More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Some Pet Hates At Restaurants

I was talking to my friend Justin about a bad lunch I had at Bo Bo's in Pinewood. This brought up the topic of what we hated at restaurants. Well here are of few of my pet hates at restaurants.

* Waiters not bringing you ice water - Even after you ask for it many times, some always seems to "forget". Its not a case of them just forgetting I think. They are probably told by their bosses to sell as many drinks as possible since that is where easy profits lie, but if a customer wants water, they should get it. After asking quite a lot of times at some places, I think its all a conspiracy. Whats worse is when you have ordered drinks and they still don't bring you water.

* Restaurants not giving change - Some places seem to assume that if there is a few dollars extra, its tips for them. NO, this isn't the case. By law, they need to return the change and then its up to the consumer to decide whether they want to tip. I always tip if service is good but don't need to be forced to tip by not getting my change. At one place I had to ask why they didn't give me my change and they just said they made a mistake. Yeah right, when it happened again the next time, I knew this was a dodgy tactic they used since some people may not ask for their change back since its so little.

* Restaurants charging ridiculous amounts for tea and corkage - In regards to tea, I'm mainly talking about Chinese restaurants. Although it is customary at most Chinese restaurants to bring you tea immediately and its free or they charge a small once off fee for the whole table, some places charge by the PERSON. This is utterly ridiculous since they ask you immediately what tea you want and since you haven't had time to look at the menu yet, you don't know they will be charging you by the person. Places that do this without letting you know beforehand won't be getting my patronage again.
With corkage, charging up to $15 per person is too steep. The corkage is probably there to discourage people to bring alcohol but what if the restaurant doesn't have the wine that you want. If you don't want to let people bring their own alcohol, why not just say BYO is unavailable rather than have people bring their own only to discover how much the corkage is. And what exactly are their options, just leave their wine under the table and not open it when they were all ready to drink it.

* Waiters not double checking your order - Which means that after everyone's meal has arrived, one person at the table is left without anything to eat because the waiter forgot their order. This means that if everyone else waited for the missing meal, their own meals would get cold. If everyone else went ahead and ate, that person will be sitting there watching everyone else eat and then vice versa.

* Restaurants that don't let you split the bill - Whats with this. How hard can it be to let each person pay separately. Aren't we in the age of technology now where all places use electronic registers. It can't be that hard to punch out a few separate bills.

* People not washing their hands after going to the toilet - This one isn't about the restaurants but instead the customers. For example, yesterday night I saw a guy go to the toilet and then just walk straight out. UUUgggghhhh. I'm no germ freak but why wouldn't you wash your hands. You're about to go back out into an environment with lots of food, touch lots of places with your dirty hand as well as eating your dinner with those hands. No wonder those lab studies always find urine and faecal germs on people's toothbrushes even.

These are a few of my hates that I can think of now. As usual, please disagree if you like. Leave comments on what some of your pet hates are.


Blogger The Oriental Express said...

It's all in the register.... guess it's laziness or indifference on the part of casheirs or managers.

I dislike differential treatment by service crew. Never judge a customer by the clothes he wears. Some dress well but their pockets may be quite empty and vice versa. Every customer is important!

5/15/2006 1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


They don't split the bills because there is a chance for tipping.If you divided the total bill and each of you need to pay $11.85. Most of people will tossed on $12.00 anyway. 15c each for 10 is $1.5 already... and multiply on.... you know what I meant?

Yeap, I hated it when chinese restaurant charge for tea per person. You know how much does it cost for tea spoon of tea, 1 litre of boiled water and washing the cups (Personally, I don't think they wash it, may be they just rinse it)... they charge $1.5 each person, they make alot of profits just to tea already.

5/15/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Yeah I know what you're trying to say. If it does cost $11.85, you will all probably put in $12 and give that. But if you pay separately, then they will give you your 15 cents change and since that is so little, you won't want to put that as tips so will keep it.

5/15/2006 9:52 PM  
Blogger afrobev said...

I agree with how restaurants seem to assume about the whole tipping thing. I think tipping should only be if the waiter or waitress has been especially good at his/her job. I resent giving an extra ten percent to someone who doesn't deserve it. Especially when they can earn a lot of money in tips alone and half the time they don't put the effort in. With my working past in a customer service environment where we weren't tipped I have very strong opinions.

