Sunday, 3 December 2017

If I owned a restaurant I would....



  
If I owned a restaurant I would....

  • train my staff to say 'Certainly, Madam,' or 'This way, sir', or 'I'll just ask the chef to make sure, sir,' or just 'Yes' - anything other than 'No Problem.'  I would make clear that 'No Problem' is a three-strikes-and-you're-out offence.  Possibly with a punch in the face.
  • fire on the spot any waiter who addressed my customers as 'you guys'.
  • insist that my staff take twenty minutes or so each evening to actually find out about the stuff that's on the menu, so they can answer simple questions like 'What flavours of ice cream do you have?'


  • teach the staff that when middle-aged people have a liqueur after dinner, they are having a liqueur after dinner, not 'doing shots'.  Last night, when I asked for a Sambucca, the waiter asked my dinner companions if they were 'doing shots as well'.
  • make sure they know the difference between a small wine glass, a small sherry glass, a liqueur glass, etc.
  • get the chef to put the main item of food on a plate, with the vegetables in serving dishes if necessary.  Not arrange the main item on a large oval plate with the other items in daft little pots all round it.  Last night, one of my friends was given his chips in what looked like a miniature basket from a deep fat fryer, placed on his plate.  Is it so hard to just empty them out?  Or was the basket supposed to look cute/stylish/trendy?  Masterchef has a lot to answer for.
  • not change the whole menu for the sake of it, so that people who have eaten there six months before and loved it, find that there is nothing even vaguely resembling anything they ate there last time.
  • have something on the menu for non-meat eaters apart from one not very interesting pasta dish (okay, okay, I should have found out first).




On the subject of stupid things some people say, my friend Amy who was with me last night is a vegan, as am I, but we are keen not to be a pain in the arse about it; we will, thus, eat vegetarian if out, because otherwise you have to find vegan restaurants, which is inconsiderate towards the rest of the people you are with who maybe fancy the odd prawn or sauce with butter.  

We also agree that if we going to someone's house for dinner we will tell them we don't eat meat or fish, but will not expect them to cook special dishes for us (for instance, if they are serving fish, potatoes and vegetables, we will just not have the fish), and certainly won't insist on non-dairy.  In other words, we will eat what we are given.

Amy (who is a trendy young thing, but thinks for herself instead of latching onto every trendy-young-thing buzzword) told me that some TYTs who adhere to this way of thinking call themselves 'flexitarians'.

I thought it was just called 'not being a self-important tit'.  Or 'having manners'.

I understand 'flexitarian' can also mean eating meat sometimes.  And there was me thinking that was normally referred to as 'not a vegetarian'.  

Or just 'eating'.


 



25 comments:

  1. Oh how I agree with all this. As a non-meat-eater who has, occasionally, eaten who-knows-what when I’m overseas (I won’t starve), I am endlessly frustrated by local restaurants who assume I eat nothing but pasta or, occasionally, quiche. And then ponce it up in the belief I might not actually notice it’s pasta or quiche. (Except for the local Nepali restaurant, which is fab!)

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    1. And they seem to think that non-meat eaters want garlic and mushrooms every time, don't they?!

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  2. I saw a woman on the 'Real Housewives of Sydney' who described herself as '80% vegan because sometimes I have burgers, and I like cheese'. WTF? And 'doing shots' - oh my God, that's terrible!

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    1. Yeah, in other words, you just 'eat food'. You're either a vegan or you're not.

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  3. Hi Terry - yes I can quite see what you're saying ... and if I owned a restaurant - you'd be welcome and I would have some vegan foods on offer ... and happy, polite waiters and waitresses - cheers Hilary

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    1. They were polite, Hilary, just ... ghastly ;)

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  4. Eating out is miserable for me anyway as there is nearly always too much fat or spices/flavourings in food all of which bring me out in flu like symptoms. Add to that I'm a veggie too, so unlike most people who get excited by the idea of French restaurants, I avoid them like the plague. By the way, being a vegetarian in France is really difficult and finding food that is tasty without being spiced up is nigh on impossible. I usually end up with a plate full of raw rabbit food. As regards service, well, I'm afraid that's not the best anywhere in these parts, except perhaps at McDonald's in France where they are unaccountably and inexplicably brilliant! You have my sympathies!! It must be even more difficult to be a vegan!

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    1. Well, you can stop going to MacDonalds for a start - we'd have much more rainforest without them and their ilk!!!!!!!!

      Generally, Val, I am disappointed every time I eat out. Apart from The Half Moon at Grendon in Northants, which is wonderful. Just a small village pub, but the food is always outstanding.

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  5. Ouch! Not a good experience then?

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    1. It was okay... just completely different from last time I went there!

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  6. Thanks for the laugh this Monday morning. Oh, so right.

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  7. And the attitude that we are doing them a favour... ditch that too!

