What Peeves You Most When You Eat At A Restaurant?

Most of the time when you go out to a restaurant, you’re not only paying for food, but also for service and ambiance. So even if the meal was perfectly prepared, there are still plenty of things about which diners feel justified to complain.

Over at the San Francisco Chronicle, food and wine editor Michael Bauer recently listed his 10 biggest pet peeves about restaurant dining.

Some of Bauer’s complaints are pretty universal — restaurants that refuse to seat parties until everyone is there; excessively loud music — while others — mismatched flatware; food in bowls that should be on a plate — may strike some as a bit nitpicky.

That’s why we want to hear what actually annoys you, the folks who aren’t professionally reviewing restaurants, the most when you go out for a bit to eat. So sound off in the comments!

The most annoying restaurant practices [SFgate.com]
My top five restaurant pet peeves [SFgate.com]

Comments

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  1. umbriago says:

    Kids! Parents, every time you walk out with a crying baby, we all break out in applause.

    • defectiveburger says:

      YES!!!!!

    • FashionablyDoomed says:

      Children ruin EVERYTHING! The worst was getting stuck right beside a birthday party, with about 16 kids running around and screaming, and the parents just sipping their wine and ignoring them.

      Thankfully, the server felt our pain, and she offered us a bigger table farther away once there was an opening.

      • tbax929 says:

        I wouldn’t say children ruin everything. I would say that parents who let their children behave in such a way are the problem.

        I was at Target on my lunch break today, and there were two little kids running ALL OVER the front end while their parents were, apparently, waiting in line to be checked out. The parents couldn’t have cared less. Most of my friends who are parents wouldn’t allow their kids to act that way. Some parents just don’t care.

        • It's not my baby, baby! says:

          I agree. Some people think that once they have children, the rules of polite society no longer apply.

          • Clyde Barrow says:

            Kids don’t bother me. I am a single guy but children in my opinion are pleasant to hear and be around. Much more fun than adults.

    • human_shield says:

      Adults! I don’t need to hear your loud stupid cellphone conversation. I don’t need to know who you $%&*ed over the weekend. I’ll take a giggling kid anyday.

      • Alexk says:

        Most annoying is having a server who won’t take “no, thanks” for an answer when it’s time for desert.
        “Would you like to see our dessert menu?”
        “No, thanks.”
        “We have some really good specials!”
        “I’ll pass, but thanks.” “
        Are you sure?”
        “I’m diabetic, okay?”
        “We have no sugar added ice cream!”

    • Debbie says:

      My kids knew how to sit at a table and talk quietly in a restaurant. My worst experience was the time we were in Olive Garden with the family and the women at the next table were loudly swapping labor stories with all the gory details.

    • Free Legal Advice! says:

      Unfortunately, you don’t notice the good ones. I’ve walked out of plenty of places with a crying baby/toddler. Kids have got to learn the rules on how to behave in public somewhere and home just doesn’t cut it. It is only the loud ones you notice.

      I’ll make you a deal: I will do everything in my power to keep my two kids quiet and you can walk up to the next family with quiet children you see and compliment them on their good behavior.

      • finbar says:

        It would be sorta creepy to complement a strangers kids out of the blue.

        • flychinook says:

          It’s happened to me twice, actually. Never came off as creepy. Then again, I’m in Wisconsin, where conversations with strangers are a fairly regular thing.
          The second time they were complimented actually worked out really well… it was in the autumn, and the guy looked like Santa. They were good for the rest of the year….

          • TacoDave says:

            I get compliments on my kids’ behavior about once a week and it’s not creepy at all. It lets me know I’m doing a good job teaching them how to behave in public.

            But I spank my kids, so I’m evil and don’t deserve compliments…

            • finbar says:

              Huh. I don’t have kids and figured offerening that sort of opinion would be percieved as too personal.

    • alana0j says:

      Yep. When my daughter was still a baby I went to a Mexican place with a friend. I had taken about two bites of my food and she started to freak out. Hardcore. So I asked for the check and two boxes and left as quickly as I could, finishing my meal at home. I love my daughters more than anything, but I know that listening to them cry/whine is annoying. Even for me. So I refuse to subject others to it. I absolutely loathe parents that just sit there and ignore it like nothing is going on. Stop being lazy. either get your kid quiet or leave. Plain and simple.

  2. thehungjury says:

    When the server says, “Hi, I’m ____, I’ll be taking care of you this evening.”

    • tbax929 says:

      I’m curious. Why does that bother you?

      • Jane_Gage says:

        I’m guessing it presupposes an intimacy that doesn’t exist, which the OP probably views as a tip grab.

        • JennQPublic says:

          Since when did introducing oneself by name become intimate? I thought it was just the polite thing to do at the beginning of a conversation.

          • Charmander says:

            It’s not the introducing themselves by name – they definitely should do that.

            It’s the “I’ll be taking care of you tonight” line, which sounds downright creepy and weird to me.

            Why not – “Hi, my name is _____, and I’m your server this evening.”

            • daynight says:

              Picky, picky, picky!
              Do you really need to script everyone’s lines for them?
              And does this need reach the level of a clinical diagnosis?

              • Charmander says:

                No, not really, but if someone is really “taking care of me” they’re probably also going to be paying for my dinner, and giving me a massage later.

                The phrase just rubs me the wrong way.

              • Charmander says:

                Well, nobody said my pet peeves had to be your pet peeves.

          • selianth says:

            Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. “Taking care of”?! You’re not taking care of me. I’m not someone that needs to be babysat. I know this because I’m out at a restaurant all by myself! Just tell me you’re my server for the evening. It drives me nuts and my husband just laughs at how annoyed I get.

    • Mighty914 says:

      Yeah, I hate it when waiters introduce themselves like that. They should just be faceless servants.

    • zippy says:

      That doesn’t bother me. What annoys me is waitstaff who continually come by asking if everything is okay. You take my order, you bring my food, you walk near every now and then so I can flag you down if we need something (which you should be doing if you’re waiting on other customers), but stop interrupting our conversations with your false cheeriness every 2 minutes!

    • dks64 says:

      If I didn’t do that, you would have no clue what my name was, which can lead to confusion. “Excuse me, can you ask my server to get me another drink?” “Sure, what’s your servers name?” “I don’t know.” If I’m on the other side of the restaurant delivering food to another table, you’ll be waiting longer if the person you asked has to go up to the front desk to figure out who the server of that section is. Not wanting to know my name indicates to me that you don’t have respect for me.

    • Bob S says:

      I do not have a problem when they introduce themselves. I just turn it around and reply …and we’re Bob & Betty and we will be your customers.

      When we go to one of those restaurants that have the brown kraft paper “tablecloths” and the waiter writes his or her name on the “tablecloth” I then write our names on it too before they return with our drink order.

      Ya gotta have a little fun!!!

    • Nyxalinth says:

      In most cases, they say this stuff because some corporate bigwig decided we want to hear it. Not the server’s fault.

  3. RandomMutterings says:

    The question “Still working on that?”
    As if eating at a restaurant was work.

    • Martha Gail says:

      Our waitress the other night asked, when we had put our forks down in our plates and pushed them forward a little, if she could take them away. I wanted to kiss her for not asking if we were “still workin’ on that?”

      • history_theatrestudent says:

        Never even heard of this expression. What area of the United States are you in, cause I’m guessing its a geographic/accent thing.

        • SadafImp says:

          happens in California a lot.

        • Claire says:

          Texas, too.

        • Alexk says:

          I’ve heard that one in New York, Chicago, Cleveland and L.A. If it’s regional, it’s one helluva large region.

          • airren says:

            Add the Southeast to this list as well…seems pretty universal to me.

            • pamelad says:

              Pet peeve, as well. Add Arizona to the list. Obnoxious question but usually meant well, I suppose. This thread is interesting since it points up an apparently nationwide epidemic of rude server-speak. But I don’t think the servers have any idea how rude “Still working on that?” sounds to a customer who is just trying to enjoy the restaurant’s ambience, dining partners and satisfaction after (and during, yes during!) a nice meal.

        • Alexk says:

          Most annoying is having a server who won’t take “no, thanks” for an answer when it’s time for desert.
          “Would you like to see our dessert menu?”
          “No, thanks.”
          “We have some really good specials!”
          “I’ll pass, but thanks.” “
          Are you sure?”
          “I’m diabetic, okay?”
          “We have no sugar added ice cream!”

      • thiazzi says:

        At my favorite pan-Asian place, the servers just say “ARE YOU DONE?” in an unintentionally hilarious way. The tone says “get god damn done already!” but the smile says “can I please take this away for you?”

    • Serenefengshui says:

      That’s top o’ my list!

  4. RandomHookup says:

    “Just one????”

    Thanks for making me feel self-conscious about eating alone.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      What you do is make a reservation for two, show up early, ask to be seated for an appetizer while waiting for your other, then as time passes, order a drink, maybe another appetizer. Add to your drink/appetizer tab for about an hour or so.

      When you’re ready to leave, break down in tears for a couple minutes, and then pay your bill and go home.

    • tbax929 says:

      I used to have such a hangup about eating alone that I wouldn’t even do it. I don’t know when that changed for me, but I have no problem taking my Kindle into the restaurant, reading my book, and enjoying a nice meal.

      I think we get less self-conscious with age.

      • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

        I was perpetually single until I was 25. I thoroughly enjoyed going out to eat by myself, going to movies by myself, and traveling by myself!
        Now I have a bf and I still like to go to dinner, movies, etc by myself sometimes!

        • frodolives35 says:

          But do they serve you on the Royal Dallllton plates.lol Love the pic.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I used to go everywhere alone with no problem. But I’ve been doing it so long (and now I do have a bf, but he’s 1277 miles away) that I’m tired of it. It’s no fun anymore. I’d rather just get it to go and eat at home in my pajamas.

      • RandomHookup says:

        I don’t mind eating alone, but I get irritated when the world acts like we are supposed to be accompanied by someone at all meals. I used to travel all the time and the slight hint of condescension got old. I usually eat at the bar, so that usually works out fine.

        But I hate it when I’m carrying a book or magazine and they stick me by myself in some dark corner with no available lighting.

        • t-spoon says:

          There is no condescension, dude. I really think this is entirely in your head. When the host asks “just one?” it’s because solo diners are relatively rare, and people are dumb enough to not mention that there will shortly be 5 others joining them.

          • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

            I don’t think it’s condescension so much that he’s complaining about. Perhaps poor word choice. I’ve found the issue to be that there’s some sort of implied pity. “Just one? All by yourself? Really? Nobody wanted to eat with you? Did you even try? Really? I mean, c’mon…who goes to a restaurant by themselves?”

            • RandomHookup says:

              You got it. It’s the same if your boss said “oh, it’s just you” every time you show up for work. “Just” is a diminishing term and can be loaded, even if it’s not intended.

              And those who poo-poo my irritation should try traveling alone for an extended period of time — you’ll notice that restaurants aren’t that happy about single diners sometimes and can really treat us as 2nd class citizens.

      • bhr says:

        As I started traveling more for work I get over that feeling quick.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        I have a much different palate than my girlfriend, so it’s not uncommon for me to go out to lunch by myself. I get in trouble if I go out for dinner and don’t take her.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Better live up to your user name – “RandomHookup”??

      Just a suggestion.

    • aloria says:

      I like imply that I’m a food critic when I get that sort of response. Usually changes their attitude a bit.

  5. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    1. Pretentious diners.

  6. Smiley Massacre says:

    What happens to me all of the time is when I look around to make sure our server isn’t near, I then take a bite out of my food, only to have our server come up and ask, “How is everything so far?”

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Ditto. I thought I was the only one who was a bit peeved by that.

      Some of them actually come over and ask that when I haven’t even taken a bite out of my food yet. And some of them come over while your mouth is still full of food and you can’t really answer. What the hell?!

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I just talk with my mouth full.

        “How is your food?”

        “Mmmppffh myfffm rrllffff gdddffff.” It’s even more effective if you spit a little.

    • dks64 says:

      Lol, I felt bad because I accidentally did that to a guy TWICE on Sunday. I really didn’t mean to, his back was to me. He was cool about it, I really enjoyed talking to him and the other guy he was with.

  7. mikedt says:

    When the serving staff asks if I want x,y,z on my whatever while failing to mention that each one of those toppings costs an extra buck. I find it cheap and sleazy.

    • tbax929 says:

      Oh, yes, upsells are annoying. I’m sure the servers hate having to do it, too.

      I still remember having to ask customers if they wanted a charge card back in my high school days, when I worked retail. I HATED asking, but I’d get in trouble if I didn’t.

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        Yup, as a server you’re “trained” to do that. I’ve worked at a couple restaurants that would send in secret shoppers that would fill out a survey based on their experience. Survey questions included: Did the server suggest an appetizer or drink?; When ordering your entree, did the survey suggest any add-ons such as sauted onions, mushrooms …etc?; Did the server suggest dessert/coffee?

