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!
‘Kitchen Confidential:’ Secrets from an Expert Chef
I like this entry. Hah my pet peeve is dirty comfort rooms. I must have ranted a lot whenever I brought the kids to restos that it is now their habit to rate the bathrooms whenever we eat out.
Looking forward to the continuation…
reyna elena says
hahaha i was really laughing at this one! made my day! eh pano ba naman, there’s this really good restaurant over at rockwell ba yun? or power sum’tin sum’tin? it’s a really good restaurant and one thing that pissed me off was that – my mouth was just full and she’s out there standing at me asking “how’s the food sir?” and she could see that my mouth is just about ready to explode and she’s still waiting for an answer! leche! humagalpak nang tawa ang pamangkin ko hahaha! i guess it was just one uber customer service or sum’tin
Nice one, Ajay.
I’m glad I live in a city where tipping is not compulsory.
Our family rarely eat out now because of a recent much-publicised incident at a local hotel where a family who complained about one part of their dining experience were served a complimentary giant goblet of chocolate ice cream with poo (not shampoo but the other poo).
After this, horror stories of what disgruntled wait and kitchen staff do to the customer’s food if you are a whiny customer were the stuff of TV shows and newspaper articles for a few weeks.
So for now, we don’t eat out.
Mr Z says
In cases like Marnie’s I would document – call the manager or owner, back-channel if need be, as the local staff is unlikely to really contact him for you, after something like that goes down. Take pictures, call the police. I’d be tempted to keep the Board of Health’s number on speed-dial.
Things would go from an episode of “Jack@$$” to “The Apprentice”, toot-sweet:
waiting too long is indeed a turn off. we just ate into this resto at MOA last sun and we waited for more than 30 minutes! they kept on saying that they are still preparing for the table! tsk tsk 😛
Hi Noemi, about bathrooms: I don’t like unisex toilets 🙁
Reyna, natawa rin ako sa kuwento mo. That is so true!!! Has happened to me before as well…. 😀
Hi Marnie, I suddenly got afraid. Those restos might serve me poo after reading this post 🙁 😛
I presume I’d do all those you mentioned,if they’d do anything as nasty as serving poo, Mr. Z. Ouch, that is just so daring, don’t you think? 😉
We normally just ask for doggy bags and do our own packing. We cherry pick what we want from our left-overs and arrange them every which way we want in the boxes.
i dont like unisex toilets too or a toilet with no wash area inside… you have to go outside to actually wash your hands or check the mirror…. 🙁
nice post. dirty toilets are a big turn-off…methinks. 🙂
Di ba weird din kapag yung urinal nilalagay nila ng sangkatutak na ice? Yeah, I know they don’t want the tubes of ice to go to waste, but it gives you the impression na baka dun galing ang ice na nasa baso mo. Watcha think?
Pinoy Cravings says
Good Post… Actually all 7 those seven habits eh na experience ko Ma Mon Luk Quiapo… sobrang dumi nung restaurant na yun..