Hello, is this thing still on?

While dining in a well regarded Manhattan eatery last week, I was stunned by the multitude of avoidable errors that this place made. Sure the food was good, maybe even very good, but there were so many decorative and service missteps that I had a difficult time focusing on my meal and the potential employers sitting across from me (yes, there is a chance that I may be moving to NYC; and no, I cannot discuss it here though I wish I could.)

As much as I hate giving away advice that I would normally be compensated to provide, the experience at that place prompted me to share:

Ten Common and Avoidable Misteaks Restauranteurs Make

  1. Cheap toilet tissue in expensive restaurants is incongruous but surprisingly common; it personifies the phrase “penny wise, pound foolish.”
  2. No one looks good under harsh lighting, please stop using it.
  3. If your restaurant lacks a mission statement, you’re doing it wrong.
  4. Seriously? You’ve heard about this for about a decade; how can you still not have hooks under the bar?
  5. Coco Chanel once said “that in order to be irreplaceable, one must be different.” The same thing applies to restaurants.
  6. The irreplaceable Ms. Chanel also suggested that a lady should always get dressed and then remove one thing before leaving the house. With the proliferation of overly constructed cuisine, the same should be said of every dish before it leaves the kitchen.
  7. Superlative service costs the exact same as mediocre service, why must so many places countenance the latter rather than seeking the former?
  8. Brag through your food, not on the printed menu. When menus are written boastfully, they make everyone more inclined to seek flaws in equal measure to flavor.
  9. Call your own restaurants frequently and from outside lines, you would be surprised by the dearth of telephone civility.
  10. No music on the website, use a minimal amount of flash, ensure that the hours, address & phone number are on every page, and answer your email.

p.s. Yes, I really did think that “misteaks” part was funny.


11 Responses to Hello, is this thing still on?

  1. laloca says:

    Seriously? You’ve heard about this for about a decade; how can you still not have hooks under the bar?

    this. a thousand times this.

    (and the rest of it, too, but really? no hooks?)

  2. k8 says:

    I think I could say many of the same things about my hairdresser’s current place of employment.

  3. City Girl says:

    Oh, how I’ve missed your wit and wisdom, Refugee! I nodded my head in agreement with each other items on your list. I also cringe when I see that a nice restaurant has the pink harsh soap that I remember from elementary school in its bathroom.

    And, thanks for the laugh with “misteak!” xoxo

  4. Foggy Dew says:

    I thought I heard something from over this way. Misteak: pretty funny. I’ve never thought about No. 7, but you are exactly correct. You pay a bad server the same as a great one. Best you should get rid of the bad one.

  5. kim says:

    Going in to a new place as a past GM and near lifer in the industry is often a test of patience. And a test of my ability to bite my tongue.
    No hooks is ridiculous.

  6. natalie says:

    first off glad youre back yo…and totally agree with the harsh lighting…i look like an old hag in harsh lighting.

  7. we miss you….

  8. C_Girl says:

    Ugly bathrooms with poor amenities are my restaurant pet peeve…a shocking number of nice places have restrooms that are just WRONG.

  9. The Four Seasons always nails toilet tissue. The Mandarin Oriental? They could learn a thing or two from them.

    And I can’t stand it when restaurants use words like ‘delicious’ and ‘beautiful’ on the menu. Allow me to add the adjectives once I’ve sampled the dish, thank you very much.

    Good luck with things – so exciting!!!

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