Restaurant Shops

Today's paper had an article ( that really struck home. The writer spoke about waiters who remove plates either just as soon as you are taking your last bite or while the other person at the table is still eating.

Recently, I have been doing lots of shops where the focus is on whether the server can time the meal so the customer gets out in a short amount of time. Each time it takes more than forty five minutes for lunch, the scheduler asks me why the meal took so long. I assume it is my job to go fur lunch and eat the way I normally do, not look to fit into their plan. Now that I read the article, I wonder if I am not the only one who feels rushed by servers who bring the next course too quickly.

Other comments the author related were, "Several readers emphasized peeves that I've written about frequently: placing dirty silverware back on the table; a long list of specials recited without prices; servers who don't know who ordered what; waiters who disappear when you're looking for the bill or who ask, "Do you need change?"; menu typos; watered-down cocktails; and restaurants so dim you can't even read the menu. ... And then there was one I almost didn't identify as a peeve because I find it almost always the norm: hard butter."

Quite a few of them are things not questioned but things I put in narratives when they happen. For those of you who shop restaurants, are these things you've found too?

Shopping North New Jersey

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I truly hate it when our entrees are brought so quickly after the appetizer is delivered that we have not had a chance to eat even half of it before the entrees hit the table. I find it the worst kind of unobservant service and always report it on a shop. We were out for dinner this evening not on a shop and I was just reaching to dip my cheesy bread appetizer into the marinara sauce when the waitress reached to grab the plate (yes, it was the last slice). I quickly snagged the marinara sauce from the plate in mid-air and she was left holding the service plate. Not so much as an 'oops', never so much as an inquiry if we were finished. Her tip dropped immediately.

Shop or not shop you better not mess with my food! If it is a shop it WILL be reported and if it is not a mandatory tip of a shop, the tip WILL go down.
Have you ever sent your entree back because you weren't ready for it? Is that even allowed?
It really bugs my husband when servers clear one person's plate before the other person is finished eating, but it only bugs me now because I know it bugs him so much. It happened tonight on a fine dining shop. I never comment on it opinion-wise, but I do state the facts in my narrative. (My plate was cleared at XX time, XX minutes after I had finished, my guest's plate was cleared at XX time, XX minutes after he finished eating).
It really bugs me when the pacing of the meal is too fast, and entrees come out right after the appetizer. Especially in NYC, where space is at a premium so tables are small-often there just isn't enough room for 2 large entree plates, an appetizer, and all the other stuff, so we have to do place setting tetris to make room for everything.
Well let's see now..............what is the restaurant more interested in, turning tables or the server's tip?
Or when the server takes leftovers and through them away without asking if I wanted to take food home...
Seems like the quality of service at the restaurants has gone down, althouth the amount of "appropriate" tip gone up.
I can live with removing the first diner's plate when their meal is finished and offering dessert, but I will not tolerate the bill being brought then while the second diner is finishing.

And yes, KathyC, the restaurant is more interested in turning tables, but the server had best be interested in their tip. But only a couple of times in the past year or two have we found a restaurant on a wait when we arrived and only once have we had a restaurant on wait when we departed. We stay away from restaurants near the beach during tourist season. So my question is, would you rather the restaurant look popular by having guests at the tables or look like a ghost town? Our personal selection (based on Yelp reviews) of a new restaurant last evening we left when we got there because the place looked like a ghost town. We rather went to another place five miles away which we knew was good.
I never order my entrees before the appetizer hits the table unless required by guidelines. They either deliver the entrees to early or they keep them under heat lamps until they are overcooked or dried out.
I don't understand why clearing someone's plate when they're finished is bad if the other people aren't finished yet......

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I can tell you that the timing issue is the servers fault. They are told in almost any restaurant to HOLD the orders for timing.
If you ask to send your entree back I guarantee it gets held in the window (under heat lamps).
Are you sure the server is supposed to hold the ticket? Most of the time that stuff goes into a POS system these days.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
The issue with clearing someone's plate when they're finished is bad if the other people aren't finished yet in fine dining at least is that the other people dining then feel rushed to finish. Drives me crazy to have food auctioned off and the server's thumb on the plate, even my twelve year old knows better.
I suppose. As a fairly tall person, I often feel cramped in restaurants. I prefer that my plate be removed as soon as I finish in order to at least give me the impression that I have more room. I dine sometimes with several very slow eaters and I don't think any of them have ever felt rushed if other people were done before them.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I find a good server will always ask and give a choice if I would like the appetizers to come out with the entree when one person is only ordering appetizers and the other an entree. Then we can eat together and not 2 separate meals.
On the issue of plate clearing, when I am dining high end and one person finishes first the servers always come over and ask unobtrusively if it is okay to clear the plate.
For my tastes sitting with a dirty plate in front of me while waiting for my slow guest to finish eating would be gross. Mid priced chain places might do it differently. There are not too many of those around where I live. Unless it is a shop I prefer the independently owned places anyway. I have not seen service go downhill but instead it seems to be much better than it used to be in mid priced places as they seem to be emulating the higher priced places and competing for the business.
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