        Then, the restaurant would post the survey results in a staff common area. To the restaurants’ credit, they blacked out the server’s name if they surveyed poorly.

        • dks64 says:

          That’s EXACTLY what restaurants do. The secret shopper report is VERY specific. “Did your server suggest a specific drink? Did they suggest a specific appetizer? Did they ask if you wanted a soup or salad? Did the server ask you if you wanted a specific dessert and coffee? Did they invite you to return?” Just to name a few.

        • jesusofcool says:

          I understand, and don’t mind the asking, but I think it’s shady when the extra cost isn’t revealed up front either on the menu or in the waiter’s sales pitch, if it’s an add-on to an order (not an additional item like an appetizer). Especially since the cost of add-ons can differ from place to place with no rhyme or reason
          It’s the same with any other service industry – the cost of what you’re selling me should be clear up front (I have this same issue with salons as well).

      • just_joe says:

        No – what’s really annoying to me is the server asking if i’d like “another” one – of whatever non-specialty drink I’m drinking (like iceTea or a soft drink (fountain)). I had to learn in Manhattan, that’s secret speak for charging you for another one – so thinking you’re getting refills of tea turn into an additiona 5 to 15 dollars on the bill – very very damn annoying.

        The interesting thing though is go outside Manhattan, and suddenly it’s back to getting refills for free… What’s up with that other than the pure greed money grab by restaurants in Manhat? We all know that that Ice Tea in the back was not made by some poor himalayan they trucked in for his special magical tea making skillz and so must pay an outrageous salary to accomodate and keep this tempest of a tea brewer! /s

    • JJFIII says:

      So asking if you want something else that may be a great addition to the item, BUT costs more annoys you? You expect these items for free? Is it hard to say, how much will that be? When you go to a car lot and the salesperson says do you want that with air conditioning and chrome wheels, do you assume it will be the same price?
      I suppose you get pissed when they bring by a dessert tray too. You probably assume it should be free. A GOOD server will upsell to improve the dining experience. You should just tstick to McDonald’s. oh wait, that won’t work since they will ask if you want fries with that sandwich or if you would like to make it a meal.

      • tbax929 says:

        Some things you expect to pay extra for, while some things could be either charged or free. A good server will clarify by saying something like, “Would you like to add cheese to that for another dollar,” or something to that effect.

      • JHDarkLeg says:

        Sorry, you must not have heard; you never go full retard.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Clearly you are unfamiliar with the idea of “standard” and “specialty” items. You see (and I’ll use small words so you can understand), sometimes we put things on things or sell things with things and those things are considered standard, or part of the package. For example, a baked potato. A baked potato usually comes with certain toppings, like butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and bacon bits. Sometimes all of these toppings are included in the purchase price of the baked potato, and a diner can pick and choose what they want on their potato. Sometimes, a restaurant will only include butter and sour cream, and the cheese, chives, and bacon bits will cost extra money. Sometimes we refer to this as a “Fully Loaded” baked potato. In this case, the cheese, chives, and bacon bits don’t come standard, but a server may ask if you would like to add them. If the server does this and doesn’t mention the extra money it will cost, we then feel as if we have been lied to. It may not be a lot of money, but it still is not a pleasant experience. This is what mikedt was referring to, not the idea of an upsell. I’m not surprised you missed it though; he used a lot of big scary words and I’m sure that confused you, since you’ve proven yourself to be one of the biggest goddamn morons I’ve ever had the bad luck to come across in the wilds of the internet. And yes, to answer your question, I would expect A/C to be standard by now.

        TL;DR: you’re stupid; fuck you.

  8. That guy. says:

    What I HATE:

    When there is table seating set up so close to one another that the back one your chair is up against the back of someone else’s chair. You can’t slide the chair back to get up because it’s so packed.

    • Smiley Massacre says:

      I have a thing about sitting in chairs at restaurants. Not that I’m a big guy, but I prefer to sit in a booth. Makes me feel all warm and secure inside.

      • bdgbill says:

        +1!

      • bhr says:

        I’m the opposite, I’m big, and hate the booth for that reason. But I do try to sit against a wall/aisle so I’m not pushing into someone else.

        • dangermike says:

          I’m big, too, but don’t mind booths so much… until my knee finds the steel support pole as I slide into my seat.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        This, unless the booths are not well maintained and/or breaking down and/or seemingly ergonomically designed for non-human patrons.

        • Smiley Massacre says:

          Plus booth with tables that are bolted to the wall? There should be some sort of a law against that!

        • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

          Or if the person on the other side is shaking their leg nonstop so your seat is shaking.

          • 99 1/2 Days says:

            Or the giant person who fidgets a lot. Once at IHOP I felt so bounced around it felt like I was going off-roading.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        Booths hide bugs.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        I’m the size of Paul Bunyan AND am phobic about people behind me. I need a chair and a wall.

        My German professor in college had an attitude with me because, as we found out, she was from Germany and steadfastly believed that troublemakers sit in the back row.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      This. It’s why I actually tend to prefer the booth-style seating at some “Family restaurants.” Because that way there’s nobody trying to walk behind me.

    • BigHeadEd says:

      I’ll add a +1 as well friend

  9. MutantMonkey says:

    “Hi, we ran out of half the items on our menu because we don’t know how to shop for Friday and Saturday evenings. How about a tasty salad and some tilapia?”

    • PunditGuy says:

      This is a huge peeve. I went to a place recently simply because I really wanted duck the way it described on the menu — and, of course, they were out of it. At 8 p.m. on a Friday. WTF?

      • rugman11 says:

        I’m generally forgiving of that, because it’s usually a long-cooking dish that takes all day to make and they don’t want to throw any away or serve leftovers, so they would rather run out than have waste.

        My local BBQ joint runs out of the sausage special by 12:30 every time they sell it. I just learned to go earlier.

    • suez says:

      Ha! I adore the Korean-style fried chicken at Bon Chon–they are the crack. They ONLY serve legs and wings. Period. And yet every time I’ve gone there, they were sold out of legs. Really?!

    • bomber991 says:

      Until recently I was a cashier at a PeiWei. When we run out of shit, don’t get mad at me. They paid me $9/hr to take customer orders and to put soy sauce packets and fortune cookies into little wax bags. Ask to speak to the manager, and express your displeasure to him.

  10. tbax929 says:

    I don’t have too many restaurant pet peeves. I eat at the same places most of the time and, since I’m a really good tipper, I tend to get amazing service.

    That being said, there is a thin line between a server who ignores me and a server who bothers me too much. My favorite restaurants have servers who just seem to know when I need something and leave me alone when I don’t. The ones who interrupt me when I’m in the middle of a conversation with a dinner companion really drive me crazy. At least wait until there’s a break in our conversation!

    Also, I know it’s supposed to be a nice touch, but I don’t like when the manager comes over to ask me how everything was. It’s a total nitpick on my part, and they’re just doing their jobs. However, it’s so predictable (especially at chain places). There is no logical reasony why it bothers me, but it just feels disingenuous to me.

    • bdgbill says:

      Agreed! I like how wait staff work in Europe. They don’t bother you at all but they are always on the floor and visible. You only need to raise your hand and they scurry right over. Plus you don’t need to tip them! That “How’s everything tasting?” crap drives me nuts.

      • Bob S says:

        +1 on that.

        Until I spent some time in Europe I didn’t realize how annoying the constant checking up on my satisfaction was. Now it really bugs me.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I also pay attention to this timing. The best I ever had was, amazingly, at a Denny’s. The waiter came like as if on cue for everything I needed. It’s Denny’s, so it wasn’t too much trouble to give him a deserved 100% tip.

      The next time I was there he remembered me. Felt good.

    • Hibyeman says:

      The santa fe steak house near me has good wait staff nothing went dry there and that is amazing as my drink is empty five minutes after i get for the first time no complaints at all

  11. powdered beefmeat says:

    “I ordered bacon strips not bacon bits.”

  12. SlowRider says:

    Anyone who talks loudly on their cell phone at a nearby table longer than it takes to say “I’m at a restaurant, please let me call you back.”

    • LabGnome says:

      This would not bother me if it was not for the fact that apparently the person on the other end is always hard of hearing.

      • SlowRider says:

        Your timing is exquisite. Just today I went to a restaurant for lunch and on the other side of the tall partition, there was a lady I couldn’t see speaking very loudly on her cell phone, nonstop, for 30 minutes. I honestly do not know how she was even eating, because the conversation was nonstop jabbering. I finished my meal, doing the slow burn all the time, and thought I’d stop by her booth on the way to pay my check. I had my little line all planned out. I was going to say “Thank you so much for letting the entire restaurant hear that half-hour soliloquy. It was truly fascinating.”

        When I rounded the corner and reached her aisle, I did not see a lady speaking loudly on her cell phone. I saw a lady (daughter?) making conversation with an extremely old and apparently hard-of-hearing woman (mother?). The look on the older lady’s face was one of pure bliss, as if she hadn’t been out of the house and had a conversation in ages.

        I gave them a smile, mentally kicked myself in the rear end for jumping to conclusions, and picked up their tab surreptitiously when I got to the window. Thank goodness I didn’t yell over the partition, which I briefly considered doing. I would have been mortified. Life has a way of keeping you humble sometimes.

        • Kuri says:

          I get on my mom about jumping to conclusions all the time. We were on our way into a place and she started ranting about a guy who was about to light a cigarette, I took a look half a second later and he was on a cell phone.

          • SlowRider says:

            I think the whole jumping to conclusions thing gets worse as I get older. I don’t know if that’s true for most middle-aged-starting-to-get-older types, but I have to constantly guard against thinking I know exactly what’s going on when I don’t.

            It’s as if the uncertainty of youth just melts away. But when I don’t catch myself (like I did today) you can bet life will be along soon enough to slap me back in my place.

            • Tenacity says:

              I find this to be true for myself as well. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. Your willingness to be introspective will overcome your impulse to react without first evaluating the situation at hand.

        • Charmander says:

          Nice post.

        • quail says:

          Kudos to you, sir!

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      This. [Going off topic] And specifically people who can’t put down their phones while driving. Unless it’s an emergency, tell the other person “I’m driving so I’ll call you back in a bit.” Or go hands-free mode. I’m typically the person who can’t concentrate on the road when I’m talking so I don’t touch my phone while driving.

      I’ve seen an increase of erratic drivers lately in my neighborhood because they have their hands on the phone in their ear.

    • SoCalGNX says:

      Funny you should mention this. I was at a local place last week when a man who was by himself seated himself at the table behind me. He had a choice of four chairs but he picked the one right next to me. He slid back and started a long, loud conversation with his sister. On speakerphone. After a few minutes, I sat on the other side of the table with my husband. My ear nearest his phone rang for about an hour after that.

    • ben_marko says:

      Get a jammer – it works!

  13. bdgbill says:

    1. Children
    2. Tiny tables
    3. Running out of water / drinks
    4. “How’s everything tasting?” every 90 seconds

    • dks64 says:

      “How’s everything tasting?”

      “Good.”

      (Not 2 minutes later, walk by casually)

      “Can I get extra ranch?”

      “Sure.”

      (Drops it off and continues doing other stuff. 3 minutes later, I walk by….)

      “I was wondering where you went. I need more BBQ.”

      This happens more than you’d think.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        As a waitress, I hate this crap. I wait about a minute or so to let you try and taste your food, then come by to see if you need anything. We don’t keep S & P at our tables so we do have to get those if people want them…

        but please, every time I come by you flag me down for extra dressing, extra mayo, more bread, a water refill? I know it is my job, but I hope you’ve noticed you’re not the only patron. At the very least, it’s taught me to anticipate needs so people ask less.
        I carry the water jug with me when I do rounds, juuuuuuuuuuuust in case.

        • carlogesualdo says:

          Understood, but on the occasions when I’m a little forgetful and do this, I tip better. Can we talk about it from the other side? The one where I ask for the extras when I place my order and you forget to bring it? So I ask again when you bring the order to the table, and five minutes later I have to flag you down again because I STILL don’t have it? And just maybe, sometime before the check comes, I finally get it? I hate that.

  14. Snape says:

    Hi I would like ____, but no pickle for you see I really hate pickles.

    OK

    (time passes)

    PICKLE ON MY PLATE

    • nicoleintrovert says:

      Agreed. You can taste that damn pickle on everything in a 3 foot radius.

      • VintageLydia says:

        I THOUGHT I WAS ALONE! Man, screw pickles >:[

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          I knew you and I would eventually find common ground on something, but I never guessed it would be pickle hatred.

      • ungeheier says:

        This. OMG.

        I dont know how many napkins ive had to sacrifice to try to get the smell/liquid off of my plate.

        Why is this now standard (same with cheese)?

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      We went to Braum’s (local fast food burger place) a couple of weeks ago. My kid hates pickles and ordered his burger without pickles, as shown on the receipt. After we got to our table, we found that his burger had pickles, so he took it up there to ask for another burger without pickles. Pickles.