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    1. I didn't/don't feel that; I'm actually a bit snooty myself with crap waiters. But if they're good, I tip very well :)

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  8. No problem is my bugbear in restaurants. I wouldn’t mind so much if I had asked to go off piste but if I’ve just given a straightforward order directly from the menu I should bloody well hope it isn’t a problem for them to deliver it (unless they’re really a shoe shop in disguise). Thanks for making me smile, Terry, and let me know when you open your restaurant.

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    1. Ha ha!

      I've related this before, but you will like it. A while back I was in a restaurant with my father, and our main course was very late; every time we asked for anything we got the response 'no problem'. To which my father said, in the end, 'well, there clearly is one because we haven't got our food yet'. To which the waiter said, 'Sorry sir, no problem'. I don't think they even know they're saying it!

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  9. My eldest son works at a restaurant, I often wonder how people put up with him and how he managed to be made to supervisor this year.

    Now he could be completely different when at work, He is forever moaning when at home and he can be incredibly lazy (I have to tell him to move his pots/washing etc).

    I also wonder how he speaks to people as he's not a people person - he's prefers his own company.

    I've always told him that I would never eat where he works as I'd probably be the one doing the complaining about the service from the miserable lad, who doesn't know how to smile.

    Although in his defence he is incredibly polite and seems to enjoy his job - perhaps I need to have a sneak peek at him (though it would mean booking a holiday first, as he works air-side at the airport).

    I'm a meat eater, but I've got a few friends who are vegan. I can understand what you mean about the choice on the menu.

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    1. Perhaps he just sees it as a job that he can do well, and switches into 'waiter mode' when he gets to work!

      The vegan thing - we're lucky there is so much at all now. I remember having vegan friends 30 years ago, and practically all they could get to eat was sawdust, even in shops, ha ha! I became a vegan when I found out that the animal agriculture industry is 90% of the cause of climate change and destruction of the planet, so I don't want to support it.

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  10. Don't often complain in restaurants but went to a really expensive one in Manchester when last there. To the question,'Everything all right with your meal?' and I answered,'not really, the vegetables were extremely sloppy.', the waiter said,'oh dear' and walked away. Had words with daughter and husband who wanted to give, "as is usual", I was told, a ten per cent tip! Will not be eating out now until January when the dreaded festivities are over... unless I can wear my Bah Humbug hat.

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    1. Too right, tips should be deserved! Eating out is usually a disappointment, I find. I always did with Dad, but we had two places we went to, and that was that.

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  11. I couldn’t agree more with Judith, Terry and everyone else who commented today. I’m not vegetarian, but mostly eat fish, especially when eating out - don’t know why. So last year when we visited the family in Italy, I thought I’d break the fish routine and have something different - well, my daughter still gets uppity with me about my ‘behaviour’ at this quaint little Italian Restaurant, because I wanted to know what I was actually eating. I could not follow the Italian, or English. The menu, duly translated in both languages read something like this: “Costoletto di agnello aglio, olio pepperoni su lattuga stufata e speak” Roughly translates into garlic lamb chops with pepper, stewed lettuce and Speack (English translation). I couldn’t find more than a slither of lettuce and after insisting to check Google SPEACK (misspelled on the English menu) turned out to be some Special German lard which stayed white and unmelted on my plate.
    Needless to say I SPEAKA TOO MUCHE, UPSETTE THE ITALIAN PERSONA and my family, but the meal cost a lot and I didn’t really get what I thought I would get. Maybe I’ll tell you another time what my cotoletti looked and tasted like ... should have stuck with something fishy. Thanks for a lovely post, Terry!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mareth! And good for you - you have a right to know what you are putting inside you, especially if paying OTT prices for it. Before I was a vegan I always had fish when eating out, too. Just because I loved it!

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  12. I LOVE this blog. I was brought up in the catering industry where you had your fingers chopped off if you wore nail varnish and had your hair tied back at all times. I see a lot of cookery programmes on TV where people don't even follow basic hygiene rules and it drives me insane!

    I digress...it seems that the industry can't just provide us with our meal any more. Even Subway advertises for 'Sandwich artists'. What is that all about? I blame nouvelle cuisine.

    I also have to admit that, after being veggie for 2 years, last Christmas was my downfall...I missed the turkey too much and am now a pollotarian

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    1. Yes, it drives me nuts that you can't just get a decent, well cooked mean without it being 'ponced about' with!!!!

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  13. We were living in the north of England, and going out to dinner was torture. The wait staff were indignant that they were expected to "serve" us...so they didn't. We'd wait literally for hours for service, only to be informed that there could never be any deviation from the menu, ice in any form, or anything resembling a friendly face. When we finally realized that we were leaving the country to go out to dinner, we gave up an moved to Scotland. There (and I'm so not making this up) in the first restaurant we entered, the smiling waitress told my hesitant Hub, "You can have it however you want." I thought he might kiss her.

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