40 Perils of Fine Dining – For Customers

Posted on: November 10th, 2010 by Simon Carter & Daniel Darwood

The Grumbles – The 40 Perils

So what do certain fine dining establishments do that make us seethe; the things about which we feel they should know better and equally what do we do that we simply shouldn’t.

For Customers For Restaurants


1) A Sommelier that doesn’t know you, makes two recommendations, both over £100 a bottle.

2) Aggressive pouring of the wine and water to try and sell some more.

3) Treat you with general disdain, after all its never their fault, particularly so if you’re eating on a promotion.

4) Not offer a set lunch on a Saturday and so force you onto the expensive a la carte or the 7 course Gourmand menu .

5) Have list prices exclude VAT

6) Have staff talk about you (or swear at each other) in a foreign language, you’d be too stupid to understand.

7) Ignore you when you walk through the door and find you by accident some twenty minutes later.

8) Have a wine list that really starts at over £50, the two token cheaper bottles would work better in your car.

9) Consider vegetarians as an after thought and then charge a la carte prices for a plate of lettuce.

10) Outsourse the booking system and then have it permanently engaged.

11) Hold back as many tables as possible for “regulars” to lengthen the lead time for reservations and appear popular.

12) The fewer staff the better and it’s the manager’s night off so relax!

13) Make a Cover Charge

14) So who ordered the beef?

15) Upon arrival, offer three types of Champagne, you have to guess which one you can afford.

16) Only accept cash, nearest cashpoint a tube stop away.

17) Increase prices 25% the day a guide is published that makes reference to the old prices and gives a favourable review.

18) You discover that you visit the restaurant more often than the chef.

19) Rush you through so they can go home as early as possible.

20) Consistently mis-calculate the bill, always in their favour.

21) Recommend only those dishes which they need to sell.

22) Allow you to feel forgotten about half way through a sitting, so you help yourself to the wine.

23) Charge £5 for a bottle of mineral water.

24) Charge for service and then leave credit card slips open.

25) Expect the disabled to leap umpteen stairs in a single bound.

26) Enhance the atmosphere by playing entirely inappropriate background music that matches the extraordinary decor.

27) Confuse your wife with an innocent female acquaintance and make it worse by apologising profusely.

28) Populate the dining room with uncomfortable chairs that are apparantly chic.

29) Cram tables in to the point you become on first name terms with all diners around you.

30) Make their latest marketing ploy to advertise as a promotion their business as usual.

31) Eat/Stay there once and get junk mail forever.

32) Hold ‘special dining’ evenings then cram in as many as possible and serve mass catering standard food from a fixed menu.

33) Fluctuate the ‘mood lighting’ between blinding and fumble in the dark.

34) Nearest parking 2 miles away, unless it’s £25 valet parking.

35) Offer for sale just about everything at your table or in the lobby.

36) Present a menu exclusively in a foreign language and fail to help.

37) Offer second sittings first.

38) Have an unbalanced menu and compound the error by never changing it.

39) Charge for coffee refills.

40) Have an unclear smoking policy so half the customers are always unhappy.