Most Annoying Restaurant Features

I tried a new $$ place last night–happened to be Cajun cuisine. It was a very beautiful buildout and space, but it still managed to tick off a couple features in furniture that really bother me.

  1. The place has booths, banquettes, and chairs with assorted tables, but all are of a height such that normal folks’ feet don’t touch the floor. Maybe NBA players’ or Ron Desantis’s would, but it wasn’t even close for us. Making this even worse is that the high chairs (literally highchairs) had no rungs on which to rest your feet. We moved 3 times trying to solve this, to no avail.

  2. The place’s 2-tops set diners at least 4 feet apart. This was very weird, because a separate peeve of mine is extra-small 2-tops with tiny area. THESE tables were not that wide, but they were so deep (think Vlad Putin’s distanced conferences) that they felt like divorce lawyers’ conference tables.

  3. The place was so unevenly lit (and far away) that those patrons not sitting next to a sconce had to resort to their phone’s flashlight app. This is NOT a classic dark steakhouse design, but here the unfavored patron can’t even see their food.

I ended up moving to Wahine’s end of the table, which meant we had about 24 inches of frontage between our swinging feet.

It was all unfortunate, because the food was pretty good.

So what galls you about restaurant layout and furniture?

  1. Uncomfortable seating!!
  2. Noise level so high you can’t hear your dinner partner/s speaking.

Perhaps (1) and (2) are deliberate- for fast table turnover. S’okay, I won’t be back.


Oh, where to start? I hate sitting in the blast of wind coming through the door. I hate sitting so close to the table next to me that I can hear all the intimate details of their conversation. I hate benches/banquettes that are poorly spaced/sized so that the table-to-self position is uncomfortable (ie too high, low, near, or far). The most recent annoyance isn’t so much a layout problem, though: I don’t want to have to use my phone to scan your QR code just to read the menu. Give me a hard copy menu to read, or I probably won’t be back.

(I’m really not that hard to please, but after re-reading it, I sound pretty intolerant! I guess I’m getting cranky in my dotage.)


Bad furniture planning planning is likely a sunk cost of false economy (they got a “deal”?) that could end up costing even more. But, the QR annoyance is an easy fix. QR doesn’t make the restaurant hip; it hamstrings the business when the diner can’t scan the menu in a glance and focus on the interesting parts – instead fussing with screen after screen on the phone. Indeed, imagine discovering that a printed menu, however unfancy was available all along as we belatedly did after enduring the QR obstacle. We probably would have ordered differently and run up a larger check from a printed menu. Good thing for that restaurant, its kitchen performed superbly, so we’ll be back and asking for a real menu before even reaching the table.


I don’t think you sound cranky at all, and dotage is always at least 10 years older than I am …:+1:t2:


Definitely with you on the high tops. I’m 5’4" and definitely dislike climbing up and down. Even worse when mom’s with me . . . she was 4’11" before she lost those 3 inches old ladies tend to lose and at almost 95 now, she ain’t climbing anywhere. On more than one occasion I have had a restaurant try to seat us at a high top when lower options were clearly available–umm, did they see us? I am now at the age that I won’t even attempt high tops.

Which leads me to seating without backs. Who finds this a comfy way to dine?

Then there’s noise. Why is the music so loud in so many places? And there’s one local place that has very good food, but the floors are marble, the tables tile and the chairs metal. Add to that the fact that the tables are very close together and I can’t even hear myself think let alone converse comfortably with my fellow diners.

And I will echo @BoneAppetite and @ricepad I do not want to scan your menu and attempt to scroll through its tiny print on my phone. This is especially true if I’m out with friends and we want to keep ordering small plates to share or if I’m at a brewery and want to try a few different offerings.

I guess what it comes down to is we want to be comfy and able to enjoy the company of our dining companions.


Michelin came out with a new starred restaurant in Baltimore. given a meet-up dinner with DD#1 we opted to try it.

it was a dive bar. so loud one could not hear what the waiter was explaining about the dish the options the whatever. wrote Michelin - it’s still a starred resto.

one must exercise extreme caution when relying on “ratings” - more than once we’ve walked into a place (Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas is one…) turned around and left because of the 300 decibel “ambience”


Sticky tables


Wobbly tables, uncomfortable seating, bad communication from FOH staff. If a dish is sold out, tell me when you hand me the menu. Don’t let me sit there salivating over my options, try to order a dish only to then find out it’s not available. Making me wait forever for anything. Not acknowledging my presence, even if their busy. It takes a second to say “we’re super-busy right now but I/someone will be with you as soon as possible.”


NOISE! Husband actually refuses to go out to the kind of restaurants we enjoy because of the noise level. The house tries to create a party atmosphere with its soundtrack. Then diners, particularly large tables (more than 2), talk (and yell and hoot) over the top of it. SF is particularly bad.


There’s one in my neighborhood that I’d love to try, food-wise, but friends have told me that the noise level is unbearable. I’m right next to a University, so perhaps that’s the metric…


:rage: I hate that. I won’t eat like that.

The rest I have not usually noticed until it’s too late, but I’m in agreement with all I have read so far, especially the menu on the phone. We now ask if they have a print one.

I am happy that many places are good enough to get another chance.


I’m very proficient with technology, but a QR code menu demands (at least with what’s left of my eyesight) that I bring an iPad with me. I understand that in the early days of the pandemic, when everyone thought the primary source of transmission was fomites, there was pressure to do away with printed, reused menus. So now we’ve moved on … I guess.


Yeah, when it comes to noise, there’s poor environmental design and intrusive soundtrack. When the two meet, it’s not a predictably heavenly match.

We understood the QR trend took hold during pandemic, and QR vendors tried to sell product on basis of hygiene (no more wiping down menus, save printing a daily version, etc.), easy to update (ran out of dish, last second price change, etc. – not that most restaurants maintain real-time “IT department”, data collection for adjusting menu/prices/etc., yada . . . what you’d expect from systems vendors – we give you the world on your terms . . .

But, at the end of the day, it’s the hospitality industry, and hospitality businesses ought to know that making the patron do the house’s work (other than dipping the bread into the cheese fondue pot, etc.) is not most of the sit down dining market’s idea of hospitality. Goes to show that just because it can be done, doesn’t make it a good idea for any endeavor, especially the mostly precarious restaurant operators’. The best customers are the ones you already have, so why choose to do something that stops them returning.


I like to think I am; at least for my advanced age.

On that subject, I am impressed that I am able to participate in this discussion on a cross country flight.


Heh, I haven’t been on a plane in 15 years. I’d be a BEAST.


What Meekah said.


…and/or the lingering, telltale, sour chlorine smell that comes with not changing out the towel.


We have a really good upscale Mexican restaurant in our downtown, but the sound level is abominable when it’s busy. It’s a bad space–the sound level was just as loud when the previous restaurant was there (an upscale Southern place that also had great food).

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Yeah, I’d have NO problem saying to the host/ess “Ummm, seriously? I can’t climb up for these stools, how do you expect my 95yo mother to do so?”

NOISE. The older I get, the more ambient noise bothers me, as it did my late mother. I get there’s a “vibe” you want to portray, but nightclub shouldn’t be it.

SPACE. Don’t force me to squeeze my butt (or the front of me) past another guest’s table while they’re eating because you give barely 18" between each table to fit in another 3 tables for your entire space.

LIGHTING. I shouldnt have to pull out my phone to see my menu.

KNOWLEDGE. Train your servers to know the menu.

BATHROOM. If it’s a mess, what’s the kitchen like?