package of good pasta. Step 2: boil water. Step 3: cook pasta for X minutes. Done! The real trick is the sauce... January 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply • JJB ever had fresh pasta? January 9, 2013 at 2:21 am | Reply 66. Jack Wagon Meh. January 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply 67. Charlotte Poor service / bad treatment of customers is the worst. There was a place in Santa Fe where I live that had really, REALLY wonderful food. I loved so many things on their menu and the space was pleasant and comfortable. But the waitstaff were slow, forgetful, disinterested, and on three separate occasions my reservation was 'forgotten.' One was for a birthday dinner I had specifically discussed it with the reservation person on the phone, told her it was a special birthday dinner, and when we showed up – about two minutes before we were due – there was no table for us, there was a line of walk-ins going out the door and I was told that it didn't matter whether I had a reservation, all these people had been waiting in line and they would be seated first so I would have to wait about an hour and a half. I said, "No, I won't" and we turned around and left. Went to a restaurant across the way, which was also busy. I walked up to the maitre d' and asked how long the wait would be and told him what had just happened He found us a table immediately, apologized that we had to endure that, and even arranged for us to get a free dessert since it was my mom's birthday. Guess which restaurant I will go back to again and again and again. Their food is also spectacular, by the way. And I adore them :) January 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply • imuneek That is a perfect example of truly bad service. I don't expect people in waitstaff or customer service to fawn over their customers. Just... you know, treat them like Customers. Not like an inconvenience. I personally don't care if someone makes a mistake in the kitchen or got busy and forgot to come check on my beverage. But I will boycott people who are deliberately rude or indifferent. I won't pay hard-earned money for bad service. January 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply • Fiona Many years ago in San Francisco my then boyfriend and I arrived at a restaurant we loved (a North Beach Italian osteria) for our long-since reserved table...on Valentine's Day. The maitre'd told us our table wasn't ready, so we should wait. This was a very small place so we could see other people arriving and being seated as we waited and waited, and waited. The evil maitre'd smirked at us occasionally, but otherwise ignored us. I assume the guy wanted money, but that just wasn't going to happen. We ended up leaving, going home, having a big argument. I've run into things like that in years since, and I have no qualms about standing up to such ridicuous tinpot tyrants. But back then, though, I was the guest, on a date, and felt deeply insulted and embarassed. It was especially galling because I'd brought many people to tthat place before that, and had always recommended it to visitors. I doubt a restaurant could get away with too much of that in these days of social media and online user reviews. But i know it still goes on. Valentine's Day has to be the worst time to eat out, this shake-down nonesense being part of the reason. New Year's Eve can be just as bad. January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply 68. thor You people are so petty....and tiny. January 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply • Heady Like your Penis? January 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Reply 69. bob One time I had a server that did an excellent job and the food was great and I gave a good tip and did the survey and gave them a perfect score and went back and had great experience and did the same and I keep going back and life is just great!! January 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply • Marc What about having the restaurant RAFFLE off your food !? Your server takes orders from everyone at your table and appears to get it all correct, including seating postions. However, someone else from the kitchen actually delivers the food and has not been informed, or lazily doesn't take note of the position of each diner and ends up waving and passing dishes around. "Who had the medium steak with green beans??" as your plate is passed under several noses before ending up in front of you. Or worse, you're seated at a bar counter and your bartender takes your order, also seemingly competently enough, including your bar stool position, but again someone from the kitchen plunks your order down in front of the wrong guest who ends up staring at it for a few minutes, then the kitchen help says "oh not yours?" and moves it over a few stools. Next guest: "nope, I didn't order that!" Finally, the kitchen help bellows out "Who ordered the fajitas and Texas cheese fries?" at the top of their lungs. Hearing the commotion and onslaught of denials, you realize it's your dinner being raffled off and you raise your hand. Gross. Raffling off my dinner and failing to take food to the proper guest is just sloppy and careless service. This never happened in the days when you had one server attend to everything at one table, but with this new system of tag-team serving, the whole thing is a mess. January 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply • JJB Sadly you are misguided. This "usually" happens because of human error. Sometimes the waiter or food runner may get distracted on the way to a table and by the time he arrives its all forgotten. Or perhaps guests change seats,...there are many reasons why this could happen. I agree that it looks really bad, but its an understandable mistake. January 9, 2013 at 2:30 am | Reply • Maizey I agree with you. My husband and I and another couple dined at one of the Top Chef finalists restaurants. He came in 4th on one of the seasons. I can deal with the tiny food and the extremely expensive bill, we eat at fine dining restaurants often, but not one time during our extremely tiny, bland 5 course meal did anyone ever bring us the correct food to the correct person, nor did they care. If I was working for a potential$100 tip, I'd at least get the orders correct.

January 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
• Ian

I sat aghast once in "The Boathouse' on Granville Island in Vancouver as I watched our waitress take an order from a party of 12, for appetizers, main courses, and drinks IN HER HEAD and not make one mistake.

January 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
70. Dave58

What about these chains that won't take reservations. Instead they will show you how glad they are you came to eat there by handing you a flithy paging device that a hundred other people handled. Then they'll tell you it'll be 20 mins (turns out to be 40 mins) and the small waiting areas are full so you wait outside... in the winter!! Nice way to say thanks for coming here. Bring back reservations and clearly state that if the party is more than 5 mins late, the table is given away.

January 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Reply
• J

Restaurants that don't take reservations are "smart". 7 out of 10 people who make reservations do not show up (based on the fact that they called 4 other places and made the same reservation and decided where to go an hour before they left or can't show) or they show up late (which your "hold the table for 5 minutes" idea works until they arrive and are irate that their table has been given away when they "had reservations!!!") or they show up without everyone present and expect to be seated. The fact that people don't show up, are late, or aren't a full party costs restaurants (which are businesses) a lot of money. It wastes the time of the server (which has tables without people in them because they are holding the tables for the party), it wastes the time of the restaurant because they have tables that are empty that would otherwise be full, and it wastes the time of the other people waiting for tables, that couldn't be seated in "that empty table over there" because the restaurant is holding it for your party that won't show up.

Those are the true reasons why many restaurants don't, and should not, take reservations.

January 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
• Yakobi

That's why some places require a cc for a reservation. If you don't show up, you get billed.

January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Reply
• JMK

Then don't go back to Outback Steakhouse again.

January 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply
71. J

I've gone through 80% of these complaints and my brain now hurts. 85% of the things that people here are complaining about are not the fault of their Server (yes, Jrs, they are Servers, not Servants) Tables that move, dirty restrooms, under\over seasoned food. While I understand these complaints fully, I don't understand the reason many people automatically assume it's the fault of their server, and because of it should receive less of a tip. Why should someone who's doing their job and trying to meet your needs (no matter how obscure\obnoxious they may be) receive less of a tip because others haven't done their job? Most states pay WELL under minimum wage to "tipped staff". ($2.13\hr in GA,$2.83\hr in PA, $5.00\hr in NY just to name a few) Many of the service complaints are valid, yet not every complaint should apply to all servers. Just because you had a bad day or bad service last time, does not mean that your server this time should have to feel the wrath of you. Most servers are just "doing a job", there are, however, some servers that actually enjoy their job. With that said, nothing will make your server turn on you faster than a bad first impression. (don't be a d*ck) To those claiming racism, see my last statement. Whether you are purple, black, green, white, yellow, brown, turquoise or whatever "color" you want to complain about, be a decent human being and your service will improve. Yes, I know not everyone has this mindset, but MOST of the servers do. Look around the restaurant you're in next time you sit down, most of the staff are from various backgrounds and race. It's probably not the staff that has a problem with the color of their guest's (yes guest, not customer) skin. With all of this said, there are restaurants that charge too much, that are dirty, have staff members that are less than desirable. Stay away from them. STOP GOING BACK and looking for a reason to complain. Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. January 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply • Fiona If people heeded that last piece of advice they would never get on the Internet. Or play the lottery. January 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply • Brad seems to me the vast majority of people just like to complain. January 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Reply • ryanmmcdevitt Why should I be the one to compensate the servers for the restaurateurs that do not pay a fair wage?? I have traveled the world and the vast majority of places with the exception of good ol' America, do not practice tipping. I would love to see how many hospitality establishments would have to close their doors if they were to pay their staff a fair wage which they could live by without relying on gratuities. January 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply • John Best solution for you: move out of America. And if you're not American, please, go patronize your country's websites. I know, I know, all you envious foreigners who spend so much time on American news websites secretly wish they were living in America. So sorry for you. January 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply • Ian So I can go to Georgia and make two bucks an hour waiting tables? Where I live I pay more than 2 bucks an hour in taxes, and I really don't feel too eager to move to America, especially given my pay of less than a hun a week puts me in harms' way of degenerates with nothing better to do than randomly shoot dozens of people as has happened at least 4 times in recent memory – Virginia Tech, the Muslim soldier, the Batman premiere and the school kids. Not to mention the economic trainwreck that is America, the NRA and Homeland Security. Oh yeah, and posts like yours on CNN. Where do I sign up? Clown . . . January 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm | • supaflyirl Yeah I'm sure the whole industry is going to go right ahead and pay every employee 2-3 times as much money (assuming they just bump them up to minimum wage) and be just fine while servers work for minimum wage and no tips. Just so you can be cheap. Definitely going to happen. January 9, 2013 at 4:30 am | Reply 72. Pat Touching the rim of a glass or cup when serving is a huge turnoff. Waitstaff that grab glasses by the rim should be fired! January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply • Tom Even worse is when I was watching the prep cook making salad bare hands and I mean everything the cheese and all. When I said something to the manager he said that he can asure me that he has very clean hands, can you believe that one. January 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Reply • Bill No kidding! I, and a dinner companion, have spent the last 2 day with vomiting and diarrhea because someone in a restaurant kitchen didn't wash their hands after using the bathroom. The Health Dept thinks we have noro-virus. January 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Reply • Jill Well you obviously never worked in a kitchen most and I mean MANY upscale restaurants that ONLY wear gloves on health inspection day. I am not joking. Deal with it or prepare it YOURSELF> HAA January 8, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Reply • Frank I wonder if you ever make an insignificant, unintentional mistake like this at your job, if you would be okay if someone demanded that you be fired? Didn't think so. January 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply 73. Janice I find it disgusting to see someone wiping tables with the same towel repeatedly and also using it on the seats. Why can't they use paper towels? A dirty rag going from a table top to the seat to the next and the next................. GROSS! And how about all the condiment containers sitting around on the tables that never, ever, ever get cleaned???? January 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply • Billy Oh this is horrific. So gross. And it stinks like a old wet dirty sponge. That smell btw is from bacteria. January 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply • Susan - Canada I have a better one for you....a waitress in a restaurant we were in, was wiping tables, booths and then wiping the baseboards!! She then went on to wipe the salt and pepper shakers with the same cloth...yuck!! Needless to say, we haven't been back. January 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Reply • JJB believe it or not, none of these are health code violations as long as the rag has been sanitized. There are strong commercial chemicals that is used on that rag. Do you expect separate rags? January 9, 2013 at 2:36 am | Reply 74. empresstrudy There's nothing I like more than waiting 70 minutes for a$12 burger. I've pretty much given up going out to ear because service so slow you should eat before you go out is the new normal.

January 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
75. ks

Dirty, unkept servers. One should not have to wonder if their server has bathed or laundered their clothes prior to coming to work to wait tables. Yeh, Chicago Hipsters, I'm talkin' to you.

January 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
76. dp987

Roaches crawling on the table in the daylight. If they are there during the day, what are they doing at night?? Yuck!

January 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
77. Me Not You

After watching so many episodes of 'Restaurant Impossible', 'Restaurant Stakeout' and 'Mystery Diners', I no longer go out to eat on a regular basis. I eat at home now because I know that my food will not be spit in, and will be clean and prepared with love. Why would I trust other people making $2 an hour to cook food for me? I now go out once a year – to a very expensive high end restaurant that I have saved for all year long. At least there I'm pretty sure the servers and the chefs will take good care of me. January 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply • ks Wow, that's too much pressure for me. I'd hate for my one meal out a year to be subpar-which, I imagine happens, even in high-end restaurants. January 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply • JJB Ive worked at some of the best restaurants in the world. This happens everywhere. Also, unless you by no processed foods how can you keep track of sanitation of anything? People are germaphobes. January 9, 2013 at 2:40 am | Reply • overed @me not you – a couple of things: 1 – what makes you think that the servers at your high end restaurant make any more than the waitresses at the dirty spoon you disdain? odds are that they make the very same server's wage – only the high end servers make more because of the difference in the total bill. While there might be a difference in the service that goes to the individual not the pay. Kinda shoots down your argument about the server's pay determining the service. 2 – the people cooking your food are not making the$2.00 an hour. The line cooks have to make at least the state's minimum wage.

January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
78. Lisa

Taking dirty plates off someones table and then bringing your food in before washing their hands.

January 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
• JJB

every server in every restaurant does this. you're funny.

January 9, 2013 at 2:41 am | Reply
79. Kris

Most of these comments are ridiculous!

Yeah, no one likes a dirty bathroom. But do you honestly think it is the people in charge of cleaning that bathroom who are making a mess? If you had to clean the bathroom would you be the one whose dropping the cheese scented Lincoln log on the floor? No.

They clean the tables too often! They don’t clean the tables at all! They sweep the floor when I am there! They never sweep the floor! They ask how I am too often! They never ask if I need anything!

Maybe the problem is not the wait staff, or the food, or the cooks. Maybe the problem is the customers.

January 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
• June M

If the windows are dirty, I won't even bother going into the restaurant.

January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply
• Billy

This comment makes you sound like you've never been to a single restaurant...or you just don't care

January 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
• Juan Valdez@Kris

KUTGW. You have my support.

January 9, 2013 at 6:51 am | Reply
80. Pandora

When servers carry the tray on their shoulders and right next to their hair.

January 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
• JJB

hard to avoid that. Most servers are required to pull their hair back or keep it short.

January 9, 2013 at 2:43 am | Reply
81. jack

I hate over service. let me eat my food. I appreciate the occassional checkup, as every wait staff person should do, but those who stop every 5 minutes. sorry you're trying to hard. i cant even put the food in my mouth because i might not be able to answer your question that you just asked me 5 minutes ago. 10% tip on that bill.

January 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Reply
• Margie

I agree 100%. I also hate being asked how things are when my mouth is full of food.
I find it particularly annoying when you are with friends or business people, and the interruptions are constant.
That is no way to have a conversation.
Along the same lines, I can't stand blaring televisions or loud music in a restaurant.

January 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
• David

Don't interrupt me. About the only time I eat out (2 and 3 year old at home) is business. If the conversation is obviously business, or if someone is talking period, don't but in with, "Is everything OK?" Not now.

January 8, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
• Canderson

Jack and Margie.... I have a select few cafes I like for business meetings, which I have a lot of. I cannot stand a wait person who rudely interjects to ask if we want water, coffee, desert, or if everything is alright, yadda.. yadda! Ugh!

January 9, 2013 at 12:58 am | Reply
• JJB

you're kidding right? Be reasonable here! A server is trying to manage several tables. They are just trying to do their jobs. Timing appearances between conversations would be impossible. If you dont want to be waited on, eat at home. Ive been a server for 15 years at some of the best restaurants in the world. I always start by saying "sorry for interrupting." If you dont want to be bothered for a while then let the server know. I feel like you are being a little unfair.

January 9, 2013 at 2:51 am | Reply
• AleeD®@jack

To take your comment semi-literally, I agree. Every 5 minutes is overkill. The only place I've been that overkills? Tijuana Flats. Was just there a few months ago, complained about the over frequent interruptions & got a free lunch. Went back yesterday and they're still doing it as frequently as they were before.

Lesson learned: don't go there with the intention of having a conversation with your companion. Make like the h0rny panda: eats, shoots & leaves.

January 9, 2013 at 7:02 am | Reply
82. David E

Alright everyone here it goes i have been in the restaurant business for 24 years now,and there is not anything more important than the customer,they always come first no matter what,if it wasn't for them we would be out of business.You should treat every customer like they are your best friend,because we should always try to impress the heck out of them so they can spread the word how excellent the visit was.

January 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
83. Sabrina

I think one of the worst things is to hear the staff cussing, or worse, be cussed out by the staff. Several months ago, my family and I went out to the local truck stop, known for its great burgers, good service and low prices. Our waitress took our order with attitude and left. 45 min later after watching many other tables get server, I finally flagged our waitress down. She informed me she had a table of 20 in the back, and if I didnt effin like her effin service I was effin well free to leave. I had to make her repeat herself, as I just knew no one would actually speak to customers that way. I ended up calling the manager the next day to complain. It turns out the waitress was fired, because a few weeks later, there is is at the local Denny's.

We walked in, saw her, and heard her say as we walked out "Thats right bit*c leave" along with a few other choice words. I thought hard about calling the manager there as well, but decided to let it go. With her attitude, Im sure she wont be employed long there either.

January 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
• Dick

You eat at crappy places

January 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
• Billy

haha was thinking the same thing. Bet that burger at the truck stop is greasy and goooood

January 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
• Jill

You must of set her off lol

January 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Reply
• Grammar Nazi

It's either "must have" or its contraction "must've." Not "must of"

January 9, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply
84. CHICHI

I hate the whole sweeping thing also... However I really find it disgusting, entering a restroom where you have to turn the knob( entering and leaving). AND only having air-dryers to dry my hands, no paper towels. YUK!!!!!!!

January 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
85. David E

Hey "Duh" I expect good service,don't you?

January 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Reply
86. Jeff

I know someone that's opening a restaurant. The person is a coworker. Over the years, the person has brought in rice from home to give to me. Made a big point of offering the rice since she had leftovers. It's Asian rice which I don't usually make. When I took it home that night to heat it up, the entire bottom was all black. Think how long that rice must have been in her refrigerator? And that she still felt compelled to offer it to someone. Sick. She also brings in food for another coworker. Just leaves it on his desk all day long without putting it in the refrigerator. Food poisoning anyone?

January 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
• Pollock

If she succeeds in getting the start-up capital and getting her restaurant off the ground, casually report her to the health inspector and see if she's serving unsafe food to her paying customers too.

January 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
• Raul

Jeff, the black at the bottom of the rice is not a big deal. Some Asian cook their rice using a regular pot and pans and it will normally do this. The new high tech rice cooker nowadays won't do that because it cooks evenly. No big deal , just looks bad.

January 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
• Ian

do you have any idea how hard it is to get rice that is NOT from Asia? that's kinda where it's all grown, dude . . .

January 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
• Ian

I stand corrected, my bad – 2 billion dollars in 2006??!! Wikipedia says:

