The 16 rules of modern dining - as discussed in the Guardian (UK)


Lines/queues - not anymore. :x:

Dogs - outdoor dining areas. :white_check_mark:

Booking deposits - I understand why restaurants need to do this so I have no problem with it. I’m not one to make 3 different reservations and then go to one based on my at-the-moment whim, so yeah. :white_check_mark:

Cakeage - yes, perfectly acceptable. It’s time on the waitstaff’s part; dirty dishes. :white_check_mark:

Banning phones - no, but I’d hope that people are as unobtrusive as they can be. NO FLASH pictures! :x:

Dress codes - I think it depends on the type of restaurant. I’m not wanting to see a guy in a tank tee-shirt in a fine dining restaurant. :x: :white_check_mark:

Banning children - no, but if the parents don’t make their kids behave and sit in their seat or stop throwing food or screaming? Throw the entire lot of them out. (To the applause of everyone else in the restaurant, I suspect!) :x:

Time limit - I understand it from the restaurant’s POV as long as they’re not rushing people through their dinner. BUT having said that, I often like to sit and chat with a drink first before placing an order. And do NOT serve me apps and mains at the same time. :x: :white_check_mark:

Adults eating from kid’s menu - ??? You mean to say that there’s nothing in the appetizer/salad sections of the adult side of a menu that the diner couldn’t order? I mean, yeah - maybe if you REALLY want chicken nuggets. But then why not just go to a fast food place and get chicken nuggets and dipping sauce in the drive-through? :x: :white_check_mark:

No website/online menu - NOPE. Biggest faux pax a restaurant can make, IMO. Give me an easily readable website, a few pictures, the menu (or a reasonable facsimile of) WITH prices, and your location and hours. :x::x::x::x::x:

Coffeeshops banning laptops - yes, please! :white_check_mark:

No S/P on the table - Let me have the OPTION of additional seasoning of my own food, even AFTER the chef/cook has (hopefully) done so. One person’s salt/pepper preference is not another’s. :x:

Charging for condiments - homemade? Yeah, but something that comes out of an industrial-sized container? C’mon. :x: :white_check_mark:

Requesting dish changes - depends on the dish. Pretty much everyone knows I despise cilantro. So I personally, won’t order anything with cilantro, not even to ask them to change it out for parsley. But if you’re asking for a different vegetable as a substitute (i.e., broccoli for the stated eggplant) and they HAVE the broccoli and are willing to sub, yeah, that’s fine. Just don’t pull a Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”. :x: :white_check_mark:

Wine bottle within reach - Yes. I’d rather pour my own. :white_check_mark:

Turning music DOWN - :white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark: 'Nuf said. Oh yeah - and GET OFF MY LAWN! :rofl:


I’ve come back to play, as well

Walk-ins/queues - if a hyped place doesn’t take reservations, it can manage without my business

Dogs – outside only (assistance dogs excepted, of course)

Deposit/card number – OK with it. But sharp intake of breath at a couple of high end local places which require full payment at time of reservation

Cake – who cares?

Phone ban – I don’t carry a phone so not an issue for me one way or the other. But the regularity with which you see folk, including couples obviously on a date, spending their time scrolling through instead of chatting, suggests a ban would be an issue for many. Although, on reflection, maybe a ban would be a good idea, so they fecked off elsewhere where they might actually enjoy each others company.

Dress codes – no problem with a business setting a code. I can then decide if I want to eat there or not.

Child ban – probably not. But I understand why places might have one. I think they can probably word their websites/PR/advertising sufficiently to make it clear that the place is really adults only without actually saying such.

Time limit – no issue for me, so long as the restaurant understands it is in the hospitality business and can feed you a relaxed meal in the time. I’ve never had a problem although a few months back, we were in a place and I heard them remind a neighbouring table that they needed it back in ten minutes. Wasn’t a problem for them, as they were at the coffee stage and they were gone and the table reset before the new diners arrived.

Adults & child menu – child menus tend to be available only in “family” restaurants – pub restaurants and the like. I can’t think of anywhere I eat regularly (except a pub) that has one. Perhaps places that have one could consider rewording their menu to something like – “Lighter dishes – suitable for those with smaller appetites”. Then there was the nearby pub that didn’t have a kids menu but did highlight certain menu dishes that could be prepared as smaller portions for kids. Go to Spain and, other than tourist restaurants, you won’t generally see kids menus.

No online menu – it irritates the arse off me. If you have a website, fill it with useful information. But, even worse, are those places which do have a menu but don’t keep it up to date. So, you’ve decided what you fancy to eat then, when you get there, it’s no longer on the menu.

Coffee shops & laptops – don’t care

No S & P – prefer it to be there but no biggie if not

Charge of sauces/condiments – I don’t know anywhere that does but it seems the antithesis to the concept of hospitality to charge separately.

Ingredient change – always worth an ask but be prepared for them to say no and you have to choose something else. The love of my life hates mashed potato. Yes, I know she’s weird. I remember us going to one place where there was about six main courses on the menu – and every one had mashed spuds, although they called them different names.- mash, pomme puree, colcannon, etc. She just got them to leave it off the plate.

Wine within reach – Absolutely. Just leave the bottle of wine and the bottle of water on the table, for feck’s sake!

Music – Not so quiet that you can’t ID the track. Not so loud that it intrudes on conversation.


Yes on the dog exception, of course! And WTH on asking you for full payment? That’s a big NO!

We ate at one of them just before Christmas. Dinner is £175 ($223) each. So they were holding £350 for several weeks, as you need to book well in advance, presumably on account earning interest. It’s not a deterrent - place was packed. 25 covers @ £175 - a nice little earner.