      I didn’t find out until later that he watched them take his burger back to the line, take the pickles off, AND TOSS THEM BACK INTO THE PICKLE HOLDER! They then wrapped his burger back up and gave it back to him. He’s young and felt too timid to complain.

      I called to complain, but of course they didn’t care.

      • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

        Once I asked for a chicken sandwich without lettuce. It came with lettuce. So, I asked for a new one. They took it back and tried to scrape it off. However, it was the shredded lettuce and not all of it came off. I had to take it back to the counter to ask again for them to make a new one! Scraping it off is not a reasonable solution. If it was, I would have done it myself!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      LOVE PICKLES!!! NOM NOM NOM

    • Snape says:

      I either have to sterilize the area (such as sacrificing fries or cutting off parts of my bun) or if I do send it back I sniff it like crazy for pickle residue

      • StarKillerX says:

        Okay, sir I’ll be right back with your plate, let me confirm that you want no pickle residue on your plate, would you like that with extra spit?

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Oh, the humanity!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I’ll eat your pickle. I like them (dills). :)

      My boyfriend doesn’t like them either. He gives his to me. If they’re big spears, sometimes I can’t eat them all!

    • rtwest says:

      Pickles, I can just scrape off and I’ll tolerate the residual taste. ONIONS are where my hate lies. Unless it’s a fast-food burger, pickles usually come on the side. Onions, no matter what you ordered, are on or in the food. And the taste doesn’t go away, and I can’t tolerate it. It makes me gag. Even salad without dressing; if there are onions on the top, I probably won’t get too far into the salad before it makes me feel sick. I’ve gotten to the point where I just plain don’t order any food unless I know it’s normally NOT prepared with onions (example: I always opt for Caesar salad rather than house/garden salad).

  15. fatediesel says:

    I can’t stand automatic gratuities. I believe in tipping based on how good the service is and I usually tip 25-30% but when a gratuity is automatically added I refuse to go above what was added even if it’s only 15% and the service was excellent.

    • j2.718ff says:

      I often wonder if this helps or hurts places.

      There’s a restaurant that my friends and I frequent. Food and service are awesome (they’ve even learned our names, and know which specials might interest which of us). But they include an automatic gratuity. I pay by credit card, so I pay the exact amount. If they didn’t include the gratuity, I’d definitely pay a higher percentage.

    • one swell foop says:

      Don’t take offense. It’s math. I dislike adding gratuity to tables where most people seem cool, but year of experience have taught me that I’m going to get more screwed by the incredibly cheap people in a large group than will be made up for by the one or two extra generous people at a table. I wait tables to pay my bills and for school. I have a responsibility to myself to make sure I can put food in my mouth. The only times, and I mean only times, there’s no grat is when it’s family, family friends, the table are VIPs and known to tip well, or the entire table is in the industry.

      It’s just not worth the chance.

      • quail says:

        My foray into the world of food service was before automatic gratuities. Large groups were where you’d lose your shirt. Heaven forbid if they all divided up the bill and paid in cash. A couple of times people wouldn’t add correctly and you’d be stuck dipping into your change/tip bag to cover the part of the bill.

        Truly, I hate how our tipping culture is in the USA. Other parts of the world do just fine without tipping, and studies have shown that tipping does not produce better service.

    • EllenRose says:

      Last time I was in a restaurant that added gratuity, two of us got abominable service that seemed to go out of its way to ignore us. I left the exact sum of the bill without the gratuity, then put one penny next to it. A gratuity is voluntary, for Pete’s sake! To Insure Promptness, I was told as a youth.

    • barty says:

      I made a manager remove one once when I was with a group and we received absolutely horrible service. Took us an hour and a half to get in and out of the place, and we were in there late enough in the evening that we were seated immediately, but were there still well before closing time. It took about 30-45 minutes to get our orders taken, and that was only after we threatened to walk out and leave without paying for the appetizers we already had. One of us would have to get up and go find another waiter to find ours to get drinks refilled (why some restaurants are so militant about only YOUR server doing this is beyond me) and a couple of the orders were cold likely from our waitress being AWOL when the food was cooked. To this day, I can’t figure out why we got such poor service that day, as far as I could tell, we were her only table.

  16. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Food that comes out of a microwave. If I wanted that I’d have let my 5 year old cook.

    • Gravitational Eddy says:

      My biggest pet peeve as well. Ever wonder why the server says “Careful, this plate is red hot.”?
      Well, one reason is that the food on the plate wasn’t all that “hot” in the first place. The entree was probably shipped in a boil-in-bag type deal, and was actually made on an assembly line in a huge factory somewhere in Illinois four days ago.
      And then it gets nuked back into life. Thus, the extremely hot plate.
      Today, that line is producing a different entree, and those will not be available until this coming weekend.
      By the way, the only thing that is “freshly cooked” at that upscale eatery where you regularly drop $50-$60 at most likely came off the grill. Burgers, steaks and fries out of the deep fryer.I swear, Mcdonalds has more respect for “freshly prepared” than most places these days… and they even cheat some. Those quarter pounders are actually pre-cooked and held in a warmer until they need more burgers on the line.

      • Rose says:

        That’s certainly a plausible scenario. However, in almost every restaurant I’ve ever worked in, the cooks set their plates on the hot passbar when they get the order (cooks and ranges on one side, servers/expos and kale on the other) and as things are finished cooking, they’re added to the plate. So, the plate sits there – on the hot passbar – for ten minutes, whereas your freshly cooked food and your nuked veggies alike are added as they come out, hence a super-hot plate.

        Here is a photo of a passbar. It’s the taller metal counter, and it is purposely heated. (I’m unsure why that manager is laying on the server’s counter, though.)

        http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnm1qfG0Kj1qbz98no1_500.png

  17. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Food that comes out of a microwave. If I wanted that I’d have let my 5 year old cook.

    • Cacao says:

      Applebee’s, to name one. I just finished reading “The American way of eating : undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, farm fields and the dinner table” by Tracie McMillan. Great read.

  18. patrick bateman says:

    I hate eating at restaurants in the hour or so before they close, and they’re mopping/vacuuming right next to or even under my table. It’s gross. And plus you guys are hourly workers, an extra half hour of pay won’t kill you.

    • bhr says:

      To be fair, they let the bussers/cooks go and just keep waiters/bartenders on at that point, and those folks make $2.35 or w/e an hour. Not excusing the practice, I hate it too, but it’s good to keep in mind when the place closed 30 minutes ago and you’ve just been chatting for an hour.

    • dks64 says:

      Mopping and vacuuming before closing is VERY rude, and that’s coming from a server. Cleaning is normal though, refilling salt and peppers, emptying the trash, wiping down stuff, that’s acceptable. After closing, all bets are off. And as BHR said, many states pay their servers less than half of minimum wage, so that extra hour is pretty much like working for free. Also, if the staff doesn’t start cleaning 30-60 minutes before closing, they might be there an extra hour or two. And if you’re a parent who has to wake up with their kid at 6am for school, that extra hour or two does make a difference.

    • DerangedKitsune says:

      Management is probably under orders NOT to keep anyone later than absolutely necessary. The owner is likely of the mind that more hours worked = less profit for them, so if they can have workers do two-plus things at the same time, that’s just being effecient.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Yeah that $1.50 is really worth waiting around for your arrogant ass to finish up. I go to restaurants in the last hour too, but if you’re going to do the last minute thing at least have some courtesy and eat quickly.

      I’ve never experienced this cleaning up while I was still there, in fact at my old waitressing gig we were expressly told NEVER to vacuum until all customers were out the door.

  19. dicobalt says:

    What the heck is a restaurant?

  20. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    How about being seated next to another occupied table when you’re the only diners there….even worse when that’s a table with at least one very active child, when the parents think it’s cute that their kid tries to talk to you over and over and over.

    Personal space is a good thing and contributes highly to a good dining experience.

    • Three Foot Roo says:

      This is exactly what I was going to say. We tend to go out to eat at off-peak hours because of my work schedule, and we’re always practically sitting at the same table as the ONLY OTHER people there. Hey, servers, you know how nobody takes the urinal right next to the only other guy in the bathroom? Know how, when you walk into a deserted movie theater, you don’t plunk down beside the only person there? It’s like that.

      And at least half the time, it’s people with young kids who also eat at off-peak hours, which is fine, but I shouldn’t have to scream to be heard over the toddler sitting four feet away when there’s no reason we can’t be sitting on the other side of the empty building.

    • dru_zod says:

      A couple of restaurants near me have booths that are positioned right up against both sides of a half-height wall on one side of the restaurant. You would expect them to put a frosted glass divider or something on top of the wall, but there is nothing there at all. So if they seat people on both sides of the wall, you’re sitting there right next to these total strangers on the other side. You can hear everything they’re saying and they can hear everything you’re saying. This could be a useful arrangement if you had a large party that wouldn’t fit anywhere else, but most of the time it’s just annoying.

    • barty says:

      As a couple with a child, it is surprising how often we have to make a point to request a table that isn’t right next to the few other patrons when we go to dinner early. I know they’re just trying to keep everyone close for the sake of the servers, but out boy is just at the age where he doesn’t know any better and is going to make random noises, and will eventually melt down once we run out of stuff to distract him with.

      I just remember how in my single days how I didn’t care to get stuck next to people with kids, so we just try to plan our eating out accordingly and try to not be seated right next to someone else if at all possible.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That is supremely irritating and yes happens often. I simply ask the server for another table before we actually sit down, works everytime, no one is put out over it.

  21. CubeRat says:

    Giant pieces of flatware. I know we’ve gotten fatter as a nation, and I know we are generally taller than previous generations (not me, I’m short), but why has flatware become so HUGH.

    And hugh plates when many tables are small. Really? I sometimes feel as if Gulliver was in charge of this part of the decor.

    • webweazel says:

      How about BENT forks and knives? That is my biggest peeve.

      (While I’m here–it’s HUGE. What you wrote is actually a person’s name-HUGH-and pronounced “hyoo”. HUGE “hyooj” is what you are looking for. Just trying to help.)

  22. cameronl says:

    When the server squats down or even worse, slides into the empty seat to take my order, like he or she is one of the gang. That was popular a while ago. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen that in ages.

    • bdgbill says:

      Gah! This drives me crazy! Have had it happen at a Famous Daves BBQ and twice at the Outback. Waiters each time. Have never seen a waitress do it.

    • Smiley Massacre says:

      They do this all of the time at Hooters. I get bashful and shy when a girl gets close to me so it gets really awkward really fast.

      I just want my food and beer!

    • naenae78 says:

      I’ve seen that many times in the last few months and the first time it happened, I wasn’t sure what was going on. It bothered me, but once I thought about it, I figured they were doing it because it’s easier for them to hear you (because it’s so damn noisy in the place). Either that, or it’s because they are trying to be at your level for easier order taking. I don’t know…it is a little bothersome though.

      • JennQPublic says:

        It’s supposed to be ‘friendlier’, and increase the size of the tip. I hear it’s particularly encouraged at Hooter’s.

        • nugatory says:

          at these types of places, I’ve not only had them sitting with us, I’ve had several waitresses put their hand on my shoulder or arm when talking to me about my order. Its nothing more than an attempt to get a better tip. With me it has the opposite effect, I resent them trying to play me for a bigger tip.

    • dks64 says:

      Squatting down is sometimes the only way to hear a customer. The restaurant I work at is really loud and people often don’t take that into account when speaking to me. Full blown sitting is weird.

    • bubbledumpster says:

      I don’t care why it’s done, this always creeps me out.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      That is an “Outback Restaurant” thang. I don’t care for it either.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I *hate* this. I understand at a place like Hooters if it’s a party of all dudes, but when a server does it at my table I am completely at a loss of even what to say. Why on earth would you think that was a good idea?

      I have squatted down to take an order from a soft-spoken kid (at the insistance of parents making him order) but other than that no way.

  23. impatientgirl says:

    If they try to seat us next to a large table, empty or seated, we refuse that table. I *always* end up sitting next to the loud obnoxious party who let their kids scream and run around.

  24. bhr says:

    Wow, those articles should be subtitled “Why I am a whiny asshole”

    Real pet peeves are things like:
    salads and entrees coming out together (or right after each other)

    the hovering waiter waiting on orders or the check

    The total clear (when you are chatting post-meal and the waiter/busser has cleared EVERYTHING off the table to try to get you to move)

    Not telling me when you know you are out of an item. This isnt when the come back to tell you, but when you order and they immediately say “oh, we are out of…” Just tell me in advance.

    Not telling prices on features/specials either out loud or on the little insert. I hate looking like a cheap fuck because I want to know if that chicken blahblah is $17 or $35, especially when I’m on an expense account.

    Assuming I want refills of alcohol/wine (Waiters love that trick, bring you a refill of that rum and coke because most people will just say “leave it”)

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Wow. All YOUR “pet peeves” make you soud like a whiny asshole.