More than 100 varieties of rice are commercially produced primarily in six states (Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California) in the U.S. According to estimates for the 2006 crop year, rice production in the U.S. is valued at $1.88 billion, approximately half of which is expected to be exported. The U.S. provides about 12% of world rice trade. The majority of domestic utilization of U.S. rice is direct food use (58%), while 16% is used in each of processed foods and beer. The remaining 10% is found in pet food. January 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Reply 87. Celia S. My pet peeve is when someone sweeps the floor around where I am eating. I don't care how careful they think they are, the dust goes up into the air and into my food. Gross!! January 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply • Jlo How about when someone sprays the table next to you with Windex or any cleaner? A little ammonia up the nose or a light overspray of it with your meal? January 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply 88. MJ I love to go out to eat weather it's just for a burger, pizza or a full blown DINNAH! I complain about the usual things, dirt, food either under or over cooked.. My best complaint is being addressed as a guy. I am a 60 year old woman and restaurants across the country have this habit. Even when I'm with another lady friend of mine. I think it's terribly rude and shows a lack of both respect and upbringing. January 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Reply • Billy More mascarra January 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply • Joan C. I agree, MJ! My pet peeve is when a server approaches our table while we are still eating, says"You guys done?" Usually, these servers are untrained, local girls/women who have no idea that, first of all, "you GUYS" is never appropriate and certainly not when the table is full of women having lunch or dinner together. Neither do they realize that they should wait until ALL are finished (FINISHED, not DONE). And, puh-leeze, wait until there is a break in the conversation before interrupting! But it is ignorance, MJ, and not intentional, I am sure, and small things, but still very irritating. January 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply 89. Englist Twitt Wobbly tables. January 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply • Unbalanced Wobbly toilets January 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply • Unbalanced Topless waitress's at Olive Garden. YUK! January 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply • Witandahalf Stop eating at Olive Garden. Yuk! January 9, 2013 at 7:04 am | • theman why is this kind of waitress a problem? Obviously vying for that 20% tip. January 19, 2013 at 3:28 am | 90. David While "hair in food," "dirty bathrooms," "nasty smells," and "uncaring/poor service" will DEFINITELY drive me away, I also crossed a restaurant that has good food off my list last fall for a different reason: twice during my lunch, a cockroach crawled over the top of the bar where I sitting. I have zero tolerance for such signals! January 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply • Lucas But it would be absolutely acceptable if it passed only once right? January 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply 91. Circle R 1. Lousy or inattentive service. (lack of caring, poor management) 2. Sticky/dirty condiment dispensers and surfaces, dirty bathrooms. (lack of cleanliness) 3. Under or overcooked food, especially steaks and fish (lack of culinary expertise) Also, I hate overly dim lighting. (makes me feel like an old fart for having to whip out my iPhone flashlight just to read the menu!) January 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply • Witandahalf You are an old f@rt. Deal with it, live with it, own it. January 9, 2013 at 7:07 am | Reply 92. Clete Went to a restaurant about five, six years ago. As I was waiting, the waiter brought the food to the next table, as he left he cut a big...and I mean big fart. It was really an appetite killer. January 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Reply • Fiona You win. January 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply 93. Kay When they take my plate without asking if I'm done, or when they box my food for me...and especially if they combine our separate plates/meals into the same box. It will get a waiter a much less tip every time. January 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Reply • Frank I agree with the removing of the plate before you're done, but relax with the boxing of the food. I'm not sure I'd enjoy serving someone as uptight as you. January 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply • CommonSense How is wanting YOUR food boxed separately from someone else's uptight? If you are not going to the same place after the restaurant, who is supposed to separate the food then? I completely understand not wanting your food boxed. I had mine boxed at Carrabas once (love that place!) but the waiter took my food (to the service counter) to box it, and when it was returned I noticed all of the meat was gone. When I inquired about it, the waiter said the workers accidentally threw my food away instead of boxing it, and when they made a new plate of pasta, they didn't add the meat not knowing, and I quote, "If I'd paid for it or not"........ January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Reply 94. Burbank The thing that scares me from coming back to a place is not dirty restrooms (even nice places have restrooms that can get dirty when busy sometimes), but dirty dining rooms. If I see a lot of dirt buildup in corners and around booths such as years of carelessly mopped floors and caked on dust on room decorations, soiled upholstery, then I KNOW without a doubt what goes on in that kitchen has to be 10 times worse! January 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply • Susan - Canada Sounds like our local hospital..... January 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Reply 95. Les Went into a popular sports restaurant and ate with my family about 9 pm and they closed at 10 pm after being there about 30 min they started Vacuuming the floor in the dining room and had the nerve to ask my Family and I to raise our feet so they could Vacuum under our table. that was the last time I ate there. January 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply • Juan Valdez What did you expect? I'm sure they were happy someone as thoughtless as you didn't return. Next time get your meal to go, clueless. January 9, 2013 at 7:11 am | Reply • Dusty There is no excuse for that. If they close at 10, they close at 10, not 9:30. I can understand cleaning areas where there are no patrons, but not only to clean where you are, but you ask you to lift your feet – no way that place would ever get my business again. It's a hard economy. The fact that I'm willing to pull out my wallet and eat at your establishment means you best be treating me well to thank me for my business. I'm generally on the side of the waitstaff because I know there are a lot of jerks out there, but the lack of respect that restaurant showed proves they don't care about the customer. Sure, the staff wants to leave at 10, but when you work at a restaurant, you stay until the work is done and that should be made clear when you take the job. Do you want a good tip for staying late and continuing to provide good service, or do you want to lose a customer – any every person that customer tells? NO customers = no tips and no business or job. The manager could have let most staff go after most cleaning was done – if it was me, I'd be happy to get a few more bucks in tips and have to do a little more cleaning. Yes, many customers feel entitled, but there are two sides to every story, and in this case, the restaurant employees clearly felt entitled to leave right at 10. January 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply 96. cust0m3r Anything that compromises the food is definitely the worst offense, but also cleanliness. If I get a bread plate or utensil with gunk on it, see roaches or excessive flies, or find myself cringing to use the bathroom, I definitely won't be back. Service is a very close second, though. If the server is bad I put it off as a bad night, but if it's consistently bad, or all the staff treat me badly, that's it. January 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply 97. Ziggy's Pasta First, I'll say there is no excuse for a dirty restaurant or a wait staff that doesn't keep a nice appearance. I cant speak for everyone but that being said some people come into a restaurant with a chip on their shoulder and look for something to complain about and can be insanely rude. So, if you're not receiving proper service, its probably because your business wont be missed. January 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply 98. Jennifer UCD Two pet peeves. Taking my empty beverage away, (usually a glass of just ice) to bring a refill. First, the refill should be offered before I turn to chomping on ice and punching it with the straw in desperation for another drink. Secondly, I like to know that they are bringing me a fresh glass. This last point is especially important if you ordered a soda since they shouldn't touch a used glass against the dispenser for sanitary reasons. Second pet peeve is refilling my coffee before I finish it. Many customers, not just me, use cream and/or sugar in their coffee and a partial refill just ruins the balance. At least ask before pouring the refill. January 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply • Jennifer UCD BTW, I waited tables for 8 years. January 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply • Jimmy-James You see, I'm much the opposite. If I have to ask for a refill, or if they ask me if I want one, I'm going to be less-than-pleased. If I am nearly empty, or worse - actually empty, just bring me another until I say no (unless your company protocol says to do something else). This is especially the case if it's a "free refill" type of situation. January 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply • Frank You people are so uptight, just stay home and eat. If I'm a waiter and I'm extremely busy, I'm not gonna stake out every glass at every table because there's a risk you might not have any drink left. Just wait, I'll be by to check in 2 minutes. Please do us all a favor and STAY HOME. We don't want your business. January 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply • taco bender Frank would not get a tip from me. January 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Reply • bigboxes Exactly what else do you have to do besides filling up my drink? It's your freakin' job! Duh. You take the order. Bring out the food. Make sure it's alright and inquire if we need anything else. And you refill up the drinks. If we wanted to refill our drinks we would have stayed home or ate at Burger King. If you don't like your job go to school and get an education. January 9, 2013 at 1:25 am | Reply • cust0m3r Maybe taking other tables' orders and getting food? Making sure that things are getting through in the kitchen? Solving problems that may have up, like a child spilling a drink? Just a guess. I highly doubt you're ever the only customer in the restaurant. January 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm | • Juan Valdez coffee pu$$y. January 9, 2013 at 7:14 am | Reply • cust0m3r I've never been a waiter, but even I am not that exacting. Who cares if they bring you a fresh glass each time? That's incredibly wasteful, as they have to wash all of those glasses again. If they want to take my glass away, or bring a pitcher to refill my drink, why not? What's the big deal? Now I'm not fond of wait staff taking my glass and then not returning for awhile, but then again, it's a personal pet peeve of mine when they leave your other glass(es) sitting on the table after they bring you a fresh one. Waiting an extra minute or two for a drink refill is also not the end of the world. I don't want to pay 2.70 for a soda with no refills, or only one the whole night, but if I don't get a refill the second my drink dips below half, I'm not freaking out. I'm certainly not docking tip for that. The tip only really suffers if the restaurant is not busy and I still receive lazy service, or if the server is deliberately rude or incompetent. It really doesn't happen that often. Most servers are just trying to get through the night at their job. I completely understand that. I feel that way every day. January 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply 99. Duh Hey "David E"! Then expect the unexpected when you're out there–in the public! January 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Reply 100. Chase Unstable Wobly Tables...this is so irritating to me! January 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply 101. bullman_srq un/under cooked foods: staff arguing that food is prepared correctly when the stuffed chicken wings had raw, pink, cold meat against the stuffing and it was obvious. Then the owner replaced the item with lower priced plain Chinese fried wings, no thanks and I'm not going to pay for that either! Haven't returned in 9 years and am glad to tell people what my experience was, I was a loyal customer for 17 years also. In Sarasota FL, make sure your food is cooked at Bee Ridge and Cattleman Chinese restaurant!!!! January 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply • Dick Why you no tell truth about my food? January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Reply • Billy lol January 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Reply 102. Mike I worked and served in restaurants for 15 years. A lot of the reasons i have read on here are valid (dirty bathrooms being my one big turnoff). That being said, diners need to use common sense. Don't go to a seafood restaurant and complain about the lack of steaks on the menu. Know what you are ordering, or at least ask if you are unsure ( my fave was the young lady at my table who loved the calamari until her boyfriend told her it was squid then spit it onto the table). I've also had guests swear at me because our soft drinks were coke based instead of pepsi. Yes serving is a job and guests are to be treated with respect and I have no problem with working hard to earn a good tip. But I also expect to be treated with the same respect I give. I say m'aam and sir, please dont call me hey you or bro. Ill do my best to give you great service and make sure your food is to your liking, but im not your servant. January 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Reply • jrs Actually Mike – the way I see it....when you are working as a waiter you really are the customers servant – that is what they are tipping you for. January 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply • CommonSense No – jrs, Mike is correct. The waiters are our SERVERS not servants. BIG difference. January 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply • taco bender No, you are incorrect. Someone who SERVES somebody by definition is their SERVANT for the time they SERVE them. Buy a dictionary. January 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm | • CommonSense Why don't you take a bit of your own advice and read a dictionary? Server: 1. A person or thing that provides a service or commodity, in particular Servant: 1. A person who performs duties for others, esp. a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant. 2. someone working in a subordinate position Please direct me to any link that lists SERVANT as a synonym for SERVER. Don't worry, I'll wait. Better yet, try reading this: http://www.servernotservant.com/the-book/family-life-experiences/ January 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply • Billy Can I just get another coke bro? January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm | • taco bender A waiter is performing duties for me in a subordinate position. If I ask for a refill he/she will give me a refill. If I ask for my check he/she will bring me my check. If I ask to have more napkins he/she will bring me more napkins. Can you not read or can you not comprehend? January 9, 2013 at 11:03 am | • CommonSense @taco bender – I see that you still haven't provided the link. That egg looks mighty tasty on your face. January 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm | • BT @taco bender: providing a service does not make one a subordinate. Get down off your high horse before you fall and hurt yourself. January 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm | • Dusty Hey Taco Bender - A waiter is not a lesser person than you. If anything, the waiter has more power than you – s/he can make you wait for your service, your food, your bill, your change. They can give you the wrong food, cold food, or no food. People like you are the reasons nice people like me pay the price for poor service – because some pretentious, condescending pr1ck, such as yourself, had already been there and ruined their day. January 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm | • taco bender They are temporarily my servants as they are there to serve me with food and drinks. I'm not on a high horse. It is the reality of the job. I treat everyone well and tip well but the fact is they are there to serve the customer. Dusty – If they take long with my food or bill intentionally then they are not providing good service and not performing their job duties in the eyes of the customer or the business owner. That will result in no or low tips as well as being released of their duty. Your link was a bunch of opinions from food workers on servers vs servants. Fact: Server comes directly from the word servant. Here is your link and free education, you're welcome: http://www.edenics.net/english-word-origins.aspx?word=SERVER Roots SERF and SERVANT are from Latin servus (a slave). God's celestial servant is the SaRaF (Seraph, attendant angel). A tyrant treats his footmen like footstools; SiRaFRaF is a footstool. A SERAPH is an Anglicized celestial being (Isaiah 6:2). More at SAFFRON. --------------------------– Branches SERVE, SERVER and SERVICE are among 20 such SRV terms. An R → L change summons SLAVE. The AHD lists CONCIERGE, DESERVE, SERGEANT, SERVILE and SERVITUDE at its Indo-European “root” servus (slave – "Latin noun of unknown origin"). The SHERIFF is a hireling seen at SHIRE. See "SIR • for SR antonyms of mastery: SHaRaT to serve) is an SR synonym. eRe(V) (mutiny) is an SR antonym. January 10, 2013 at 11:01 am | • Dusty I have to tell ya, Taco – you are the kind of people waitstaff complain about. And I don't associate with. Do you consider yourself a servant – to your boss? Or your employer? You are paid to serve your boss and your company; therefore, according to you, you must be treated like crap by your boss because you are his/her servant. Just like you work for a paycheck, so does waitstaff. Do you have bad days? Do you honestly put forth 100% all the time at work? Do you get temporarily burned out on occasion? Your waiter is a human, just like you. Demeaning them and treating them like a servant will not endear them to you – not that you care, because they're beneath you, right? Your holier than thou attitude sucks. In the end, we all live and die – the most arrogant person doesn't win anything special at the end. But nice people have bigger funerals. January 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm | • Matou Actually, you are the guests' servant however you do not have to take abuse. One little action of discontent with how they are treating you and you are now offering poor service in their eyes, but, if they cross the line into abuse, then you can take the upper hand and let them know professionally, politely, that you are trying to help them and by their negative behaviour they are slowing the whole process down. Been there, done that. January 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply • Mike Sadly thats not how it works. As a server, really no matter how you are treated you are expected to just smile and say yes. If it's really bad you get a manager and let them take care of it. Just how the job works. January 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Reply • Mike No, there is a difference. Im talking about people doing incredibly rude things for no reason other than they had a bad day or they have no class (snapping fingers at someone is a sure sign of no class). I am also talking about unreasonable requests. Ive seen people try to haggle prices ( actual quote from a guest " Can I get half of a burger for half the price?"). I had one man insist I go to the store and buy flavored creamer for the coffee we served, and got pissy when I told him that I could not. January 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply • Laruie Got bad news for you Mike. I teach high school and the next batch coming out isn't going to be any more polite. You are a server, not a servant, but you will be treated like one. January 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Reply • the fox You're my kind of waiter Mike....... January 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply • Marc server, servant – servant, server. What's the difference? January 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply 103. Lorna I hate seeing the wait staff/kitchen crew outside smoking on their break. Yuk! They are always still wearing the same aprons they wear when they cook and serve your food. That's a big turnoff!!! Really, you're gonna wipe off the seat and then the table? January 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply • Matou Totally agree! Especially when they are congregating outside the front door where you have to enter! Cough Cough Cough yes we cough need a table for two cough...and I actually saw someone wipe down the chair and wall! before using the same rag, not even folding it differently or rinsing it, to do the table. I turned and left, never went back. January 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply • PEmerson Was in a fast food place one night (major chain where I won't eat at all anymore) and woman had a bucket and a rag to wipe off tables. She wiped a table, picked the little bucket up off the floor and then sat it on the "clean" table. Ugh. That was stupid and disgusting. She proceeded to wipe table after table and then immediately move that bucket from the floor to the table top. January 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply • JJB this is the least of your worries. At least that rag is sanitized. Believe it or not, none of these are health code violations. the sanitizing bucket always has to sit on something. Sitting it on the table is only issue i see here. And I work for the health department. January 9, 2013 at 3:08 am | Reply 104. HG Why do so many restaurants have to have 4 or 6 skanky girls in black outfits to greet? Do you need that many to make a brain? The wait staff is usually running their legs off and they need how many "greeters"?!?? It always makes me wonder if they're friends of the boss's daughters. That is an irritation more than anything. Biaggi's does this, as does Granite City. The other one is when the manager wanders around like a drill sargeant. That said, the article focussed mostly on issues of cleanliness, as did the most of the comments. I think a lack of cleanliness is a societal symptom. I know people who are complete slobs (my aunt who has NEVER wiped down her microwave is a prime example), yet will be the first to complain if there are water spots from the dishwasher on the flatware or glasses. How many people who go out and complain about dirty bathrooms are any cleaner at home?!?? January 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply • Sunny Totally agree! Usually in low-cut outfits...very unprofessional, and I've seen it in upscale restaurants. If I want to see that, I'll go to Hooters! January 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply • Andrey Jealousy is a disease – hope you get well soon! January 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply • Unbalanced Young floozie's in short black dresses always make food taste better. January 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Reply • Billy I will do a 360 and march out the door if there's not at least 2 skanks at the front. January 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply • SMV You mean 180? January 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply • Derp Geography is not his strong suit. January 9, 2013 at 7:17 am | • Ian maybe he likes dancing . . . January 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm | 105. OCD Two things I have not seen yet. Probably just personal quirks. 1. OVER-attentive wait staff. When I'm shoving food down my neck hole, no need to ask me 6 or 7 times if everything is okay. 2. Refilling a half-cup of coffee without asking. I use sweetener. This throws off the balance of sweetener to coffee and makes it taste horrible. If the cup is empty, sure. Otherwise, leave it alone. January 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply • Lorna I totally agree with the coffee half full/sweetener ratio thing!!!! Good point! January 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Reply • @GuileOfTheGods 100% about overattentive waitstaff. NOTHING is worse than having to stop eating or stop talking to tell the waitress, yes, everything is fine, thank you. Just for them to come over in another few minutes and ask... But of course, when you need them, they aren't around... And whats the deal with airline food? January 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply • Juan Valdez@OCD Don't be a coffee pu$$y January 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply • Billy In my country I hate when cook kill my camel because he run out of donkey meat then he cut my hand off because I say no kill my camel! Very rude. But the coffee thing is bad too. January 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply 106. Dusty When the waitstaff is so disengaged that they don't realize that the "clean" dishes they're delivering to the table for appetizers actually have food still on them, that will prevent me from ever returning to that restaurant – even if it's been almost 8 years! Poor waitstaff is a management issue, and if the management can't manage their people, they aren't managing their restaurant. When someone cares about their restaurant and their staff, and therefore their customers, it shows, and those are the places that will get my business. January 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply 107. HB I hate it when the music and/or multiple TVs are so loud that you cannot hear the person sitting across from you. I'm not talking about a sports bar – just a family style restaurant. The usual din of kids and conversation is fine, but the loud music is ridiculous. A lot of the time they will turn it down if you ask, but often it is not enough. People shouting at one another to be heard over the music only compounds the problem. I can listen to music in the car on the way home. I would like to have a civilized conversation my meal companions. January 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply • PraiseTheLard I'm afraid you're fighting a losing battle... as more and more young people lose their hearing due to excessive sound levels, they tend to make the ambient noise louder as they're totally desensitized to it. These young people become the managers of the restaurants, stores and malls... This is one reason I now shop mostly through mail order... January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Reply • the fox It is impossible to go anywhere now without being assaulted by loud music, televisions, etc. Even a grocery store is not sacrosanct. Awful music in the background. It's impossible to carry on a conversation in most bars and restaurants now because of the background noise. January 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply 108. David E Hey "Duh" they invented restaurants for a reason,that is the public. January 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Reply 109. jayb18 Babies having their diapers changed on tables. TOO GROSS.. January 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply • APersona Ew...you've seen that happen? Not cool that the staff allowed that to happen. But I think the blame lies more with the customers on that one... January 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply 110. David E I also dislike the fact that when people are finished with there meal thay tend to blow their nose,can't you do that in the restroom,that is so rude!!! January 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Reply • dj And how about the geniuses that blow their noses on the CLOTH napkins. Talk about gross! January 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply 111. Duh You all have qualms about eating out– then don't eat out! Stay in your house and cook your own food! January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply 112. John L Having to wait FOR–EV-ER for the bill to show up, and then another FOR-EV-ER for the waiter to get your change back, or get your credit card run. Ruins the entire experience. January 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply • @GuileOfTheGods In some restaurants, you can do the 10 minute rule. If you finished eating, they have 10 minutes to bring you the check. After 10 minutes, you can assume they don't want your money and you can try to walk out. 1 of 2 things will happen, either they see you and you can ask for your check, or you get a free meal :) January 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Reply • Brian I don't work in a restaurant but if I see you do that I will be VERY happy to take your license plate number and call the police for the poor waitress that has to pay for your meal. January 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply • JeramieH Bet the cops won't wait 10 minutes to haul you off for theft. January 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply • cust0m3r Absolutely. I once had to wait almost 45 minutes just to get my check after the meal. AFTER I'd threatened to get up and walk out. Twice. I was really irritated, but I felt I couldn't just leave without paying. When I can help it, I try to bring cash so that I can at least leave an estimate of the bill on the table for just such a situation. I know the next time this happens to me, it'll be the one time I don't bring cash, though. January 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Reply 113. Tom Not serving whole milk. Also not supplying real butter (and salt). I can get by with other things, but these are sine qua nons January 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply • RJC Yes, I found a fly in my food at Mimi's Cafe. They apologized, didn't charge us, and gave us a voucher to eat free there again. Somehow I just couldn't bring myself to go back. Not fair to them but hey. January 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Reply 114. David Espericueta I will never feel the need to tip a waiter on the services they provide,isn't that why they are their,if not go somewhere else.The way i see it is you have to earn tips not just show up,enough said. January 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Reply • @GuileOfTheGods Try going to some restaurants in South Beach. Some places add the tip in for you, even if you're just 2 people. But in those cases, if they give themselves 18%, they just missed out on earning 20%. But I'm a jerk January 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Reply • vet31 Wow! I can tell you never waited tables. Servers usually only get paid about 1/3 of minimum wage when they start out - enough to cover the taxes on the tips they earn. So if you don't tip, they aren't getting paid. I hope you don't make a habbit of not tipping at the same restaurants, or at best you're getting the worst effort of the worst waiter. And at worst, you're eating spit. January 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply • APersona Vet31: You are right, it IS hard to understand the true value of the tip to those of us who have never waited tables. My husband was a waiter for a few years, and until he explained to me how little the wait staff is paid up front, I admit I was a less-than-stellar tipper (and on a few occasions accused him of tipping way too much). Also, sometimes the wait staff (along with the hosts, etc.) divide all the tips evenly (Elephant Bar does this), so by under-tipping ONE bad server, you under-tip the rest of the staff. January 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply • G Are you aware that minimum wage is just that: minimum wage. The wages a person is paid cannot be less than that. If the job is one usually tipped, and tips do not cover the 'difference', the restaurant is required by law to cover it. If they are not covering your wages, then you need to speak with a lawyer to get your back wages. January 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply • Minimum Wage no there is a lower minimum wage for workers who receive tips, such as waiters. It is somewhere in the$3 range in NY I believe, compared to $7.25 for other industries. January 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | • sshgreview It depends on the state. I was a waitress in California and made 9.75 plus tips. Now I am a waitress in Michigan and I make 2.35 plus tips. Some states allow for minimum wage to be 'adjusted' because of tips. That is why 20% is standard in some states and 15% is standard in others. For me in Michigan, a tip is not a TIP. It is my wage. And I share it with all of the other servers, 4 bussers, 2 bartenders, a silverware boy, the manager, and sometimes the chefs. Pretty sure that isn't all legal, but mine is a small family run place and nothing ever changes (lots of aggrieved servers have called various agencies and nothing ever happens.) It's fine dining and the money is fantastic despite all of that, so that's why I stick around. Anyway, the point is, tip your servers. And if you're from a state that tips 15% (CA) make sure you tip 20% when you are elsewhere. January 9, 2013 at 12:35 am | • theman G is very right here, I tip all day but most people do not realize that a waiter/tress has to report all the money they earn in tips in a given night. If the amount comes out to less than what the ACTUAL MINIMUM WAGE (meaning 7.50 an hour) is then the restaurant has to make up a difference, a server never "works for free or for their taxes" unless the restaurant in playing illegal. In which case, I say get a different job because minimum wage jobs tend to be so plentiful that it is likely not worth your time to sue the place for their illegal business practices. At a restaurant that does things legally, you should never work for an hour and make less than the average minimum wage retail store worker. If you work for a classy restaurant thats pulling this crap then sue sue sue!!! January 19, 2013 at 3:52 am | Reply • sidprejean David, you have no idea what's been in those sandiwiches you have ordered. January 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply 115. Bacon! I once had breakfast at a restaurant, standard bacon, eggs and pancakes affair. One of the slices of bacon slipped off of my plate and fell right into the servers pocket. She pulled it out, put it back on my plate and laid the plate on the table. "Anything else I can get you folks?" Uh, yeah? Un-pocketed bacon would be nice. January 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply • BusTubBarbie Dear Bacon!, Thank you for the LOL... {actually you made me snort and my cube mate stared at me} :D January 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Reply • @GuileOfTheGods HA! January 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Reply • Terry That's funny January 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply 116. hop Been stationed in over fifteen countries, most not "first-" or "second-world", and ate in road-side stands and after-hours garages. I've have food illnesses three times that required a medical response–but it was only at restaurants here in the US. January 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply • Linda That reminds me of when I went to Mexico.. ate at local restaurants several nights that were great. Tried the one American owned restaurant one night and got sick!! January 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply 117. Fiona I have another one to add - being seated at the worst table in the place, when there are multiple open tables available. I've walked out a few times when hostesses have tried it on me. One restaurant that was in a quirky old house with many rooms used for dining (I learned recently that the business failed soon after this happened) walked my husband and me through an empty main dining room, past a partially occupied and cheery looking smaller dining area, and into a dimly-lit hallway that was freezing cold. The hostess directed us to a tiny table jammed against the wall of that hallway, next to an open door. I said, "You're kidding me," and looked her in the eye. She made several excuses, but I stood my ground and she seated us in the comfortable room with other diners. I would never have stayed to eat there but for the fact that I was on holiday and the restaurants were quite booked up, and we had no alternative. As I recall, the food was mediocre, too. No wonder they failed. January 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Reply • auntnonie Hostesses are jugglers. They are required to assign tables evenly among all servers so that each server gets an equal number of customers, or as close to equal as possible. If a hostess seems to be favoring one server's area over another's, she'll get A LOT of heat from the servers who are not getting as many customers seated in their area. However, hostesses must honor a customer's request to sit where they wish. Therefore, the hostess must juggle between accommodating the customers' requests for specific seating, and accommodating the servers' requests for an equal number of customers at their stations. Of course, the customer always comes first. Therefore, that poor hostess, [who usually does not receive any tips], must have really heard it from the poor server who was assigned to that awful dark, cold hallway seating area: "The next customers who walk in the door are MINE, or else!" . January 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply 118. Patricia Friendly – not friendly at all. Sign says seat yourself and no one comes over to take your order. They just look at you. After 10 minutes you leave. January 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply 119. Cindy Can't stand when the staff wipes the tabletop while I'm seated, with the crumbs being swept right into my lap. Similarly, I hate eateries where the bussing cart is constantly out around the customers, with dirty dishes being splashed around right at the customers. January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply • maggotfist Then perhaps you should,...I don't know,.. Stand up when they do it? Or sit there with a dirty table, get a grip. January 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Reply 120. Peanut M&M Stickiness. Menus, floor, table. January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply 121. Sy2502 Dirt is and should always be the worst offense. I'd rather have a lazy waiter than be sick all night for the food I ate. January 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply 122. Mr T I once took my family to a local oriental restaurant for lunch. Cleanliness, service, and attitude were all good. Our food was served in a timely manner as well. However, half way through my meal I found a dead fly in my rice! When I called the waitress out and showed her she replied, "It's a fry!" I was so discusted I just told my wife and kids it was time to leave. There were many patrons in the restaurant at the time and I dared them to stop us as we left. Had I paid I definitely would have demanded a refund. As it was the "fry" was free. Never ever went back to that dump. Now when eating out I go through each portion before eating it. Can't trust any place or anyone any more. Sad state for this country. January 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Reply • Howard Markowitz Wow, like you never made a mistake at your job. It's only a fly. Not going to do any harm. Now if it was a cockroach.... January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply • Fiona Given your choice of words –"oriental" and "fry" - I'm going to assume that you went in there as a racist and stole food from them in the same spirit. January 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply 123. Cali All of the above and refusing to serve because they just don't want too. January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Reply 124. Ann bus helpers using the same cloth to wipe the table and then the seats with the same cloth Big turn off! January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply • JJB I understand the turn off but its not a health code violation. That rag is sanitized. This happens most everywhere. January 9, 2013 at 3:19 am | Reply 125. CommonSense When the waiter wants to argue with me about whether the oysters are fresh or not. Then tells me that he ate one minutes ago and it was fresh.... 1) as if I give a fart what he ate, 2) as if that justifies his opinion and dismisses mine. January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply • Anon Because you clearly know more than the staff... Customer is always right is a polite way of saying "okay, sure whatever, we'll just do whatever to shut him up" but it's rarely, if ever, actually true. January 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply • CommonSense "....Because you clearly know more than the staff.." It's unfortunate you interpreted the comment that way, but YOU are correct – I would assume to know more than the staff unless one of them has helped themselves to a rotten oyster on my plate. I, sir, am entitled to my opinion and I'm not going to argue whether an oyster is bad or not. I'm sure the people at Spondivits in Atlanta followed your logic and is the reason they were sued after not 1 but 2 deaths due to spoiled seafood. "...Customer is always right is a polite way of saying "okay, sure whatever, we'll just do whatever to shut him up" but it's rarely, if ever, actually true." A completely irrelevant comment coming from YOU not ME. January 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply • JJB what a dick. January 9, 2013 at 3:21 am | • CommonSense Better bigger than small. January 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm | • cust0m3r I wouldn't say that. If customers are consistantly complaining about something – especially the freshness of the food – they are probably the ones who are correct. You should ALWAYS listen to your customers when they are calling into question how done the meat is or how fresh the raw seafood is. Those are things that are easily contaminated and can make someone sick or even kill them. If they are saying the oysters aren't fresh, don't argue, try one. Make sure, because who knows when someone can get sick and sue you. There's a difference between a genuine health hazard (and someone who might actually know a thing or two about the dish they are complaining about) and someone who just wants to complain for the sake of it. January 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply 126. Garfield I hate when they bring my food to the table and their thumb is right in my food. I hate when they start sweeping near my table. Dirty bathrooms are the worst. January 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Reply 127. Mk- Whatever your personal issue with a given establishment, NEVER take your frustrations out on your server–EVEN if your complaint is CLEARLY their fault! Tip accordingly at the end of the meal, and simply don't return if you feel it necessary, but NEVER give your server grief! It's worth remembering that anywhere from 3-6 people are likely to handle or otherwise have contact with your food before it arrives at your table, and your server is friends with ALL of them! January 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply • Fiona The last line of your comment sounds like a threat. Are those "friends" going to adulterate the food of a customer who complains about the server? January 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply • CommonSense I don't think it's a threat, just sound advice. It's the same reason that you don't make a big fuss at a fast food place and expect good, clean food afterwards. As the saying goes, choose your battles wisely. :-) January 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply • cust0m3r If it's clearly their fault, you should absolutely take it up with them. Otherwise they will continue to handle food or treat customers the same way. You should be polite about it if at all possible, but if a server plunks down my food and half of it spills of my plate, for instance, I'm certainly going to tell them I'm unhappy about it. January 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply 128. dancingqueen I get so annoyed by servers who ask "Do you need change?" when taking my money. If the amount I put down exceeds the amount of the bill, then "Yes. I need change." I may or may not leave all the change on the table, but that is up to me to decide once I receive it. January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply • Tom I think that quite often when they say "Do you need change", they mean smaller bills, like 5 ones instead of a$5, or a $5 and 5 ones for a ten, to make tipping easier. January 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply • dancingqueen I don't think so. The question is usually followed by something along the lines of "or is this it?" To me, the implication is unmistakably "Is all of the amount over the bill for me?" January 10, 2013 at 12:11 am | Reply • Dusty I appreciate it when they ask that question. Sometimes I have enough cash to leave the tip in with the payment of the bill. Other times I actually need change back so I can leave a tip. They're doing me a favor by asking that question so I know they're all set and I can leave without having to wait for them. I think it's also done in their favor – if no change is needed, they can pocket the payment and deal with it in a quiet moment, instead of rushing around to take care of the bill and then return the change, which is their tip, back to the table. January 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply • dancingqueen I appreciate it when the server returns the change with small bills. I don't have a problem with the server making it easy for me to leave them the amount I'd like to tip. My problem is with them presuming that any money over the bill is going to be theirs. I feel they should bring the change, and then allow me to leave the tip on the table. January 10, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply 129. A Different Geo Good service gone wild can be a turn-off. At a restaurant with friends, I ordered a steak rare. It was served well-done. I let the waiter know when he, but I planned to eat it anyway. The waiter objected, saying that the kitchen should not have sent it out. Despite my objection, he took the plate away. Awhile later, the manager came to apologize for the steak and the delay, explaining that they had some new kitchen staff who were running behind. A few minutes after that, the waiter told me they had overcooked another steak and he refused to serve it. The manager was now personally supervising preparation of my steak. Meanwhile, I sat plateless as my friends finished their meals and were ready to leave. I asked for my meal to-go. The manager brought my food in a bag and proudly boasted how they would not allow a customer to get something less than he ordered. As a courtesy, they deducted my entree from the bill. It didn't seem to occur to them that they had disrupted our evening, let me leave hungry, and served food that was now destined to be reheated as leftovers. We had more things to do, so I picked-up a drive-thru burger after we left. January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply • JJB Unfortunate, hopefully you can understand their intention. They followed the exact practice as I would. Too bad it was a steak and that it took too long for the recook. January 9, 2013 at 3:25 am | Reply • Just trying to get a meal without issues JJB – You make too many excuses for behaviors that turn nice, well-tipping customers away. January 9, 2013 at 6:31 am | Reply • JJB what would you have suggested for the manager to do? This is common practice, right? January 10, 2013 at 12:06 am | • A Different Geo JJB... Thanks for asking what else they could have done. I'll try to answer. It starts with the premise that having dinner in a nice restaurant can be about something more than the food - especially when having dinner with friends. Instead of trying to satisfy their own sense of pride about the steak, they could have focused on satisfying the customers. The waiter could have accepted my request to leave the plate and let our table enjoy our night. My memory of it now would have been much more pleasant than a restaurant fiasco. An -offer- to recook the steak would have been appreciated. Insistence on removing the entire plate against my wishes was disruptive to the entire table. An astute waiter would have considered that. If the manager -insisted- on doing something, it could have been something less disruptive - perhaps an offer of a free dessert, or an unexpected discount off the bill. But I would rather have paid full price and eaten the well-done steak over the experience we had. My original typo left it unclear, but I only mentioned the steak when the waiter asked. After, I felt like I was being punished. My friends enjoyed their food less because of the awkwardness of my plate being absent. The focus of our night became about a steak - it should have been about enjoying the company of friends in a pleasant atmosphere with good - even if not perfect - food. Instead of their desire to be perfect reflecting favorably on the restaurant, their reaction to a problem became a negative. January 10, 2013 at 9:30 am | Reply 130. gresham Flies January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply • Fiona Waiter, what's this fly doing in my soup? The backstroke, sir. Sorry...that's one of my favorites. January 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply • @GuileOfTheGods Because it's fly soup, sir, that's why... January 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Reply 131. AUDRA PEOPLE SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT SHAKING THEIR HAIR WHILE WALKING THRU RESTAURANTS A LOT OF HAIR GET IN PEOPLE'S PLATE THAT WAY FOR EXAMPLE ROOM TOO SMALL . January 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Reply 132. Kennedy 1. Dirty silverware – particularly when they replace it with silverware that's also dirty. 2. This next one may be a cultural thing – having my courses rushed. We usually tell servers up front that we want to finish one course before the next one comes out. This is particularly galling when we tell them, they say 'Of course your courses won't be rushed' and then they rush our courses anyway. 3. Also maybe a cultural thing – being expected to use the same silverware for multiple courses. 4. Lack of observation – manifested in many ways, including not noticing when we need drink refills, or (my personal 'favorite') not looking at us and assuming that, because my hair is on the long side, I'm female. 5. Assuming they'll get a tip by shorting me on my change. Any of the above (except number 3, which is pretty well the norm anywhere in this country) will result in a severe reduction in the tip. January 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Reply • CommonSense "...4. Lack of observation – manifested in many ways, including not noticing when we need drink refills, or (my personal 'favorite') not looking at us and assuming that, because my hair is on the long side, I'm female." I HATE it when the waiter/waitress does not make eye contact with everyone at the table (with the exception of small children of course). It is plain rude - January 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply 133. Dan Restaurants are like aircraft maintenance; you only get one chance. In aircraft maintenance you can't afford a bad day, the same applies to the restaurant business. If I go into a restaurant a hundred times and I'm always happy it only takes one time of bad service, food or attitude that will stop be from every going there again. January 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Reply 134. man The last time I heard any comments from a restaurant food inspector was that they never ever eat out because of what they see when they inspect. January 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply • Paul Johnsen The same cloth/wet rag used to clean the table is used to wash the seats. January 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply • nardeeisms Eeww Paul! COMPLETELY forgot about that one! January 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply • Matou I don't mind if they use the same rag to do the seat AFTER the table but I don't want to see that in reverse... January 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Reply • JJB this is not a health code violation. Im an inspector in Ohio. As long as the rag is sanitized, you're good to go. January 9, 2013 at 3:29 am | Reply • Just trying to get a meal without issues Remind me not to eat in Ohio. January 9, 2013 at 6:34 am | 135. OBA We live in greater Washington DC area, where several restaurants we have visited, despite being clearly told about our faith-based dietary restrictions have either tried to take out a meat ingredient from a cooked item, and the offending item turns up after a bite or two, or simply lied; or even been brazen about, like "you already ate a third of the meal", and they won't bring a new dish. Rarely do you find wait staff that is considerate and would ask the chef and tell you what items fit our needs. January 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply • Susie Why would you eat in a restaurant that does not meet your dietary needs? Why should they conform to your demands? January 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply • man Aren't they in business to serve you? January 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Reply • NC If you want a custom meal, make it at home. Chefs are there to showcase their culinary skill, not to be a personal cook. January 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm | • Susie They are in business to serve the general public, not just you. As a vegetarian, why would I go to a restaurant that did not serve vegetarian? Seems arrogant to me. January 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm | • Mk- No. They (restaurants) are NOT in the business to 'serve you'. That is nothing more than a sales pitch. Clearly you bought it, but you're in fine company because most people do. People really think 'their needs' matter to the people who work at the restaurant. Don't kid yourself. Restaurants are in the business of selling food. Restaurant owners/managers only care about service to the extent that it affects their daily sales, and not an inch further. Naturally they want you to THINK they are truly concerned about service, but again that's just a sales pitch. Only servers are in the business of serving. In Indiana, the minimum wage is$7.25/hour–unless you're a server in which case your minimum wage is only $2.13/hour plus your tips. The difference between those two hourly rates ($5.12/hour) is the rate at which servers effectively 'rent' their table section from the restaurant, on the gamble that they can make up that difference with tips.

