When the server gets in the way of the meal - or things that keep you away from a restaurant besides the food


(Gwenn) #1

There is a restaurant in our area that we have a love/hate relationship with. The place is lovely and the atmosphere is relaxing. It’s French. I’m not going to talk about the food here, but I’m wondering how many have had this experience. An overly friendly server who just keeps coming over to the table and talking. And talking. And talking. You can be in the middle of a conversation and she just interrupts and talks. But the time she’s gone, your forgot what you were discussing. And the other server is just plain weird. She is good at her job, but she stares at the table to make sure everything is ok. Sometimes she even stands right over you to see if you’re done. So no matter how the food is, the meal is just not relaxing. Last night we were there (we keep going) and the couple at the next table were very friendly and talkative and we were enjoying the conversation. The tables are not on top of each other, with plenty of room in between. As I was talking to the gentleman, the server came over and stood right between me and him and started talking to us. DH told her politely that we were talking to the other table and she stepped away, but honestly, it’s gotten to the point were I don’t think I’ll go back there because of the service. I don’t want to complain as I don’t want anyone to lose a job because of me. Has anyone had a similar experience, or anything else besides the food that would keep you from going back to a place?


(John Hartley) #2

I can put up with much, in exchange for good food. But I’m much less tolerant when it is only OK food. Very noisy places are difficult as my hearing is not what it once was and it can be difficult for me to follow conversations. Tables too close together are another bugbear - we were at an Italian place recently where I almost felt part of the conversation going on at the next table.

And then there’s the “issues” with servers. I’ve been visiting America fairly regularly since 1980 and appreciate that the style of service is often very different from the style generally here in Europe. I adjust to that when I visit, but it’s not something I welcome in the fairly rare occasions I encounter it this side of the Atlantic. I also don’t like “overly friendly” servers - like the guy last year who sat down at our table to take the order and did similar when he asked “how were things”.

But the oddest server related issue was only a few weeks ago, at a very casual mini-chain. Several times, the server came over to the table saying something along the lines of “how nice we were, unlike some of those other customers”. On the first visit, we were unsure what she was getting at but it became clear that she was referring to people of colour and, in particular, Muslims of South Asian heritage. It was so overtly racist that it left us speechless - yes, I know that racism is regularly directed at Muslims but this was so blatantly inappropriate. Perhaps needless to say, we wimped out of complaining to the manager, as we wanted to get on with our day and, like you, not be responsible for someone getting sacked but really regret not doing so.


(John Hartley) #3

Should have mentioned that the racist server was East Asian and, by her command of English, a fairly recent immigrant. A very blatant bit of racism directed at people who were not only probably born in the UK but possibly their parents were too.


#4

How about vultures on the roof? Two places that are quite popular near me have this issue. I snapped this guy catching some sun while driving. When I think of vultures, I think of death. I’ve seen up to a dozen at once perched and it is pretty eerie.


(Kim) #5

I can only recall one place where this happened regularly. It was a very casual pizza place co-workers and I frequented (about once a week). Often the conversation would turn to restaurants we were planning to dine at or at which we had recently dined. The one waitress would usually pull over a chair and join in. It was only truly awkward when we were in fact discussing work and she’d sit down and start asking us about local restaurants. But it always did strike me as a bit odd.


#6

Not trying to defend the server. But many countries where the population is a lot more homogeneous tends to say things that people in more diverse countries may find offensive. Sometimes they may not try to be racist, but they are certainly much less sensitive.


(John Hartley) #7

I used the phrase “overtly racist” accurately.


#8

I had an experience in a middle range Chinese restaurant in Rome. I was having lunch alone when a server slowly started talking to me. The conversation started with me saying the difficulty in finding good Chinese food in Italy to the server accusing the Wenzhounese owning most Chinese restaurants and their killing the cooking. He strongly felt that Westerners always tried to put all the Chinese in the same basket, he obviously tried to say Shanhainese was another race and should be respected more. LOL


#9

2 experiences. We rarely arrived early at a restaurant reservation, we arrived at 20:20, 10 minutes ahead. The head chef asked us to go away and that the restaurant was not opened yet and we couldn’t stay. We came back 15 minutes later and luckily the food was lovely, and the maitre was very professional and we just brushed aside this slightly unpleasant refusal.

I dislike restaurants when we finish a bottle of mineral water, without asking, the waiter just go ahead bring another bottle and continue to serve. This happens more frenquetly when we are having meal with a larger group of people. I have this experience another time in a bar, the barman kept bringing us a new glass when I was busily having conversation with somebody, he did that 3 times and to both of us.