5 Things That Make a Bad Café or Restaurant
- Unkempt shop front. Old, faded, tatty awnings, faded, dirty-looking plastic chairs, crumbling paintwork, near-dead pot plants & a badly written A-frame with an almost illegible ‘specials’ offering, then I’m sorry, but I’m not crossing the threshold.
The establishment may well have a lush, comfortable & atmospheric interior with a great menu, superb service & a great dining experience, but if the approach from the outside is tatty, how would we know? The outside should accurately reflect the inside.
First impressions count.
- In-service cleaning. There’s nothing worse than having the service staff interrupting my meal by cleaning the recently vacated table next to me with an aerosol spray cleaner. If I want a fine mist of carcinogenic chemicals drifting over my food, I’ll dine at home on my wife’s spring-cleaning day.
- Customer service. You walk in, you’re completely ignored. You find a table & sit down. 10 minutes later, you’re not sure they even know you’re there. You become agitated & frustrated. Eventually, they hand you a menu- as if they’re handing over their life-savings. You ask for the Chicken Parmagiana, only to be told “We’ve sold out.” So why is it still on the specials board?
Good wait staff know when to hold off. When we say, “How are you?” we’re being polite. We don’t want their life story.
- Inadequate staff training. Bad communication between the kitchen and the wait staff. 5 minutes after taking your order, they return to inform you there’s no Sea Bass left. Surely they should have known this before they took your order? Disappointed, the whole process has to start again. On a table of 2 or more, the meals are brought out 10 minutes apart. Surely, we wanted to eat together? You have to ask for the cutlery, then call them back because the salt shaker is empty. The modern trend of the more ‘casual’ dining experience, has been used by many as an excuse for sloppy & unprofessional service. So often, it’s obvious a student has been give a pad & pen, & just told to go & take an order. And please! Don’t greet me with “Hello luv” or “Alright my darlin?” I swear I’ll force my un-shucked oysters up your nose. Sideways.
Really Great Service seems to be very hard to come by these days. Offer it, and you’re on to a winner.
- Badly presented food. Surely, there’s more to a basic side garnish than a torn piece of Iceburg lettuce, & a wedge of semi-ripe tomato? I cannot believe the amount of times this is passed off as acceptable- especially in some pub restaurants.
If the lasagne is burned dry & splattered around the edges, we know it’s been microwaved. Even less discerning diners aren’t stupid. Greasy fingerprints from at least 3 different people, all around the edge of my plate, doesn’t conjure up the most appetizing of images. If the food is this sloppy, what do you think our image of the kitchen, staff & management is? And in these tough economic times, when most of us are even more value-driven, do you think we’ll be back?