appetizer, point, counterpoint, dessert

Some lovely articles in the Post’s Food Section, the first is a general information/rant from former restauranteur David Hagedorn, the second is a pure rant on diners’ complaints and the third is a rebuttal from former food critic Phyllis Richman. All are amusing and informative reads on the perspective of the restaurant, which a lot of people don’t stop to think about when heading out to eat.

In my own food news, I found a place to seat us all for the party, which was a huge relief as I was at my wits’ end. Now all I need to do is get some basic bar/cocktail stuff for Moose & Lion’s place afterwards, but that will be much easier. Then I can sit back, relax, eat, enjoy the company of my friends and whatever freaky plans or surprises they have in mind is all up to them.

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6 Responses

  1. MiKe says:

    I expect to be compensated if the food is not good or not well prepared (under/overcooked, items forgotten, etc) but if the service is poor it comes out of the tip.

    As far as reservations go, I don’t see a point, unless it’s in a case like yours where there are quite a few people coming. The last 5 or 6 times i’ve made reservations i’ve had to wait anyway, so crap on that. Good articles though. I like hearing the other side of the story… i’d rather see more server-oriented stuff tho.

  2. Brian says:

    The expectation of compensation is a fine thing, but people have taken it too far. If something is wrong with my meal, I ask for it to be corrected, unless it might be too late to enjoy my dinner along with my companions (most dishes don’t take that long to prepare, it’s just making sure things come out at the same time that often holds things up) in which case I ask if it might be reduced or taken off of the bill.

    The problem in many cases is that too many people are unwilling to request to speak with the manager, or negotiate a peaceful “settlement” with their server, instead of taking responsibility for their own happiness, in this instance, they expect the restaurant to bow down before them.

    I like making reservations, but that’s just part of the romance of eating out to me. When the practice became common of restaurants no longer accepting reservations after a certain time on weekends, I stopped going to a lot of those places. People don’t often go to a restaurant because they’re going to be hungry sometime in a 30-60 min window after they arrive.

    I’m currently reading Tom’s chat which has a lot of references to the articles. Perhaps some servers have chimed in with opinions there.

  3. Mary says:

    In the Greater Metropolitan area a diner is expected to Pay, Pay, Pay. There are to many resturants serving below average meals, oversized plates filled w/too many fries, kale, some mysterious sauce to dip your meal into.

    Many resturants are price GAUGING,they know they can get away with it and do!

    Get prepared for this winter- higher gas prices means everybody cuts out something and I promise you guage me now, you will pay later.

  4. Brian says:

    You didn’t specify which Greater Metropolitan area, but you could stick just about any after those words. I know a lot of eating out is about the bill, and people today need to realize that they should pay more attention to what’s on their plate and not how much they’re paying for it.

    I’m just as happy with my $5 Five Guys burger as I am with my $25 Filet Mignon.

    We should remember to be smart consumers at ALL times, that includes when/where we eat. Even if you enjoyed your meal and had a great time, but the price was outrageous, let the manager of the restaurant know, but do it politely and kindly. It’s often what will or won’t bring you back that they want to know about, and that includes price.

  5. John says:

    Ex-critic has it dead-on, I pay the waiter in your restaurant through my tips, not the owner. The waiter is therefore my employee, not the owner’s. The only concern the owner should have is not whether they are pushing the high price entrees but whether they avoid negatively interfering with my meal. I give all waiters 20 percent (drives my wife crazy). In the event of a bad experience, I simply never go back.

    When the 6th best food in DC (according to Zagat’s) is a fast-food takeout chicken joint, there is a lot of competition between mediocre restuarantes for the diner’s dollars, maybe you should have listed that as the diner’s fault, as well.

  6. Ken says:

    I found the story very assuming, which proves that Hagedorn will do better as an author rather than as a restaurateur. It is a good thing that he has left the business, since he is clearly confused over its nature. He begins by complaining that the customers don’t uphold their end of the business arrangement and ends by whining that they aren’t gracious guests of his hospitality. Which is it – clients or guests? Very different responsibilities – on both parties. He seems to want it both ways. Basically, he argues that the restaurant exists for the convenience of the chef (and staff) – not for the diners. Reminds me of a now defunct establishment with excellent food but a chef who couldn’t manage more than two orders at a time. If a party of six came in, the first two people would be on coffee and dessert by the time the entries for the last two arrived. And as they slowly crashed and burned, he complained bitterly how the public wouldn’t support fine food. Any business that thinks it is run for the benefit of the owner, rather than the customer will find itself not in business for long.
    And by the way, the claim of 60% food sales (versus alcohol) surprises me. If that is the case, why do all the restaurants complain about the DC liquor law requirement of a minimum of 40% food sales to get a restaurant (rather than a bar) license?

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