    • ConscientiousObserver says:

      I was with you until the “tell me in advance” one. Why would any server start out by telling you what the restaurant doesn’t have? Odds are you’d be just as annoyed, if not more so, if you weren’t going to order that anyway and the server just wasted you time. That may be the one you have to just get over.

      • imasqre says:

        I slightly disagree. There is nothing worse as a customer (or a server) to have something ordered and the immediate response is “we’re out of that”. If I introduce the special as sold out when I hand the menus to them, everyone has an easier time bc they don’t waste their time thinking of something that we don’t have and I don’t feel like a jerk for saying “no” after they took the time to go over the menu and make their decision.
        Plus, on the customer side, I hate making my decision and then having the “oh, ok. *grabs menu and starts over again”.

        • ConscientiousObserver says:

          imasqre, you make a good point. I guess there are scenarios where having that info is helpful. Thanks for the insight.

    • majortom1981 says:

      A lot of times the waiter or waitress will not know they are out of something till the order goes in.

  25. MrEvil says:

    I hate it when restaurants play music so obnoxiously loud that I can’t have a conversation with the person 2′ away from me. Turn that shit down. Probably why Joe’s Crabshacks all over the country are shutting down.

    Seriously, I have some form of hearing impairment where enough loud music and crowd noise will drown out someone speaking a foot away from my face. I see their lips move and I concentrate but I can’t hear them.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This is actually why I don’t go to clubs, period. Maybe I’m a music snob – in fact I know I am in comparison to the general populace – but turn that shit down!

    • suez says:

      You aren’t alone with the loud music/crowd noise issue–I struggle to hear voices, too. General accoustics of the room play a huge part. It’s trendy to have a warehouse, bare walls and ceiling decor, but it’s horrible for absorbing sounds. Add music and it’s a nightmare for having a conversation.

    • dks64 says:

      My restaurant blares the music at night, I HATE it.

      • barty says:

        One of the local Buffalo Wild Wings (yeah, I know, but I live in Memphis and it is almost the only way to get non soul style wings around here) has a bad habit of turning up the volume on the TVs after a certain time in the evening, even if it isn’t some big game. I’m not particularly shy about asking them to turn it back down, especially if it is some sporting event that should be on ESPN 8.

  26. CrazyEyed says:

    Parents who let their kids run around the restaurant

    • Debbie says:

      I agree, but I also resent people who assume that my children will be loud. We are all individuals.

  27. tbax929 says:

    I have another pet peeve I just remembered.

    I’m very funny about my coffee and iced tea, since I sweeten them. I hate when servers refill my coffee or my iced tea, right after I’ve just gotten them where I like them.

    I usually can catch them before they do it, but some of those servers are really fast. One time, I had a mouth full of food, so I covered my coffee cup when the server came to do the refill. You can guess what happened to me as a result of that. It was totally my fault I got burned – that was a really dumb thing to do.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Wow – I don’t see that as your fault at all. Everywhere I eat, that’s how most diners signal the server that no, they would not like any more coffee right now, thanks.

      Of course, wait staff at those places also have the sense to ask if you want a warm-up when your cup is less than full.

      • tbax929 says:

        I think the timing was dubious. She was probably already in her pre-pour process when I shoved my hand over my cup.

        I’ve never done that since!

    • Cactus Wren says:

      Counter servers who come down the line topping up every cup on the counter. *I don’t drink coffee*, and by “helpfully” pouring coffee into my cup you’ve just ruined my tea or hot cocoa.

    • dks64 says:

      Because of the sugar ratio, I ask before refilling. In order to prevent servers from refilling when you’re not ready, push the glass out of their reach so they have to ask for it.

      There was a lady who appeared on Oprah who talked about the tea-sugar ratio. She was mean about it, but I can see how it’s a valid complaint.

  28. dulcinea47 says:

    1. Bad food
    2. Bad service
    (These are generally dealbreakers, not eating there again.)

    3. Too loud
    4. Too crowded

    5. Other people (cell phones, kids, etc.) Not the restaurant’s fault but if it happens repeatedly in the same place I probably won’t go back there.

  29. cameronl says:

    TVs in the dining area. Good lord, why? In a sports bar, yeah, makes sense, but in a restaurant? Might as well have people sit on couches and serve them on TV trays.

    …hey, I think I just got an idea for a new theme restaurant…

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Don’t give them ideas or we will actually be eating off tv trays. agh.

    • Martha Gail says:

      What’s worse is when it’s old tube TVs. Those things hurt my ears like nobody’s business. It’s like a dog whistle or something.

    • thiazzi says:

      My favorite Greek diner plays Fox News and it kills me inside a little to eat there.

    • pamelad says:

      Love the idea! Open up a gigantic chain and everybody who likes loud sports-bar-type entertainment will go there, instead of places I like to frequent!

  30. teenyware says:

    When order appetizers and dinner, but don’t get your appetizers before your meal arrives.

  31. May contain snark says:

    Being told “Wow. You eat a lot.” if I order dessert.

    I can think of 4 times it’s happened just off the top of my head.

    I usually respond by canceling the dessert order and pointing out that they would have gotten a larger tip if they didn’t decide to comment on my eating habbits.

  32. oldwiz65 says:

    terrible service and food are the worst.

  33. ConsumerA says:

    I hate it when the waiter sticks the order pad in the rear of their pants (between their pants and underwear). Thanks for spreading the e. coli around!

  34. LightningUsagi says:

    My biggest no-no is waiters who come around every 5 minutes to check on you. Especially places where there’s no set waiter for your table, so everyone who works in the place has to stop by. One of my favorite restaurants does that, and the last time I went there, we had 5 people stop by before we’d even had our first bite of food. I like that they’re available if you need them, but I don’t like that they check up after every friggin’ bite or sip I take. If the food weren’t so damn good, we’d probably stop going altogether.

  35. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’ll go with interpretting “most” at to mean that which occurs to me most. And that is the shtick. Verbage clearly dictated by the waiter’s manager and/or corporate. It’s cookie cutter, it’s obvious, it’s fake, and everyone involved knows it.

  36. tlf0803 says:

    I hate when you’ve barely gotten your meal, you take one bite, and the server is there asking, “How is everything tasting?” Ummm, I don’t know. I’ll tell you when I’ve actually tasted everything. Then, when you want to get the check, it seems like your server is nowhere to be found so you end up waiting a full extra ten minutes.

  37. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Having my group squeezed into a table/booth that is too small, tables too close together, DARKNESS: so dark we need flashlights to read the menus. I’m looking at you PF Changs.

    We got squeezed more each time we went and it was darker each time too. Finally we just stopped going there (6 years ago).

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I guess by this point the buildings are pitch dark and everyone’s crammed in like sardines?

    • BerlinSwing says:

      I seem to have the opposite problem – the hanging light fixtures in a number of chains are at just the right height to me that the lightbulb blasts me in the eyes. I’m not particularly short or anything, either. There’s no way to escape it other than to look directly at the tabletop the entire time instead of whoever I’m eating with. I can’t walk out of an Applebee’s or Outback without afterimages in my vision.

  38. Cat says:

    “Er…by the way, I’ve got a bit of a dirty fork; could you…er…get me another one?”

  39. Aeirlys says:

    Ginormous steak knives. Why do steakhouses feel the need to give you a knife the size of sidewalk chalk? It’s not any sharper and does not have any extra cutting surface than a regular knife, and it’s awkward to use.

    • quail says:

      They do it to keep the knives from leaving the restaurant. Big & ugly usually stays at the table, small and pretty will be out the door in every purse & pocket.

  40. dolemite says:

    I have a list!
    1. Getting my appetizer at the same time the food arrives.
    2. Waiting on refills.
    3. Kids.

    • dks64 says:

      What’s funny is some other people complain that they refill too early. There’s no win.

  41. craftman says:

    Hosts should fill the tables (within reason) like men fill the urinals in a bathroom. Take the farthest available spot, spacing people out as much as possible. Nothing more annoying that having 2 couples in a restaurant before the dinner rush and they seat both of us right next to each other. Now I have to listen to their conversation and wonder what parts of my conversation they are hearing.

    I know I have personal space issues but this shouldn’t be that hard to fix.

    • ThunderPMH says:

      I worked at a restaurant, and if you were in before the dinner rush it is possible not all the servers were there for their shift and you were seated in the only available server’s section. If you both had different servers, then I’m not sure what’s going on there…the host/hostess might just be lazy.

  42. giax says:

    Menus that don’t indicate clearly what suits for which allergies etc (like which items are or can be made glutenfree) – and especially when the staff don’t know what’s in which item and are too lazy to ask
    Loud people (especially screaming or dramatic kind, any age though small children tend to be most often of the screaming type)
    Too long wait at any time (to get in, to order, to get food, to pay etc)
    Rushing
    Food that looks like it should be in the before- part of Restaurant Impossible
    Tasteless and unseasoned or overdone food

  43. sagodjur says:

    Let’s see…

    I dislike the inconsistency of the waitstaff’s attention. They’ll come around every 90 seconds to ask how the food is, but they’re gone when I need a refill of a drink. This is even worse when you can tell they’re actively avoiding looking up when they’re out on the floor for fear that they’ll make eye contact with a patron who wants something. But this is also an for the restaurant to solve because it may mean that there are too many tables per server.

    I really dislike the assumption of how a meal goes. Just because we’ve finished our meals doesn’t mean we are ready to leave. We might have another round of drinks. So don’t bring me the check and innocently say, “I’ll just leave this here and we can always add to it if you want something else.” If you bring me the check, it means you want me to leave. You should never bring me the check unless I ask for it. This is especially true if the restaurant isn’t busy and there’s no reason to rush us out.

    It’s funny, but a little annoying when the waitstaff aren’t aware of what’s on the drink menu. I’ll order something that sounds good off the drink menu and then the server asks what’s in that and how I’d like that made and I have to pick up the menu, point to the item, and say, “the way the menu describes it.”

    I dislike when they don’t ask if you if you want to hear the specials and just start rambling them off. I very rarely want one of the specials, so if I don’t have to hear it, I’m all the happier with the service.

    • Zyada says:

      I like it when they bring the check early. You’re inferring their motivation, but some people don’t want to wait until they’ve finished everything on the table and then have to catch a server’s eye before getting their check.

      If you really think they are doing it to get you to move on, just ignore it until you’re ready to leave or get something else.

  44. waitetr says:

    Tipping…especially automatic gratuity. I hate the idea that I am expected to give a tip for service I should already be paying for. Hate me if you will but one should not expect to get extra money for doing the job they are paid to do.

    Go ahead and say “but the server is only paid .02/hr and needs your tip”. The law states they cannot make less than minimum wage so if they don’t make enough the employer is legally required to make up the difference. In fact just do away with that stupid law and make them pay minimum wage regardless of tipped income. Oh and if minimum wage isn’t enough for you then find a new job or complain to your congress representative.

    That being said I will gladly tip for great service (which I know is a subjective measure based on my happiness).

    • RiverStyX says:

      In civilized countries not ruled by mob-mentality, tipping is considered rude and offensive because it implies that your waitress is not working hard enough to be paid a livable wage by her boss.

      Most of the morons who defend tipping would not last two weeks in a foreign country.

  45. Professor59 says:

    1. Kids, by which I mean their idiot parents.
    2. Waiters who go AWOL after taking your order. A runner brings out your food, and if it’s wrong, your food is cold before anyone stops by to fix it.
    3. Cell phone abusers.

    Generally bad service, bad food, high prices, and tight spaces fall into the category of: Don’t go back there or you only have yourself to blame.

    • JennQPublic says:

      “A runner brings out your food, and if it’s wrong, your food is cold before anyone stops by to fix it.”

      And then you’re stuck waiting, not eating, while you encourage the rest of the table to go ahead and start without you.

      Or if you’re too polite to start without someone else, by the time their (correct) food comes out (hot), yours has gotten cold. Now you’re stuck either eating a cold meal, or coming off as incredibly picky by asking for it to be re-heated (and it’s still a re-heated meal, not a fresh, hot one).

  46. brandyk says:

    because i have several small kids we normally go to local burger places and chain restaurants. these are a little more downmarket-oriented but they suck anywhere:

    1) when we go out without the kids and are kept waiting for 15+ minutes to order drinks… and want to move anyway because we were seated in the obvious kids section in a half empty restaurant.. we left. all we wanted was to drink copious foofy drinks and eat some food.
    2) when we go out WITH kids and have to harass waitstaff for the check
    3) when the kids get their meal 20 minutes before ours. they can wait. we like to eat our food instead of dealing with toddlers that are done eating. we always make sure to request kids food comes out with big people food
    4) when waiters are forced to ask you if you want to order some stupid appetizer or its free.
    5) restaurants that are too cold. i don’t want to freeze my ass off and i don’t want my food that cold either.
    6) soda fountains that don’t taste right. i know what diet coke, coke zero, and diet pepsi all taste like.
    7) restaurant’s weird seating policies that force diners to sit all squnched up together instead of spread out. it’s not that hard for the waitstaff to service everyone in their section even if there’s a table or two in between everyone
    8) but also restaurants that don’t assign section, forcing your damned waiter/waitress to be all over the restaurant.
    9) getting a really nice (i don’t know what they call it?) drinks person and then dealing with a crappy waiter when they switch off.
    10) failure to bring complimentary items (bread, chips, etc.). especially when we have the kids.