January 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
• igor

Restaurants should know what's in their food and honestly report it. I'm seriously allergic to a particular preservative, so I need to know what's in my food. If they can't tell me, I need to know that too so I can go elsewhere. Whether a dietary restriction is a health issue, a religious issue, or a preference, restaurants should be honest about whether they can meet a customer's needs. A vegetarian who expresses that need and is told the restaurant can meet it should expect a vegetarian meal whether or not the restaurant serves meat to those who eat it.

January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Reply
• OBA

When we eat out, we order seafood only, and even this has meat ingredients: cooked in beef or chicken broth; or shrimps cooked with meats, and taken out to serve a particular order, when three options are given. We have seen deep fried fish topped by a sauce that had meat bits: one sauce to serve all. Despite their high prices, many restaurants don't really make things to order but pass ready mix stuff.

January 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Reply
• Fred

You're an idiot.

January 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
• Fiona

I'm a vegetarian, for reasons as close to my heart as any faith-based dictum. I cannot tell you how many times I've been served meat or food containing meat broth even after I've told the server (or host, in private homes) that I don't eat meat. I've tried to figure out why people do this. Is it passive- aggressive behavior, laziness, dishonesty? I do know that an awful lot of people assume vegetarians eat chicken (or that chickens just don't count, somehow). A server - and a chef - should take all dietary restrictions seriously, no matter what the stated reason is for the restriciton.

January 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Reply
• penguin48

so you're rude enough to confront people when they invite you over for dinner because there's meat broth in your food? Unless it's seriously going to make you ill, shouldn't you be more concerned about other people–and whether they think you're a royal jerk–than your own dietary choices?

January 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply
• Aldo

So when you have a dinner party at your place do you consider your meat eating guests and prepare them a meal that has meat in it, or do you not?

January 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
• @GuileOfTheGods

I can't imagine, maybe in some rare instances, it's any type of revenge or anything like that. Could be someone forgot to mention it, or they made a big dish to split into several small dishes, or just not being able to change a recipe. Not that these are good reasons, but they might be the reason?

January 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
• randoid1234

I bet you don't get invited to a lot of dinner parties do you? Actually judging from all of your other posts I'm guessing you don't get invited to a lot of any other parties either.

January 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
• Fiona

Ah...there 's the usual gang of tr olls diving in to post the same snarky comments you do for every vegetarian. I don't see what you folks get out of it. it's pretty sad., really.

But to answer the usual questions: I get invited to lots of dinners, by friends who know I'm vegetarian. Yet there is one woman I've known for almost twenty years who invites me and then serves nothing but flesh. Then she says, as I am placed in ana awkward position at the dinner table, "Oh, I forgot" when I decline a serving of dead whatever. It's some kind of game for her, I believe. But that's her problem. Like you tr olls, she gets a thrill out of being rude. It makes her look a fo ol.

January 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Reply
• randoid1234

Yeah, just keep telling yourself it's because you're a vegetarian. You think everyone is trolling you, but it's actually because of your comment. You came off as an a-hole.

January 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
• Fred

You also are an idiot, Fiona.

January 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
• CommonSense

@Fiona – My job orders lunch for everyone at the end of every month being it is a peak business period for the company. One of the places they order from is Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurant. As much as I love catfish, I cannot eat it from here because I always feel sick afterward. I get the same feeling that I would if I'd eaten a crustacean, which I am highly allergic to. Either the fish is being fried in the same oil as shrimp, or it is being handled with the same utensils. I don't fault Pappadeaux IN THIS case because I know all the food is being prepared in cooked in bulk. It would be virtually impossible to set aside the preferences of me (a single person) to 1200 employees. In your case things could be different, but it could be something as simple as utensil transfer or using the same pots and pans when cooking that is causing the issue.

January 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
• theman

Im right up there with fiona on this one. If i have a special dietary provision, whether it vegetarian or otherwise I am making you aware ahead of time because I dont eat that thing. It is nothing against you, and if you do eat that thing I am not judging you (much) but there is nothing rude about telling a private dinner host you are a vegetarian as long as you tell them ahead of time and offer to bring a dish of your own so they dont feel obligated to make something special just for you. Heres an idea. Cook something that isnt meat. Theres tons of things, and it is unlikely anyone at the table will complain unless they have the palate of a three year old. I can not stand ordering some dish meat free, and then getting a bit of meat mixed in. If I say I want to eat no meat, do you interpret that as I would like a bit of meat snuck past me in the mix, or in the literal sense I meant it? It happens way too often to be acceptable, and Im not going to not go out because I expect someone to cater to my needs, I probably just want to have a good time with some friends and trying to make an issue out of my dietary choices is not the way to go about it. The issue is not when I say "Im a vegetarian" when asked what I like, its the resistance/looks i get at this remark that raise my ire. Why do you care what I eat? Meat prices are skyrocketing and livestock makes a contribution to global warming greater than automobiles. By this logic, I am making your food cheaper and saving your ass from extinction, should be thanking me.

January 19, 2013 at 4:13 am | Reply
• @GuileOfTheGods

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but they don't need to cater to faith based diets unless specifically told. If this was a kosher restaurant (I assume kosher cause that's what I've dealt with before) I would understand you getting mad with reason, but if they were doing you a favor & doing the extra work, maybe give them that much credit?

January 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
• wordsgate

Your arrogance is what makes me job as a server/bartender incredibly frustrating and difficult. If you have dietary needs we will do our best, but most food is prepped and ready to go as it is stated in the menu. All special orders will take extra time and slows down the kitchen, which in turn makes angry customers wondering about their food. Before even walking into a restaurant I would take account their menu (which lots of places have posted online or on their front door) to make sure you can find something that will accommodate you before you step foot inside. You know what you can or can not eat, not your server or the kitchen, so do your own research and don't leave it up to the staff to create something special for you.

January 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
• Fiona

people do have to dine out with others who don't share their food limitations, wordsgate, whether for business or socially. Should they drag everyone to a restaurant chosen specifically for their own needs? I have phoned restaurants ahead of time to make certain they can accommodate my needs. If there is no vegetarian entree option on a menu, I will ask the server to put together a plate of sides, or I will order an appetizer and salad. I am often offered the option of an entree prepared without the meat, but then I don't go to restaurants where they reheat frozen, mass-produced entrees.

January 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Reply
• penguin48

I have no idea why that "woman" you've known for 20 years keeps inviting you over. Or why you keep going. Is it a game you enjoy as well?

January 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
• Fiona

penguin/troll: Business contact. Look up the word "obligation."

I guess Kat could do a follow-up on hostess sins. You bridge dwellers would get off on it.

The point of inviting guests into your home is to honor them. If you can't , or won't, put your ego and resentments aside and make people welcome as your guests, do not invite them over. Gather at a restaurant.

January 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
• whozits

Actually, I am with Oba. One of my best dining experiences is over a really simple thing. I was at a conference in SF while also undergoing chemo. I couldn't make it much past the hotel (where the restaurant didn't serve anything that would agree with me.) Across the street was this small pasta bistro. I walked in and asked if I could have a plate of vermicelli tossed with olive oil and garlic. They were known for their varieties of fresh, flavored pastas and specialty sauces but they kindly made me up my plain plate and were considerate in their service. So I got to have my SF dining experience on my poor, sickly stomach and I am still grateful, fifteen years later.

Most restaurants in major cities should be used to the fact that folks have dietary restrictions for religious/ cultural reason (especially in D.C. and NYC) and should have no problems ensuring that a dish doesn't contain shellfish or pork or shark. Restricting yourself kosher or halal restaurants can lead to a boring eating life. Many folks have medical food issues – MSG, sulfides, tannins for example – and ask that certain items be left out of dishes cooked to order (and, yes, many high end restaurants do cook to order.) Yes, some chefs get temperamental about their cooking but I think it shows a lack of culinary ability to be inflexible about a dish's ingredients. While I agree that expecting kosher dinners in a lobster house or halal food at a SC BBQ pit is just silliness on the diner's part, asking for certain ingredients not to be included in your serving in a restaurant that cooks a mixed menu to order is not.
When I was young, my sister was a picky eater with a very limited palate. My father liked this particular upscale Chinese restaurant in ColoSpgs and, the first time we ate there, paid a member of the support staff to run out and buy hamburg meat and buns so we could all eat there and she could have a hamburger and the restaurant complied. After that visit, we made reservations on all future visits and my father would 'preorder' my sister either her burger or spaghetti and she would have that while we ate from the menu. When we relocated, the owner gifted my sister and I with beautiful chopsticks (which I still have.) To my mind, that is a classy restaurant.
Now, at 57, I have won the genetic lottery and am among the 5% of gout sufferers who are female. I don't drink, never ate organ meat or small, oily fish – it is purely genetic. I can't have much nightshade (oh, horrors! I had to give up eggplant parm and rollettini! Two nightshades in one dish!) so potatoes are out and tomatoes have to be restricted for two reasons – nightshade and fructose – and turkey is out and, weirdly, oatmeal (okay, I cheat. I love oatmeal. I eat it once a week or so.) So I have to be able to order substitutions. I like fitting in my shoes and sleeping without being disassembled in a heavy metal factory. Olive oil, a true gift from god, has to be severely restricted (the olive is fruit and fruit is now off the menu.) Italian food has always been a personal fave but so much of it relies on nightshades and olive oil so it is a very rare treat, for which I later pay painfully. There are folks out there with nut allergies and shellfish allergies and strawberry allergies. We can't all stay home and eat ramen noodles, folks.

So, lay off Oba. Again, a chef who freaks over special requests is a chef with limited talents and no real understanding of food. Food is more than fuel. Well prepared, it is joy. Well served, it is ecstasy. Shared in good company among pleasant surroundings, it is a little slice of heaven.

January 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
• cust0m3r

The issue here is not that OBA knew a restaurant wouldn't conform to the dietary restrictions, but that THEY TOLD HIM THEY WOULD and then they did not.

At least as I understand it.

I don't have religious or allergenic dietary restrictions, but I still take issue with this practice. It's important. If you aren't going to prepare the food as asked, say so so that the diner can find a place that will. But don't lie and say a dish is vegetarian, then boil the veggies in beef broth, or claim there are no peanuts then hide them under the food.

To someone whose faith is proved by not eating certain foods, this is a serious offense to their god or deity. They have to deal with the guilt and/or penance for it, not you.

To someone who is allergic, you could kill them or make them very ill. How is that okay?

January 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Reply
136. ThinkDefyUnite

Handling money with sanitary gloves on. They have to be kidding me, right? WTF? I'd rather they use their hands than dirty gloves. Really stupid move, I'll never, ever be back.

January 8, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
137. Rick

My wife's grandfather owned a restaurant. He told her that the number one tell tale sign of what the kitchen is like is how clean they keep the restrooms. That doesn't say much for McDonald's as every single one I've ever visited had dirty restrooms.
If the food is not seasoned correctly I will send it back.
If the wait staff is lazy or rude I will either leave a very minimal tip or none at all and inform management. If they do nothing I will never return.
If I get exceptional service I will tip exceptional well.
Clean tables and chairs are a must.

January 8, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
• Dan

I never, ever send food back! It's a very bad idea because you loose sight of what is actually happening to your food. If I don't like the food I complain to the management and request refund then I leave and never, ever return.

January 8, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
• Yoni Levi

I disagree, having ample experience in both front of the house and back of the house; I have seen a lot. The front of the house is in charge of the restrooms, the back of the house is in charge of cleaning the kitchen. I have seen restaurants where the restrooms were so clean you could eat off the floor but if you saw the kitchen you would want to bring your meal to eat off the bathroom floor. I have worked in restaurants where the kitchen was spit shined military style every night while the front of the house could barely clean a table. The two are not related.

January 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Reply
• Fiona

I ate at a restaurant just last weekend where that front-back dichotomy was true. The kitchen for the place was entirely open and on view. Very clean, as you would expect. But the bathroom was in a back corridor of the building, where equipment was piled in the hallway, the floors were dirty. The bathroom was not filthy, but was disheveled, ugly, and grungy. It made me feel like the restaurant didn't care about customers.

January 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
• gary

I disagree Yoni,if you own or manag a restaurant you make sure the front and back of the house are cleaned.

January 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
• Fiona

In my small "college town'/city all levels of eateries tend to be on the dirty side. Bathrooms are often hideous. The cleanest restaurant bathroom I've encountered in town is in a tiny, family-run, burrito and taco place, The place has very high turnover - atkeout and sit-down - so it's all the more impressive they can keep the loo sparkling. It can be done.

January 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
138. YourTablecloth

It's so disgusting when you're eating out and finding a hair in your food

January 8, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
139. Bob Frank

Several of us walked out of a busy NYC financial district restaurant at lunch because we were seated at an uncleared table while there were several clean tables. The guy who seated us (wouldn't call him a maitre'd by any streatch) got po'd when we moved to a clean table. The reason: it was that waitress' turn to get the next customer. Unbelievable!

January 8, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
• Rick

Had they tried to seat me at a table not yet cleaned, I would not have sat down, but asked why I wasn't being seated at a clean table. If no good answer was given I would leave.

January 8, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
140. lgp

When I pay cash for a bill and get the response: "do you need change?" I'm often tempted to say, "Well, I didn't, but since you asked me that way, I *will* take some change back." Just say, "Thank you. I will be right back with your change."

January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
• man

I hate that too. I no longer pay in cash.

January 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Reply
• @GuileOfTheGods

In this instance, I always assumed that meant smaller bills. Like if change was $20.44, they would give you 1's & 5's instead of a$20? but I guess it depends the type of restaurant.

January 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Reply
141. George Valentine

Waitress trying to keep $100 gift certificate rather than apply it to the table's tab. January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply 142. Marie When the same rag is used to clean the seats and the table! January 8, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply 143. judy di Dirty tables left for too long. Loudly clanging dishes and glasses when clearing dirty table. Spraying cleaner all over the air when cleaning a table, as you are eating at the next table. January 8, 2013 at 11:09 am | Reply 144. A Different Geo We try different upscale restaurants from time-to-time, where we expect a higher standard of food and service. We won't go back when either is no better than a national chain. My wife and I had dinner last week at a place we used to like, but it seems they've started to cut back. We opted for a featured six-course menu with five wine pairings (1/2 pours), at$120/each before tax & tip - pricey for where we live. The service was okay, but the food was less than special. The total volume of food was filling, but heavily weighted to bread (a course), soup, and salad. The entree might have come frozen from GFS and the desert was recognizable from GFS. The wines were described as unique international choices available only through specialty shops. We found two of them at a local grocery priced at $8/bottle. They used to have wonderful, original food, but it seems the chef must have moved on. We won't go back. January 8, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply • realistic$1200 for both of you for dinner? Wow.

January 8, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply
• Seriously

I think it is $240 before tax and tips for both of them. January 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply • A Different Geo Correct. January 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm | 145. Anita I absolutely HATE it when the staff begins to sweep the floor and/or mop when I am trying to eat. I cannot tell you how many times I begin a meal and the stupid idiots sweep the floor. Do they NOT know that it just throws dust and who knows what else up into the air to get into my food?! I never go back to places that do that!!! January 8, 2013 at 11:05 am | Reply • Unegen This tells me you either frequent low-end restaurants and/or frequently eat just before closing. January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply • Mike So what if Anita's frequenting the place just before closing? Closing means exactly that...we're open UNTIL we close. As long as they're open, they shouldn't be starting their CLOSING procedure, i.e., mopping the dining area floors. January 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply • Dryte @Mike. If you go into a restaurant right before closing, you shouldn't expect the best service. Having worked in the service industry (and with a wife still in it), I will only go into a place right before closing if there is no other option. Even then, I am courteous, and try to make my order something simple and tip well. They are there to serve you, but they are not your servants, they want to go home a reasonable hour just like you do. January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm | • Yoni Levi ...Would you rather sit at a table with a bunch of trash under it? It is part of a servers job to ensure the floor is clean... well unless you frequent places with peanut shells on the floor. Though most places now use those little hand pushed sweeper carpet cleaners but still. I can understand the mopping issue. January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply • jacquelyn I was shocked and hurt by how much better these people think they are than low wage workers. Your comment especially stuck out as overtly rude. Do you know that restaurant servers only make$2.13 an hour? Many of them are single parents. When it is dirty, our bosses tell us to clean. To not do it, would mean losing our job and being even more impoverished. Luckily, I now work for a local business. The food and service are exceptional (not the pay) and if you call me an idiot for trying to clean before I pick up my daughter from school, my boss will tell you to, "cook at home" . I hope you weren't already aware of how minimum wage for servers hasn't been raised in 21 years and how these jobs traditionally go to single mothers. I love what I do but it is people like you that make me just want to quit and start receiving welfare. BTW I have a bachelor's degree and have been unable to find another job that would work around my hours. The lobbyist in Washington have insured they won't raise the wage for servers for many years to come. You are no better than me. When restaurants start paying their workers enough to afford day care, I will stay extra long after work and sweep. Otherwise, I advise you to start cooking.

January 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Reply
• theman

January 19, 2013 at 4:33 am | Reply
146. JMS

Having been a waiter throughout high school and college, I saw my fair share of bad servers and bad customers.

January 8, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
• realistic

With wait staff such as yourself my tips usually run 30% of the total bill including tax. I have no problem paying for outstanding service.

I have gone out with friends to places like Village Inn just to chat and have an iced tea and nothing else. Just because the waitress was nice and attentive I gave her $3 tip for a$.95 glass of tea.

January 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
147. Polly

I have both waited tables and leased a restaurant (which rec'd rave health dept reviews). A rare hair can be forgiven, but dirty bathrooms, tables, condiment containers, dishes or cutlery are a sign of laziness and a 'don't give a damn' attitude. We don't go back.
Please...could you put out the word for one Michelle LaClaire who lived in Las Vegas some 50 years ago. And if she can identify the pet she kept on a chain, give her my email address? Thank you, thank you!