5/16/2006 7:29 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

I'm not sure how it is in Wales, but here in Oz, tips are not factored into your wage. As in, waiters here get more than minimum wage and unlike America, don't have to rely on tips to earn past minimum wage.

So yeah, if the service is bad, why should I tip. It should already be the waiter/waitress job to serve the customer well. You don't see me getting tips for being a good engineer. Hahaha.

5/16/2006 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Munnday said...

Restaurants that don't let you split the bill - Whats with this. How hard can it be to let each person pay separately. Aren't we in the age of technology now where all places use electronic registers. It can't be that hard to punch out a few separate bills.
Put yourself in the shoes of the waiter. Most people who split bills want YOU to work it all out for them. Think about this, busy Saturday night - a table of 25 wants to part pay....the time it takes for the process to complete, you the waiter have neglected your other tables, and held up the register for a lot of other guests that wish to pay.

Yes it's a pain for the guest, but it's easier for everyone in the long run.

5/18/2006 8:09 PM  
Anonymous James said...

i work in a busy restaurant part time and i must say that all the things that you brought up are current issues and can make the difference between good and bad service. ill share some of my experiences/ideas for each of the items you've mentioned:

*ice water - in my opinion, this really is an indication of the overall quality of service you are going to get from a restaurant. many places (including where i work) will only serve water if you ask, or if you order a glass/bottle of wine. i reckon this is the bare minimum. a restaurant aiming for excellent customer service should try and serve water to all diners (except perhaps to those only ordering coffee), but this is often not possible in very large or busy restaurants. as im a bartender a majority of the time, i can tell you that in a 200-300 person restaurant that is busy, you almost need an employee dedicated to pouring water. i wouldn't say that waitresses not bringing out water is a conspiracy, remember its all about keeping the customers happy. my owner doesn't care if you want water instead of a drink, just as long as you order something!

*not getting change - ha, this is a tough one! when i'm bar manger (and hence cashier), it can be tricky working out who wants change. you may say send it out anyway, but in the interest of keeping things running smoothly, a cashier should always try and locate the table and see if they have left before calling a waitress off her duties to take out change unecessarily. this is normally easy, but but for big, slow moving tables with >10 people you often have to say hey they look like they are off, and besides, they put in a few extra coins when the notes they provided would have covered the bill anyway. that said, i always send out change if a single note is received and it is evident that any extra money is due to the customer not having the exact money. the rule of course is 'if unsure, send it out', there is nothing worse than making a customer ask for their change. this is especially true in restauraunts where tips are pooled, a few extra dollars divided amongst the whole crew is not worth the drama.

*corkage - i agree with you. we dont offer byo, but we normally let people drink their own wine if they didnt realise they couldnt byo and simply charge them $6 - 9 a bottle, which i think is reasonable given the restaurant is sacrificing about $6 per glass * 6 glasses per bottle = $36 revenue.

*double checking the order - this separates the trainees from the seniors, good waiters/waitresses will always read your order back to you to make sure they got it all, i dont trust my self, so i always do this. that said, sometimes mistakes happen.

*splitting the bill - this is a good serivce to offer and i dont mind doing it, but sometimes you just have to say no to BIG tables on busy nights because its not good having 25+ people crowding around the bar, visas in hand whilst person number 26 is from another table waiting to pay and get to their movie. if you ask nicely, staff will often help you out, just dont take the service for granted in this day and age. my pet hate is a) restaurants which write 'no split bills' on their menu - thanks for the cold and harsh warning that you wont be trying to satisfy my every need for the course of my stay (even if its quiet) and b) customers who want to split small items like 3 coffees (seriously, are you guys dining here as friends).

my 2c,

ps. im a studying engineer too, im going to miss the tips later in my career.

6/18/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Thanks for your comments James. Its good to hear the other point of view.

With the ice water, I think usually its just they forget but not at this Thai place. They have done it before and also on a quiet night after asking more than 3 times.

With tips, I agree that if they chuck in extra coins, then it probably is tips. If I want to leave tips with a single note, I take the bill out with me to the counter on my way out.

With splitting the bill, its reasonable not to split for a large group, but for 3-4 people, that just seems a bit silly.

Finally, when you start working as a full time engineer, I think you will generally make more money than waitering and not have to put up with as much attitude from customers. I find the pay in engineering is quite good.

6/19/2006 6:04 PM  

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