    • Hibyeman says:

      Number 3 is done on for a reason by most places you see kids that get there food 20 minutes so your kids are done 10 minutes before you you take not one bite and pay the bill because your kids are being rude they whisk your plate off put it in the fridge till another person orders it the they reheat it then take it to them gets them double the money but uses the same amout of food as if only one person ordered it

  47. wrbwrx says:

    I hate when an undisclosed item (meat) appears in my meal. Or if they ask if i want Bacon on my Veggie Burger.

    • Sad Sam says:

      I’m with you on that one. I always indicate that I don’t eat meat and they still ask.

  48. dicobalt says:

    I think restaurants need a little sign or light for your table so you can show that you want someone to come over. Sorta like an airplane.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      I said that to my friend not too long ago. My thought was little traffic lights. Red means stay away from the table, yellow means I need something, and green means I’m ready to leave so you can bring the check now.

      • PunditGuy says:

        Fogo de Chao and Bubba Gump both have systems like that.

        • Dr.Wang says:

          Fog De Chao only has the red/green coaster type thing to halt the flow of meat, not if you need service or are done eating. But yes, I would love to see a call-button being the norm. Personally, I dont care to meet the staff or know their names. I’ll forget their names within a few moments anyway, and that’s if I can hear them in the first place.

      • KLETCO says:

        Sounds like you need to go to a Bubba Gump!

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Bubba Gump has that, right? The “run Forrest, run” if you don’t need anything and “stop Forrest, stop” if you need something placards.

      I’m actually wondering why other restos haven’t adopted that method.

    • dru_zod says:

      This would be awesome. So much better than having to whistle so loud that half the restaurant hears you, just to get your frantic waitress’s attention after she has zipped by the table 34 times and ignored all other more polite efforts to get her to stop.

  49. Jawaka says:

    Being expected to tip to have the wait staff do their jobs.

  50. bugpaste says:

    Once a waiter chased me down into the parking lot because I left her a crappy tip. Her service was so bad that no one at the table wanted to even pay the bill, let alone leave a tip.

    Waitstaff: don’t be that person. Don’t chase people down in the parking lot for extra money. You won’t get it.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      This happened to me back in Albuquerque about 10 years ago. I went to The Cowgirl with some friends, and the waitress was nice enough at first. But then one of my friends(who’s native american) started a conversation about native history or something like that & she just butted in, saying that the indians did plenty of harm to white people too & blah blah blah, just racist bullshit. She was so obnoxious & would not STFU throughout the whole meal, every time she’d come to the table she’d add some comment about indians so we paid our bill, left her a 35 cent tip, & left. As we were going out to the car, she burst out the door screaming at us about her tip. I nearly knocked the bitch out. The manager had to physically drag her back inside.

  51. mbuki_dru says:

    When waiters and waitresses…
    ignore me and keep texting
    push too hard on the specials and upsells
    flirt with my husband to get tips
    haven’t tried anything on the menu (bad sign)
    are rude about food allergies.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Oh my god, I HATE flirty wait staff. When I’m out on a date & the waitress is all cutesy-poo with my date… makes me wanna punch the bitch.

  52. mbuki_dru says:

    When waiters and waitresses…
    ignore me and keep texting
    push too hard on the specials and upsells
    flirt with my husband to get tips
    haven’t tried anything on the menu (bad sign)
    are rude about food allergies.

  53. mysty says:

    My pet peeve is when the server constantly refills your water glass. I appreciate that they don’t let is get too low, but after each sip is just distracting. I find this often happens is places that are a bit nicer than chains/pubs, but not fancy dining.

    • Elihu says:

      I find it very strange what petty (or non-existent) problems this article has inspired in people:

      – Too many refills. I don’t even understand this: my tipping is almost directly proportional to how often I get refills; hell, if the waiter leaves a pitcher of water, I’ll tip them even more. How is this distracting? No one is telling you to engage them in conversation every time they do it. (Though a simple “Thanks” is nice.)
      — Too much attention. Are you seriously incapable of pausing your thought process (even *gasp* mid-conversation!) for the three seconds it takes to say “No thank you, we’re fine”? Goodness, that’s the point of being served. If that’s not what you’re looking for, make a meal at home for guests.
      — Being asked “How is everything?” promptly. Would you rather they come back after a long while or immediately when you realize something is wrong with your food? Just taste everything as soon as you get it. Or taste it while everybody else answers.
      — “Fake” pleasantries? Granted, the relationship between waiter and guest is a very strange social construct. Everybody acts with a somewhat undue level of intimacy. Grow up and deal with it.

      Most other complaints are fairly legitimate, like noisy kids and rude service, but some of these are embarrassingly petty.

    • omargosh says:

      I wouldn’t mind this “problem” at all.

  54. wrbwrx says:

    I also hate when at quiet times the hostess puts you in a table next to the kitchen walkway or POS station when there are clearly booths available out of the kitchen traffic flow.

  55. Scoobatz says:

    1) Not finding my waiter when I actually need him.

    2) When my waiter forgets about my request (e.g., more napkins, ketchup, refill)

    3) Making me ask for the price of specials.

    4) Not spacing the time appropriately between courses.

    5) Not bringing out everyone’s entree at the same time.

  56. jacobs cows says:

    Unable to ever find your server to ask for more drink, to explain meat is not well done, need cream for my coffee,while it is rapidly cooling off, and then seeing the server by the kitchen gabbing to the other workers.Where is the manager?
    Kids running and yelling around the restaurant,while the server is carrying a full tray of plates.Of course their parents are in full ignore mode.
    Coming in a hot summer day and it takes forever to get a water.
    When you want to leave and it takes forever to get your bill.
    Dirty anything,especially bathrooms.

  57. elkie says:

    I hate being seated at a table that’s just been swiped by a filthy dishrag.

  58. suez says:

    Unruly kids and unashamed parents. That kills good moods faster than anything–but it sure as hell is an effective method of birth control!

    A close second is over-salted foods. Protip: if the salt content makes your mouth burn, it’s TOO FRAKIING SALTY! Either taste your food before it’s servered, or hire some cooks who don’t smoke and kill their taste buds.

  59. ahecht says:

    Here’s my list, in no particular order:

    1. Restaurants designed to be loud. Not just loud music, but lots of hard reflective surfaces such as concrete and metal (and no curtains, acoustic ceiling tiles, or acoustic ceiling treatments) and awkwardly shaped tables that lead to people shouting across them. Restaurants seem to think that a loud space seems more lively and in-demand, but it makes conversation impossible.

    2. Waiters that try to do unpriced up-sells. I hate being asked “do you want some chips for the table?” or “do you want sour cream with that?” without being told the price or even knowing if it is complementary or not. I might actually go for the up-charge if I knew the sour cream was an extra $.25 and not $1.25.

    3. No prices on specials. See #2 above.

    4. No prices on drink menus. See #2 above.

    5. Tag-teaming waitstaff. When one person seats me, another takes the drink orders, a third takes food orders, and a fourth delivers the food, it makes it hard to find my waiter if I need something. Instead of having four people working a large area, why not have one person work an area 1/4 the size? Less chances of the food person having to go “Who ordered the [fill in the blank]?” for every plate.

    6. No dessert on the main menu. How am I supposed to save room if I don’t know what they have for dessert? In the long run, it saves me money because I never have room for dessert.

    7. Waiters not waiting the ten seconds after they drop off the check for me to look at the bill and pull out my credit card. I hate having to look for the waiter to have them bring my the check and then having to look for them again to take my card, and then having to wait for them again to bring it back.

    8. Restaurants that send around waiters with the giant pepper grinders. Put a pepper grinder on the table so I can actually taste the food before having to make a decision about adding pepper.

    9. Royalty free birthday songs with clapping. Just pay the 8.5 cents per performance for “Happy Birthday” or don’t sing at all.

    10. Restaurants that do “call ahead seating” instead of reservations. Don’t make me guess exactly how far in advance to call ahead — you know how busy your restaurant gets better than I do.

    • webweazel says:

      “8. Restaurants that send around waiters with the giant pepper grinders. Put a pepper grinder on the table so I can actually taste the food before having to make a decision about adding pepper.”

      Or when I order a pasta meal, and when they bring it, they have the cheese shredder in their hand–“Do you want some cheese on that?” You know, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the taste of the dish overall. Let me freaking taste it first!!!!

  60. kimmie says:

    I’m pretty easy going, I expect that while going out in public, there will be chaos. What really bothers me is when at a nice restaurant (and not, say, Dennys), kids are running around going crazy, and the parents completely ignore them. Take them outside to calm down, or don’t take them to a *nice* restaurant. I understand it must suck to not go nice places with kids, but get a sitter, or go somewhere more kid friendly. I didn’t go out to a fancy place to feel like I’m at a Chucky Cheese. I feel bad speaking up because I don’t like to tell people how to handle their kids – I’m not a parent, and it’s not my place, so I’m more likely to say something to the waitstaff who may or may not actually take action.

    My only other real annoyance is when a waiter doesn’t write any of my order down and inevitably screws it up. Especially when they try to say that I never mentioned my food allergy, which I clearly emphasized. And then everyone else has food, and I have to wait for it to be fully remade. I’m glad you want to look cool and not write our orders down, but 95% of the time, when waiters do this, my order comes back wrong.

  61. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    poorly understood ingredients. I am allergic to mushrooms, which are in a surprising number of dishes. So I ask, and then the waitstaff has to go read an ingredient list, or more often make sh!t up. Applebee’s weight watcher meals were really bad for undisclosed mushrooms.

  62. kimmie says:

    Oh, one more. I tend to set my empty glass on the edge of the table so the waiter can see we need service. I’ve assumed this is normal and polite, and have seen others do it. But there is not seeing your waiter again for an hour and eating your meal while thirsty :/

    • dourdan says:

      so true. ability to fill drinks is the difference between a 30 percent tip (if they fill my water 3 times or more- very nessary at places with very small water glasses) or less then 10 % tip (for no refills at all.)

  63. lostalaska says:

    Once or twice a week I’ll go down to my local pub after work and take a seat up at the bar and order a burger and a beer. Lately I’ve been noticing more and more parents bring in their kids and all of them taking seats at the bar. This pub has a whole section of booth seating and another section with normal round dining tables and chairs. The bar seating is there if you want to drink alcoholic beverages. If you’re not drinking then take a seat elsewhere, plus it just seems weird to me to be drinking a beer up at the bar and have a kid spinning in circles on his bar stool next to me.

  64. Cactus Wren says:

    Waitstaff second-guessing my order on the basis of my sex. When I order my steak medium-rare, as I always do, I’m not particularly interested to hear the server (and somehow it’s always been a *male* server) say, “Are you sure? That’s odd. Women always want their steaks well done.”

    (I think this is what led to my getting the worst steak I’ve ever eaten, at an Outback Steakhouse: I ordered it medium-rare and it arrived cooked through. I didn’t complain, because I was with a party after a memorial service, but I suspect the server assumed I couldn’t *possibly* want what I said I wanted.)

    • VintageLydia says:

      Wow, I’ve never had someone ask me if I was sure about my steak order because I was female. That is so rude! I’d have a few choice words with that server!

    • Lendon85 says:

      I’m female and always order my steak rare. I’ve never been questioned about it. One time though in Las Vegas at a certain “celebrity chef” restaurant, I ordered a tuna steak and the waiter said in a really snotty tone, “the chef prefers to only serve that cooked rare”. I told him “well that’s good because I prefer to eat it that way.” It kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and I was half-hoping it would come out overcooked so I could send it back (and I’ve never sent back a dish in my life).

    • airren says:

      While I’ve never had anyone assume I liked my steak well done… yet, but it never fails to amuse me when I order a beer and my husband gets a Coke. More often than not the beer is always placed before him and I get the Coke.

      At the end of the meal he usually gets the check too. I am always super surprised when the wait staff puts the check in the middle, not assuming that the dude is the one paying. That person gets an extra nice tip from me.

  65. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    A few times when travelling in the South, the female manager or hostess has come over to the table to ask if everything is okay – but they were wearing a gawd-awful strong perfume you could probably smell out in the parking lot. This has only happened below the Mason-Dixon line.

  66. Polish Engineer says:

    Hands down, loud music and tv’s no matter where you look. I’m a little ADD so paying attention to who I’m trying to talk to in room where tons of people talking is hard enough. Throw in bright moving colors and music to drown it all out, and I might as well be eating alone.