January 8, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
• abdula Oblongota

Polly, is me! Michelle LaClaire! I keep bigfoot on heavy chain. Bigfoot is dead now, I keep brontosaurus on chain now, is good. Please give me your credit card information so I may to keep in tocuh with you. Bon Joir!

January 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
148. DM

Wait staff coming to your table every 45 seconds asking you if everything is alright. Dim lighting. I like to see my food.

January 8, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
• fiveliters

I have had the opposite issue-server came over to take the order (neglecting to give us silverware,BTW),dropping off the food,and never being seen again,except at the end of the meal. We ended up flagging down a different server (which I know you're kind of not supposed to do,or should have to do) just to get drinks.

January 8, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
149. Rita

I am a gourmet cook myself and writing a cookbook. There are many things that bug me at a good restaurant (cleanliness, service, etc.). I find it hard to eat out anymore especially when I cook better than most of the restaurants that I visit (even 5 star ones). I am considering on purchasing a restaurant myself, but I know the 3 things that are critical to stay in business: (1) GREAT FOOD; (2) GREAT SERVICE; and (3) CONSISTENCY! You may have a restaurant that you have eatened at for many years and have loved. This is because of the 3 aforementioned criteria. Now, have 1 or more of these occur once and you will cringe and start to question the restaurant, but you give them another chance. If it happens again, then you are done. This happened to me where I regularly went to a restaurant for over 25 years. Then I had 2 bad experiences in close proximity – I've never returned.

January 8, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
• abdula Oblongota

We put the roach in your salad the first time, when you couldn't take the hint, we went with the rat carcass. Nobody likes you, Rita, go home.

January 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Reply
• Susie

With your lack of sentence structure, grammar and spelling, good luck on getting published. Hopefully you are a better cook than writer.

January 8, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
• Fiona

Editors, Susie. It's obvious you've never seen manuscripts in first draft.

January 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply
150. jj

Surveys. I hate surveys. I go and pay for a service and you ask me to take up my time to put some thought into a survey designed to make me spend more money in your joint. I just don't do that

January 8, 2013 at 10:41 am | Reply
• mybrainonfun

January 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
151. Janet

Hard bits in soft food. Or bits of bone in meat. Something that you know shouldn't be there. Makes me gag and I just have to spit it out. Not a nice thing to do in a restaurant. it's difficult and embarrassing to get rid of some half chewed mouthful of food.

January 8, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
• theman

bone is something which should not be in proximity of meat? interesting.

January 19, 2013 at 5:18 am | Reply
152. John M

Typos on menus. I feel that if you are passionate about the food you're creating, you should at least know the history, culture, and language behind it.

January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
• abdula Oblongota

Baloney! Or Bologna! When I go to eat, I'm not looking at grammar.

January 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
153. Josh

After reading a lot of these comments, all I have to say is the people on here who have little aberations to things such as overservice and music too slightly loud, you're the people that make servers hate our jobs. Proper and prompt service is one thing, but complete lack of common sense as to why a bar drink may take an extra minute or a server might come back to check on you one too many times is a whole new story. And you're the type that regardless of how we do our job you're probably only going to leave 5% anyway and use some pointless garbage to justify it. If you dont know how to treat others, how to tip correctly (if you cant afford the tip, dont go to dinner. Its part of the bill), or act in a public restaurant, then dont come. We dont care if you dont come. Were on an hour wait everynight regardless. Again, we dont care if you come in or not. The restaurant will be filled with people who dont suck if you dont come in. Really, if youre that type of person, we dont want you back and we dont want to serve you. "Customer is king" is a dead phrase that makes no real impact in a consumer driven society. For ever person that decides to not come back to a restaurant, theres 5 new people who will come in that night. Really, we dont care and we'd rather you stay home.

Oh, and to everyone who "walks out" of restaurants for stupid things, the entire staff of the restaurant is probably laughing at how stupid you are. So continue to walk out. Again, we don't want to serve you anyway. We want to serve people who know how to be an adult and act in a public place. If the food is cold, send it back and let them make you a new one. A dirty fork? We wash 100's a day. If one gets through, ask for a new one. We'll gladly grab you one because its our job. But if its 3 degrees too cold? Get a coat. Were servers, we have no control over the temperature.

Sorry this rant is long, but as a frequent restaurant patron and a server myself, it disgusts me to see how some people treat wait staff. Those that know how, Id be happy to serve you and give you excellent service. Those that dont, shut up, go home, and let someone else who knows how to act have your table.

January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
• A Different Geo

Wow. Sounds like you should choose a different line of work. People are people in all of their ugly variations. If you can only tolerate the ideal customers - you know, the ones who are their to take care of you - you shouldn't work in a service job. Next time you interview, don't say you enjoy working with the public - clearly you don't.

January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
• Josh

100% incorrect and inaccurate. Ive been in service for around 7 years and I love my job the majority of the time. I usually like customers better then co-cmployees. But for the minority of people that like to go to a restaurtant just to complain about things, that seem to be flooding out of the woodwork in this comments section, learn to grow up and act like an adult.

And for the record, Ive had 7 interviews in my 25 years and have never not been hired in a service position. So choke on your words. Thanks.

January 8, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply
• Rick

Math? 7 years in service type job and 7 interviews (hired after each interview) = 7 jobs in 7 years.... hmmm

January 8, 2013 at 11:56 am |
• abdula Oblongota

Check your math, Rick. (25-7)/6...or 18/6, taking into account we know 1 job and its duration about an average of 1 job every 3 years. But it's possible Miss Priss had one job for 17 years, and then then 5 terrible jobs in 1 year before finding the current one. And wow...take off the earings girls, Miss Priss gunna be mad, MAD!@

January 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
• CommonSense

Rick, just because he interviewed 7 times and was hired doesn't mean he accepted every job. I'm sure most people shop around for homes and cars before buying one.

January 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
• WhoCares

Well technically he said he's been a server for 7 years and went on an interview 7 times in his 25 year employment. @Abdula, u are hilarious!

January 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
• Amazed

Josh,
WOW! You sound like a total tool. Brag about how long you've been in the service business, but I guess it says a bit about you that you have been a server until your 50.

How many times did you need to tell everyone "you don't care"? I think it was 8 times in your rambling "I hate customers" post.

You aren't kidding anyone with your "I like most customers". You appear to be the EXAMPLE of why people don't like servers. "Don't care".. "Hope you don't come back"... "Laugh" at customers with your co-workers..

Really dude? Get a job where you don't interact with people. You seem to truly hate them.

January 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
• wordsgate

I completely agree with Josh. You obviously have never been in the restaurant industry. And with your entitled attitude I only hope you experience great days every day at your job with no negatives.

January 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Reply
• Salmonius

Sounds like you are in the wrong profession. Maybe newspaper delivery person would be more to your liking.

January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
• Josh

.... that doesnt even make sense lol

January 8, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
• abdula Oblongota

Collecting fare for people crossing the bridge you live under would better suite Josh. And Josh, if that doesn't make sense either, I am calling you a troll.

January 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
• Mark

Tips have to be earned: they are not a right. If you provide poor service why would you expect to be rewarded for it? Even if you make the excuse that it was because someone screwed up in the kitchen, you are the contact point:it's your fault.
Good food and bad service: never return.
Okay food and good service: would give it another try.
The only point I will concede is that I dislike customers who try ti bully wait staff: really not necessary.

January 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Reply
154. CC so listen to me

Food is obviously why we're eating out so if its unsanitary or bad thats at the top of the list. I've seen old rough restaurants make great sanitary food with brand new clean looking ones make something that came off the floor. Nobody ever says "hey lets eat there it has great service and not great food".

And to clear up towel thing, its called a side towel and its used for hot things like a oven mitt as long as there not wiping your table with it, (sanitation towel) its perfectly normal for it to be hanging off there apron

January 8, 2013 at 10:26 am | Reply
155. Clarissa

Unwashed mushrooms........YUcky & poopy..

January 8, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
156. Donna

Just plain dirty is reason to walk out and eat some place else.

January 8, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
157. M

When I was in high school a friend and I went to a popular burger and shake diner and found a cricket on the table when we pulled out our menus. The waitress happened to see it too and got the manager who snatched the menu out of my hand and used it to smash the bug into the table. He left the smashed bug guts exposed on the table while he got a towel to wipe them up. It took a long time for me to want to go back.

January 8, 2013 at 10:15 am | Reply
• Unegen

Just curious, what magic spell was the manager supposed to do to make the bug guts disappear BEFORE he cleaned them up?

January 8, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
• Fiona

You couldn't scoop up the live cricket and take it outdoors, or just turn over an empty glass to trap it, or...smash it yourself? It's a harmless cricket, not a roach or a mouse. Crickets are considered to be good luck.

January 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
158. crmn

The cooks talking and PICKING THEIR NOSES while waiting for customers' orders at Mongolian Barbeque. In plain view of customers and managers.

January 8, 2013 at 10:12 am | Reply
• CC so listen to me

Thats a pretty good one

January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
159. penguin48

The worst restaurant experience I've had was as a kid. Mom mom told the server that I needed diet coke because I'm diabetic. Well I drank about 3 glasses (eating out was a big treat for me) and the server made some comment to my mom about how I must be drinking so much because I'm a diabetic and diabetics pee a lot. My mom didn't tip.
What I hate most about eating out now is when servers tell you "My name is X and I'll be taking care of you today." It makes me feel like I'm in a hospital meeting my nurse on duty!
That said, I actually work in a restaurant, so I know what can be expected and what cannot be expected. Friendliness can be expected. Getting your order right can be expected. Food being hot and free of foreign materials can be expected.
But in many restaurants (mine for example) the same perso is responsible for washing the dishes, cleaning the dining room, and cleaning the bathrooms at the same time. This means that during a lunch rush, he/she is completely ignoring the dishes in the back, letting them pile up, so he/she can clean up after your messes as fast as possible. Sometimes there will be a table with crumbs left on it which wasn't noticed yet. Sometimes a kid will pee on a toilet seat and we won't find it right away. It's not our fault–we can only be in so many places at a time. But for goodness sake, do NOT approach the dining room cleaner (or even worse, the CASHIER who cannot leave her post at the register) and ask for a rag to clean your own table. This may seem polite, but we all know good and well that we would get fired for letting you clean your own table. Then you stand there until somebody goes and cleans it for you.
Working in a restaurant is the new butler and maid job of the 21st century. I'm convinced that most customers eat out because they enjoy the temporary power of treating someone else like a servant.

January 8, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
• fiveliters

"What I hate most about eating out now is when servers tell you "My name is X and I'll be taking care of you today." It makes me feel like I'm in a hospital meeting my nurse on duty!"

So it's that big of a deal for the person who is bringing you your food to identify themselves? I would have thought it helped in case you needed them,they weren't around,and you asked another member for assistance.

Requesting "Susan" instead of "uh..I dunno who our server is...that lady with the big butt?" or "the one with the bad dye job?" would seem to be more effective,don't you think?

January 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply
• penguin48

i like that they identify themselves, but I don't like the phrase "taking care of you today" because it makes me feel like a patient. This is particularly true at restaurants like Golden Corral, where all the server does is take plates and refill water, and you serve yourself. I don't really need to be taken care of, and I would prefer not to have a server to tip.

January 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
160. sybaris

I stay away from fast food and "country" or local diners. I know people who work at similar restaraunts whose houses are filthy and have questionable bathing habits. Stands to reason they would be no different on the job.

January 8, 2013 at 9:58 am | Reply
161. OldSchool

Wow, some of you are the whiniest hypochondriacs I have ever witnessed... and no I do not work at a restaurant.

January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am | Reply
162. Tammy

Since I could only choose one, I chose dirty bathrooms as my highest "won't ever go back" pet peeve. However, if there's a stench in the air that's my second, but if they have a dirty bathroom then that's probably why they have stench in the air. I also can't stand to go somewhere that the staff have hickies all up and down their necks, unkempt fingernails and chewing gum, especially if they look like a cow chewing their cud. The hair in the food is a MAJOR turnoff, I send it back and do NOT request another plate. For the record, I do not try to get out of paying for my tab by planting hair and or dead insects in my food. I also HATE it when someone comes to my table, sits down beside me and proceeds to take my order as if we're buddies, and to top it off they don't even have a pen and paper to write my order down and it comes out wrong. It is the waitstaffs job to check the food for accuracy BEFORE bringing it to me, if it's wrongthen your tip goes down 5% after that it goes down to 0% and I don't eat it at all and contact management and go on their website to their coporate office, if my drink glass goes empty for 5 mins and I have to ask for a refill I deduct your tip by 1% each time. (btw, I start a tip at 20%) Also, PLEASE know your product, although I don't deduct from your tip for this no-no, it does lead me to believe that you're not that interested at working at that establishment.

January 8, 2013 at 9:56 am | Reply
• Josh

HA, you take their tip down 1% for every 5 minutes your drink glass is empty? Then PLEASE do us all a favor, stay home and fill it up yourself. Or learn to be an adult.

January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
• Amazed

Once again... Here is Josh... explaining that NOBODY should EXPECT anything out of their wait staff. "He invites everyone to "stay home".

I agree that decreasing the tip such as suggested is childish (and mostly cheap to be honest). I realized that wait staff survive on tips. I tip the same (about 25%) regardless of how I'm served because it's how they get paid.

But here's a tip for you genius customer hater... if everyone you invited to "stay home" did.. you wouldn't be able to make a living.

January 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Reply
• Matou

I have to agree that Josh's "You better treat me right" attitude is sorely lacking for someone who waits tables. Anyone who snobs me like that (or any other customer in the restaurant or employee that I notice) gets no tip and a complaint to the manager.

Josh you have accept the fact that people will be people and you don't know what is happening in their lives. You are the one being paid to do a job, you are the one wh ois expected to be professional, you have to suck it up and give them exemplary service all the way up to the point before they are violating your human rights, not your "I'm better than you so I will only consider you a decent customer if you suck up to me" judgement.

January 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
• Darren

Tammy, thank you for your post. I learned that being a snob actually takes a lot of effort. Apparently you have to go out of your way and spend the majority of your time at places looking for problems instead of just enjoying yourself. I've never met anyone that actually has a running tip deduction system. You're not the Russian judge at the olympic figure skating finals... you're there to enjoy a meal. So enjoy it, no one likes a snob.

January 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
• Matou

Tammy; there is nothing wrong with your system. If you are blessed to spend that time and thought on tracking and remunerating your server in that fashion, so what? Don't let people call you snob, you shared your way of dealing with the possible errors that servers can make and I agree with them, I might even use your method exactly from now on lol. the demerit system is alive and well in many venues of life.

January 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Reply
• theman

I enjoy drinks when i eat out! who on earth can calculate 17% of some odd number after a few tall ones? your tipping system sounds needlessly complicated.

January 19, 2013 at 5:27 am | Reply
163. go2fish

In a popular Seattle, Lake Union restaurant, dead Ladybugs were discovered in our salads. When we called it to the attention of our wait staff, their response was, 'it added protein to the salad.' We called the Manager over, our salads were promptly replaced and the employee was spoken to about the comment. Never been back. Also, when there's a No Pest Strip hanging from the corner of the wall with many flies stuck to it; that's a BIG turn off. Turned around and walked out.

January 8, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
164. Kathy

All of the above – and one other peeve I have is vacuuming the floors while I'm trying to eat.

January 8, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
• aconventgirl

Couldn't agree more....who wants to eat in the middle of someone cleaning the premises? Vacuum either before or after business hours.

January 8, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
• eltroyo

...and two other douchebags won't come back because there was a crumb or two on the floor. Or worse ...people bring their rug rats and a cup of cheerios ...all of which end up on the floor because the parents suck.

January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am | Reply
165. Crys

There are some things I can be forgiving when it comes to restaurants. I usually tell a staff person if there's an issue in the bathroom. Sometimes another customer might have done something nasty, or something might be broken. If it's during a busy time, they simply might need the heads up.

I also forgive food being undersalted. Go ahead and use other seasons to kick it up. And yes, use some salt and pepper. Give the diner the option of adding more salt if it's deemed necessary. More salt can be added, not taken out... so it's better to be slightly under. Not everybody has the same taste.

If service falls by the wayside once or twice in a restaurant, it could be that they're understaffed or they have new staff. I had that experience at a place where I frequent. I go there 2-4 times a month. One time, however, we didn't get silverware, and service was less than stellar. I couldn't find the waitress and ended up using my cell phone to call the front of the restaurant. The hostess, who knows us, was pretty embarrassed by it. We went again a couple days ago, and the service was great. We had the same waitress, and she was being trained that day. She had to be brand new that day I called, and they had so few staff she was obviously not fully trained. I kinda felt for her.

January 8, 2013 at 9:40 am | Reply
166. SandMan

When I was in college I worked in this great little non-non chain restaurant. The place was clean, the food was good and the kitchen crew was great. We used to make the best chocolate desserts. I started getting so fat, that I had to bring celery to work to chew on … and I started running. Eventually I went on to running Marathons. So I claim that eating chocolate desserts actually made me thinner!!!

Years later when I was doing my FAC tour in Iraq, I used to dream of those chocolate desserts… it was like my fantasy every time I opened an MRE. Chocolatte mousse MRE, now THAT would be an invention! I would have eaten it with camel hair and everything!!!!

January 8, 2013 at 9:39 am | Reply
167. Josh

All of you people bitch soooo much!!! I understand that most of these complaints are valid however, I wonder what % of you people have ever waited tables before? (I'm guessing like 2% of you)

January 8, 2013 at 9:39 am | Reply
• Matou

Hey where do you work Josh? I wonder what your manager would say about what you really think of the customers...and if the manager feels the same way I think the general public would like to know so they can all avoid your place...

January 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Reply
• Fiona

Josh, sweetie, did you read the article at the top? The part about "restaurant sins"? Complaining is the point. Consider this a virtual complaint box.

Why do you work in the service industry when you so clearly hate people?

January 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply
• whozits

Can't speak for all the posters but I know that most women have waited tables at some point in their lives. Many college educated men have waited tables. I have, while in high school and college, waited table in a small place where I was the hostess/ waitress/ cook/ diswasher/ barmaid and in chain restaurants and even worked in a rehab hospital kitchen. My grandmother actually belonged to a NYC union for wait staff. My mother waited in a lobster house in high school and my father was a soda jerk at Howard Johnsons before entering the military. Waiting used to be a profession and still is for some. I have known elderly waiters in high end restaurants who remembered the days of white gloved staff. They took pride in serving quietly, patiently and expertly. No glass stood empty, no finished plate lingered, no client spent any appreciable time scanning for their server, tableware was spotless. They never pestered a diner with a full mouth, waited for a natural break in the client's conversation with a fellow diner and were never rude.

You are not due a tip. The tip is a reflection of the client's satisfaction with your service. It is not the diner's fault that waitstaff have a different minimum wage than other laborers, it is the fault of restauranteurs. THEY petition the states for the rate. For those who don't understand, restaurants in most states DO NOT have to make up the difference between tips collected plus minimum wait rate to match minimum labor rate. Before the feds realized how much income tax they were not collecting on tips, restaurants did not even track tips and many still don't. The IRS requires that they tally the tables served total billing and list a fixed percentage (used to be 10% when this first started) as income for the waitperson on their tax forms. If you tip under that percentage, you are actually allowing the feds to collect more tax from the server than the server owes – and the server has no recourse. This is one reason why restaurants put a minimum gratuity directly into the bill on groups – the total of the bill rarely reflects an adequate tip as there are a lot of cheapskates out there (and folks who linger after everyone else has left so they can pocket the tips.) Only commissioned workers' wages must match state minimum after commission, not servers. Some chains have begun printing a tip guide on the bottom of the bill (xx.xx is 15%, yy.yy is 18%) to remind people at sandwich restaurants and burrito restaurants that the waitperson works on tips.

After scanning a lot of John's posts and taking into account that he is only about 25 (he has worked for 7 years in restaurants and mentions no other employment history,) he is still very much a child and still feeling entitled. He might outgrow it. I get the feeling that if he worked at the Golden Arches in high school, he was one of the kids who peed in the pickle buckets. If you like a restaurant and have had good service from staff there before but wind up with a John one visit, remember that you can ask for a specific waitperson or not to be served by a particular server. You may not get the next available table but you will get a more pleasant experience at the cost of a small wait. And John will have the pleasure of an empty table, which he seems to want.

January 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
• Dusty

Are you kidding?! Well, you did mention elderly people – yeah, because when they were young, that was the last time this utopian environment could be found! Those may have been the days when glasses were topped off and the waiter waited for a "natural break in the conversation" before approaching the table, but honey, times have changed! There isn't one waiter for every two tables anymore. Do you really want the waitstaff staring at you so they can time their visit to your table when you're not talking or not chewing? See, unreasonable comments like these make me feel bad for the crap that waitstaff has to put up with.

And by the way – not every woman in this world has been a waitress – never been a waitress, never worked at a fast food place. Actually, I don't know anyone who was ever a waitress. And you know, none of the college educated men I know were ever waiters. What a ridiculous comment.

January 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
• Just trying to get a meal without issues

Josh for your sake as well as ours, get another job. Yes, I have served, and yes I was professional, and yes you are
a dis-service to the profession.

January 9, 2013 at 7:15 am | Reply
168. Bran

I abhore when a server is refilling my drink and touches the pitcher to my glass after touching everyone elses in the restaurant beforehand.

January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am | Reply
• Iowa Connie

And even worse.....they pick up your glass or cup by the tip rim, fill it from their tray, then pick it up by the rim again to set it down. YUK! Not using that glass or cup again. I ask for a new one!

January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am | Reply
• Paul

Get a grip, man. There are worse things out there.

January 8, 2013 at 10:20 am | Reply
• Susie

Yup, like a server setting your table and not holding the silverware by the handles. Gross.

January 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
169. Jay Jay

The thing that gags me is the server carrying your plate to the table and their thumb is on the lip of the plate, practically in the food. Then when they set it down I can see their thumb print on the plate... baaaaarrrrff. Hair too; I can't eat a meal if MY hair lands in it, let alone some stranger's – hahahhahhahha

January 8, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
• Christina

I'm with you. I've found my own hair in food that I've cooked, and I'm done; I can't eat it. My husband just takes the hair out and eats it anyway. How can anyone do that? I know that my hair is clean, but how do we know that the cook's is?

Of course, if we really knew what was happening in the back of house, we would never eat out again.

January 8, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
• rowdyrandy

Finding a hair in my food in a restaurant turns my stomach. But I have three cats, so at home if I find a hair, I just take it out. I know where my cats have been!

January 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
• randoid1234

If your cats are like other cats I know where they've been too. Laying on the carpet licking their butts and then licking their fur that's landing in your food.

January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
170. hdj

Coffee/tea without saucers. Why does this happen so often? Where are you supposed to put the dirty spoon or teabag??? On the dirty table? And then use it for something else? Or on your napkin? And then use it for something else?

January 8, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
171. melissalasure

It makes a difference where they are touching your dishes. They shouldn't be putting their fingers at the top of your glass when they pick it up. Same with silverware or plates.

January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
172. Mike

I was at a restaurant for happy hour. This was in Northern Virginia about 8 years ago, so smoking was still allowed in the bar area. the bartender got his rag wet, wiped off an area that had ashes, and spilt beer/wine/drinks, and proceeded to wring the rag out in the ice bin. Maybe he was in a hurry and thought it was a sink. Whatever – never went back again.

January 8, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply
173. MARKTHEFILE

I went to a restaurant, had my meal, and when I came out, I smelled like the inside of that place – GREASY. I had to go home and change my clothes it was so bad. If they cannot clean and keep EVERYTHING clean – kitchen, tables, silverware, dishes, bathroom, fans, countertops, etc. then I don't need to be eating there. Cleanliness is ALWAYS FIRST for me.

January 8, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply
174. gatecrasher1

I don't like when waitresses at Hooters talk about their "boyfriend". Sorry, honey, the tip-o-meter just went down.

