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Old 04-13-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
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How long is too long to eat at a resturant?

Michael Bauer: Between Meals : Do San Francisco restaurants rush diners?

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I've noticed a disturbing trend in SF restaurants: kicking you out at a predetermined time. I've lived in many European countries, travel quite frequently, eat all around the world, and am very concerned that London restaurant trends have made their way across the pond. At least Brit restaurants (especially in Westminster) have their decree written on their menus: "This is not a destination restaurant." In most cases this means that you can't stay longer than 2.5 hours. In SF, I've been given as little as 1.5. My question to you is this: how do you feel about this subject? If you are as offended by this practice as I am, would you do your own research, write about the experience, and shame these people into changing their business practices (helping to kill this trend before it ruins San Francisco dining)?

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Old 04-13-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
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I've been rushed on occasion, but it's rare in L.A. When it happens anywhere, however, it's ALWAYS reflected in the tip!

There is a better way to handle the problem. One night several years ago my wife and I were having dinner with some old friends who had moved to Reno a couple of years earlier. We ate at a very nice lake-side restaurant in north Lake Tahoe, where we had a window table. We were talking up a storm and eating slowly, as was appropriate for the occasion. We had been at the place for maybe 2 or 3 hours when the maitre d' gingerly approached the table, asked how things were, then apologized and said he needed the table as another party who had reserved it were waiting. Rather than tell us to get the hell out, however, he very generously offered to buy us after-dinner drinks if we would move to the lounge, where he had secured yet another window table for us. Guess what? That class act got noticed in the tip, too.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:01 PM   #3
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If they kicked me out before I was done, good luck getting me to pay.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:16 PM   #4
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With friends or family, we try not to stay so long that we get the look! But a trend I've noticed and one that really makes me grit my teeth, is having the waiter or waitress, hover and grab your plate when they feel you are done.. I've gotten to the point where I keep one hand next to the plate if someone reaches for the plate, I say in a not so friendly voice, I'm NOT finished and put my hand on the plate edge..I told my DH the next time this is done..I'm going to ask for the manager..I don't like being unfiendly, but I find this practise rude..It happened to my DH and as she whisked the dish she did ask are you done? For once he spoke up and said no do you mind if I finish my sandwich? Geez, this really makes me feel awful, but by golly right is right.

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Old 04-14-2009, 10:17 PM   #5
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I don't remember anything like that ever hapening to me but if it ever does that would be one restraunt i would never take my business to again.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:27 PM   #6
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I think it depends on the capacity of the restaurant. If the restaurant is full and you're just doddling, get your butt out. I'm sorry but in this economy waitstaff and restaurants need to make money. If there's a line waiting to get in, you need to get going. You are being selfish taking up a table that someone else could occupy and give double the tip. If you want to squat, be willing to pay more. These are tough times, we need to rethink all of our habits.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:37 AM   #7
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Scotch - Now THAT was the perfect way to handle that situation!!! Kudos to that waiter.

The people doing the talking should be understanding enough to know that reservations have been made and maybe they need to move on to another location. It just needs to be handle as professionally as possible.

If I am done with my meal and I notice people waiting I try to get everyone else to move to the bar or move to another location.

CJ - I am with you on taking my plate before I'm ready for it to go! I've had my plate/salad removed with more than 50% of my food still on it. I was more than ticked.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadesma View Post
...But a trend I've noticed and one that really makes me grit my teeth, is having the waiter or waitress, hover and grab your plate when they feel you are done.. I've gotten to the point where I keep one hand next to the plate if someone reaches for the plate, I say in a not so friendly voice, I'm NOT finished and put my hand on the plate edge..I told my DH the next time this is done..I'm going to ask for the manager..I don't like being unfiendly, but I find this practise rude..It happened to my DH and as she whisked the dish she did ask are you done? For once he spoke up and said no do you mind if I finish my sandwich? Geez, this really makes me feel awful, but by golly right is right.

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My wife really gets her nose out of joint over this. It's not a problem for me since I eat like a starving pig most of the time.

What REALLY frys my socks, however, is having the waiter constantly refilling the wine glasses, sometimes emptying the bottle before the main course. It's an obvious ploy to sell more wine and to turn the tables as fast as possible. And my wife freaks out because she claims I end up getting more than my share of the wine. I simply put my hand on the bottle and say, "I'll pour." In some cases, I've gone so far as to put the bottle on the ledge behind the booth!
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:55 PM   #9
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...I simply put my hand on the bottle and say, "I'll pour." In some cases, I've gone so far as to put the bottle on the ledge behind the booth!

That's what I do as well. I want the bottle to last to the end of the meal. I can finish off the last glass waiting for dessert.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:12 AM   #10
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It would depend a lot on the restaurant. Mostly, though, if made to feel rushed I would not go back. I avoid the latest trendy place in town (in any town where I've visited or lived) and have a thing (years of military life) about standing in line to eat. I just won't do it. If you have to stand in line to get a table, you can bet that you're going to be rushed through your meal. IT was a trend, too, when I lived in Florida, that even when you had reservations and were on time (as opposed to early or late) that they wouldn't seat you at some places until your entire party was present. So you'd find yourself standing in line for a table while they seated people who had no reservations, rather than allowing us to take our table and order an appetizer and glass of wine while waiting for friends/relatives who were 5 minutes late. This rush-rush, get 'em in and get 'em out attitude smacks of fast food and when it's in places that think they are high end (and price themselves as such) leave me cold .... and them with a few less customers.
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