  67. ungeheier says:

    Kids.

  68. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    My biggest pet peeve is when the list the ingredients for menu items, but leave out some of them. So, you think you know what you’re getting, but when they bring it out, there are tomatoes on it or something else you didn’t want.

  69. Flyersfan says:

    1. Asking me if I want change. You should assume I want change and bring it to me. Especially if you can’t see/haven’t looked at the $50 bill being used on the $28 check.

    2. Asking me what my kids want to eat. My kids are obviously old enough to order their own food and they generally do a good job. We’re generally very aware of how long it takes and how well they are being understood so it shouldn’t be a problem.

    3. Having to tell the person bringing our food who ordered what. I don’t mind someone other than our server bringing our food but figure out where everything goes before you get there. Yes, I know that’s difficult. No, I don’t care that it’s difficult. The restaurant should make it easy if that’s how it’s operated.

    4. When I figure out I want a refill right after telling the waiter/waitress everything is ok. I hate it when I do that!

  70. redskull says:

    I don’t like restaurants where they force the wait staff to memorize the order. I have to assume they do this to give me the impression that my order is so important that the waiter has nothing else on their mind but that. Unfortunately it NEVER works. Every time I’ve been at a place that does this, the order has ALWAYS been messed up. Write the damned orders down!

    I also don’t like when I’m just about to take the first bite of my dish and the waiter swoops over to ask how it is. Hell if I know, I haven’t tasted it yet.

  71. Dave on bass says:

    #1 is probably music too loud.

    #2 is the only real thing I can think of as a “pet peeve” rather than a legitimate complaint: When a pasta, soup, rice, or other type of dish you generally eat with a fork or spoon has shrimp in it, and they haven’t bothered to remove the shrimp tails. So you have to get in there with your fingers to remove them (cutting it off with a knife and fork is an option but you lose some of your shrimp that way) and you end up with sauce/soup/etc all over at least one hand. Every restaurant I can think of that serves a shrimp pasta dish does this.

    • webweazel says:

      GRRRRR. This seems to be something that has started over the last few years. They didn’t leave the tails on even a few years ago. I have no idea what the purpose is of this.

      My young son ordered a KID’S MEAL with small fried shrimp one time, and when he ate one, he started gagging and choking and basically kinda “horked” his mouthful out onto his plate. He was choking on the shrimp tails? WTF? There was NO indication from the outside looks of them that they had tails on them at all. Asinine.

      I often get a steak/cheese/shrimp thing on a hot skillet that I like from some restaurants. Every time, the shrimp have tails on them, and the shrimp are always as hot as lava on that hot pan, and I end up burning the shit out of my fingers while picking the tails off. Idiotic.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      God, that pisses me off to no end. Is it really THAT much more trouble to take the tails off after they’ve de-shelled the entire rest of the shrimp?

  72. 2 Replies says:

    Not listed on the SFgate pages, but mine is mandatory ‘tip’/’gratuity’.
    If it’s mandatory it’s not a tip/gratuity, it’s a additional hidden fee/charge.

    Close second to that is the expectation of a tip at serve-yourself buffets.
    Especially at the ones where the ‘waiter’/’waitress’ don’t even bring you your beverage, but you get it yourself at the buffet/bar.
    If the customer has to do more to wait on themselves than the waitstaff does for them, no tip.

  73. NumberSix says:

    Taking forever before we can order, taking our drink order then bolting off; assuming we were not ready to order food, and taking forever to bring the check.

  74. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Faded menu boards.

  75. axiomatic says:

    My biggest pet peeve at a restaurant is being sneered at by the wine sommelier for having red wine with fish.

    I don’t like white wine… GOT IT BUDDY?

  76. LastError says:

    People. Because all of the other problems spring from that. I eat alone whenever possible.

    It’s actually kind of disgusting watching people eat, shoving food down their throats, talking with their mouths full, slobbering and drooling.

  77. slightlyjaded says:

    The thing that absolutely infuriates me is going to a nice, expensive place (like for an anniversary) and having the waiter bring the check unasked for. I understand you make more money if you can turn around the table quicker. You need to understand that I just dropped a crapload of my own money on wine, appetizer, entrees, etc., as part of an ostensibly special evening with my wife. I didn’t take her to Applebees for a reason, so act like you’ve done this before.

  78. Krrose27 says:

    Reciting to me what the temperature of my stake order means and then producing a steak that does not conform to what they have stated.

  79. Costner says:

    Hey Farva what’s the name of that restaurant you like with all the goofy shitt on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?

  80. emyaeak says:

    I have 2 nitpicky restaurant peeves.

    Tables so close together that even whispers can be overheard. Makes me not want to speak at all, so therefore, I become the eavesdropper, which I really don’t want to be. Altogether uncomfortable, and I won’t be back.

    Restaurants where you should clearly be greeted and seated by a hostess, but when you walk in and stand at the podium, they indicate you should “sit anywhere you like!” Sorry, but it’s unprofessional given that class of restaurant, and I’m always afraid of getting skipped over. I may come back if everything else is good (food and service), but more often than not, I’ll skip over your restaurant when deciding where to go that day just to avoid an awkward situation.

    Of course I dislike the loud music, the too low mood lighting where I can’t read the menu, and parents who ignore their screaming/misbehaving children, but those are boring.

  81. ninabi says:

    I hate when they try and cram a larger party at a small table, adding two chairs to the ends of a table intended for four in an attempt to accommodate six. It’s like wearing a shirt two sizes too small and it makes for uncomfortable dining.

  82. madcatcasey says:

    I hate being asked if I “saved room for dessert”. Especially when I’ve still got food on my plate, and I’m clearly done.

  83. RayanneGraff says:

    1. KIDS.

    My biggest pet peeve when dining out is loud, unruly kids. If I ever own a restaurant, I will be that asshole that puts a disclaimer on the front page of the menu that says “We reserve the right to refuse service to bad parents. If your children ruin the meals of other restaurant patrons with their disruptive behavior, you will be asked to leave”. I wish more restaurants would do this, they’d be surprised how much MORE business they’d get. Or, just stop making every restaurant so damn ‘kid-friendly’. Take away the crayons, toys, and high chairs & people will eventually stop taking “energetic” little Jaedyn & “vocal” little Bratleigh out with them.

    2. Onions in EVERYTHING.

    I’m an aspie and thus extremely picky about my food. No onions shall ever pass my lips. If I taste onions, I will literally spit out whatever I’m eating. I’m very polite to people in the service industry, but if I ask for no onions & I GET onions, I’m going to get mad.

    3. Dirty tables/chairs/flatware.

    Seriously, how hard is it to wipe off the table & throw the utensils in the damn dishwasher? There’s no excuse for chunks of food on the forks or residue in the glasses. Gross!

    4. Loud diners.

    Again, my Asperger’s plays into this- I’m very sensitive to loud noises. I’m fine with the normal bustle & chatter of a restaurant, but when I’m seated next to a table of people who shout, yell, and positively shriek with laughter it makes me wanna hide under my table & plug my ears.

    5. “I’m sorry, we’re out of that. Oh, that too… and that…”

    How the @#$% do you run out of popular items during dinner hours?! It’s called PLANNING, people!

    6. Tiny tables/too many plates

    My family of 4 should be able to eat comfortably on a standard restaurant table, yet we often find ourselves stacking plates & combining dishes just to be able to fit everything on the table. Cracker barrel is the worst offender- not only are the tables microscopic, the plates are huge & one dinner will consist of like 4 plates. One huge plate for the main food, 2 small plates for your sides, and another small plate for condiments(yes, they actually bring the condiments out on plates). By the time we all get our food, you literally can’t see the table in the sea of plates.

    7. Tables too close to each other.

    Again, Cracker barrel is the worst offender. My dad always drags us there, and I hate it cause the chairs of one table literally scrape against the adjacent table’s chairs. It’s near impossible to get in & out of your seat if there are people sitting at the next table. Why restaurants do this I will NEVER know.

  84. PhilFR says:

    “How does everything taste?”

    As the first sentence of this piece states, we go out for service and ambience in addition to food.

    I’m always tempted to respond: “It tastes delicious, but a roach just crawled across the table. It’s on your shoulder now.”

  85. jjstein says:

    Besides the incompetent inconsiderate human factor….
    Portion size. then being charged for splitting the giant meal
    Charged for extras when the meal isnt “sufficient” to start with (sauce)
    Bad lighting
    Kitchen noise
    Lack of strategic seating for larger groups and family away from couples and away from the bar
    Restaurant thinking their menu items are original. others watch FoodTV too
    Anything besides delicious odors. (smoke, bad seafood, musty, etc)
    Bad management and zero staff responsibility

  86. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Loud, unruly, bothersome kids. On one memorable occasion, I watched someone’s three brats jump up and down in their booth, shrieking about who knows what, and the mother said “let’s use our inside voices” and “if you don’t sit down, you will get a time out”.

    I was thinking – smack the little assholes into oblivion, you dimwit. It didn’t matter that no one could hear themselves think over those kids. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

  87. Pastry Minion says:

    Number one annoyance- I like beer. The hubby prefers either sweetish mixed drinks or white wine. At least 50% of the time, a server will plonk down his pink fruit-laden concoction in front of me. I know it’s an assumption based on how many, many people order alcohol, but if you just took my drink order, you can either write it down, or remember who had what for five whole minutes.

  88. cornstalker says:

    Loud freaking music! I come to a restaurant not just for food, but to enjoy visiting with friends over a meal, and music blasting from hundreds of tinny speakers lining the walls ruins this. I hate having to scream just to talk to the person sitting in front of me.

  89. Sad Sam says:

    I have a lot of the same complaints, loud cell phone talkers, kids, etc. But regarding those that the the restaurant can change, I don’t care for the following:

    (1) seating all the parties in one section of the restaurant if the place is half empty. I’m sure there is a reason for it, but I don’t like it.
    (2) more and more places are too cold. I try to remember to bring a sweater or a jacket, but its not always possible. I live in tropical south florida why can I see my breath in every restaurant?
    (3) team waiting/staffing. I don’t like the team service practice and I think service is much worse when there are multiple people involved. I can’t keep track of who to flag down and there are so many people responsible for us that no one is responsible.

  90. jp7570-1 says:

    If kids behave at a restaurant (a BIG if), then we generally have no problems. But in those cases where they are running around the place, screaming, etc., yes, its annoying.

    Just last week, we went out for dinner at what we thouvght would be a relatively quiet place. There was a family with three little kids about three tables away. The kids looked to be between 5 and 8 years old. Nothing was wrong until the mother started encouraging the kids to run around and scream like little banshees. When the father tried to shut it down, she only encouraged them to be louder. Maybe she was trying to tire them out so they’d sleep at home, but that’s no reason everyone in the place had to endure this racket.

    Many patrons were visibly frustrated at this behavior, and the waitress even made an attempt to quiet things down, to no avail. As we left, the manager apologized for the inconvenience (he didn’t offer any discounts and we didn’t ask for any). Short of kicking them out, management seemed to have few options. And considering how litigious people are, kicking them out could have triggered any number of legal actions by the offending family (warranted or not).

    Restaurants, please do a better job of controlling unrully children, either by providing separate areas for these families or by asking them to leave.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Ugh, my mom does this. My 8y/o sister is allowed to run wild & if I try to sit her down & shut her up, my mom gets mad at me cause she “wants her to get tired so she’ll go to bed early!”

  91. ovalseven says:

    Like someone else mentioned, it’s the other diners who annoy me. The worst are the ones who finish their meal then blow their nose while still at the table. That’s not what I want to listen to while I eat, and it’s not what I want to think about when using their cloth napkins.

  92. dcarrington01 says:

    The fake butter crap with my lobster/crab. Just cause it says “butter flavored” doesn’t make the cooking oil anything remotely like drawn butter…….

    • majortom1981 says:

      I have worked in the kitchen in a seafood resteraunt. The one I worked at had the butter already melted. It looks like fake butter/oil when melted but was real butter.

  93. Kuri says:

    Two I can think of are kids running around screaming, which I thankfully don’t see much any more.

    The second I can think of are people who stick their seats out too far and seem to expect me to magically lose 50 pounds to squeeze through.

    Another that gets to me is my mom on her cell for too long, which is quite embarrassing. My dad gets on her about it but she never listens.

  94. Alan_Schezar says:

    #1: “Would you like a refill?” – Then you realize that they just charge you for a 2nd drink.

    #2: “What do you recommend?” – Then they only recommend the most expensive items on the menu.

    #3: “The specials are…” – They then don’t tell you the price of each special.

    #4: Sit you at the worst table (next to the kitchen, bathroom or entry) then act shocked when you ask to be moved.

    #5: “Would you like some (chips and salsa/guacamole)?” – They ask right as you sit down and then not tell you that they charge for it. This happens a lot at upscale gastropubs/ethnic fusion restaurants where you expect certain things to be free but actually aren’t.