January 8, 2013 at 8:41 am | Reply
• Ben

Maybe they just don't want your creepy a$$thinking that they have to put up with you hitting on them. If you want a woman to pretend to be interested in you for money, may I suggest a strip club? January 8, 2013 at 10:35 am | Reply • gatecrasher1 My friends and I often do head to our favorite gentleman's lounge after Hooters. So, yes. January 9, 2013 at 1:41 am | Reply • rowdyrandy I agree. The waiters at Hooters are there to show you there t*ts, and talking about their boyfriends just makes it harder for you to pretend that you're ever going to get some of that! January 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply 175. Vernon I once found an entire employee name tag in my bowl of sausage gravy. January 8, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply • Todd It's made of people! January 8, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply • JorgeF It was soylent green. hahaha January 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply 176. Cad Lady I order water as I sit. While it is being prepared, I look at the tableware (salt, pepper, sugar bowl, etc.) If that isn't clean, I ask for a table change. If the 2nd table is similarly ignored, I'm outta there. Please don't just flop a towel around over the top of the table...wipe off the table pieces too! January 8, 2013 at 8:03 am | Reply • BeerBrewerDan You go to restaurants where water is "prepared?" January 8, 2013 at 8:09 am | Reply 177. travelingal702 How about loud, inappropriate music. Went to a TGIFriday for lunch with a few friends. We were the first ones there when they opened and the music was so very loud. We asked 3 different times for the music to be lowered; they lowered it for 10 seconds and then cranked it up again. We walked out and went someplace else and will never go back there. Light background music is OK, but not the loud, headbanging stuff so many places see to like. If you can't talk to your tablemate without shouting, the music is too loud. January 8, 2013 at 7:54 am | Reply • gatecrasher1 The problem is YOU. TGI Friday's did nothing wrong- you have the wrong expectations. You are not going to hear Engelbert Humperdinck or an instrumental of "Moon River" playing. That is the kind of place that it is. If you don't like it, don't go there. January 8, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply • MARKTHEFILE Gatecrasher1: You either own a TGI Friday's or are young and hard of hearing due to your music being up so loud in your car and at your house. Yes, I, too have been at restaurants where the music is TOO LOUD and you cannot even have a decent conversation across the table. January 8, 2013 at 8:46 am | Reply • lisa Youre wrong, Gatecrasher. No restaurant should have music blaring so loud that you cant hear each other speak. Its not a club, you jerk. I love loud music, but not in a fast food restaurant. TGIF isnt a dance club, u jerk. January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am | Reply • chris You are mistaken. It's an epidemic problem with a young wait staff that wants to hear there favorite music while they work! This is one of the big issues today. Also texting every two seconds while they work and chatting every second while they work. It's work and you need to provide an atmosphere that is pleasing to the customer not you. January 8, 2013 at 9:07 am | Reply • PraiseTheLard No, Gatecrasher, the problem is YOU and the rest of the hard-of-hearing youths who have destroyed their ears through years of overexposure to ever-increasing sound levels. If you can't hold a conversation without shouting, something's wrong, unless you develop your lip-reading skills. January 8, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply • aconventgirl Loud music in restaurants is usually for the employees, not the paying customer. Usually I go to a restaurant to relax and let someone else cook/cleanup, not to be subjected to a club like atmosphere. January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply • Susie Did you read what you wrote? People go to restaurants to eat, not listen to music. That is what clubs are for, and where you obviously belong. January 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply 178. Intolerant 1. Server carrying a glass with their fingers on the rim where I will be drinking. Very common 2. Once ate pizza at a restaurant and sprinkled mozzarella from a shaker on it. After my friend had finished eating we noticed a live fly inside the shaker. Told our server and he smiled. January 8, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply • gatecrasher1 "That's-a our cheese fly! You like-a?" January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply 179. Michelle Smith Food Poisoning. If I am sick less than 2 hours after eating someplace, I know 100% it's due to poor hygiene in food preparation (cook or server). I wash my hands before I eat (after touching menu and doors, etc.) so I feel fairly confident I don't introduce anything to cause vomiting or diarrhea. January 8, 2013 at 7:35 am | Reply • JMS Having been a waiter throughout high school and college, I saw my fair share of bad servers and bad customers. It's not rocket science being a waiter, I'd greet the table as soon as possible and take the drink orders, once I brought out the drinks, I'd inquire if they wanted appetizers to begin or if they were ready to place their order. I'd then input the order into the system, knowing that the kitchen was running XX amount of minutes behind and the dishes on average take XX amount of time to make. Bring the food out, inquire if they need any additional condiments, if the glass was half way empty or below I'd have a refill ready when I brought the food out, inquire half way through if they need anything else and presented the check when they looked like there were coming towards the end of their meals. I'd have the check ready to present, but I would inquire about any coffee/dessert. If they wanted additional I would input the information into the system, if not I would present the check. When I would stop by a table for any reason I would prebus it as well (i.e. remove any empty plates/cups/etc) to allow for an uncluttered table. I'd also be scanning my table area from a distance, if anyone needed something as soon as they'd look up to find me I'd be able to notice. I'd socialize with my coworkers when the restaurant was empty, if I had customers, my attention was on them. I averaged 20%-25% tips and can count on my hands how many complaints I ever had. I made sure to write all my orders down including any specialty requests, enter it accordingly in the system and check the order to make sure it matched before bringing the food out. The majority of customers out there are reasonable, for those that weren't I'd accomodate as much as possible. You could easily tell who wanted to converse and who wanted to just eat and be left alone. The time I went out most recently, the waiter wouldn't win any personality awards, but he was quick, efficient and got the order right. I've also gone out and had waiter/waitresses that try too hard to converse when all the signals said I was more interested in having a conversation with whomever I was with. How hard is it to read body signals? My .02 cents. January 8, 2013 at 10:51 am | Reply • Shawn Exactly JMS, I would probably eat out more if I had your type of service. January 9, 2013 at 1:45 am | Reply • Just trying to get a meal without issues Thanks JMS for a little professional sanity. It's not that hard to do the job, even with the small minority of jerks who are customers or co-workers. January 9, 2013 at 7:19 am | Reply • DonaldGW Like any other pathogen those that you're supposedly getting from your food have an incubation period before you feel symptoms. "Food poisoning" takes at the very least 12 hours to show any discomfort and in most cases 24 hours is typical. I would say that the day old pizza you had for breakfast at home that morning is a more likely suspect, food related illness is much more commonly the result of food prepared at home. January 8, 2013 at 11:05 am | Reply • CommonSense "..."Food poisoning" takes at the very least 12 hours to show any discomfort..." Not exactly accurate. Food poisoning results from ingesting harmful bacteria and the amount of time it takes to develop symptoms depends on the toxin ingested. The effects of eating spoiled raw seafood can be apparent in as little as 2 hours, while it can take up to 12 hours before one feels sick after eating e.coli in undercooked beef. January 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Reply • whozits This is correct. Some pathogens work quite early and some folks are more sensitive to certain toxins. I once had a reaction to a spoiled pickle as soon as the thing hit my stomach (the actual organ, folks.) I have discovered that when I get the runs, it usually isn't food poisoning, it is a sensitivity to the oil used for cooking (canola, for example) that my gall bladder can't handle. This is fairly common once you reach middle age. As more and more restaurants move away from butter and lard, the reaction is more common. A lot of commercial cooking oil is a mix of palm, canola and other plant oils and the blend can vary due to shifts in the market. Thus, you may not get a reaction for months of dining at a specific restaurant and then get it every time you eat there for a few months. Since many of the oils come from out of the country, the purity of the oils can also be somewhat inconsistent. You get also get a reaction from the chemicals used to clean prep and cooking areas and this may vary as regulations shift (things get banned, things get restricted, restrictions get lifted.) Some places use diluted bleach and the local water may be highly chlorinated (as it is in my area and many areas with aging treatment systems) and you may be more sensitive than average to accumulated chlorine. January 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm | 180. Gin Hearn It is rather obvious that a good portion of the posters here are actually the staff and management of various eating establishments. To be honest, as a consumer of your food, I'm not interested in your opinion of what turns off a diner at your restaurant. I do notice a great deal of attitude aimed at the consumer from quite a few of you. I sincerely wish that you had the audacity to publish the name of your establishment here, but then I guess that just guess goes along with people who spit in food that they are preparing or serving. In what other industry do you hear of customers be treated like that? Do you go to buy a plant at a nursery and find that the wait staff has sprayed it with round up? Do you go to get you oil changed and find that they have dumped metal shavings in your engine? Only in the restaurant business. Do you hear yourselves? No wonder people walk out without paying or don't bother tipping. I am not saying your entire industry is like that, but it is ripe with a lot of people who think that we, the consumer, owe them something. Here's a news flash. I don't. I don't owe you my business and I do not owe you servers a tip. You will get one when I decide you will get one and that will be only if you have earned one. And, if your food is awful, or dirty or rotten, I won't pay for it and I will talk and write about it after I leave as I always leave a review online. January 8, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply • CommonSense VERY well stated. No one could have said that better. January 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Reply 181. dave went to a bistro type resturant in a big chain gorcery here in PA, ordered a sandwich. the person preparing the sandwich put on the glove and while making the sandwich wiped here hand on her pant legs. did not get the sandwich, left and called management the next day after my attitude adjusted. she had the temarity to offer me free food January 8, 2013 at 7:21 am | Reply 182. Shawn A joint with amazing food and terrible service will fail. I can't count how many times I have been to a place where the waiters/waitresses just didn't care. They went through the motions, were slow, rude, got things wrong, food came cold because it was dying in the window. There have been places I have literally stood up and taken my meal out of the pass because it had been sitting there five minutes with the waitress nowhere to be found. And then they wonder why people don't tip! January 8, 2013 at 7:14 am | Reply • Dusty I just cannot believe you get up and help yourself to food that's sitting there!! The service had been sooo poor already that you didn't even want to wait for the food delivery?! What right do you have taking that food? What if it's not yours? So you contaminated the entire employee area by putting your grimy fingers all over their food prep area! I'm willing to bet you exagerate on the 5 mintues – and even if it did sit there for 5 minutes, maybe the meal for whoever you were eating with wasn't ready yet. Maybe it needed cheese/seasoning/garnish. Maybe a bathroom break was necessary – they do have that right, you know. If you won't give the waitstaff a chance to do their job, then go to a cafeteria where you can help yourself. And by the way – NEVER been a waiter, just using common sense and giving people the benefit of the doubt. I find you get more with sugar than with sour. January 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply • Shawn When a place is empty, and your order, exactly how you ordered it (always tend to change something a little bit from the menu due to dietary concerns) is sitting there, yeah you can damn well bet I will get it. Im paying for it and I'm not going to pay for it if it's stone cold. I'm always wasting my time sitting there and waiting for it. Maybe someone like YOU doesn't realize that SOME of us have more important things to do and want to eat and get out of there and head back to work, or on with other business. And dirty hands all over that area, thats laughable. THe only thing I touch would be the plate I'm eating from. The times I've done this the waiter/waitress doesn't even notice because they aren't doing their job,a nd just assume someone brought it out to me January 9, 2013 at 1:43 am | Reply • Dusty The TIMES that you've done this – you've done it more than once? Ok, so you don't have any patience or you continue to frequent places that offer poor service – probably so you can b1tch about it later. My recommendation – find places that will turn your table over in an hour or less if you're trying to get back to work before the lunch hour is over. If you can't find such a place near work – brown bag it instead of continuting to put yourself in a no-win situation. Also just want to mention that if you're in a place at lunch and you're the only one there....that tells you something, doesn't it? January 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm | 183. bradley563 To me it is the service and staff. We recently went to a local Texas Roadhouse. We called an hour in advance and said we would be there at 7 and would have a person with us in a wheel chair. We showed up and still had to wait 45 plus for a table. We sat down already upset. Our server came over and the very first thing she said before anything "they didnt give you silverware or bread, let me take care of that for you RIGHT NOW" She was there for everything we needed without us having to ask. Now when the bill came for 70, my mother in law picked up the check. So I said that I would get the tip. At this point my wife says I made the server cry. I gave her a 50 tip. She questioned it and I told her how we had come in already upset with the service. Because of her she salvaged us going back and made our dinning experience very pleasant. She truly was a professional who cared for her guest. January 8, 2013 at 6:56 am | Reply 184. Steve Teodecki The last time I ate at a Chili's was in the 80's in Novi, Michigan. And I have never ever benn back. I avoid going whenever a work gathering is planned. It was a horrifying experience after I had ordered a side of sauteed zucchini with my dinner, and found a shard of broken brown glass in the side of my mouth while chewing. As I was spitting out my mouthful, I found another stuck in my tongue and one in the roof of my mouth. I was so scared that I had swallowed pieces before finding the glass!!! When we called for the manager and he came over, he responded in a bored, uncaring way, saying he could do nothing about it. He then offered my wife and I two free dinner gift certificates. I told him that I would never, ever step into another Chili's and I would tell all of my friends about this ghastly event. Will never set foot in one ever again. Horrifying! January 8, 2013 at 6:51 am | Reply • SnidelyW We went to Chili's with our kids once and the broccoli that was brought out for one of the kids was rotten. You know how if you leave a bag of lettuce or veggies in the fridge for too long it gets brown, squishy, and stinky? Well that's what we got. It STUNK! Not just figuratively but literally. We told our waiter and he didn't seem overly concerned or offended. We asked for a different side item, which he brought, but he left the nasty, stinky broccoli on our table. We had to put it far, far away from us, because it stunk so badly. We've never been back, and the kids don't seem inclined to ever want to go there again, either. January 8, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply 185. Keithp The worst offense is service. its the key, Ive worked in restaurants my whole life and love it, all that other stuff...sadly it happens no matter how tight you run your ship. What matters is how you treat your guests....be appreciative of them because they keep you in business. If a problem arises, acknowledge it as your fault,apologize, make amends and do whatever it takes to make them happy. Obviously if you frequent a place and its always dirty and hairs in your food thats another health code issue....but if its the first offense...it happens....what matters is how they respond to it. Basically if that staff doesnt care if you're there then I wont return....if theres problems but theyre attentive and recognize them and obviously doing their best to reconcile it, thats a good restaurant. January 8, 2013 at 6:14 am | Reply • Tara I agree that great service is key to keeping guests happy. However, there's a flip side to this. Some guests, no matter what you do, are NEVER happy, and speaking as a server, these freeloaders ruin it for other guests who truly just want a great meal. I completely agree that restaurants should be 100% clean, and the servers that represent the establishment should be equally as clean. I get that. I also agree that food should be fresh and prepared the way it's meant to be, free of hair & fingers near plate & glass rums when being served. Totally understandable and not unreasonable. On the other hand, there are those horrible restaurant guests who want something for nothing. Do not order that huge plate of fried shrimp, leave 2 pieces, THEN complain that there's a hair in your food. That's crap. These people can stay out of restaurants completely. Bottom line: bad restaurant experiences occur regularly, whether it's a hygiene related issue or service related. I experience them myself from time to time; improperly cooked food, horrible service, dirty surroundings, etc. Most guest complaints are, indeed, legitimate, and should be acknowledged. Just take responsibility and do the right thing. However, let's not forget the cheapskate patron who never wants to pay for anything, so they'll just complain until they get it for free. These people, I have no use for sympathy for. January 8, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply • Susie I know of a woman who complains about her meal every time she eats out, no matter what type of restaurant. Why? Because she gets a free meal from management as compensation. Pretty pathetic. And dishonest. January 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply 186. Caiha Hm, I agree except the "no eye contact" part. I waitressed for two years, and tried my best to be helpful, and was darn efficient, but being autistic there's just no way I'm going to be able to do the eye contact or "service with a smile" bit. It just isn't possible. You want someone who's going to be quick, accurate, and helpful; or someone who's going to insincerely pretend to be happy to see you? Your call. My tips say people liked my style, I made more money than the manager :D January 8, 2013 at 5:26 am | Reply 187. Sam I. Am I have SOME of the same complaints mentioned here. I'm not picky or hard to please. Friendly service, good food, apologize on behalf of the kitchen, offer a free drink, etc, if something took too long or was not right. But I'll add this... when it's time to pay and leave, be quick about it. It's been rare, but a couple of times in different establishments I have waited 30 mins with an empty glass to pay, and if you have that little regard for my time, I have that little regard for your salary. It wasn't a large bill in any of the instances, but I finally just walked out. January 8, 2013 at 4:47 am | Reply • Sam I. Am And I'd like to add... it wasn't busy. If so, I would have approached one of the registers on my own. Instead, it was very calm, the staff was simply inattentive. January 8, 2013 at 4:55 am | Reply • Keithp I agree as a restaurant worker, there are 2 crucial times for a customer that should be immediate, 1 is getting them a drink when they sit down...if they want a cocktail get it fast and that will buy you some time before food ordering, and the other is when theyre trying to leave...I also hate waiting a long time just to get out the door January 8, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply • AmberWaves I agree with you there! The one thing that gets me, though, is when you can't get them to pay attention to you at all throughout the meal, like if you need a drink or more bread or whatever, but boy howdy when it's time to leave, they are johnny on the spot with the check and they hover while you fish your credit card out of your wallet. It's like where the heck were you when I was thirsty 5 minutes ago? January 8, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply • Mike I hate this too – when I'm done – I want to leave! And please please please NEVER let my beer get lower than a couple inches :) January 8, 2013 at 8:54 am | Reply • rowdyrandy I detest waiting to pay. I have found that if you can't get anyone's attention, stand up and put on your jacket, then if no response, proceed slowly toward the door. Someone will materialize immediatelt! It works everytime. If I have to resort to this to pay my bill, I will not tip. January 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Reply 188. Ringo74 The worst experience I can recall was when my friends and I went to a nice place to eat and asked if we could sit on the patio and dine because it was beautiful outside. Our host showed us to the last available table on the patio. Our waiter greeted us and took our drink order. We were placing our food order when the owner tapped me on the shoulder and she pretty much got right in my face and quite loudly said I need you and your friends to move to a different table inside because this one is reserved. I was completely shocked and embarrassed. Our waiter told her that he'd sat us there and that we'd been sitting there about ten minutes already. She demanded we move so we did and everybody seemed to enjoy their meal and all but as for myself, I'll never return there. She was completely rude IMO. Also, it takes a lot for me to be offended and have a problem with most places. I usually don't complain unless its really bad. January 8, 2013 at 4:18 am | Reply • Ed That was bad. You should have stood up and said fine, we will relocate to another restaurant and walked out. January 8, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply • Ding Are you upset because they moved you or because of the way they moved you? January 8, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply • Ringo74 It was definitely the way we were told to move. If she had apologized for the mistake and been polite I wouldn't have cared at all. But it seemed like she was implying that we had done something wrong and wanted to embarrass us. I've never returned, even when friends have suggested we go there with them. And I'll never know why she got in my face particularly out of everybody. I'm very quiet and I'm the shy one of our group so it was very embarrassing for me. Thanks for asking this though because yes it was the way we were moved. January 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply • Fiona I remember reading an interview with some celebrity - I wish I could remember where it was and who it was - which took place in one of those restaurants where seating is allotted by VIP status. The journalist and (minor?) celebrity were asked to change tables so the regular (inference being "more important") customer could have their usual table. The celebrity took it graciously and they moved. I would never have taken it that well, but I guess you choose your battles, eh? January 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Reply 189. brian Yup i would totally T-bag your drink before they bring it to you . January 8, 2013 at 4:01 am | Reply 190. Literature Department Dean While we're at it, it should read "this is an online blog post." Just sayin'. January 8, 2013 at 3:24 am | Reply 191. shockedIAM here's one, while finishing eating a raspberry pie my next fork full had a half of a dead cockroach in it. The only thing I was sure of is that I just swallowed the previous bite without fully chewing it. January 8, 2013 at 2:07 am | Reply • Fiona That's an old joke: what's worse than finding a dead roach in your food...half a dead roach. There was even a version in Bazooka Joe comics (for the infants out there, Bazooka Joe bubblegum used to come wrapped in a comic panel). January 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply 192. Leemeelone The too-cutesy waitress who bounces over and says in her best cheerleader voice "how's everything tasting over here?". Seriously, just ask me if there is anything I need, dont ask me how the food tastes. Unless you're wearing a Hooters uniform, then ask anything you want. January 8, 2013 at 2:01 am | Reply 193. Stephen I'm sorry to be a grammar Nazi about this but the disclaimer at the beginning of this article ends in a preposition. Instead of ending with "think you should know about.", you should drop the word "about." I learned this at an early age from my father who is a published author and every time I see a prestigious site such as CNN using improper English, I feel like I should point it out in order for your site (which I love) to be presented with more credibility in its writers' techniques. When you or a moderator reads this comment, feel free to delete it before others see that I'm being critical of the technical errors. I'm just looking out for you guys! January 8, 2013 at 1:56 am | Reply • Leemeelone Lighten up, Francis. Did you read the article or just proofread it for errors? January 8, 2013 at 2:03 am | Reply • Literature Professor Ending a sentence in a preposition is no longer a hard and fast rule. Many authors do this to reflect a more conversational tone in their writing. Since this is a online blog post and not a "news" article it is generally deemed acceptable but shouldn't be done too often or else the writing would seem cluttered and muddled. January 8, 2013 at 2:17 am | Reply • Literature Department Dean While we're at it, it should read "this is an online blog post." Just sayin'. January 8, 2013 at 3:25 am | Reply • Shane I dare anyone to find one story on CNN free of grammatical errors. The writing here is atrocious. Be it in a news article or blog, It is never acceptable to end a sentence in a preposition. Unfortunately, this type of thing happens when you don't properly check the writer's credentials. Most of these writers are probably freelance writers. January 8, 2013 at 3:46 am | Reply • Wowser Can you tell me what state your in? I want to make sure I never go there. January 8, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply • Randy ...you're... January 8, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply • Ms. Grammar (smile) January 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm | • Keithp Stephen, do you have an opinion on this article or are you really just commenting on the grammar? You may need some hobbies...just sayin....WHO CARES???? I dont care about the grammar...I care about the opinions on here...and i dont have apostrophes because its late and I dont feel like typing them out...check this book out http://www.amazon.com/Sweat-Small-Stuff-small-stuff/dp/0786881852 January 8, 2013 at 6:31 am | Reply • geeworker thanks for input Sheldon January 8, 2013 at 8:10 am | Reply 194. Fiona Service is terrible in every eating establishment where I live, so I don't go in with high expectations. But when I am eating out at a high-end restaurant in a food city like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris...I want professional behavior from the staff. I have crossed a few otherwise wonderful New York restaurants off my list because the servers and/or management was rude, dismissive, or just inept. Dirty bathrooms are worrying anywhere, as are strange smells (I agree about that gagging dishwater-and-floor-mop smell). When it comes to funky, small, hole-in-the-wall places, though, I'll put up with a lot of bad stuff if the food is especially good. I used to eat often at a Korean BBQ (in my meat-eating years) where roaches would occasionally walk up the walls of the dining room. Free entertainment. The most skin-crawling thing I remember seeing in an eatery (and I've had hair in my food, dirt in my greens, roaches on the table, inchworms in my salad, and a kid throwing up on the table next to mine...twice) was a guy with a cast on his arm acting as both cashier and take-out-food wrapper in a family restaurant. He had the kind of cast that wrapped around the hand and between the thumb and finger. It was stained, ragged, filthy on the edges. When sandwiches came out of the kitchen, he arranged them on sheets of paper and wrapped them –touching them with his cast - and wiped his hands on a greasy towel looped through his apron string. Then he went back to handlig cash, never washing. I cringe even now, remembering that. January 8, 2013 at 1:20 am | Reply • Roganne Roganne My husband & I eat out every evening. It is very rude for the wait staff to reach across someone to serve a meal. This happens all the time. I saw a steak knife fall in someones lap but they all continue to serve like this. To much salt is awful. Don't cook with using salt at all cause there is a salt shaker on each table, salt it the way you like it. Not everyone is allowed salt. Serve dessert when the table is ready, don't start waiting on other tables first. Nothing worse then getting asked what you want for dessert when your still eating your meal. Waitresses stand & chat while your trying to eat. Waitresses have their hair tied back or up but it is so long it lays in the food when they carry a tray. If a meal is burnt or doesn't look right, the waitress still puts it in front of you. That is awful. Why not question the cook first about it or refuse to serve it. Waitresses are young, some still in school & don't know the first thing about waitressing & the owner/boss must not either.These things happen all the time at the diner we eat at. We live in the country so there are very few places to choose from to eat dinner. January 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply January 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply 195. Josephus23 The same can be said for the industry's attitude toward irrational guests who hold purposely unattainable expectations. They can not come back and we wont care. The best restaurants cater to a specific culture, or demographic if you wanna be all bizness. If a person comes in and does not appreciate what is being offered, then leave. We won't miss you. January 8, 2013 at 1:09 am | Reply • lscgroomer And we all anxiously await the opening of the new restaurant that will take your place! The economy being what it is, patrons have the right to expect good food as well as good service, for a dining experience worthy of their patronage. January 8, 2013 at 4:17 am | Reply • Just trying to get a meal without issues Your customers won't miss you either. January 9, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply 196. Cynthia For me, it is a waitstaff who comes to check every few minutes, interrupting conversations, asking if everything is okay. It is very annoying. When our waitstaff does that, I tend to undertip just because obviously she/he expected to be tipped generously because she/he checked in often. Hopefully my message was clear – once our dinner have been brought to our table, and having checked that we have everything we need, you may leave and come back with the check when you've seen we've finished eating. Thank you. We like to converse and eat in peace without interruptions. January 8, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply • Brit A lot of restaurants train the wait stuff to check on customers periodically to assure everything is okay. However, it gets out of hand sometimes. Where is the commonsense? Need to gauge when customers want to be left alone to converse. January 8, 2013 at 1:12 am | Reply • Josephus23 Why not tell your server at the beginning of the meal that you don't want to be disturbed? It seems to me that you are arbitrarily punishing these servers simply because they are unable to read your mind. If a person is checking back with you often, then they are, in their own good conscience, trying to do a good job. Service is a two way street. You get what you give. January 8, 2013 at 1:23 am | Reply • Dover I know you! I bar tend at a restaurant where a lot of people order dinner at the bar. I have a personal policy to come past after a respectable amount of time has lapsed for the customer to have tried the food. I ask if everything is ok. After that I leave them alone unless they drop hints that they want to talk (ask questions etc) or if I notice they need another drink. The other day I did just that with a couple. The woman was one of those people that would ask a question about the food, and then while I was describing it she would nod her head annoyingly while repeating "I know" over and over (why did you ask?). She also insisted that the chef make her something not on the menu and gave me her name to drop as if it would help. The chef had never heard of her. After going by to ask if everything was ok, and she said it was "amazing", I noticed her glass was empty. I asked if I could get her another drink and she snapped "I already TOLD you everything was OK!". Your type should stop being so sensitive. A visit by a server lasts seconds and happens because they want to help. Relax! January 8, 2013 at 2:23 am | Reply • Dover You also sound like one of those people that is looking for any reason to undertip. Stay at home and save a few cents for godsakes. January 8, 2013 at 2:25 am | Reply • brian You seem like the type of customer that gets your mashed potatoes mushroom tipped and your gravy spit in . Stay at home of you "don't want to be bothered" most restaurants ive worked in TRAIN servers to be attentive . As a cook i would totally spit in your food or give you an unexpected pubic hair in your food . January 8, 2013 at 3:34 am | Reply • Grossed Out If you really do those things, please find another job. It is very disturbing to hear someone in the restaurant business say they would do this. You are a disgrace and embarrassment to the industry. January 8, 2013 at 8:21 am | Reply • mikengermany I have to admit – i agree on this one – I was in the states at a place and the help was overly anxious to help. While i fully know that in the states the customer service is different than other places – going too far to hope for a big tip isn't necessary helpful. But I would also think that management (good one at least) would recognize whats appropriate – and too much and bring it in check. But I also must remind myself that they get poorly paid in the states as a waitress/waiter unlike Germany where they earn a so called 'working wage' (even if still not great paying). And as others point out – no easy answer since it seems like every answer will never makes the majority of anyone happy. January 8, 2013 at 3:50 am | Reply • Shawn So, you get irritated because the waitstaff is doing their job? How stupid. And to undertip them for being overly attentive? Even more stupid. January 8, 2013 at 7:24 am | Reply • MARKTHEFILE Cynthia: I have never heard anyone complain about such a thing! Wow! If you don't want to be disturbed, please tell the staff-however, on the other hand, don't be pissed if they don't show up at your table with you need something or have a problem (like spilling a drink). You are a very cold hearted individual and I'm willing to bet you JUST DON'T LIKE TO TIP AT ALL! Wait staff are trained to check in to make sure you don't need anything, or that everything is okay. It only takes a second. January 8, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply • Josh Cynthia, then dont eat out. If you dont like the service staff doing their job leave. We truly dont care. And for those that say well your business is going to go downhill. you're also wrong. We're probably just going to get busier. We dont need crappy patrons like you when we have an hour wait every night with people who actually know how to act in public. Take your 5% tip and go somewhere else. Again, we truly, TRULY do not care. January 8, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply • gues For someone who truly, TRULY does not care, you sure waste a lot of your time reading these comments. Perhaps you should ask the restaurant owner if he or she cares. I bet they do. January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply • HoJanFat I bet if they didn't check up on you every few minutes, you would complain about that too. January 8, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply 197. mttrailboss Employees' on cell phones.. The curse of restaurants, might be lack of customer service, including the cook and their damn cell phones. The worst thing, that has happened to restaurants is the cell phone.., and lack of attention to customer service. Point is.., don't go back. What has happened to customer service, including a good cook ? Mike in Montana January 8, 2013 at 12:48 am | Reply • Dave You should see how many customers are glued to their cell phones during a meal. I have seen a family of six eating in silence, glued to their iPhones. No class. January 8, 2013 at 2:27 am | Reply 198. tbirdsmidgetc7 Where do you people live!!!! January 8, 2013 at 12:41 am | Reply 199. bring me the check The owner's or staff's kids playing in the kitchen. January 8, 2013 at 12:40 am | Reply • Fiona Oh...I think that's sweet. Some of my favorite Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants have been those where the owner's children were doing homework at a back table, helping out with small tasks, or just hanging around with grandma or grandpa. It's part of the family feel of the place. January 8, 2013 at 1:26 am | Reply 200. Sarah I went to one take out place. The employee went from mopping the floor to making my food WITHOUT washing her hands. I immediately asked for a manager and told him what she had just done. He fired her on the spot, washed his hands and made my order up and gave it to me free of charge. I have never been back to that restaurant. If one employee isn't handwashing chances are none of the others are. January 8, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply • bring me the check The guy promptly took action. You can't get much better than that. January 8, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply • ash The honorable thing would have been for you to NOT accept that meal for free if you were not going to go there again. January 8, 2013 at 1:26 am | Reply • Dusty I'm willing to bet that employee was back behind the counter as soon as you left. January 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply 201. Ms. Sandy Years ago I cooked in a steak house. Everything was exceptional and we had an "A" rating. Then the owner hired a guy that refused to wear a hairnet, didn't wash his hands even when they were "icky" as stated previously and would smoke in the kitchen! I saw him drop the ashes from his cigarette onto a baked potato after splitting it and he just used his finger to scrape it off. I wouldn't let it go out of the kitchen and he accused me of being Ms. Prissy Pants. I spoke to the owner and he shrugged it off. I quit a few days later after he did the same thing to a piece of pumpkin pie before putting on the whipped cream. Never went back. Of course that was years ago before smoking indoors was outlawed. I still think about it when I see pumpkin pie. January 8, 2013 at 12:36 am | Reply 202. scb I once saw a server drop a rag she was using to clean tables on the floor. She picked it up and kept cleaning. We never went back. January 8, 2013 at 12:27 am | Reply 203. Ermagerd I once was turned off by a perp smell ern mer ferd January 8, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply • K. Lepto You made me laugh out loud... now all my coworkers are looking at me like I'm nuts. Thanks a lot! January 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Reply 204. sizzle After almost 30 years in the restaurant industry I can tell you that at least 50% of "there's a hair in my food!" comes from the customer themselves, either intentionally or by happenstance. It happens, let them fix it, move on. I'm much more forgiving of that then the 100% preventable dirty restrooms or poor service. Reading these comments it sounds like most people think the movie "Waiting.." is a documentary. January 7, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Reply • CurmudgeonTx I can tell you that when the hair is actually cooked into the batter on the fish that isn't the customer's...Yep...had an entire wad of hair fried into my dinner one night. Another situation was at a Pancake place...they were mopping up behind the counter that I happened to have been sitting at, eating. Plop, the mop goes into the bucket, and out it swishes, tossing dirty mop water all over my family's breakfast. No apologies, and of course, no refund. January 8, 2013 at 4:13 am | Reply • KC My hair is an unusual color, so if there's hair in my food, it's very easy to tell if it's mine. My beloved is bald; no way is it his hair in the food. January 8, 2013 at 8:00 am | Reply • randoid1234 Not even body hair? January 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply 205. Alex In response to "Bad Service" commentary: Even as a server, I find it displacing to expect a low tip from a table and thereby justify poor service, which is what I've come to find from some of my co workers. I DO believe that great service comes first, and then the tip is awarded. Somewhere along the line, some servers have come to expect a 15%-20% tip just because they served a table. However, there ARE servers who do care and do work hard for our money and try to be as accommodating as we can. But when we expend so much energy in doing so, and STILL get stiffed on the tip, even when everything went right.....let's just say it shouldn't be THAT hard to understand why a server would become jaded. Where does it begin? ....Is bad tipping a result of poor service, or is bad tipping going to happen regardless of service? If you're the server, how the hell are you supposed to know at the beginning of service? It's still a job and we try to do the best that we can, for those of us who respect our jobs. But sometimes there are things that go wrong that are NOT in our control. i.e. The dirty bathrooms you all speak of (janitorial), hair/bugs in your food (the kitchen), tardiness in the arrival of your food (usually handled by another employee, a runner/kitchen), tardiness in the delivery of a cocktail (at bartender's discretion/speed to make the drink)....so many variables that are not in our control, yet we take the hit. By the by, AS IF the people dining out didn't have issues of their own! Some people in the comments here are pure monsters to wait on. People who are too bothered when a server says "no problem" Really? If that's your biggest turn off, I trust the root of that has nothing to do with a restaurant. To those who are annoyed when the server comes by to refill your water glass too often, I apologize on behalf of ALL servers who are doing their job. The horror. Let's not forget the beautiful dining children of the world. I've come to realize it's not the kids who know any better, it's the parents that cultivate terrible eating habits and bad manners. i.e. Games/electronics at the table, running in the restaurant, running into waitstaff, and my personal favorite "Why don't you shut up mom!" Great, that's just great. That mom, most likely the type to be complaining about bad service at a restaurant. January 7, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Reply • PonderosaPine I know that there are a lot of rude or unappreciative people out there, but also consider people who can't afford to tip. Hear me out. I hardly have any disposable income and therefore, most of the time stay at home and cook my own meals. But, once in a blue moon I will succumb to the pressures of friends and splurge on a meal at a restaurant. Most of the time I am hoping that when it's all said and done I can get out of there (there being an average restaurant, not a fine dining establishment, obviously)for under 15, which is tough. By the time I get the check and have already committed myself to more that I had intended to pay, the last thing I want to do is throw down a generous tip. I usually do 2 – regardless of service. But, like I said, I hardly ever dine out. January 8, 2013 at 12:07 am | Reply • Dave If you can't afford to go out, stay at home. Servers, whose income is primarily through tips, can't afford for you to go out either and their table would be better occupied by someone who understands dining etiquette and culture. January 8, 2013 at 2:34 am | Reply • scars Actually, we need to just get rid of the whole tipping system. Frankly, I don't like to have to tip people for just doing their job. Tips are VOLUNTARY, not required. If you are required to tip, the restaurant should add it to the bill as a service charge. And, no, I'm not one of those people who don't tip. I always tip 20% unless the service is very, very poor (can't remember the last time that happened) or more if the service is good. I just hate having to tip everyone for everything. Delivery people, hair dressers, taxi drivers, waiters, ice cream scoopers, baristas, etc. Good grief. Businesses should just pay their people decent wages, raise the cost to cover the wages and then people won't have to worry about cheapskates who don't tip. They'll either have the money to afford the service or not. Problem solved. January 8, 2013 at 11:24 am | • K. Lepto What you describe is not called "splurging" as you describe it. It's clearly in your control to order what you can afford, tip included. It's not "splurging" to order more food and drink that you can pay for and tip for service. It's simply spending more money than you have and stiffing the server due to your lack of funds, forethought, or math skills. January 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply • mttrailboss Go see a doctor.., you need some real help.. Customer is king, including coming back to your restaurant. If I was your employer.., I would 'fire' you.., just like the customer would or has. Four things are important.., 1) Customer service.., 2) Quality of food.., 3) Price for what you get.., 4) And once again, customer service, without you on your damn cell phone and NOT doing your job. Point is for everyone..., bad food and service, don't go back, (period). Maybe.., it's NOT the employee, maybe it's the owner, too.. January 8, 2013 at 1:00 am | Reply • Josephus23 So you actually told that poster to go get some help from a doctor.... And you can very obviously ascertain this mental status by analyzing a single freaking post. I hope that you realize that YOU are the person being spoken about by the poster you replied to mttrailboss. Listen to me people. I have been doing this for 25 years and I have managed some of the most successful restaurants in the nation... If you guys wanna get good service, then try being nice and compassionate to your server. I now bartend on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter in NOLA and you wanna know who I go out of my way to give good service? THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NICE TO ME. January 8, 2013 at 1:38 am | Reply • Dave Bingo! January 8, 2013 at 2:35 am | • Pattycakes Right on January 8, 2013 at 5:22 am | • plushious We all know what "tip" means, right? To. Insure. Promptness. Don't know when/why it happened that tips come AFTER the service January 8, 2013 at 2:29 am | Reply • kbomb That would make it "tep." Well, it would unless you're financially protecting the transaction somehow. "Ensure" means making certain something happens. "Insure" means that you're financially protecting something against risk. January 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply • lscgroomer When there are kids running in a restaurant, my son (29 now) always says "If I did that, you would've smacked me." I always say, "I still will." (never had to...) Management doesn't want to lose customers by saying anything, and the staff wants to keep their job(s), but I have no problem scolding the errant parents. Luckily, no gunfire or police involvement ensued (so far). January 8, 2013 at 4:30 am | Reply • K. Lepto But how do you know an offended customer didn't flick a booger in your iced tea when you were away from your table using the restroom? January 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply 206. woodie Undercooked meat of any kind. I'm thinking food poisoning right off. Then the meal is ruined for me and I probably won't come back. January 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Reply • mr logic you sir, have no taste in meat. January 8, 2013 at 12:11 am | Reply • adlibruj Relax. He just forgot that most people who eat meat are vampires. January 8, 2013 at 9:31 am | Reply 207. jason I don't understand the under-salted thing. With all the high blood pressure around and the fact that salt is extremely easily added but nearly impossible to remove what is so awful about serving food with a minimum of salt and letting the customer add to taste? Are we that lazy we can't shake a salt shaker???? January 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply • bring me the check The majority of customers are not on a low sodium diet. The ones that are probably should not be eating in a restaurant. But if they want to risk it they can ask for low sodium. No need to make us all suffer because a few won't drink enough water and work up a sweat once in a while to rid them of the sodium. January 8, 2013 at 12:37 am | Reply • JohnS Unfortunately, most Americans should be on a low sodium diet. There is sufficient sodium in so many foods that additional seasoning risks exceeding maximum recommended levels. It's easier to add more, if desired – - better yet, switch to potassium chloride rather than the usual sodium chloride – - the chloride provides the saltiness flavor, while substituting potassium (in which many diets are deficient) for sodium will benefit your blood pressure. Chef Wong's comment notwithstanding, avoiding excessive salt will allow me to eat in her restaurant more often. :-) January 8, 2013 at 1:41 am | Reply • Fiona I've eaten at some highly-rated restaurants in the last few years where the food was painfully salty. I think that the fancy-salt trend may be to blame. I do want my food salted, but that should not be the primary taste. January 8, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply 208. chas Servers wearing sandals or flip flops. And restaurants that require the waitstaff to buss the tables. January 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply • Dover You are going to the wrong restaurants. Flip flops? Do they give you your food in a paper bag? January 8, 2013 at 2:37 am | Reply 209. Sam As annoying or disgusting as they may be, none of these things listed are particularly deadly. Sensationalism doesn't make you hip. January 7, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Reply 210. Don Miller I went into a small restaurant today, where I eat lunch two or three times a week. The "new waitress" took my order, then brought out a mop bucket and began moping. When my order was ready, she picked up the plate and napkin wrapped silverware without washing her hands. I mention it to her and her reply was "Well nobody told me". I walked out without touching the food. I'll be talking to the owner within the next day or two. January 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply • disgustedvet Nearly the same thing happened to us last week.During our dinner another waitress decided to sweep the floor around our table . I appreciate a clean floor as much as anyone but seeing a cloud of dust rising around your table is "tough to stomach "at best. When i said something to OUR waitress she chastised the other gal in front of everyone and we were then given the deep freeze by the whole staff. Needless to say we have no intentions of going back. January 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply • Roganne My husband & I eat out every evening. It is very rude for the wait staff to reach across someone to serve a meal. This happens all the time. I saw a steak knife fall in someones lap but they all continue to serve like this. To much salt is awful. Don't cook with using salt at all cause there is a salt shaker on each table, salt it the way you like it. Not everyone is allowed salt. Serve dessert when the table is ready, don't start waiting on other tables first. Nothing worse then getting asked what you want for dessert when your still eating your meal. Waitresses stand & chat while your trying to eat. Waitresses have their hair tied back or up but it is so long it lays in the food when they carry a tray. If a meal is burnt or doesn't look right, the waitress still puts it in front of you. That is awful. Why not question the cook first about it or refuse to serve it. Waitresses are young, some still in school & don't know the first thing about waitressing & the owner/boss must not either.These things happen all the time at the diner we eat at. We live in the country so there are very few places to choose from to eat dinner. January 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply 211. donnie One of the problems in a restaurant is discrimination. You can't get good quality service, unless you belong to that race. You are served last or won't be serve at all. Restaurant is a businesses..right? If they don't want my money then they are losing customers and valuable feedback. Are we back in the 1960's or 70's again? or the dark age? this is the 21st century people. January 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Reply • el-humbre Agree. Your money worth the same as the money of their preferred customers. I just go somewhere else; do not want to be someway where I'm not welcome especially when I'm offering to spend the money I worked for. January 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Reply • Alton Learn to tip. It's a harsh reality, but if you want to bring up race in the context of dining, you have to face the fact that many African-American and Asian minorities tip very poorly or not at all. In the restaurants I've worked in, not even the black servers want to get the minority tables. Sorry, but it's true. January 8, 2013 at 12:26 am | Reply • Dover It's true. January 8, 2013 at 2:39 am | Reply • lscgroomer Worst tipper I ever knew was a 65-yr-old, well-educated white woman. Whenever we went out as a group, someone would always go back to the table with a bit extra to make up for her stinginess. Off-topic a bit, but once we shared a room at a nice hotel, and after 3 nights, she left 1. Some people (of any race) have no class, weren't raised well, etc...... January 8, 2013 at 4:35 am | Reply • Persimmon I agree, and I ate it when one or two in our group have finished eating and the waiter removes their plates, leaving the rest of us feeling that they have to hurry up and wolf down their food. Tables should be cleared when everyone has finished eating. January 8, 2013 at 8:03 am | • CommonSense I've seen other races act atrocious and super-entitled in restaurants AND STILL manage to tip poorly. No one acknowledges that though – it always comes back full circle to blacks or Asians who tipped poorly years ago. They don't acknowledge nor complain about the blacks who buy up the bar and ball out in restaurants. January 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm | • CommonSense Alton, it's your characterization of how blacks and Asians tip that continues to fuel the fire. It doesn't matter how poorly someone tipped in the past, that doesn't give any server the right to mistreat me, or not make eye contact with me, since I was not the person who tipped poorly. When you come to my table acting like an a$$, do you still expect to be tipped?

