Top 10 Restaurant Gripes

Top 10 Restaurant GripesWhether it’s the local suburban eatery, the trendy new café that has opened up the road or some of the top establishments around town, restaurant gripes can make or break the dining experience. This list was compiled over time and includes various types and classes of eateries and pertains to restaurants and patrons alike.

1. Busy restaurants that don’t accept bookings leaving you and your party waiting around are as inconvenient as those that tell you they’re booked out, berate you for not making a booking then magically clear the ‘reserved’ tag off a vacant table.

2. Service staff who show you to your table without offering to take your heavy coat in winter. And when you ask if they could take your coats, they tell you that they don’t have the facilities and watch you squirm as you try to get comfortable with it draped over your tiny chair. Australia has much to learn from Europe.

3. Being asked which kind of water you would like. Tap water should always be provided unless you order otherwise.

4. Lack of adequate sound proofing that prohibits any form of decent conversation can ruin the evening, whether it is a dinner for two or a small gathering of friends. The minimalist approach with bare floors and no wall coverings to absorb sound can easily turn an enjoyable night out into a shouting match.

5. Service staff who mispronounce foreign dishes then have the audacity to correct you when you place your order. Telling me, twice, that salade niçoise is pronounced salad niswah when you work at a French bistro is a sure way for me not to leave a tip.

6. A décor that combines very low lighting, graphic-designed menus with faint colours and small loopy fonts and uncomfortable seating designed to make the diner eat and run, begs the question what are they hiding and why.

7. One oversized pepper mill kept behind the counter that makes an appearance only when someone asks for it. Double demerit points when they insist on giving it a meagre twist according to their taste and not yours.

8. A restaurant with a complement of anorexic-looking service staff who give the impression they live on air and a lettuce leaf doesn’t inspire the enjoyment of eating.

9. Waiters who act nervous when you ask about a dish then run to the kitchen for advice. For a start, they should know what’s in it. And if I show a complimentary interest in a particular dish, I am a not a spy looking to steal a recipe.

10. Patrons who get progressively louder as the evening progresses and restaurants that turn up the volume of their background music to compensate. A sure quick way to skip ordering dessert, coffee or a digestive and opt for paying the bill. No?

What are your restaurant and eatery gripes?


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • Quite a pertinent list. My pet hate:
    Patrons who use their mobile phones at the table to the annoyance of other diners. If you’’re dining with another person, it is obvious that he or she doen’t mean much to you. Unless you are a surgeon, on call to save lives or a negotiator of world peace, I’m sorry to say you’re not that important. If you need to make or take a call, excuse yourself to your dining companion(s) and go to the bar, the foyer or outside to make that all important call. If at the bar or foyer, speak in a volume that can’t be heard in outer Mongolia because your conversation is of no value to anyone in the restaurant.

    • Geoffrey – Yes! Loud mobile phone users irk me, particularly when the conversation is never ending chit chat. What I find entertaining though is watching couples on a date. The minute one of them goes to the amenities, the other reaches for their phone and starts texting.

  • Hi,
    This list hits them all in the right spots! I totally agree with your points! I’d also like to add another a personal pet peeve to yours. I don’t like it when, even with a reservation, restaurants refuse to sit you down unless your whole party has arrived (this usually applies for a big group). Really, what’s the problem? I’ve made the reservations, but you can’t possibly expect everyone to arrive at the same minute. I just wish restaurants would put a little faith on their customers that we are not there to rip them off their tables 🙂

  • Jen – They keep you standing while the table is empty? That sounds rude to keep people waiting until the whole party arrives. I can’t say I’ve had that happen to me. But I’ve had waiters hassle us for placing our order when clearly the others haven’t arrived.