    • just_joe says:

      Exactly on #1 and #5 !!!!

      I can’t tell you how many times in Manhattan a waiter will ask “Would you like another blah-blah?” – and the implicit understanding is that this is an additional charge – for things like ice tea and fountain drinks. Come on! Really? Other than being an outright money grab by the restaurant, there is no way in f**king hell that those three glasses of ice tea really cost the restrnt $10+… No way. No how. Not buying it. Even if the water was mixed with the personal aura of the super-hot model of the month, am I buying that that glass of ice tea was that type of expense.

      As for #5, I have noticed that many of the Manhattan restnt pull that stunt as well since chips and salsa that come to almost every Mexican themed restnt in America are free, come with a price for those but not mentioned till afterwards. Or even better, they bring by the one minuscule first “free” chips and salsa, and every refill for either chips or salsa is an additional charge.

      You forgot sneaky #6 – “Would you like some water for the table?” and if you say yes, whoosh, they’re gone and back with a $15 bottle of l’eau from the ice floe that struck the Titanic… You have to literally leap from your seat and tackle them to let them know that you want “TAP” water – which for many who don’t know this – NYC has consistently been rated as the best municipal water system in the US. Oh, and of course the corollary where they surreptitiously leave a bottled water on the table and if you touch – bam, $15 charge – oh, and of course they don’t bring water to the table automatically.

      Scams, scams and more scams!

  95. RocheCoach says:

    I don’t really have any pet peeves unless things are particularly bad. I’m pretty understanding of mistakes that happen. Not to say that the rest of you shouldn’t have pet peeves — I understand why you do, I just don’t. I’ve only not tipped once in my life, and that was because the waiter took 2.5 hours to bring out our food, and when we asked the owner about it, he said he told the waiter to take a long time because we, and I quote, “were probably going to skip out on the bill anyway.”

    Paid, left, Yelp’d.

  96. Greyhound says:

    I hate when they take a plate but try and leave my used silverware for the next course. I don’t want it on the table and I don’t want to hold it – give me a new set.

  97. toidi says:

    There’s a bar that I like to go to in Chicago. They don’t list the price of spirits, which I don’t love, but is standard. The first time I ordered a particular bourbon it was $8, which was pricy, but not unheard of. The thing that bugged me was that there was a separate $1 charge for “on the rocks.” Next time I went, I ordered the same drink, but this time neat (and just took 1 ice cube out of my water). This time the drink was again $8, but with a $1 charge for “neat.”

    I wouldn’t have minded that much if the drink was just $9 to start with, but this weird itemization really bugged me.

  98. Kuri says:

    I forgot another of mine. When I sit down at a table that was cleaned and it’s STILL WET.

    I only it’ll dry, but it bugs me, especially if my sleeves are on it.

  99. callenjr says:

    When I take my elderly father out for dinner and, even though there are multiple tables abailable, they attempt to seat us next to the party of 12 with 8 children under the age of 6.

  100. omargosh says:

    My worst dining experiences have included:

    1. Getting charged more than what the menu quotes.
    2. Getting ignored by multiple hosts upon entering, asking about my reservation, then hosts running off to check on something, then hosts not coming back for several minutes, then new hosts seating us in a place where waiters kept forgetting we were there.
    2. Rocks in food.
    3. Eggshells in food. Then replacement food put on same plate where eggshell bits remain.

  101. SoCalGNX says:

    Servers that never check back to see if a drink refill is needed or the food is prepared correctly.

  102. P=mv says:

    When we get our drinks and wait 45 minutes to order our food. That is my biggest peeve. My other biggest peeve is asking if the food is spicy, getting an answer of “no”, and when I receive the food in question the spices include cayenne pepper. That would be spicy. And since I can’t eat it at all, I peeve the chef by having to send it back and order something else.

  103. D in Buffalo says:

    Just actually got back from a restaurant dinner tonite and the service was what I would consider the epitome of perfection. The server came by just at the right times..not too hovering yet not too absent.

    I left him a larger tip – he actually came back and said, “You guys made my night..” I told him, “No, you did that yourself!” He just smiled and walked back to the station.

    I am generally a good tipper – most people aren’t servers by choice and they’re just doing their job (i.e. what corporate or the boss says to do). To everyone who says, “Well if you don’t like the job, get a new one!!!!!” have you noticed the job market? I believe that every server deserves to be treated with respect (after the “hi I’m ___ – I make it a point to say hi back) and should be compensated based on their level of service – with a minimum of a 20% gratuity. The person serving you is working to make money – just like we all do when we go to our jobs.

    It’s no different.

    But to the point – my biggest pet peeve in a restaurant is when other diners treat servers like crap.

  104. Dr.Wang says:

    Rude ass people from New York City who come here to Phoenix and think it is acceptable to behave and talk to people here like they do back home. Verbal abuse, insults, demanding, and whining might be the norm in NYC but we try to be civil and polite here in Phoenix.

    Waitstaff: the longer my glass of water sits empty, the lower your tip gets. I keep track.

  105. DarkPsion says:

    The Hovering at your shoulder. I hate that in any setting.

    Plus, when I am enjoying a meal, I will take my time to savor it. I remember one place where everytime I paused, they tried to take my plate like I was done. Look, when the plate is empty and I sit my silverware and napkin over it, then I am done.

    • Hibyeman says:

      now i am not very calm about things like that i would have said “listen even if i pause a second or go to the bath room if the silverware is on the table i am not done if it’s on the plate take it away and do not put it on the plate and take it away or i will give you a big honkin ZERO for a tip” the zero is all caps because it’s a big honkin ZERO

  106. arkangel says:

    I hate when chain restaurants do the “if the server doesn’t ask you if you want [some alcoholic drink we’re pushing], you get one free” thing. I don’t like being hit with that kind of upsell.

    I also don’t like TV’s in restaurants. If I wanted to watch TV over dinner, I’d stay home. I could understand if they were showing cartoons to distract kids, but it always seems to be sports.

  107. Snip says:

    When I specifically ask them to leave a particular condiment off (b/c I cannot abide the taste of it) and the inattentive assholes slather it on there anyway. Gross!

  108. blahblahblah says:

    I have 3 pet peeves
    1. offering me a box when I have barely had a bite of my food
    2. leaving me the check with the comment “I’ll take that whenever your’re ready…no rush.
    3. a server who constantly interrupts with how is everything. It was fine a minute ago I am pretty sure it is still fine now.

  109. Buzz says:

    Ate at Crack today. At least, that’s my nickname for it. New or training manager came around and asked if my mashed potatoes were good. Really? How about instead, is there anything that could be better? What did you like the best?

  110. brinks says:

    I hate when I’m dragged to a new place and there aren’t any vegetarian entrees. Fair enough, but there are usually a few things on the menu that would require a simple omission or substitution to make them meat-free. I get really irritated when I ask the server what options I have, and they say, “We have salad.”

    F*** salad. When YOU go out, don’t you want a meal, not an appetizer? Vegetarians eat real food, too.

  111. ITDEFX says:

    lets see

    -Parents letting their kids wonder/run around the place while they and their friends talk amongst themselves….having a kid come up to your table and ask if they can have a piece of your food (yes it happened to me once).

    -Being told there is a 10 minute wait for a table when you see at least 4-5 tables ready to go!

  112. frodolives35 says:

    1.Please let me get at least 1/2 way through my salad before you bring my steak.
    2. Please do not seat me 5 feet from the front door in the dead of winter when the rest of the dining room is mostly empty.
    3. The longer my glass stays empty the smaller your tip.
    4. If you have paper napkins no mater how nice leave a few extras as I have a mustache that requires extra wiping.
    5. At least fake a smile when I make a corny joke.
    6. Don’t tell me how the black couple at the next table won’t tip because I have worked next to this wonderful guy for the last 15 years. (actually happened 4 years ago at a local steak house you should have seen her face when I tapped him on the shoulder and called him by name and told him to be sure to not tip because the waitress just told me how Black folks don’t tip. My wife and I had no problem waiting for the manager with them. We all ate free that night and I have never seen her at that restaurant again.)

    • just_joe says:

      Just to play Devil’s advocate – how did the manager not know that you weren’t kicking the hornet’s nest so to say just to get a free meal? Just sayin…

      Now, I’m also going to detail how the reverse is true as well. I’m Native American and my partner is Caucasian – we went to the PFChang’s in Westbury,NY – which for whatever reason is primarily staffed with ethnic waitresses and waiters. Upon arriving, we were told we couldn’t have a booth because they reserve those for parties of four – fair enough – except for the fact that as we walked to the table waaaaaay in the back, most of the booths contained parties of two – with mainly ethnic couples. Hmmmmm… we thought…

      We sit – and proceed to wait for 20 minutes before we finally tackled a busboy to bring us a waiter. One arrives stating the whole time that this wasn’t HER station. We got water and proceeded to wait some more. In the mean time a four-top arrived of the same ethnic persuasion as the waiters. Needless to say, the waiter appeared immediately, bringing not only water, tea and those chinese crispy noodles with multiple dipping sauces. WITHOUT ASKING FOR THEM. When we raised a ruckus about that, we were told that we had to ask for those items – when we pointed out that that table had it brought to them BEFORE they had even opened their mouths – they tried, well, maybe they’re friends of the waitress – ummmm, no I said – unless you have to tell you friends what your name is when you walk up, maybe?

      Needless to say, it went downhill – with that table give us nasty glares the whole time since we were pointing out how they were discriminating against us the whole time. Needless to say, the meal was a shambles – stuff didn’t arrive for over 45 minutes – we had three different waitresses and one busboy had the nerve to try to talk to me in Spanish – I don’t speak spanish I had to inform her – and I got a “learn your culture” snide remark.

      At that point, we had enough and my partner went after the manager explaining how time and again, the only tables that were getting adequate service were those with the same ethnic makeup – not the others. It was blatantly obvious – I give him credit for apologizing profusely, but in the end, he merely took off one of the main couses from the bill…

      Shall I mention how we haven’t been back since?

  113. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I can’t stand #4, when the music is too loud. If I go out with friends, I want to hear what we’re saying to each other. I hate screaming across a table, and I can’t hear the server recite any specials. Before you say I’m an old curmudgeon, I hated it when I was twenty, too. So I was actually a young curmudgeon. :)

  114. icerabbit says:

    Walking into a restaurant and be told there are no tables available & that there is a wait time; while I can see anywhere from a handful of empty tables to a half empty restaurant!!!

  115. Southern says:

    Re: Waiters/Waitresses too attentive/not attentive enough.

    The Mexican restaurant I used to go to had this problem licked, and I loved it. On every table was a little flag. Unless the flag was up, they left you alone. Need a refill? Raise the flag. Need a new fork? Raise the flag. Ready for dessert? Raise the flag.

    I just loved that concept, and I don’t know why more restaurants don’t adopt something similar.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Try going to a Brazilian Barbecue, they have a similar concept..They bring you lots of meat when your flag is on green and leave you alone when you turn the red side up.

    • Hibyeman says:

      all restaurants should have that i ate a place like that best service and good food

  116. Jonwain says:

    I hate when they set the “tables for 2″ up all in a row right next to each other (typically one long booth on side the tables and single chairs on the other). I know that every square foot in a restaurant needs to be earning them money, but when I’m on a date, I’d like to be with my date…not my date and two other couples. I’ve even had other couples join in on personal conversations…not sure if they were just that brash or if the table set up is to blame.

  117. makoto says:

    When I have to pay.

  118. xanadustc says:

    Pets (not service animals) in my local coffee shop…

    I was in my regular coffee shop a few months ago and some people decided to stop in with their pet pooch. Never mind asking for papers…you can usually spot the difference, a service dog lays down at the owners feet until it is time to go.

    These people not only did not have a calm dog, but they also let it roam around the store! I hate dogs, so when the thing comes over and starts to drool all over and want to ‘kiss’, I was so absolutely appalled over the matter.

    That, and possible rambunctious children that are not kept under control.

  119. RiverStyX says:

    The most? People staring for no reason while im trying to relax..But that happens everywhere in public these days. Kids running around while their fat, untrained, white-trash, inbred, mongoloid parents ignore them comes in second place.

    I also hate tipping, and a noisy place is a first-class ticket of assuring I’ll never return again.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Oh, and when places use shit-quality ingredients..Like artificial maple syrup with HFCS..And speaking of HFCS, if they dont have any soda on the menu with real sugar then that’s another problem.

  120. Mamudoon says:

    Haven’t read all the other replies, so I’m sure these are repeats, but here goes:

    - “Parents” who make no effort to control their children.
    – Dirty silverware.
    – People (of all ages) who think that the whole restaurant needs to hear what they’re saying. This is why family outings with my brother are a f–king nightmare. I’m always shushing him and apologizing to people for his rudeness.
    – Waitstaff that asks if you “need anything” or want dessert two minutes after they gave you your entree. And they’re nowhere to be seen when you actually DO need a refill on your drink.