January 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply
• Fiona

True story; many years ago Northern-European-White me and my white date booked a table at a restaurant in a black neighborhood of a largish city. The place was known for jazz music performed while you ate, and it had gotten loads of good press (it was played as a success story for the black owner, who'd taken a risk locating the unusual restaurant where he did, etc.). So we get to the place and we're led through –past a fairly full house of black diners - to a back table, near the kitchen. We see another non-black couple back there - friends of ours, as it happened. So we four minorities-for-the-night were exiled and largely ignored all evening, purposely made to feel unwelcome. I suppose we should have walked out in a huff, but back then I would have considered that rude. Racism goes both ways, donnie.

January 8, 2013 at 1:51 am | Reply
• Patric

Actually, I appreciate the clean-up when you're done eating, even though others are not. There is no reason to have dirty dishes sitting in front of you. As for the others in the party, they should not feel guilty that their meal hasn't been completed just because one person ordered a small meal and others ordered bigger meals. All I would appreciate is for the waiter/waitress to ask if I would like a refill of my drink while the others take their time and finish their meals.

January 8, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
• Dusty

I look at it this way. If I have people over for dinner, I don't interrupt my meal to clear the plate of someone who may finish their meal before me. The plate remains there until we all finish eating – or until we all feel like getting up and moving, which may be an hour later! And really, it's not a dirty dish – it's their own dish that they just ate from. Random dishes with food scraps in the sink – those are dirty dishes.
However, I have been out to dinner with people who are full and keep picking food off their own plate even after they push it away. I can see those people appreciating the early plate clearing process.
As with everything else here, there are two sides to everything – damned if you do, damned if you don't. Can't make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time. It's best for servers and diners to remember that.

January 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
212. Alturia

I think bad service is the biggest turn off next to the place being dirty, especially in a slow period. It seems the two often go hand in hand. Then comes being told the item you want isnt available. Ive got stomach issues, so I have to pick very carefully what I order, when the waiter tells me in a less than apologetic voice that they're out of that item, Im less than apologetic when I pay for my drink and eat elsewhere. If youre out of something, tell me when you hand me my menu, dont wait till I order then tell me.

January 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Reply
• gabsandgio

That's a good point. We went to our favorite noodle house this past weekend and waited one hour for a table (they are that good). When we were seated and ordering, we were told that tofu was not available since the local supplier was closed for the week. This is a Japanese noodle house. They are rated highly in our area and pride themselves on quality ingredients. They should have either posted a sign that there was no tofu available so customers could be informed prior to waiting one hour for a table, or they could have gone with a different supplier for the week. Needless to say, the experience (plus the higher prices and seemingly smaller portions) have turned us off.

January 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Reply
• K. Lepto

Yeah, like when they don't tell you they are out of Bull's testicles:

A tourist is in Spain, and goes to a fancy restaurant for dinner. As he looks around, he notices a diner being served a beautifully garnished dish with two gigantic meatballs in the middle. When the waiter asks him for his order, the man asks him about the meatball dish. The waiter explains that the meatballs are bull's testicles, and when the bull loses the bullfight, the bull is brought to the restaurant, and this beautiful dish is made.
The diner tells the waiter that he wants the bulls testicles for dinner, but the waiter tells him that only one bull a day is brought to the restaurant, but he can have it tommorrow. The diner agrees. The next day the diner goes to the restaurant, and orders the testicle dish. When his food is brought out, he notices that the meatballs are extremely small. He mentions this to the waiter, and the waiter replies, "Well sir you have to understand, sometimes the bull wins".

January 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
213. OvernOut

After 33+ years of road trips between Michigan and and New Jersey (1-3 times per year, never missed a year, usually just a weekend trip), I no longer eat in Ohio in any restaurant along the Turnpike. I will not eat at any restaurant at any turnpike exit, either. Had food poisoning three times; after the last time 14 years ago, I quit ordering any food from there. Don't mind the long car ride, usually with a car load of kids; don't mind the in-laws in NJ; but I'm never going to eat food along that road again.

January 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Reply
214. robotabaga

Turn-offs:

Way-too-loud music

Dirty anything (table, utensils, dishware, glasses, bathrooms, floors)

Poor service (too slow, arrogant, unobservant, ask how your food is right as you're taking a bite and your mouth is full, interrupting while you're in the middle of a sentence)

Hair in food

Bug in food or anywhere in sight

Clanking dishes going into the bin in the dining room (this should be done in the kitchen, or at least out of earshot of diners)

Slamming doors

Too salty food (I don't know which chef said it, but "you shouldn't be able to taste the salt." If you taste the salt you're not tasting the food.

Bright unshielded lights that shine right into your eyes

Restaurateurs should be more aware of acoustics. I've stopped going to places that are too loud, even if the food is great. No one wants to shout to have a conversation while dining. Turn down the volume one or two notches, please, whether it's piped-in music or a live band.

Oh, and the glove thing? I've watched in amazement as the food preparer, wearing gloves, takes your money with the same gloves on and then goes back to preparing food. Ridiculous.

Whew, I am so glad to have a say, because there's rarely an opportunity, so thanks CNN.com for this great article. And thanks, too, to all those who made comments! Some made me laugh, some made me cringe, but mostly I kept nodding my head in agreement.

January 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
• CB 3712

In response to the lighting comments- give your local establishment a break on this one. Most state health departments have a minimum requirement for lighting strength both on a restaurant floor, and kitchen. A LOT of restaurants ignore these laws ( because the levels can be downright absurd, minimum 70 foot candles where I work, in Minnesota). The reason behind this is for sanitary purposes (you can't clean what you can't see!) and are well intentioned. But a restaurant doing the right thing and abiding by the law could easily and unfairly turn off a good chunk of the dining public.

January 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply
• K. Lepto

How else do you expect your server to protect her hands from all that filthy money?

January 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
215. edaf

Very overcooked and limp veggies are a sure sign the chef does not know what he or she is doing. We won't be back. Of course, that assumes the other food is at least decent.

January 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply
216. Mike

From coast to coast I hear this....and I HATE it when a person serving me asks...."Are you still working on it?" I am not working on my meal...I am eating it...I am trying to enjoy it.

January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
• Sandy

Well, YOU may hate it, but I would say, as a server, 100% of the people I ask, "May I clear your plate?" respond to me, "No, I'm still working on it." Seems a pretty common and acceptable thing to say.

January 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
• BldrRepublican

Yup – I'm with Sandy. I would respond "I'm still working on it" if asked to clear my plate. I think Mike is a minority here. "Working on it" is an INFORMAL way of asking "are you finished or not?". It doesn't bother me one iota.

January 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Reply
• heyjude1979

OMG! Thank you so much for the ' hey are you guys still working on that" quip! Made me laugh out loud-I was a little insulted the first few times I heard that-envisioning pigs at the troth-but then I realized it was just pure ignorance.
How about assuming that you want to be seated at the bar-when neither of you drink-and then pouting when you decline? Tacky! And Tacky is exactly what this all amounts to-I take time in my business to walk thru the door and try to see what the public sees as a first impression-and MY bathroom is always clean! ah-the humanity!

January 8, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
• Sam I. Am

What is wrong with the host asking if you'd like to be seated at the bar? Do you wear a sign which says "I don't drink?" And even if you do take them up on it, who says you have to drink alcohol? They are trying to seat you quickly. Perhaps you only want a drink or two, maybe an appetizer. They are giving you an OPTION, not seating you at gunpoint. And many restaurants will let you move to a table when one becomes available. From my perspective, it's a good way to sit down and begin to relax before your meal. And since there are usually no rugrats allowed in the bar, it's also more quiet than the waiting area or line out front. (And yes, I've raised 2 kids of my own... I've earned my peace! :)

January 8, 2013 at 4:26 am | Reply
• ala-kat

I agree. If a place is very busy, I will often volunteer to sit in the bar. Find it gets me seated quicker.

January 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
• Dover

If you have been able to find this miniscule offense to complain about, it may be time to do some self evaluation about what kind of customer you are. C'mon, is that phrase really THAT intolerable?

January 8, 2013 at 2:51 am | Reply
217. BMW750Li

I actually don't mind poor or rude service at all. It just means I don't have to leave any tip – its like an instant 15% off coupon.

January 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
• Tonelok

Why am I not surprised the guy who spends too much for a a BMW 750 would be a stingy tipper.

January 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Reply
• Flooby

You're right. Most BMW drivers are d!cks.

