As a restaurant consultant who goes on eating missions religiously, I am always asked, “What are you top pet peeves in a restaurant?” I have many, however, these are just a few that aggravate me the most:
- Hot food served on cold plates and cold food served on hot plates
- Greeters that are unwelcoming and make me feel like I am imposing upon them
- Dirty restrooms – Not surprisingly, I always feel dirty after using one
- Dirty silverware or forks with bent tines.
- Dirty or chipped wine glasses
- Salt and pepper shakers that are half empty or crusted inside
- Dirty or sticky tables
- Wobbly tables or chairs
- Uncomfortable booths or chairs
- Orders that arrive incomplete
- Failure of the manager to approach the table when there is a problem
- Not bringing all the serviceware needed for the menu item
- Servers with poor personal sanitation practices and are constantly touching their hair or scratching themselves
- Necessary condiments that don’t arrive with food
- The entree showing up when I am still eating my appetizer or salad
- Servers not pre-bussing the table and removing dirty or unnecessary dishes
It is obvious that the little things matter. More importantly, you’ll notice that many of my complaints arise from a restaurant being dirty in some respect – sanitation and cleanliness are no-brainers and should always come first! To restaurant owners, remember: these top complaints come with easy fixes and will leave restaurant guests coming back.
What upsets you most about a restaurant dining experience? Please share your peeves and comment!