As customers, beyond the usual food and service complaints, we all have our own set of restaurant pet peeves. The quibbles may be small in the grand scheme of things, but the gripes can get gratingly bothersome from time to time. In no particular order, here are some of my top six restaurant pet peeves:
Automatic tip suggestions
Tip jars have gone digital. And, as more restaurants and eateries switch from cash registers to iPads, customers are also being prompted to tip more and more. With restaurants and cafes that use iPads to process transactions, a gratuity prompt that suggests 15 percent tip or more will usually pop up before the customer signs on the tablet. Employees usually hover behind the iPads and customers may feel immense pressure to tip or to tip more than usual—whether they even feel that it’s deserved or not.
As restaurants continue to integrate technology into their business, some places have forged ahead and implemented iPad-only menus at tables. Customers order directly from the iPad or designated tablets and tickets are transferred to the kitchen directly. Restaurateurs may like the use of self-serve tableside ordering because it ensures accuracy and efficiency, but some customers may find iPad ordering at the table confusing, impersonal and for larger groups, actually rather inefficient.
While some restaurants have clamored towards to adoption of technology, other restaurants have remained old school with the tried-and-true chalkboard menu. In some trendy, sit-down outposts, the chalkboard menu is the only menu available. And while it eliminates the hassle of a printed menu for the wait staff, the chalkboard menu can present a small problem for customers, especially the new ones, to have to change positions to see and to ascertain what they want to order from the handwritten menu.
Bathrooms with quirky signs
As customers, we’ve all seen them. Those kitschy signs hanging on the men and women’s bathrooms that make it impossible to tell which door to enter. While it’s invariably cute and cloying, those precious seconds when you really have to go and you’re trying to discern which door is the “right” one, the bathroom signs can be quite annoying at the moment.
No reservations allowed
Restaurants have increasingly adopted the “no reservations” rule. While understandable for restaurant owners that want to eliminate lost profits from no-shows, for customers who want to make plans on busy weekend nights after dinner, it can be a bit of hassle not knowing how long a meal might take.
Metal chairs and swivel barstools are never for those ergonomically-inclined, but for some chic restaurants, it’s their prime choice for seating. Sure, for the staff, it’s easy to clean and maintain, but for the customers, it’s never the most comfortable. And for some restaurants, that’s the entire point—hard chairs can ensure a quick turnover. You can eat and enjoy yourself, but just don’t linger too long.