January 8, 2013 at 12:00 am | Reply
218. MysteriaKiito

January 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
• Elaine

What a humiliating experience for you. I was always the chubby kid (out of 6) and always felt self-conscience in public and can appreciate what you went through. At least the management did the right thing although it turned out to be too late to save the place from folding. Kudos to your mom for sticking up for you.

January 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Reply
219. Angie P

interesting how more people voted that they'd be turned off of a food establishment over rude service rather than a hair in their food. goes to show you that if you treat us well, we will forgive a multitude of transgressions.

January 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply
220. Blah

I hate it when the server busts a nut in your burger and tries to pass it off as mayo.

January 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
• el-humbre

Next time the server should bust a nut on your face.

January 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
221. pete

As long as the food is hot and nice no hair in it, I could care less about waiting stuff, the cook, kitchen or bathroom conditions.

January 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Reply
222. svann

1. Too much salt. I want to taste my steak, not your salt. And I always suspect the restaurant that oversalts is doing it to cover for poor quality food. Just put salt on the table and if I want more I can add it myself.
2. Bringing my plate out before my wife's food is ready. What am I supposed to do, eat while she looks on or just sit there looking the fool while my food gets cold?
3. Taking my dish while my wife is still finishing. No dishes should be taken until everyone is done, unless the customer asks.
4. Forgetting to bring the appetizer.

January 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Reply
• Trish

Never had a problem with too much salt on my food, but your # 2,3,4 are all items I haven't seen mentioned here, but are very true – what do you do?

January 8, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
223. LAChris

My worse was seeing a large rat run across the restaurant dining room here in San Francisco. Doesn't get better than that!

January 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply
• heyjude1979

Had that happen at a Wendys here-holy crap batman!

January 8, 2013 at 12:22 am | Reply
224. jim

A filthy wait-persons uniform with stains and sometimes food particles all over it. YUCK

January 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
225. Jo

When a group sits down in a high end restaurant, all the meals should be ready at the same time. When one patron is sitting there with no food in front of him while his company is eating theirs, it's a bad place to leave your money. If those same people were in your home as guests.... ? My point is, do it right! If the food wa free, I'd still want it done right. And, for those whine bagger waitstaffers who are in transition, students or in a stuck place in life... (?) Grow up! A job means, a JOB~ so do it right.

January 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply
• matthew

Whine bagger waitstaff... good service comes where good tipping is presented. I am sure peoples salary had gone up over the years but the 15% we get has not. If anything its gone down. You want me to be excited about you giving me $25 on$200 get real man. If you can afford to go out you can afford to tip like you have some class. p.s. acting like a someone important in front of your friends or business associates (i.e. treating your server like someone under you for no reason) not classy. Enjoy your meal sir!
-Matthew Sparks
Greensboro, North Carolina

January 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Reply
• Richie

Dude- you've got it backwards. Good tipping (usually) comes when good service is presented not the other way around.

January 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
• B

Agreed. And don't be fooled by the poor act–I know some servers who easily command $20-30 per hour. January 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm | • Dr Awesome Right on man!! January 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Reply • Math is Hard The 15% should not go up. The price of the underlying meal increases therefore the total amount of the tip increases. Arguing that your tip percentage should grow from year-to-year means you eventually expect 25% then 50% tips, and so on. Get over yourself and earn your tips - they are not automatic. January 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Reply • Sam I. Am I expect average or better service, for which I will tip 15% or better. My tips are usually in the 20 – 25% range. I am not difficult to please. For exceptional service, I have gone as high as 50%. But I have gone downward from 15% for poor service. And I'm not talking about the food quality. To say that your level of service provided depends on tips is presupposing before the customer has had a chance to tip... you are penalizing before even attempting, which tells me you work in the wrong place, or have chosen the wrong occupation. January 8, 2013 at 4:39 am | Reply • Mara Wright Actually, when I was growing up, 10% was generally expected. It has gone up to 15%. January 8, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply 226. Mojo These are 7 items you would find in a reataurant liberals would hangout in. January 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply • DanTheMan You seriously need a life. January 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Reply • Dover So the kind of restaurant you would patronize would have all staff armed with assault rifles, no one allowed to be seated together unless they were legally married and didn't use birth control, you would be handed a bible instead of a menu, and you would have to have an IQ test before being served. Anyone scoring higher than 68 would be shown the door. And you would have to be involved in a closeted extramarital affair with someone of your own sex while condemning gays. January 8, 2013 at 3:19 am | Reply • Stina That was a little uncalled for. January 8, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply • K. Lepto I disagree, it was definitely called for. January 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm | 227. Daniela Mitrovic I once ate at an Olive Garden and ordered this artichoke pasta thing. They brought it to me and I started eating, but once I got past the top, which was fresh, underneath was someone else's food. There was a half eaten breadstick right in the middle of the bowl! I have never been back to Olive Garden because that incident turned my stomach so bad. I hadn't even been rude or inconsiderate, so I can't even image what they do to people like that! January 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply • wo I once went to lunch with my children. We order banto box lunch. After the meal, each customer would get an orange slice as desserts. There were four people at the next table and three slices of orange were left on the plate with one orange peel when they got up to go. I joked to my children that when we get served the orange slices, I hope they won't serve us the leftover from that table. We studied the designs of the three left over slices carefully just as a joke. When we were served next, those were the exact three served to us, in the same order without the peel,! it could be the same plate used at the next table. We could not believe we were served the leftovers. We never went back to that restaurant and we never ate another Banto box lunch ever again. I also learn to pulverize all leftover food I don't finish so the other customers would not eat my leftovers. But then it could be turned into some delicious soup........ The joke turned out really bad. January 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Reply • K. Lepto You probably had offended them by calling the bento box a "banto" box. January 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply • Trish Yuck. I opened the cloth covering my "nice hot rolls to start you off" and several of them on the bottom had been partially bitten in to. January 8, 2013 at 1:09 am | Reply • Dusty Where in the heck are you poeple eating?! How could a restaurant even think they could get away with reusing partially eaten breadsticks?! Something like that needs to be reported so it doesn't happen again. Holy cooties, batman! January 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply 228. Melissa There is no saying you have to eat at at restaurant. You get more food for the same$$at the supermarket January 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Reply • plm I am a single Mom with two kids. Sometimes you just have to get out! January 8, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply 229. BashaarAsaadDies The worst is when the waiters touch the rim of your glass when they hand your drink. Yuck. January 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Reply 230. BHV I live in a town with notoriously poor restaurants. Where do I begin? Dirty glasses (with visible lip stick prints from the previous user) was the absolute grossest. Having to lean over the bar to refill my own water glass while waiters ignore me. watching a waitress put bacon in the buffet tray with her bare hands Dirty tables Bloody chicken Having to wait more than 1 minute to be seated, when there is no line. January 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply • Shamrock Maybe the fact that your eating at a place that has a buffet is a sign to not expect much. The quality of the dining experience goes up as the the quality of the place you eat. Most quality establishments don't have buffets. January 8, 2013 at 1:23 am | Reply • dragonwife1 Not necessarily true – one of the nicest places I know near us has a Sunday breakfast buffet that is wonderful, food is hot and the place is kept very clean. January 8, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply 231. oldesalt At two different restaraunts I've been in the men's room and saw kitchen help come out of a stall and leave the bathroom without washing their hands. January 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply • kaptainhowdy66 That's because we prefer to use the clean sinks in the kitchen that have foot pedals to activate, or paddles we can turn on and off with our elbows. Just think about where a person's hands were before they touched the knobs for the sink. January 8, 2013 at 12:34 am | Reply • The Messiah I fully agree with kaptain. I've done this many a time when working with food. January 8, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply • K. Lepto Give them the benefit of the doubt, they were probably just in the stall snorting coke or something... how can you be sure they touched their privates? January 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply 232. joJO Poor damage control. In the chaos that is a restaurant, mistakes WILL be made, so it is important to me how well the staff handles it. As a former server and manager, I NEVER argued with a customer if they felt there was a problem even if there wasn't and promptly comped their meal. The manager should offer ways to compensate for the perceived issue and if I have to ask for a food comp instead of being offered one, I may not return. If they make every effort rectify the problem and make me feel like they care, I'll give them another chance. January 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply • oldesalt The owner offered me a cigar. I was about 20 at the time. Not exactly cigar smoking age. January 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Reply • randoid1234 The smoking age is 18 chief. January 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply 233. oldesalt The worst experience for me was finding something in my mouth from the coleslaw. After trying to chew it, I removed it and it was a bandaid. I had all I could do to keep from vomiting. January 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply 234. DCR Lazy wait staff, management that is just as disengaged, and when servers assume about their tables. They feel that a particular race, sex, etc. may not give them the tip they are looking or that another table may tip higher because they are a regular so service descreases. Those "unknown" non-regular tables can be some of your best tables ESPECIALLY if they are other servers coming in on a day off, date, or whatever the case may be. Servers can be your best tippers or worst based on your attitude and service because they have been there and had similar tables. January 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Reply 235. Barry If you have poor service, chances are there's more problems with the restaurant. January 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Reply • Bob While waiting in line at a sandwich shop to order a hoagie, I saw one of the hoagie makers in the back picking his nose. I immediately left and have never been back. January 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply 236. SusanF In addition to others mentioned above, especially those on cleanliness: 1. The new thing seems to be rounding the change to be received by the customer. If it's in the customer's favor, fine, but if not and nothing is said, that's dishonest. I was due$3.47 in change and just got $3. When I brought it to the server's attention he said, "Oh, do you want me to go get that?" My response was he could get it or I could take it out of his tip. He badgered me to make a choice, obviously reluctant to go get it, so I sent him for it, and seriously reduced the percentage of the tip left. 2. Servers who hold glasses by the top where the customer's mouth will go. This is particularly nasty if you've just seen them clean a table with a rag. (I love the restaurants that use window cleaner and paper towels.) 3. Servers who never check in once the food comes to the table except to drop off the check. One of those missed some serious tip money as our table had been intending to get more liquor and desserts, but we couldn't get any attention, so the tip was lowered on the bill we did get, and they didn't get the tip on what would have been a considerably larger bill. January 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply • trish Window cleaner to clean tables? This could actually be "spic-n-span all purpose cleaner" the best! January 8, 2013 at 1:18 am | Reply 237. VodkaHayes People who dine alone at a table. Very few people can do this with grace. January 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply • BldrRepublican Please elaborate on how it's "ungraceful" to dine alone? There's not much opportunity to mess up. Perhaps it's your elitist attitude? January 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply • Flooby Huh?? That's the dumbest thing I have ever heard. January 8, 2013 at 12:08 am | Reply • heyjude1979 nope-it's awkward. January 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply • heyjude1979 well, first-you are a party of one-in the company of many-who do you think the waitstaff is going to take care of first? then there is the lack of conversation, which I make up for by reading a paper or a post-some do it with a non stop cell phone call-yuck....in short, it is awkward being totally alone in a room full of not alone people-it's awkward! January 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm | • melpl What? Why do you say that? I can't agree here. January 8, 2013 at 1:20 am | Reply 238. ty dahmer I like hot food/beverage served hot, cold food/beverage served cold. Period. Coffee that I can stick my pinkie in without any pain is not hot coffee. If I don't see steam coming off my plate/drink, it's not hot. January 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Reply • Shamrock Coffee should be served at a temperature where it can be consumed without causing the diner physical pain. If it is too hot and could burn the skin it is a safety issue. I have found that the older the person the hotter they want their food. I have no idea why this is because if coffee is too hot it scalds the taste buds and you can't taste your meal. January 8, 2013 at 1:27 am | Reply 239. Sara The worst was finding a roach on my plate...at least it was cooked. January 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply 240. kayeles I won't necessarily cross a restaurant off of my list for the folllowing offense – but I have ementioned it to a few owners – and unforgivable in a restaurant which takes it's food seriously: –> Highly perfumed soap in the bathrooms. I want to smell the food I eat, not my perfumed hands after I return from the bathroom. January 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply 241. Sandra One winter a friend of mine with her two little girls, and I with my little boy, went to known cafe/restaurant. It was early-ish (9am) on a weekday. There were 4 waitstaff and we were the only customers. After waiting 30 minutes, the waitress finally showed up at our table. We ordered 3 hot cocoas, 1 tea, 1 cup of coffee, and two English muffins. 25 minutes later, the order finally showed up with the tea barely room temperature. Sent back to have HOT tea, as ordered. It came back in 10 minutes. During all this time, only one other customer showed up for a "to go" order. We drank our coffee and tea, while the children sipped their cocoa and munched on their muffins. Then came the part of me looking at the waitress, clearly indicating we were ready for the check by getting the kids coats and putting them on. 20 mins later she finally showed up with it. Now, my aunt was a waitress and in the food service industry for 40+ years. I have great respect for waitstaff, but in this instance, I was more than a bit annoyed. Left minimal tip, and on the comment section of the check, I wrote this "If you had been any slower, I would have thought you were dead." January 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply • Loubies I'm not buying this story. I know no one who waits THAT long to be greeted by their server. ESPECIALLY when they have small children with them. January 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply • Edwin I would not have waited so long... if they were not by in ten minutes I would have asked if anyone was there. As for the check, you can always get up and move towards the door... as you leave, tell them Thanks & Bye... they will surely come running. January 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply 242. Coflyboy` If the service is really bad, I still leave a tip... usually a dime or a quarter, just so they know I didn't forget to tip. I have been thinking of a device called a "tipometer", basically a metronome that starts at 25%, then goes down everytime I feel I am being ignored or getting bad service. That way, the waitstaff knows what to expect. My pet peeve at a restaurant? When the waitstaff asks how I am doing but never removes empty plates or glasses. January 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply 243. Smile I have found that decent food and a smile showing that the wait person enjoys serving the food means most all the other problems don't exist in a restaurant. The unforgivable circumstances of bad smells and grit in food and dirty restaurants probably aren't there. January 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply 244. Lor Wait staff who approach your table swiping their nose or digging at their eye or wearing dirty, stained clothes. We will not stay to eat. We will leave immediately. I left a fast food sub place when I watched the server's t-shirt edge wipe the top of the sandwich she was making every time she reached for a condiment. Gross! January 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply 245. swheeler1 (1) Flies buzzing and/or landing on the table, and worse, when the staff just ignores them....unbelievable. (2) Don't start explaining what Merlot or penne rigate are unless I explicitly ask you – just because YOU found out last week does not mean you need to assume everyone else was born yesterday! (3) Please don't interrupt my conversation to ask "Is your parmagiana OK?". Wait until there's a pause in the conversation and instead ask "Do you need anything?", or better yet, just linger nearby silently for a moment – if I need you I'll see you and let you know! (4) I get that you're trying to do a good job – I do seriously appreciate your conscientiousness, but PULEEZ do not fill the water and wine glasses every eighteen seconds. First of all they don't NEED to be that full, and more to the point, you're ruining my quiet restaurant moment by crashing in twenty-three times before meal's end! (5) Coffee bars where the counterperson pushes pastries: "You need a danish with that?" No, you little twerp, since I can't think for myself, I totally need a moron like you to jumpstart my brain, duh. (6) Unless there are clearly no other alternatives, please DO NOT attempt to seat me by the kitchen door! Clank, bang, clink, rattle, "Pick-up on number three" Jayyzzuss! (7) Chinese restaurants with carpets so greasy and so never cleaned that your shoes stick momentarily to the floor when you walk to your table – ugh, gross. January 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply • DRS If you are ever my customer, I am going to take a giant crap in your burrito. January 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply • Loubies You do realize that most of that stuff is REQUIRED by management/corporate? If something isn't described, your water glass is perceived (by management NOT you) to be low, if the server doesn't offer you a specific item to go with your food, the server can be written up and/or fired. January 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply • Loki-23 Holy crap! I understand having standards et al, but really, " better yet, just linger nearby silently for a moment – if I need you I'll see you and let you know!"? Do you also believe children are better seen and not heard, perhaps sent off out of the house to school with minimal interaction? I too am not fond of over-explanations of menu items; however I've found that a simple and kind sidenote to the server suffices to end that line. Sounds like you need to find yourself some better servants at home... January 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply • James I'm surprised you can find anyone to have a conversation with, let alone eat with. You sound terrible. January 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Reply • JJ I feel bad for any wait person who has to deal with you. Considering your hostage list of demands for your wait person, you will always find something that reflects negative on your service. If it's really that difficult to make you happy in a restaurant, stick with cooking at home. Then you have nobody to whine about besides yourself. January 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply • BB Hahaha please don't eat out. Servers know your type and are not going to go out of their way to make you happy because you'll only tip 10%, even if the service was great. January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply • Susie Give me strength! Could anyone possibly be harder to please than you? Please please don't eat out any more...you give the rest of us diners a bad name. You probably can't even please yourself when you eat at home. January 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Reply 246. Mixtape21 Regarding service, there is a fine line between being attentive and casual/chatty and it grates on my nerves when the server tends toward the latter. Any of the following are total turnoffs: (1) giving the customers nicknames ("Another refill for you George Clooney?"), (2) sitting down at the table or booth to chat, even for a few seconds, (3) joking too loudly with the neighboring table to the point we can't carry on our own conversation, or (4) ditto on #3, but being dumb enough to work a political/religious/racial stereotype, or other devisive issue into the conversation–just because those customers have told you they share your viewpoint doesn't mean the people you're waiting on two tables down do. I worked as a server in high school and college and to this day pride myself on being a good tipper even when the situation does not warrant it. The only time I've stiffed a waiter on a tip was when he was making false and derogatory statements about my religion to the people at the next table, who were egging him on. I didn't withhold the tip because I was offended–my sister and I actually had a good laugh about it–but to teach him a much-needed lesson. We explained our reasons on the receipt. January 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply • Duke The server sitting down with you in the booth (assuming you aren't friends or neighbors) is a variation of an old waitress trick of being certain to touch the gentlemen's arm or shoulder to give him a thrill and boost the tip (even right in front of his wife and kids). This is not serving food, it's prostitution, and it especially offends gay men and the wives of str8 men (which is why he likes you while his wife hates you). If you gonna be a whore then do it on the street, you'll make more money. January 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply • BusTubBarbie OoooooooooohhhhhhhEmmmmmmmGheeeeeeeeee!!!!! I so abhore this practice! Not to mention that my husband is a rather larger/imposing sized guy – 6'6" 300 – Honey, there is barely enough room in that booth for him, let alone you too, and if I didn't squeeze in with him, I sure as hell didn't invite you to!!! Stand up next to the table, smile politely and take the order. I don't know you personally, probably don't want to and will likely never see you again. January 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Reply 247. Marty Years ago I was working on an air conditioning vent above the drop ceiling of a Chinese buffet restaurant. I was not directly over the kitchen area, but I could see it from my vantage point. The "chefs" could not see me. I actually saw the servers bringing in plates of partical leftovers from the tables and mixing them in with the "new" stuff. True story. January 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Reply • oldesalt While eating Chinese food, I've often wondered if that is done. The nature of so many Chinese dishes would make it undetectable. January 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Reply 248. jeff The owner did not think a 55 degree walkin was a problem. January 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Reply 249. Haegster Worst article of the year so far. January 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply 250. Doodler They take you to your table and the top of it is still either wet, or stickey. January 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply 251. CLOWN Used to be line cook years ago and had a female server I didn't really care for, so one night I served a dead mouse and rang the bell. Should of heard the scream when she seen that in the window. January 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply • JD Yep, the name Clown says it all. January 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Reply 252. why A person seeking a place to have a meal should first check the rest room of the establishment, If the washroom area is not clean it is a sure thing that the kitchen is kept the same way. Think about it! If management has the nerve to let you see how dirty they allow their rest rooms to be kept,why would they care about how your food is prepared. Alawy walk out of a business with unclean washrooms. January 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply • dela In a busy restaurant, the public is often the culprit in making the restroom a nasty place. People are slobs!!! January 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply 253. Chris Generic unpersonalized service, no genuine care for the guest or what you are doing. I understand how a hospitality worker could become discouraged, but many times you give the guests the best night of their lives. Marriage proposals, birth celebrations, Mom's night out on Mother's day. Be proud of what you do, when I don't see that, the restaurant is done. January 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply • CurmudgeonTx My family's big thing is the 'daddy, daughter date'. As I work overnight 12 hour shifts, I have had a hard time spending as much time with my girls as I wanted to, so a few years back, we started the tradition. That, and my weekend breakfast with my wife are the only times we eat out. I try to tip well, but if my daughters are unhappy with the service (actually just the 12 year old now as the rest have moved on in life save the daughter that died two years back), I will not tip well, but if we can have a nice meal (usually followed by a movie, or shopping for shoes or games, etc.), I will over-tip from gratitude. One thing though...if we are in a deep conversation about her sister that died, we want to be left alone, and I will notify the waiter/tress. January 8, 2013 at 5:00 am | Reply 254. Jorie Crappy food. Crappy service. High prices. Dirty dining areas and restrooms. Being charged extra for a slice of onion on a burger (actually happened...never went back). With the economy the way it is, restaurants should be bending over backwards to keep customers happy...within reason, or course. January 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply • Onion on that? Please name the restaurant that charged you for onion. I want to know. (They are probably already out of business by now.) January 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply • VodkaHayes Soyka, Miami. January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply • lscgroomer In one local place (which we had gone to for years with another couple, every Sunday morning), the owner changed the menu to charge for tomato slices (substituted for grits or potatoes). Also, if I ordered egg-substtute, I would be charged$1.50 for each egg, plus $1.50 for each egg-substitute on the plate. January 8, 2013 at 4:53 am | Reply 255. sami Sticky table or seating. Dirty bathrooms. Food served lukewarm or cold. Wilted salad, tired tomatoes. Being ignored. Being hovered over. January 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply 256. AL LEWIS Restaurants that don't observe their posted hours. Sure–its a slow night, and you're paying all these people to stand around–but closing early because of this is an absolute turn-off. January 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply 257. Day Care madness Parents please...when you pick up your child from daycare where they have spent 8 hours in the care of people other than their parents, for the sake of all concerned please take them home and feed them. Do not bring them to a restaurant where they will scream, cajole, manipulate, cry, whine, etc. for your undivided attention. No one wants to hear that while we eat. Your child is tired and wants your attention. Even if you just feed them some cut up cucumbers and macaroni and cheese, not having to share that time with other diners, waiters and confusion will make your child a better person. Take them out to eat when they are well rested and attentive and WELL BEHAVED. For the sake of all society, I beg you to heed this advice. January 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply • BusTubBarbie COMPLETELY AGREE!!!! And nothing insenses me more than being parked at a table waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back of the establishment where they have parked the other "terrible kid" filled tables, just because we have our daughter with us. They automatically sat us there, as in "guilt by association", since we have a kid in our presence. We are presumed that we are going to allow her to scream, run, throw things, spill and act like a heathen just beacuse the other tables full of 2-4 year olds are doing just that (our kid is 6). She knows how to behave in public or we wouldn't take her out. I can't stand other people's rude, spoiled, ill mannered kids ruining my dinner, I wouldn't do that to other people. January 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply 258. scarf I can't believe that I'm the only person in the world that finds dirty plates, utensils, and glassware to be a BIG turnoff. I can't tell you how many times I've almost retched at the table when I taste lipstick on my glass of water/wine/etc. I never go back to these places, and apparently neither do other people. They seem to close within a few months of these incidents. January 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply • Duke3 True and I agree BUT the real fault is waterproof lipstick, it has to be scrubbed off by hand. The folks who wear it know this because they can't get it off their own glasses at home. These are predominately the wineo's who go through a magnum of white wine each day at home (no different than a bum on the street). Is it seriously too much work to apply lipstick 3 times a day? Yup. For THEM that's too much work. High volume restaurants sincerely can't keep up with it, even with a truly honest, concerted effort. At my place we simply throw out the glass, this means we have to charge$1 more on every plate we server to cover the cost.

January 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
259. RainyDay

I once at at a restaurant where I could see into the kitchen – and there was a dog in there. Never again.

January 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
• a b

January 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Reply
• Queenie

I too saw a live dog in a kitchen, going in and out of kitchen and servers station. I mentioned this to my friends at the table and they thought I was weird to not want to eat at that restaurant.

January 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
260. Duke3

Food that arrives too quickly. Many restaurants cook all of the food for dinner before noon. At dinnertime they just assemble the food on your plate from a steamtable. The food at an all you can eat buffet is fresher and better prepared. The kitchen at night exactly resembles an all you can eat buffet, except that they plate it for you and carry it to your table. If you dinner comes to the table in les than 20 mins then you are eating at one of these. But the absolute never return for me is when it takes twice as long to get the check and pay as it did to order and eat.

January 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
• kait317

Who on Earth told you that buffet food is fresher than anything off of an a la carte menu?! Yes, we do PREP during the day so that the customers do not have to wait the amount of time it takes to cook a full dish, which can often take many hours. It is done so that the customer can have the best product, not because we don't feel like cooking after 5pm. Take a peek back in a kitchen sometime (unless of course your dinner choices alternate between McDonalds and and Cici's pizza buffet) and you will see hardworking cooks COOKING your food. Buffet food is served in HOTEL pans, because they are used to serve large amounts of people. Its impossible to make that fresher than anything cooked to order. We aren't all a bunch of drop-outs working on a line back there. Believe it or not we do know how to cook even at the end of a 16 hour day.

January 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Reply
261. Michael

All of you complain of rude service... no one wants to be a server, no one wants to wait on you hand and foot, this is not their life goal. They're either in school or between jobs or just stuck in life. You have no idea what they put up with every day. People think they can treat waitstaff like they're dogs, so yeah you get a little jaded.

