I rate my worst restaurant experiences by the poor service. Unlike most of the Yelp reviews I read, I do not rate them on the lack of modern décor in the interior of the restaurant or the ambiance. I don’t expect over-the-top fake niceness from servers. I don’t even expect the menu to have alcohol. I go for good food(stuff I wouldn’t be able to make at home, nor have the time to make), and good service (get food on table at reasonable time). I’m simple like that. On top of that, since I am Chinese, I’m used to servers being brash or extremely curt with me in a restaurant. I think I have a pretty thick skin when I dine out for dim sum or a banquet, when a waiter/waitress impatiently scribbles down our orders and yells at everyone, as in the wait staff and customers. That’s just the way it is, and if you’ve ever went to a Chinese restaurant you probably experienced this.
I’ve had a lot of bad experiences in restaurants ever since I can remember. In London I went to only one Chinese restaurant there, and the waitress threw the menu at me. She THREW it onto the table. She complained about me to the cook (yes, I can understand what you’re saying) then when my food came she dropped the dish on the table. The other patrons around me stared in awe. I guess they were treated differently (nicer?). When the bill came, I paid it adding some change for a tip. In the UK, you don’t add tips to the bill, they don’t ask for it and it’s insulting if you do it. She looked at the tip (a few coins) and I smiled sweetly and thanked her (in Cantonese) as I walked out the door. The look she had was confusion. It was worth the few cents. If you treat your customers like garbage, expect the same, you know?
But that doesn’t even compare what I’m going to tell you now.
The one experience that tops them all is what I had a few months ago, in my hometown of Rochester. We went out to a Chinese restaurant (why oh why are all these experiences at Chinese restaurants?!). The owners know my parents and chat with them every time we come in. It was the first time I came back to the restaurant with the new baby. We are about to sit down when the owner’s wife looks at me and exclaims (in Cantonese):
“Waah, you got so fat after the baby! How much do you weigh?”
Of course, I’m shocked she asked about my weight and question whether I heard her correctly. I stare at her for a second then stare at my mom and ask her what she just said. My mom just replies to the lady, “You’re not supposed to ask questions like that! How much does YOUR daughter weigh, eh?”
So the lady tells my mom how much her daughter weighs, how she wishes her daughter lost the baby weight she gained, how both their daughters are now so fat. Then she turns to me and asks again how much I weigh. She also says again how she can’t believe how much weight I’ve kept on since I had the baby.
I’m not really hungry at this point.
Being told you’re fat at a restaurant (by the owner, no less) would deter anyone from ever showing their face at your restaurant again. I imagine this is something waiters do behind patrons’ backs, like in the kitchen or something, but never to the person’s face. That’s like restauranticide. What if this person is a journalist, a reporter, someone who can really hurt your business later on? What if this person has a food blog (heh…)? What if this person tells other customers and they boycott you?
By the way, if you’re in the mood for a good face slap (figuratively), this occurred at:
3159 Winton Rd S
Rochester, NY 14623
The reason I wrote this was because I read an article about how a 290 lb. guy is suing White Castle for not offering larger seats at their restaurants. And I thought, hey guy, you haven’t really been insulted yet. Because nothing is as humiliating as sitting your size 4 ass down at a restaurant and being told that you are fat. It’s not like I broke a chair, or couldn’t fit in the seat, etc. It’s time that restaurants treated customers with kindness and respect (and customers do the same). Just serving good food isn’t going to cut it.
On a side note, this post isn’t about weight issues. It’s bad enough when people feel the need to reassure me that my weight is reasonable when I’m not even asking about it. Fact is, I don’t care. My weight is my issue alone. I don’t sit around complaining to friends/family how fat I am or how I wish I was thinner, nor do I like to divulge those insecurities to strangers at restaurants.
And lastly, I’d like to add that not ALL Chinese restaurants are like this. I’ve been to ones where they treat customers nicely because it does, in fact, bring them back. But most are very curt with customers, and that’s normal, nothing personal. It’s the hurry up and get food to these people fast attitude that makes them so efficient, and I like that about Chinese restaurants. No need for small talk. Just get the food in my belly fast please.
Ok, it’s time for my workout now.
Does anyone have a bad restaurant experience they’d like to share?