In a perfect world, there is a nice dining place within walking distance of your home you can go to every time you don't feel like cooking (and consequentially severing your index finger with a meat cleaver). But in a truly perfect world, the very same dining place won't be the subject of even one of the following five detestable practices you have to put up with every time you eat at a restaurant.
#1. An Absurd Number Of Items On The Menu
There are places which serve a scarce number of dishes. Have you ever been to a coffee shop which also offers a selection of four generic sandwiches? Well, that's what it feels like when the waiter brings you a menu of two pages. You are left to wonder whether the food there is any good at all. You start to look around the place to see if other clients have ordered something to eat. Is one of the bartenders also a cook? What's the deal here?!
And then there are Chinese restaurants which have nearly 200 items on the menu. In fact, every single meal on the list is numbered so you can spit out exactly what you want when the waitress comes back – even their employees have a hard time remembering exactly what food they serve.
Would you agree restaurants without clear focus are like shady Craigslist ads? – you're not entirely sure what you get yourself into and there's a point when it's too late.
#2. When The Waiter Asks You How The Meal Is While You Chew
So, you've waited for ten minutes at the bar to be seated since you don't have a reservation, it took you another ten to figure out exactly what you want (because of the ridiculous number of items on the menu), and you had to wait for another twelve minutes to be served – all this time your stomach protesting with hunger. Then finally, you see the waiter coming your way with an order that just might be yours. And IT IS yours, oh glory! And there you are, all thought completely obliterated from your mind because you are in the zone, baby, and the meal is just as good as you imagined it would be... when the waiter comes again and asks you “Is all to satisfaction?”
Well, you know, that's perfectly fine. Standard restaurant etiquette. But how are you supposed to answer with a piece of half-chewed steak and sweet potatoes in your mouth? And when has a server ever stayed just long enough to get any intelligible answers? Most of the time they just check if you are alive (not choking on your food) and storm off to the next table.
#3. “Substitutions? Nah, have it OUR WAY!”
In case you noticed the phrase “no substitutions” (probably highlighted with big red letters and a warning sign) in the menu, then you can be 100% sure the restaurant management doesn't have any cares left for how you feel in their venue. Shouldn't you be allowed to make requests for the things you are about to put in your mouth? Can't you maybe order the chicken fillet without the cheese sauce because your lactose intolerance will give you nightmares?
This of course is the result of premade food being reheated and served to unsuspecting customers. Yes, these guys play in an entirely different league of lameness and you should never ever eat at such a place. To put “no substitution” on your menu is like saying yes, the food here is premade and you'll eat whatever we bring you because this restaurant used to be the torture house of twin serial killers and the ghosts of their victims still haunt the place so clearly nothing good can ever happen here. Bon Appetit!
#4. Happy Birthday Songs
You know what's a really fun way to humiliate one of your friends? Wait, wait, wait! To publicly humiliate one of your friends. Yeah, the kind of humiliation which will bring him back in high school. Go to a restaurant and tell the staff in advance your friend has a birthday. They'll probably surround your table, bring a small cake stabbed with a lonely candle and sing... a song different than “Happy Birthday”. Wait what?
That's right, the profound birthday song, probably the only one you know, is actually owned by Warner Bros. And those greedy sharks will sue anyone who violates the copyright. So what songs do they sing? Their own, of course. A fast-paced torrent of clapping, cheering, yelling and awkward jumping garnished with lyrics you'd expect to hear on a Sunday morning children TV show. You can probably see the frustration behind the fake smiles on the faces of the wait staff and just how against-their-will the whole thing is.
#5. Hygiene Equals Luxury
Restaurant hygiene is paramount. From cleaning the ovens to blasting away the grime settled deep between the floor tiles, the immaculate appearance of the premises is of vital importance and no one can argue with that. But this doesn't mean you should go and shove your restaurant's high standard of hygiene down the client's throat. Unless of course you really find that something to brag about.
Have you ever seen one of those electronic cleaning reminders in the bathrooms of restaurants? Some come with a sign which usually goes a little something like:
“Here at UNDISCLOSED, we believe that hygiene is kind of important. This belief is nested deep in our DNA spirals. Thus our sanitation staff give our toilets a top-to-bottom scrub every 30 minutes or so. There are UNDISCLOSED minutes until the next cleaning session.”
Yes, it is general knowledge that clean things are better than dirty things. Most restaurant visitors find a hygienic environment much more appealing than... you know, not hygienic. However, is this something we should really be reminded of? Is this the restaurant's selling point?