I wont go down the whole list, here’s my take. (and they’re out of order from the list)There is a previous restaurant annoyance/peeve thread somewhere meant to look for it 'cause I wanted to vent a bit.

#1 Website-- no menu/prices/location/hours/phone # = no show! Lately been really annoyed where the info is probably available BUT the clowns are doing Instagram only & I don’t do IG.

#2 Music Sound level-- I’m pretty sure volume was the most brought up & griped about in the previous thread. I agree. I.e., dancing or bar crawl loud is expected. otherwise no.

3# Cakage-- within reason-- say $10 to $15. Just saw menu where the wine corkage was/is $35. That says to me they’re actively discouraging any BYOB.

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You and me both, I don’t want to have to talk over music.
This is funny… I saw it the other day.


I have a few requirements:

Music I don’t like to have to turn up my normal speaking voice a lot to be heard by my dining companions. Also, the music is not there for young servers to party, so it should be laid back, not with a driving beat. By “laid back” I’m not asking for Lawrence Welk; something like Diana Krall would be great. And, please, no big TVs ; they are distracting. I was faced with a driving beat and a TV together recently. We changed seats to avoid the TV.

S&P don’t put a plate down before me and ask me if I need pepper; at that point I don’t know. Leave a small pepper mill on the table, or I will ask for pepper. I expect the food to be salted adequately.

Staff interaction my wife’s name is not “Sweetie” or “Dear”; it’s “Ma’am”. My name is “Sir”, and don’t touch me. I once had a restaurant manager put his arm on my shoulder when speaking to me.

  1. I will wait 20:00 outside if the weather is good.

  2. Dogs outside or invisible (like, sleeping under a table or whatever).

  3. Ever since that idiot cake baker lady bitched about having to pay cakeage, I have been in favor of cakeage.

  4. Banning certain phone activities is fine (loud ringtones, flash, screaming into it); banning phones is not.

  5. I couldn’t care less what people wear, as I do not have to look at them if I don’t feel like it.

  6. Anecdote: a large-ish party of HOs went to a Thai place in Manhattan, and the asshat host told us we’d have to be done in 90:00. One of us said that was fine if the food came out in a timely fashion, and the asshat host said that was not something he could control. I’m against time limits. You may scrape me away from the table and to the bar, though, if you need the table back - I will go quietly and cheerfully.

  7. KIds’ menus are there to encourage people to take kids, not so grown people can eat chicken fingers.

  8. I will hunt down your menu if you refuse to provide it, and I will invariably find that the reason you refuse to provide it is because you are charging too much. Post your damn menu.

  9. You can use your laptop, but you have to sit on the floor, against the wall.

  10. As the partner of someone who has a lot of sensitivities, I appreciate restaurants that are kind enough to accommodate him, and I will do the advance planning to help that happen. But we’re not going out for Sichuan and asking for things to be prepared without garlic and hot pepper.

  11. Leave the bottle or I’ll worry that you’re filling someone else’s glass with it. I am suspicious.

  12. I don’t like loud music even in my own house.


I am OK with the following rules

  • No dogs (or pets of any kind)

  • No kids

  • Cake-age fee

  • Age restriction for kids menus

  • No substitution policy (changes) on dishes

  • Time limitations

  • Dress codes


We will absolutely not stand in line for an hour.
if the establishment cannot better manage their demand - they don’t need me.
waiting 15-20 minutes for a confirmed reservation time? not a problem - I will also not tolerate a place that comes around to throw you out based on a clock.

no problem with card pending charges for reservation. I aim to go, or not making a reservation. apparently a small city type problem…?

on line menus?
there is a much worse issue. on-line menus that are not real.
recently booked/ate at an “imposed” high end resto - not worth their prices…
booked entirely based on their on-line menu offerings.
got there - “Oh, that isn’t on the menu anymore, sorry.”
the whole internet instantaneous up-to-the-meal-second idea . . . totally trashed.
Yoda said, there is do, or there is do not. there is no try.
$400 for second choices. never going back.


Count me in among those people who need to see some kind of menu online. I’m not like my father who plans his whole meal in advance–I’ll decide when I get there, and I can always find something to eat–but I must have a general idea of how things cost. I was once caught out by sticker shock and that’s not happening again. And I’m also not signing up for IG just to read a #$%$# menu.


These aren’t rules. They are restaurant policies over which customers may or may not have strong feelings.

You know that. I know that. Folk here generally know that. Obviously the Guardian’s sub-editor either doesnt or thought it would be a snappier headline, which it obviously is.


I thought I was too young to be a curmudgeon. Maybe I’m wrong!


These are typically at Michelin star level restaurants which often have 1 (or max 2) seating per night and are making huge amounts of losses if people don’t come despite their reservation. It is like you go to a concert - you are also paying upfront the full price and if you don’t make it to the concert it is your problem that you “lost” your money


Some people don’t get it. At a restaurant I mentioned an allergy to an ingredient in a sauce. The waiter told me he’d see if there was a substitute for the sauce. When he place the dish in front of me he told me that they put the sauce on the side. I ate it, thinking they gave me a different sauce. They didn’t, so I reacted, but fortunately it was mild.

Did he think you were going to gift your sauce to someone else rather than eat it yourself, since you’re allergic to it?

Yeah, that was a dumbass move!

We visit Tenerife each year. You find that Google or Tripadvisor will make reference to a restaurant’s website but, when you click on it, it is nothing more than a Facebook page, telling you nothing useful. Actual “proper” websites appear to be comparatively rare.