January 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
• Duke3

Note to self. Tip Michel ZERO and never return.

January 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Reply
• Psychic

Note to Michael: Make sure Duke3 gets the special Van Wilder Éclairs.

January 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Reply
• charles

everyone deals with crap at work but a job is a job. take it seriously or let someone else do it that wants it more.

January 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
• Olaf Big

Hard, thankless job, no doubt, but not doing it well won't get you anywhere either. Nobody should be rude to the waiters, but there is no need to commiserate with them either. We don't go out to painfully exercise our social conscience, but to have good food and good time.

January 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Reply
• JJ

I've never worked in a restaurant, but I agree with you, Michael. Being a wait person seems to be one of the most thankless jobs, and worse yet, most places make servers be unusually kind to obnoxious, rude, or inconsiderate eaters.

I'm pretty easy to please while eating at a restaurant- figure that I'm not cooking or have to clean up, so just try to enjoy the outing. Service/food has to be pretty bad before I even notice, and even worse before I make a comment.

January 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
262. Like to Eat

My turnoff is overly peppy waitstaff. If I wanted cheerleading, I'd go to a football game. I want someone who knows the menu, can answer questions appropriately, and pays attention if my glass is getting empty or periodically checks on us. I don't someone who comes up, "How'as that working for ya? Huh, huh? It's great, isn't it?" .... and they're off blabbering.

January 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Reply
• Jo

Exactly! My pet peeve is when I am interupted in the middle of a conversation more than a few times, by a waitress. I have served people in restaurants most of my life. I owned and operated 5 restaurants. The problems begin and end in managment. My mantra was always this: Pretend you are entertaining them all, in your home. This makes you remember their orders, their names and it keeps you efficient with your service. People can feel your grace by the way you treat them. They are your guests. And, as the manager, if I have to say, "Lay down, I'll get it" You are FIRED. Waitstaff has a responsibility to serve hungry people, clean up after them, and do it fast and well, that's the job description. If your'e not enjoying that, work in a factory.

January 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Reply
263. Psychic

I've noticed the really nasty customers are usually just cheap people looking for an excuse to get out of tipping. Women look out for guys like this on a date, this is how he will treat you.

The three biggest reasons I would not go back to a restaurant:
Food poisoning
Hair in food

To those that whine about your wait staff saying, "No Problem", do you act like you are putting them out for asking for something basic like a fork? Or are you running you wait staff ragged with a million little things you know will upset them?

January 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply
264. BuzzerKiller

For me, it's noisy brats who yell, throw things, make a scene, jump on their seats or in their booth, sneeze off to the side without covering their mouths, scream, or throw temper tantrums. If you cannot control your rascals, you shouldn't bring them into a classy restaurant. They belong in the play pen at McDonald's.

January 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
• Psychic

I am going to guess you support Planned Parenthood and drink a good amount of alcohol.

January 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Reply
• BuzzerKiller

Actually, I don't smoke at all, I have never drank in my life, I am perfectly healthy, and I'm only 140 lbs at 5'6". I'm doing pretty darn good for myself.

January 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Reply
• Psychic

Congrats on the healthy lifestyle, it will serve you well.

January 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
• Shamrock

I'm going to guess you don't discipline your children and eat at separate tables than them when you bring a group of them out so your server can babysit them for you. Then you use the fact that you have children to raise as an excuse not to tip appropriately.

January 8, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
• Psychic

I tip very good. My kids, who are well disciplined, sit at the same table as me. I am the customer almost every server wants to have.

January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
• smalltownkafka

Ah, the cheap, shallow, pissy little Planned Parenthood remark. You must be out trying to appear ... what ... tough, clever, or so slamming? 'cause whatever you're attempting is failing. I'd guess it's because those things that should have dropped during adolescence are still keeping you waiting and it's really hard to keep that up that overcompensating bluster with so little to go on.

January 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
• Susie

And it sounds like you have the noisy brats the writer is complaining about. Kids that can't behave don't belong in a restaurant. Parents who bring them and do nothing to control their behavior are thoughtless, inconsiderate, and rude.

January 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
265. heliocracy

Food taking a long time to be served, either because the server leaves it under the heat lamps, or (more often) because the kitchen is slow. I've been a server, and sometimes lost tips because the cooks were taking their time. And they don't care because they get paid the same either way.

January 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
• Alexandra

Staff vaccuuming the room near where you are eating–even worse, mopping with Lysol

January 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Reply
266. Karen

Has anyone ever had "recycled" chips? I was eating at a Mexican restaurant with my sister and we were handed a complimentary container of taco chips and salsa while waiting for our order. To my horror I spotted dried on salsa on the chips – so they must be reusing the chips that are not eaten by previous patrons. Not only did that happen, but when the wait staff was clearing away at the end of the meal they dropped my plate with utensils, napkin and uneaten debris onto my shoulder. I rarely do this, but I did not leave a tip that day.

January 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
267. Trish in WV

We do a lot of buffet type restaurants, Chinese, Shoney's, etc. and for me the biggest turnoff is a poorly run/supervised buffet. That can mean food that has been there so long it's dried out, dirty around the food trays, dirty plates and utensils....but the worst is the staff that are not policing themselves. I was literally at a Shoney's breakfast bar in Charleston, WV once where we actually watched a man changing out the scrambled eggs and his nose dripped into the pan. Needless to say, we pushed our plates away.

January 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
268. Billy

I've noticed the really picky customers who are the biggest jerks are just cheap scum looking for an excuse to get out of tipping.

The three biggest reasons I would not go back to a restaurant:
Food poisoning
Hair in food

To those that whine about your wait staff saying, "No Problem", do you act like you are putting them out for asking for something basic like a fork? Or are you running you wait staff ragged with a million little things you know will upset them?

January 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply

Gee, I wonder with that attitude why you have ever received a bad tip

January 15, 2013 at 10:03 am | Reply
269. csiko

All my bad experiences have been because of service, not the food and fortunately not because of anything like hair or bugs in my food/drinks. That's just vile. Was probably the worst part of eating out down South though: Servers take an hour after they give you food to even check on you or to get the bill, wait another 20 minutes to pick up the check from the table, and another 20 with your card in their hand. Restaurants up here in CT that do that don't get my return business. Pay attention, you can see that we've been done eating, or that we have the card on the table. Are people in New England just that much more impatient?

January 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply
• dela

As a business owner, my order of the day
is "Get the money!!!!"

January 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
270. semper fi

Why do people go to crap restaurants in the first place. Go in....look around for a moment and observe the place your about to trust to feed you. You do get what you pay for.....and sometimes that's a bowel cleaning.

January 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
• oldesalt

Back in the early sixties, I was a busboy in one of the high end restaraunts in a nearby city. I was appauled to see the kitchen staff salvage items off of the dishes I brought them from the dining room. Yet the dining room had a very upscale appearance.

January 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
271. Chris

The biggest turnoff is being lied to by the staff. Being charged for top shelf and drinking rail. Seeing the bartender pour house wine into your glass then being charged for what you really ordered. Being served a sirloin filet and being told it's a tenderloin filet. Hello I know the difference.

January 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
272. JW

I hate it when the waitress comes to clear the table you just sat down at with a wet rag...and then leaves the table wet.
Also crud covered salt and pepper shakers. I won't be back.

January 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
• Mary

I've also had servers clean my salt and pepper shakers. Also asked for menus that didn't have someones left over food on it. Not going back to these places.

January 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
273. Brynne potter

The biggest deterrent that will cause me to turn around and walk out is any sanitation rating below an "A".

January 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply
• Brynne potter

So true! There is no list about why the rating did not earn an A so it could be anything

January 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Reply
274. Paula New York

Biggest pet peeve: huge skanky diner menus on the dinner plate! You just know they are covered with every deadly germ known to man! Gross!

January 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Reply
275. Les

Wow, these are all pretty good. However, for me it depends on whether it is one of my "favorite" restaurants, or a New one... For a new one, I expect all of the above to be a non issue. If that is the case, the order must be right... So many times it is not, especially when the waiter / waitress does not write anything down and it comes out wrong.... For a favorite restaurant cleanliness and waitstaff attitude is all important. Oh and most annoying is the "Hustle"

January 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
276. Mike Grogan

After giving $50 for a$38 bill to be asked if I needed change. Minimal tip deserved for that

January 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
• Bill

You actually tipped after the waiter/waitress asked? You're a better man than I...

January 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Reply
• Duke3

That is a guaranteed zero tip and never return. I have been a server at several restaurants and I'm a chef.

January 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Reply
• Tommy

I've had this question asked to me many times, after the server knows i'm paying in cash, but always before they actually pick up the bill and count the cash. Had the server already seen your $50? January 8, 2013 at 12:46 am | Reply • Shamrock I always say "I'll be right back with this" because I can't always tell if it is a card or cash but even if there is money hanging out of it I don't know if its for me or not. But I would appreciate it if someone doesn't need change to just let me know. It's annoying to be busy and someone need change for a big bill and I've used all my change I've brought with me to go get change from the bar and then return, especially if I'm busy and so is the bar, but I would rather do that than assume they don't need change or ask if they need change. January 8, 2013 at 1:47 am | Reply 277. Aubrie got charged$25 for a fish meal once and it came on a styrofoam plate, simpley because I preferred to eat out on the patio?????

January 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Reply
278. Mary C.

I once ate at a restaurant where a woman changed her baby's diaper sitting at the table-BARF! When I told the management about it they brought over an old grey wet and dirty rag to wipe off the table. I almost hurled before I could leave the restaurant.

January 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
• Flooby

Wow. That's never happened to me but it's happened to you twice in two minutes!!

January 8, 2013 at 12:18 am | Reply
• Talitha

That's pretty gross! I only wanted to mention the grey rag – I'm a janitor, and we always wash our rags with hot water and soap, so you can be guaranteed that they're clean. And yet, they still go grey with age. It's simply stains from paint, oil, and the such. No matter how thoroughly and well we clean them, the fact is this: white stains easily. So, my point is? You can't always assume that a rag is dirty if it's grey. You CAN assume it's dirty if it smells, though.

January 8, 2013 at 1:50 am | Reply
279. Dan

Not only a dirty bathroom but dirty anywhere. I will never go back to Macy's state st in Chicago because of this. Not only did the restaurant not keep things clean, the whole store looked bad. The worst part? They didn't even seem to care when I emailed about it!

January 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
280. Mary C.

I once ate at a restaurant where a woman changed her baby's diaper sitting at the table-BARF! I told the management staff and they brought over an old wet grey rag to wipe off the table. I almost hurled before I could leave the restaurant!

January 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
281. DianeL

poor service (I include getting an order wrong in that) and resturants that use carts to bus tables and park it right next to me while I'm eating. soooo gross.

January 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Reply
282. Hugh Jorgan

Remember the Seinfeld episode, where Poppy went to the bathroom (#2) and didn't wash his hands before making Jerry his hand made pizza. That is the ultimate nightmare.

January 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Reply
283. Hugh Jorgan

Afraid to return food that is not what I expected it to be (under/over cooked, etc) for fear of them spitting in it when I get it back. Lots of movies that instill fear by showing what could be done to your food if you complain. If its not right, I just eat it. If the service is bad, the waiter's tip takes the hit. If there is a hair or roach, I just refuse to pay for it, cause they will just
remove it and give it back to you. I used to work in a restaurant, so I know all the horror stories are true.

January 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
• Ricky

That is true. I worked at many restaurants and one thing I learned is don't send the food back, and don't ask for requests that are too crazy (I.e. "substitute this with that, and then put this other ingredient on the side, and then not too much of this other"). If you don't like the food, don't eat it, let the manager know before you pay, and don't come back. But sending the food back is a big mistake, unless you are at a place with an open kitchen. I have seen so many nasty things I don't like to risk it.

January 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Reply
• Olaf Big

I actually doubt that spitting in the food out of spite and similar horrors happen that often. This would be a sure way to get fired on the spot if the manager sees it or hears about it, and not because the manager cares about the spit, but because he cares about lawsuits and his own job, in case somebody else happens to see it.The part about sending the same plate back after removing the hair is probably true.

January 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
• Duke3

I'm a chef. Gloves are bad news. Cheap chain restaurants make their staff do side work while cooking/serving. A cook with gloves will literally clean a toilet and then make your food without changing gloves, because their hands don't feel gross. A bare handed cook will wash his hands frequently simply because his hands feel icky if he doesn't.

January 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
284. Dave58

Restaurant workers who don't wash after using to toilet... this happens a lot! I checked and a major fast food chain does not even require rubber gloves when workers handle food because the city inspector doesn't require their use. Unbelieveable with all that goes around today!!

January 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
• Flooby

Rubber gloves are bad news anyway. They carry more bacteria than your hands ever will. I was in kitchens for 20 years and I washed my hands very frequently

January 8, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply
• Shamrock

This is very true. Where I work the chefs don't wear gloves but wash their hands all the time. They wash their hands so much that they get very dry and raw. There are long talks about the best hand moisturizers to use. The favorite so far. Zum Rub. As a server i don't have this problem because i don't have to wash my hands so much (still wash them frequently) and I have tough skin but chefs everywhere I've ever worked are very conscious about hand washing and general cleanliness. You should watch them clean the kitchen at the end of the night. Everything gets scrubbed, even stoves are moved out and scrubbed behind and under and trust me those things are heavy.

January 8, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply
285. Jen

I'm finding bitter spots in my fish and other seafood, maybe 3 out of 5 times when dining out these days, ever since the economy went sour a few years ago. It's the same frequency whether it's a mom-and-pop shop, or a nice, somewhat fancy restaurant.

I end up being generally fine afterwards, no food poisoning other than a bit of upset stomach, but I can tell that restaurants are keeping their fish in their freezers much longer than they should. If they can't afford to keep fresh fish in house, then they should just raise their prices, or take fish off their menus entirely. This happens so often, and my palate so often craves fish, that I find myself constantly disappointed while my land-animal meat-loving friends are usually pleased with the same restaurant.

January 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
• Olaf Big

Well, the old adage "Don't order fish if you can't see the ocean out of the window" is probably still true. If you know the fish was frozen, why order it at all? You can cook the same piece of fish at home for a quarter of the price. And a good restaurant will tell you if the fish they serve is fresh or frozen. And a really-really good restaurant will not serve frozen fish, except as a minor component in appetizers.

January 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
• MBH

Anthony Bourdain wrote a great chapter on why not to eat fish on Mondays. Kitchen Confidential should be a must read for all culinary students and for diners alike

January 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply
• Joe M

"Don't order fish if you can't see the ocean out the window" reminds me of a restaurant many years ago...

This was a restaurant know for its seafood as was on a pier over the water. You couldn't get any closer to the source. Took my wife their on a Saturday night. A tuna dish was on the menu and we asked the waiter if it could be prepared blackened/cajun style. A request like this had never been a problem for me when eating in a "higher end" restaurant like this.

The waiter went in the back to ask and came back with a negative response. It was his explanation which really threw me. The reason, he claimed, was that there was no chef in the kitchen. All the meals were pre-made in the morning and frozen. After being ordered the were taken out and heated up in the microwave. I couldn't believe it.

Needless to say, I never returned to that restaurant. If I wanted a TV dinner, I could eat at home for much less money.

January 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Reply
286. Kirstyloo

I guess my worst was the large piece of cut toenail that someone intentionally stuck into the top of a very full ketchup bottle. I know that the server never knew it was there, but the image of opening what appeared to be clean new bottle has stayed with me. That image comes to mind now when ever I even think about grabbing the ketchup or I see waitstaff filling old bottles.

Yikes!

January 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
• Jay

You know, I wouldn't actually cringe at finding hair in my food like a lot of people since it can be an honest mistake, but yep.. a toenail would do it for me! Yikes!

January 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
• Loubies

I was a server for ten years and more often that not, the hair belongs to the guest. I had a girl complain once of a long blond hair in her food. Her meal was cooked by a bald black guy wearing a hairnet, and was brought to her by me, a brunette. But we had to comp her meal. Like they said, it's the oldest trick in the book.

January 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply
• Shamrock

That happened to me once. A lady with long dark hair complained because she found a long dark hair in her food. I took it away and offered her a replacement but she got indignant and started yelling about the hair. I am completely bald and offered to introduce her to the cooks so she could speak with them. I took her back to the open kitchen and they were all wearing hats. When they came to talk to her they removed their hats and all three of them were bald as well. She just laughed and apologized and went back to eat.

January 8, 2013 at 2:01 am |
• Kirstyloo

I guess that I should say that we didn't ask for (or get) a comp meal for a rather large strip of nail from a big toe. The server just brought us a different bottle of ketchup. The problem was most likely an immature patron who sat at the table earlier. It does make me wonder what else gets dropped into table side bottles that noone ever sees. It also worries me when restaurants refill the bottles.

I'm actually really happy when they bring a little cup of ketchup as needed...even though I usually need ask for more. At least it is clean.

January 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
• supaflyirl

Filling old bottles or consolidating bottles is against health code.

January 9, 2013 at 4:00 am | Reply
287. Naomi

When the wait staff cannot tell you the specials or soup of the day of vegetable of the day and have to return to the kitchen and ask–at 7:30 at night no less?

Even worse is when a waiter asks me "Does your food taste OK?"I always imagine the cooks and waiters gathered around something that is seriously past it's expiration date trying to decide if they can get away with serving it. "Oh well" says someone, "just take it out there and see if they eat it."

January 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
288. Jt_flyer

Ever see a restaurant after its been gutting and ready for new construction? I've seen hundreds. That's whyI only eat in restaurants what are extremely clean. What you see in the dining room is much worse in the kitchen once the equipment is removed.

January 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
• Jt_flyer

*gutted

January 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Reply
289. mickey

All of the above!

January 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
290. mofo

Top 5-

Overprice
Meals coming out at different times.
Running out of food
Not sitting partial parties.

January 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
• Loubies

It's not unreasonable to not sit a partial party. When you're sat and the whole party isn't there, you're costing the server AND restaurant money by taking up tables that would be used by paying customers. Some parties aren't complete for 45 minutes to an hour or more after the first guests arrive.

January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply
• Patricia

How does this work when you have a reserved table? Won't the table be sitting there empty anyway? Couldn't the people there already order drinks and appetizers at the table? Just because you are timely, that doesn't mean that guests will be on time. We live in Hawaii and out of town guests or tourists often get lost.

January 8, 2013 at 1:49 am | Reply
• Shamrock

Unless it is a really large group there is usually a table that seats 4-6 opening up at least every 15 min if not more often. They will just seat someone else at your table and then give you one of the ones that open up later when your party arrives. When people make reservations they aren't given exact tables in most restaurants that wont seat partial parties. The restaurant just knows or tries to the best of their ability to plan on how fast people will eat and how fast tables will open up and plan accordingly. So if your four people aren't their on time they will give your table to another 4 person party and you can have theirs later. It's not an exact science but profits are based on people sitting, eating and leaving so someone else can sit and eat there. If tables are all being held for people who are late on their reservations restaurants would have to charge much more for the food to make a profit. the best plan is to arrive early and get a drink at the bar while you wait for your table.

January 8, 2013 at 2:06 am |
• Chris

Was at a restaurant on a busy night watching a woman pitch a fit because the hostess wouldn't seat their party because not everyone was there even though they had a reservation. We were waiting too, and it took at least 30 minutes or more for everyone to show up. Is it REALLY that difficult to get everyone there at the same time? How about telling your party what time the reservation is for and that no one is seated until everyone gets there? Pretty simple solution – and you don't look like an idiot because you're throwing a tantrum.

January 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
• NC

Not seating partial parties? Do you think it'd be fair if your whole party had to wait an hour and a half to get seated while there are three tables in the restaurant who haven't even started their ordering yet because they've been just sitting and waiting for the rest of their party for 40 minutes? Your hour and a half wait could be just waiting for one of those tables to get up.

January 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
291. nick

stale food of any kind. If it is not fresh do not serve it.

January 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply

Worst turnoff? Food poisoning, hands down!

How do I know for sure? I got it, and then my husband got it 13 hours after I did from eating my leftovers. I'm sure!

January 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
• charles

why the hell would u ever save that?

January 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply

I left on a trip before my husband ate it, and he didn't know I was sick. We put two and two together later that day when we talked.

January 12, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
• Flooby

Like you go to the restaurant expecting food poisoning. DUH!

January 8, 2013 at 12:24 am | Reply
• A Different Geo

Like you go to a restaurant expecting dirty bathrooms, poor service, or over-salted food? The story is about why you wouldn't go back. I agree with the many here who say they would never go back to a place whose food made them sick.

January 8, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
293. Janet

I am really tired of hearing : Not a problem- when you ask for something. Why should it be a problem to do your job as a server?

January 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
• Jen

Agreed. In San Francisco, "No problem" is becoming the standard server's response when I ask for just about anything, and it almost implies that the customer is asking the server for too much, or asking to bend over backwards. Why WOULD there be a "problem," when I'm just asking for a glass of water?

January 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Reply
• Valerie

????? Is that REALLY that important??? Your life must be so sad and you must be so unhappy. Seriously.

January 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
• Semantics

Really? Both of you just don't like the regular, everyday saying "no problem"? All it means in this situation is "I'll go get that." Get over yourselves. I bet both of you suck as people in general. It's just vernacular. As long as you understand and they aren't cursing at you, what's the big deal?

January 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Reply
• svann

It doesnt really imply that, gramps.

January 8, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply
• Susie

We have run into quite a few servers who say "of course", instead of "no problem," or heaven forbid "you are welcome."

January 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
• Ricky

Really, someone saying "no problem" is a turn off for you??!! There you have it! here is an example of the type of attitude waiters and waitresses have to deal with every day. These people are the main reason the rest of us risk a pissed off server spitting in our food.

Get a life, loser!

January 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply
• PigBodine

apparently it is a problem for Valerie and Semantics. I wonder is the server saying that their remedying of that situation will be no problem with them ( as if), or if they are telling you that your concerns ought not be a problem to you, and they will take care of it?

January 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Reply
• Valerie

It's not a problem for me...........learn to read and comprehend next time. I have "no problem" with ANYONE saying "no problem".

January 8, 2013 at 9:16 am | Reply
• svann

Would it make a difference to you if they said "absolutely"? In modern usage of that context they mean the same.

January 8, 2013 at 1:57 am | Reply
• @GuileOfTheGods

I say "no problem" because it rolls of the tongue easily & it's quick to say & it shows your willingness to do what is asked of you...

It reminds me of an old "in store trainer" who said, "everytime someone says it's no problem, it really is a problem", and I said to myself, maybe don't pick apart every word that someone says & try to identify its hidden meaning, just appreciate they are helping you :)

January 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Reply
294. Julia Childlike

Interesting that hair in food (my vote) came in second to lazy or rude service. So diners will tolerate a curly hair in their food (ewwwww) as long as it's served by a friendly and energetic waiter?

January 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
• Valerie

Agreed. I picked hair in food too. Cleanliness to me is HIGHLY important, more important than service to be honest.

January 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
• Patricia

Oh, I agree here. The hair (ugh) was my first choice. Especially if you don't catch it until it's in your mouth. That has got to be the number one!

January 8, 2013 at 1:40 am | Reply
• A Different Geo

If the service is lousy, I wouldn't trust the food. Lazy and/or rude service might make you wonder what else they don't care about, like the hair you never noticed or the bread that was dropped on the floor before it reached your table. Things are going to go wrong sometimes, and good staff are more likely to try to make it right.

January 8, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
• Claxton

If hair is detected in the food before I eat it, it doesn't get eaten, period. No replacement, no make it right, it just does not get eaten. Same rule applies if I happen to catch the hair in my mouth. Eating ceases immediately. I can tolerate just about anything else, but hair in the food is a HUGE no-no for me. Huge.

January 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
295. mmandyp

If you don't say hi or bye to me when I come and go.

January 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
296. Truth™

I was in a place once, and my order came out completely wrong. When I brought it to the server's attention, all she could manage to say was "Ooooh, bummer!"

That about did it for me...

January 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
297. Oryana

As a server for many, many, too many years my biggest turnoff's are: 1. Dirty Bathrooms (really?! You can't keep that clean! I am scared to see what else is a mess.) 2. Poor service/lazy service (I'd like to think that I am an attentive, organized and engaging server but I am not perfect and I make mistakes and will gladly own up to them. When I go out if it is a slow night and my drink takes 10 minutes, there is a problem.) 3. Seasoning, yes, yes. (please season your food properly so I don't have too!) 4. Dirty Tables (I don't want to sit in someone else's mess or converse over dirty plates and glasses.

January 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply
298. marigold61

I hate it when servers or bartenders swoop in and take a drink away when there's a sip left, even a tiny one. Especially obnoxious when it's a cocktail or a fancy beer that came in a smaller glass to start with.

January 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Reply
• Shamrock

This is a hard one for servers to judge because it varies so differently from person to person. We want to keep your table clean and remove anything that you might no longer need to give you a pleasant dining experience but some people want to even keep the ice. I try to ask before i remove a drink if there is anything left, mostly only pertains to cocktails with ice because you can see whether the others are empty or not much easier, but some people seem to want to lick the bottom of the glass which baffles me. But if someone tries to remove a glass you're not done with just let them know your not finished and maybe tell them a sign of when your finished. Like, "I'm not done quite yet but when i am I'll put it to the side of the table." Just helps everyone have a more pleasant meal and we don't have to try to guess when your done.

January 8, 2013 at 2:14 am | Reply
• Betty

Every guest is different. Lots of people prefer to not drink a sip full of backwash. These guests will tend leave more than a small amount of liquid in the glass when they are finished.

January 8, 2013 at 9:44 am | Reply
• YourTablecloth