Restaurant Theatrics: ‘Would Modom like another?’


THE odd reader of this column (and possibly a few normal ones) may recall I recently wrote about restaurants and my dislike of pretentious food. This got me thinking about other pet hates such as bad service and… Well, with a Starred Double First in Sourpuss Studies from Meldrew University, let’s just stick with service today.

For instance, I’m sick of arriving on time for a table I’ve reserved and then being asked to wait in the bar and have a drink first.


Just so they can get a bar tab going and sell me more alcohol, while I’m expected to wait for my food and consume more and more alcohol on an empty stomach.

If I’d wanted a drink first, I’d have arrived half an hour earlier. And don’t tell me my table isn’t ready yet! I’m on time, so what’s your excuse?

I’m also fed up with waiters who insist on topping up my wine glass. This is designed solely to empty the bottle faster and, when they finally empty it, there’s the inevitable killer question: “Would Modom like another?” Surprisingly, I’d prefer to decide the pace at which I fill my glass and empty the bottle. This way I have some idea how much I’ve had and don’t end up ordering a second bottle, most of which I don’t want anyway.
If, when I arrive, I say I’ll skip the bar and go straight to my table, or ask them during the meal to stop filling my glass, they act so surprised and wounded. As if their bountiful hospitality has been ungratefully shunned. Oh, please, cut it out. We all know what’s going on!

And waiters, please no theatrics! No standing with one hand tucked behind the back whilst pouring with the other. Quite a ‘feet’ of balance – one of these days, you’re sure to topple over. No thrusting the label in my face either while I’m tasting the wine as if otherwise I might suspect you of rushing off to replace it with some el cheapo plonky stuff. And definitely don’t get me going about the palaver of heating a bottle of red wine over a candle! The only heating on a table should be for a fondue.
So restaurants, please note: take me to my table when I arrive, serve me the food and wine I’ve ordered courteously, on time and with minimum fuss, and then leave me alone to enjoy my evening. I’ll let you know if I need anything else, so just keep an eye on my table (and don’t pretend you can’t see my attempts to pay when you’re nearing the end of your shift and I want my bill. I do know you can see me.)


Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code ( available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca


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