This just in, restaurants should have food and pleasant atmosphere to be enjoyable.
The newest, latest restaurant opening reeks of fun, flashy and amazing -- at least that's what we can tell from the newspaper ad or well-worded post on Facebook or Twitter.
But don't be fooled by a savvy marketing campaign or colorful attempts to make a bad restaurant look good. Beneath the engaging entry way and scripted handwriting on the menus lurks the making of a bad restaurant -- as long as you keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to a few easy-to-spot pratfalls instead of only looking at your menus.
A recent trip to a newly christened "Greek" restaurant left a lot to be desired and promptly sparked rage throughout all aspects of the meal.
The first sign of a bad restaurant is the most obvious: what's the atmosphere when you walk in? Is it crowded during peak dinner time? Is the music to loud to speak to the hostess or waitress?
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If you've answered "yes" to any of these, you've got yourself your first proverbial red flag of the night. The aforementioned "Greek" restaurant had music blaring to the point that leaning in to the waitress was a must. The entire place, too, was empty -- not redeeming signs for a "Grand Opening."
Perhaps the only thing worse than the sound was the lack of knowledge exuded by said server; leaning in to give an order was a moot point. She didn't know what anything on the menu was, couldn't describe what was in it and didn't have the slightest idea exactly what was included with a particular entrÃ©e.
A good rule of thumb: if they don't know the menu or haven't tried it themselves, then it probably isn't worth the customer eating there.
Even more taxing on nerves than a lackluster server with little or no wherewithal to explain exactly what a customer might be eating is a lack of food.
Yes, that's right -- no food usually equals customers' patience disappearing within a few seconds. Imagine having your heart set on a delicious "Greek" lamb burger and specialty made "Greek" fries, described to a customer as a "favorite."
That enthusiasm and exuberance quickly turns to plight when the server returned to the table after placing an order and said -- looking like a deer in headlights mind you -- "we're out of that."
How does a restaurant run out of food on a "Grand Opening" night? That's the food equivalent of paying to see The Rolling Stones only to have them swapped in place of, well, nothing. Attempting to order a different specialty Greek burger proved even less admirable and efficient.
All of the burgers were "unavailable."
A lack of food or a restaurant telling you they're "out" of multiple items is sure-fire siren that this place is headed out before they really even established themselves in their marketplace.
Forget the sign at the front of the restaurant door that says, "No shoes, no shirt, no service." Places like the one previously discussed serve a new marketing mantra, "loud music, no food and lack of employee knowledge" equals not sticking around to see what is for desert.
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