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by Savia Rajagopal
Monday, November 24, 2008 11:16 AM
Think about all the time you spend at a restaurant? Ever notice how certain things just tick you off? Here's some common pet peeves at a restaurant...
Eating out is a social occasion to catch up with old friends, go on a romantic date, treat your partner to a good meal or just try something new. Toronto and the GTA has many amazing restaurants that tickle your taste buds but there are times where they just serve to make a nice evening out plain stressful and aggravating. Here’s a list of some common pet peeves at restaurants around the world...

Long waiting time and not being told how long it will “really” take to be seated...

How often do you just about manage to get through the door and then find out, that the waiting time will be “a few minutes?” Soon ten minutes turns into twenty and the wait staff at the restaurant still insists that “you will be seated shortly.” Worse still, there’s no sign of an apology or sincerity and after waiting for almost 45 minutes, you’re just about ready to pummel anyone who tells you that “you’re next on the list.” There’s nothing like an inordinate waiting time to put you in a bad mood, especially when all you wanted was a nice, relaxing evening. Some restaurants think they can preserve their client base by insisting they will be seated shortly when in fact, there’s not a table in sight for the next hour at least! Most diners would prefer an honest answer when it comes to wait times and God forbid, if you’ve made a reservation but still have to wait till something is available. Sheesh!

Being seated in a high traffic area

Seating is a premium and most restaurants want to make the best use of the space available to them. But really, must I be seated right near the entrance of the kitchen? Or right near the bar so I have people standing around me all through my meal? Restaurant owners should ensure that diners are seated in an area where they can actually enjoy their meal and talk without having to scream over waitstaff or other patrons. Another pet peeve is being seated near the washrooms or en route to the loos. No, no, no!  

Unclean cutlery or glasses...

There’s nothing that grabs your attention as dirty cutlery or glasses. Once you notice an unsavoury spot somewhere, it gets you started on a whole other trip. You begin to wonder about the cooking practices inside the kitchen, the ingredients being washed before they’re used, the chef and waitstaff’s personal hygiene! And it’s just downhill from there. Having impeccably styled interiors with beautiful detailing is a waste if patrons cannot expect a hundred per cent when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene in the restaurant.

Ring, ring, ring. Cut it out!

It’s incredibly annoying to hear loud conversations in a restaurant – especially ones that are carried over a mobile phone. While your dinner companion may feel ignored, other patrons in the restaurant will often glance over (several times in fact) to give subtle hints to the guilty talker. When in a restaurant, etiquette demands that you turn your phone off or put in on a silent, less intrusive mode. And if you really must answer a call, step out in the lobby or waiting area and speak to your caller quietly and keep the conversation short.  


Warm plates. Cold food?

Ever feel like your food just stepped out of the fridge and has been served to you? Uneven temperatures of your food are a giveaway to a meal that’s been made beforehand or cooked unevenly. Many usually-polite restaurant goers will turn into gourmet hell-raisers when food like this is served to them.

Unruly kids

Imagine you’ve planned a quiet romantic evening with your significant other. The restaurant manager in all his or her wisdom decides to place you right next to a huge family of six with four screaming children. Outcome? A traumatic dinner experience. Restaurants may cater to a family audience but you’d imagine that when you explicitly ask for a table for you, and your date is by your side, they’d seat you in a place where your conversations are not interrupted by “Mommy, I want to go pee... now.”

Have any more peeves that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at and we’ll post your comments.

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