Eating in restaurants is my vice or indulgence, since I don’t smoke and hardly ever drink. I don’t claim to be an expert, but at one point in this blog’s life, I’ve been called a foodie, which is defined in this site as “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.”
Ardent, yes; refined is still something I have to achieve since most of the time, I prefer lutong bahay (home cooking), carinderia fare and making tusok the fishballs. Eating out – especially charting untried culinary territory – remains an adventure since you don’t know whether what they will serve you is up to par with your hard-earned peso’s expectation. Unless of course the meal is free, then it becomes less of a burden 😀
I’ve long thought of making this post, from the point of view of a customer who has splurged my salary on food and patronized restaurants all these years. It is true that times are hard and it’s doubly difficult to keep businesses afloat; still, proprietors forget that it is often the little details that count. If you, as a customer, has something else to add or say, please feel free to share them here:
1. Giving me change; giving me very very loose change. I still have to ascertain if this is unique to the Philippines. Let’s say I’ve paid for my meal in cash, and expect a change of P680. I’d surely dread it if the server returns with an assortment of peso bills, two P10 coins, 4 P5 coins and 20 pieces of P1 coins. Wow! Don’t know what they mean by this, but nothing screams more of “gimme a tip! gimme a tip!” I do hope those presumptuous cashiers give patrons the option to determine the amount of gratuity, instead of cheapening themselves by implying that I should give loose change , when in fact I mean to give a whole paper bill 😀
2. Forgetting the presentation. This is applicable to the last Asian restaurant I went to, where the nasi lemak I ordered looked and felt more like kaning baboy (pig food). Airline meal was better. If I have to pay for something that is priced way above a fastfood combo meal, I expect more in terms of quantity, taste and presentation. It is not so much the appearance, but the way the food is served on the plate. A bit of presentation can spell the difference between classy and tacky.
3. Messing up with the doggy bag. First of all because not all of us
are have dogs, so please don’t wrap our left-overs like it’s meant to go to the dogs (literally.) If I had my way, the best way really is to prepare the doggy bag in front of the customer, instead of bringing left-overs back to the kitchen for packing. One time in this Chinese restaurant, a half order of left-over pata tim was only one fourth when we arrived home. You never really know what happens next.
4. Keeping a filthy toilet. Because unfortunately , most of us judge restos by the backyards they keep. Even Anthony Bourdain says so. If your toilet is unkempt, then how worse can your kitchen be? Equally guilty are most of the mall restos which have no toilets at all, and the nearest one is an escalator ride away!!
5. Overly-solicitous staff. As Mr. Z would say: we want to dine in peace, please don’t intrude unless we ask for you. Unless am an old-timer, I came to your establishment to eat, not to chat. The opposite of solicitous would be inattentive staff, those types where even asking for water takes an eternity. Nuff said.
6. Putting the menu away, too quickly. It works almost like a reflex action on the part of those restaurant servers, they take the menu away as soon as you give your order. I wish they can even ask, am the type who wants the menu to stay on the table, either because I want to read it further, or I still have not chosen my dessert!
7. Order takes too long. This must be on top there of customer complaints, and nothing changes. It is unforgivable because people eating out are either very hungry, or don’t have time to spare. In this fast-paced world, there is so much you can do already with 30 minutes of waiting. In the last restaurant I went to, we waited for 25 minutes… and to think that we were the only customers in the house!