    I don’t eat out much, but that’s because I’m poor.

    • Mamudoon says:

      Ohhhh, and now that I’ve read the articles, I HAVE to agree with tables that are too small! We shouldn’t have to play Tetris to fit four plates on a table meant for four (or more) people.

      • Hibyeman says:

        Ditto here a 8 person table at some places only hold 4 plates not including apitizer and other items so small you can fit the in holes between some tables

  121. scoosdad says:

    Lighting so dim that it’s impossible to read the menu.

    Menus with type so small or thin that they’re impossible to read even with proper light.

    Restaurants so cheap that they never have enough menus for everyone in the party and you have to share.

    Consumerist articles which copy articles from other blogs where people are asked to complain about things in restaurant.

    Consumerist commenters complaining about things in restaurants.

    No wait…

  122. jbandsma says:

    Being brought to a booth when I have to use the wheelchair. Ok, maybe that should just really, really dim hosts/hostesses.

  123. CosmicCowgirlKookaburraKiller says:

    Not really a ‘pet peeve’, more a matter of serious negligance: ignoring or forgetting allergy requests. My brother and I both have celiacs disease and while we obviously won’t order things that clearly contain gluten, we will always double check to make sure the meal is gluten free. The amount of times we’ve been told a meal is gluten free only to end up incredibly ill a couple hours later is staggering. My cousin also has a VERY strong nut allergy so very rarely eats out. The last time she tried she ended up in an ambulance, this is after she rang the place ahead to let them know she was coming to make sure everything would be entirely nut free and they assured her it would be.

    • Hibyeman says:

      Boarder on lies i hate that actually i think that is illegal next time you go out call ahead and record your phone conversion

  124. Alexk says:

    Most annoying is having a server who won’t take “no, thanks” for an answer when it’s time for desert.
    “Would you like to see our dessert menu?”
    “No, thanks.”
    “We have some really good specials!”
    “I’ll pass, but thanks.” “
    Are you sure?”
    “I’m diabetic, okay?”
    “We have no sugar added ice cream!”

  125. Alexk says:

    Most annoying is having a server who won’t take “no, thanks” for an answer when it’s time for desert.
    “Would you like to see our dessert menu?”
    “No, thanks.”
    “We have some really good specials!”
    “I’ll pass, but thanks.” “
    Are you sure?”
    “I’m diabetic, okay?”
    “We have no sugar added ice cream!”

  126. midtower says:

    I agree with what many have posted already… in addition, I get highly irritated with misspellings and bad grammar on menus… The more expensive the restaurant, the more irritated I am.

  127. LindaJoy says:

    I hate it when you order hot tea and they expect you to reuse the teabag when you want a second cup.

  128. Qolotlh says:

    1. Absentee parents, even though they are sitting there, with running around screaming children.
    2. Loud patrons trying to get something for free because an imaginary person “told me everything was 1/2 off”; always *after* the bill arrives.
    3. Inconsiderate people.
    Jokingly 4. Watching to see when I am about to put food in my mouth then asking me how things are.:)

  129. Hibyeman says:

    waitstaff who are so dumb that would sell me a alcohol drink when i am not 21 that is so stupid if your going to serve alcohol please get smarter wait staff

  130. Jennlee says:

    One of my biggest peeves is climate control. I know I live in the Midwest and that we have winter and it is cold outside, but I DO NOT want to have to wear my coat in order to be comfortable at a sit-down restaurant. I get the feeling they keep the heat down to save costs and because the wait and kitchen staff are hustling around, but to sit for an hour or so trying to enjoy a meal in your winter coat is not acceptable!

    Other peeves:

    Restaurants with bad accoustic design. Especially the whole “industrial” look/feel with lots of metal, no ceilings, exposed metal beams and corrugated ceilings, etc. Just designed so that the sound bounces around everywhere. Too Loud!

    Too loud music.

    Servers that perform poorly and still expect a 25% tip. Server recently forgot our orders, took ages to take our orders, bring a drink. Never refilled drinks or checked back – not even one time during our meal! I gave him a little over 10% tip because service was so bad, and I found out later that he crossed my tip out and charged my credit card for a 25% tip. That is outright theft.

  131. Rick Sphinx says:

    Too much attention, server constantly putting arm across table, and in my face, to clear some items out of the way; if they are in my way, I will put them on the edge of the table, otherwise, leave them. We were in a place ther other day, server was doing this all the time, grabbing the used butter packets, cracker wrappers etc., I was getting ready to stab her hand with my fork. The best thing they can do, is just walk by my table every so often, look at us, and if I need you, I’ll let you know. Also, not coming back with-in 5 minutes of our food being served, in case something is wrong, or needed. Also saying “hows it taste” when they can clearly see I haven’t eaten anything yet. Also, too loud music. Can’t talk… just sit and eat, look at each other, this is fun.

  132. CalicoGal says:

    When cleaning off a booth, the bus person sets the dirty dish bin on a seat. Clears the dirty dishes into the bin, wipes off the table without spray, just a damp dirty rag, thus pushing all of the crumbs/food bits onto the seats.
    Takes his dirty dish bin, and departs the table WITHOUT cleaning the seats!!!
    YuK!

  133. ldillon says:

    Jumbo portions and the prices that go along with them, lack of healthy menu choices.

  134. magiclaffs says:

    1. “Hi GUYS…” I’m 55 years old. I’m not your high school buddy. I’m paying big bucks to eat here. We’re not pals.
    2. “Oh…good choice.” Wait…you’re making minimum wage… if you could afford to eat here why would you be working here?
    3. Hanging around the table when we’re trying to talk. Especially the managers when they feel they have to socialize.
    4. Waiters who have English as their second language.

  135. Gambrinus says:

    He talks about red wine being too warm, but I find that a more common problem is white wine that’s too cold. White wine shouldn’t be served near freezing…you can’t taste it if it is.

    But my number one pet peeve will always be sitting around waiting for the check. At many busy places, you have to flag down your waiter to get the check, then they disappear again, come back and get your credit card, disappear again, and come back with the slip. I know they don’t like to make people feel rushed after a meal, but personally, if I want to sit around chatting with someone after the meal, I can do it just as well after the check is taken care of as before.

  136. Shmoodog says:

    My most recent restaurant peeve was when I met friends for dinner at an NYU pizza/italian place.

    I was sitting next to my wife, and then a family sits behind us, and their kids kept hitting my wife’s chair. she had to ask 3 times to get them to stop.

    So then they started hitting my chair. I also had to ask 3 times, and they never did quite stop.

    Really parents? I coulda shot you.

  137. limbodog says:

    I’d say “loud obnoxious children whose parents were clearly broken like an old horse” but it appears that’s been covered. And I generally don’t go to restaurants that cater to children anyway. (If you go to Appleby’s you should probably expect it)

    So instead I’ll say “restaurants that try to seat 40 in a space big enough for 20. I’m not a little guy, but I’m also not gigantorâ„¢. I can fit in airline seats just fine thank you. But if I’m going to shell out $150 for my wife and I to have dinner, I’d like to have enough space that I can move *both* of my arms.

  138. Kevin says:

    Slow drink refills and loud kids that are old enough to know better.

  139. woolygator says:

    making reservations and when you get there you are given the worst table in the restaurant even though there are better tables there.

  140. T-Bone says:

    When I order a drink and you don’t know if you have it, ask the bartender. Don’t come back and tell me “The computer says we are out of Proseco.”

  141. trimetrov says:

    Server disappearing immediately after dropping off the bill, when I have been waiting for you to bring it and have my credit card out and ready to go. It’s not a novel in that little book, and I’m not going to be determining if you calculated the tax rate correctly or anything.

  142. celinesci says:

    People who photograph their food.

  143. celinesci says:

    Oh and another one, when the bill does the math for you and show how much a 20% tip would be. I’ll give the server what I deem fit! On another note, I once actually did the math right there and they were inflated to be much higher than the percentage stated.

  144. no says:

    Noise is by far my top complaint. The source of the noise doesn’t matter. Often it’s loud music, other times it’s children. In either case, it needs to stop.

  145. coreydean says:

    Kids.

  146. Zydia says:

    The tipping system is bs. It’s just a way for the employer to pay less, while the diner and the waitstaff are pitted against each other. The thing is, the waitstaff don’t work in a vacuum, and they will be quick to point that out at tip time. Fine. Let’s cut out tipping altogether, make the employer pay them the same as everyone else, and adjust the menu prices accordingly.

  147. jaimystery says:

    Warm bread and ice cold butter – waste of both resources

    Squatting next to the table to take the order

    Serving beverages with a hand over the glass or near the lip? So gross!

  148. jenolen2161 says:

    Other customers, specifically those who can’t keep their kids under control (and it’s not a kid-friendly place like Friendly’s where I know what I’m getting in to), those who have extra loud conversations with each other/on cell phones despite others around them, those who monopolize the wait staff, those who refuse to tuck in their chairs even when it’s a small restaurant and sitting completely removed from the table means no one can get by you.

    Also, wait staff who don’t write down your order. I just don’t trust you. Sorry.

  149. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    One of my pet peeves is that many restaurants make no effort to design even one good vegan or vegetarian dish for their menu. Ordering a regular item without meat doesn’t usually produce a very satisfying dish. Most places have the ingredients on hand to design and offer a couple of things, but they don’t. Then, when I go, I have to be a pain in the ass orderer so I can get a dish with some substance. For example, most mexican restaurants could serve up black bean fajita veggie enchiladas with a tomatillo or ranchero sauce, spanish rice, and a side of guacamole. Places like Cheesecake factory could make endless dishes. I would give anything for most places to just have one dish listed that was actually filling.

  150. Golfer Bob says:

    Ordering unsweet iced tea and constatnly getting sweet iced tea, including the refills, since unsweetened iced tea is apparently an unoly abboration here in the South.

  151. yossi says:

    This one DRIVES ME NUTS…

    When I walk into a fast food place, cofee shop etc. I am not ready to order, so I stand around 20 feet back from the counter and start reading the menu board. The employee calls across the store “Hi, what can I get you?”

    DO I LOOK LIKE I AM READY TO ORDER? If i was ready to order, would I not be closer than 20 feet from you? Would I not be looking at you, instead of studying the menu board, with a confused look on my face?

    I am sure they are probably forced to great every customer, but a more appropriate greeting might be “hi, let me know when you are ready to order”

    • Mamudoon says:

      Word about the ordering thing. I occasionally get fast food (mmmm, Chick-Fil-A), but if I don’t know what I want or what they have, I go inside so I can check the menu out instead of making everyone wait in the drive-thru.

      Oh, and I always check my order before I leave, so I pull into a parking spot instead of sitting at the window and doing it.

      Common courtesy, people. Learn it.

  152. GW says:

    The waitperson invariably lays the germ laden menu directly on the silverware.

  153. GW says:

    The waitperson invariably lays the germ laden menu directly on the silverware.

  154. Anna Kossua says:

    My pet-peeves are more about my dinner companions than the restaurant. Thankfully these problems are rare, and I try to avoid these situations whenever possible.

    1- People that don’t tip or tip very little, when everything is fine.

    2- People (read: my sister) that are just ~waiting~ for the waiter to mess up.

    “You watch. I asked for water, no lemon, and he’s gonna put a lemon on it! And I know he’s going to get the salad dressing wrong! And they’ll give me rice when I ordered a potato! Etc!” It’s literally every restaurant, and everything she orders.

    3- People who can’t cut the waiter a break when a place is slammed or you’re in a large group.

    One year about 20 of us went to a Mexican restaurant on the 5th of May. It was so crowded, you couldn’t get up from your seat. They must have brought 300 extra chairs in from another place it was so busy. Our waiter was a little slow bringing things to us, refilling drinks — but still bringing everything — and some of my friends thought the waiter sucked. If it was a regular day, not that crowded, or the waiter had no other customers besides our one group, I can see my friends’ frustration. It was an absolute ZOO!

  155. GW says:

    Having the waitperson place the dirty menu ( handled by everyone in the world) squarely on my silverware – even though I try to intercept it by reaching for it.

  156. GW says:

    Having the waitperson place the dirty menu ( handled by everyone in the world) squarely on my silverware – even though I try to intercept it by reaching for it.

  157. GW says:

    Having the waitperson place the dirty menu ( handled by everyone in the world) squarely on my silverware – even though I try to intercept it by reaching for it.

  158. deckm00 says:

    Ok here’s my two cents’ worth; I hate it when people wear clothes that make them look like they just rolled out of bed with them on. I mean, whatever happened to taking pride in how you look in front of others? I’m not talking about your local greasy spoon but your average TGI’s etc, people seem to think it’s ok to pj sweats and slippers out in public. Hey I know times are tough and many folks have to shop at Walmart but come on, does that mean you can’t at least match your top to those things you call pants somehow? And take off that damn hat! There’s no class anymore..