Deal Breakers That Make People Avoid A Restaurant

Deal Breakers That Make People Avoid A Restaurant

Eating at a restaurant can be one of life’s simplest pleasures. But there are also some things that can easily sour the experience of dining out. So Redditor u/jobokar asked, “What’s a dealbreaker for you at restaurants?” Here’s what people said, and I added a few of my own restaurant pet peeves, too.


“Any place that doesn’t put prices on the menu. If I’m going to spend money, I want to know how much I’m going to spend. Just tell me the steak is $40. Don’t make it a surprise.”


“Any place where the tables are packed so closely together to the extent that you might as well just sit with the strangers next to you.”



“Outrageously loud music. I’ve been seating in restaurants before where I can’t hear myself think, let alone hear the people opposite me talking.”


“When the kitchen doesn’t pace out the meal. If I’m going out to dinner I’m looking for a leisurely meal, and I can’t stand when all the dishes suddenly pour out of the kitchen one after the next. I understand most restaurants are trying to turn tables, but no one’s meal should feel rushed. I really appreciate when a restaurant knows how to pace things, especially if I’m asked to order my whole meal — apps and entrées — all at once.”

—Hannah Loewentheil


“An over abundance of televisions. TVs in sports bars are fine, but if I’m going to a restaurant I don’t want to be surrounded by them.”


“If I notice there’s no hand soap in the restroom. Unless the staff has their own restroom, that means no one’s really washing hands after doing their business before returning to work.”



“If I go to a Mexican/Tex-Mex spot and the chips and salsa are terrible, I just pack it up and leave. Nothing will get better after this rough start.”


“Dirty menus. If the staff at a restaurant can’t be bothered to wipe the menu down then I can’t help wonder what else they’re not cleaning.”



“A wine list that is overtly a huge rip-off, especially when the wines being offered are totally ordinary. I know that wine is always marked up at restaurants, but there’s a difference between a normal mark-up and an egregious one. Plus, when a restaurant has a unique wine list featuring bottles that are hard to come by, I’m more willing to splurge on something special. I can’t stand a place trying to charge $60 for a bottle of mass produced wine I know I can buy for $12 at any average wine store.”


“If I witness the restaurant owners being rude to staff in front of guests. That’s a big turn-off.”



“When the server recommends only the highest priced menu items. I understand that your tip depends on how much money I spend, but if you’re going to recommend only the $170 ribeye for two and no other more reasonable options, I’m going to have a bad taste in my mouth.”


“When the servers give off a bad vibe and appear to be in a bad mood. Read the mood of the room. If all waitstaff seem gloomy, stressed or irritable, then it’s probably a red flag about the restaurant.”



“If a seafood restaurant is giving off the strong smell of fish, don’t eat there.”


“A huge menu with loads of variety is a big deterrent for me. If a restaurant can just master five or six dishes they will probably taste far better than another restaurant where the kitchen can offer 50 eclectic options.”



“If the host/hostess ignores me for 10 minutes. Even if you are busy, at least acknowledge you’ve seen me waiting and will get to me.”


“Anywhere there’s a bad smell when you walk in. If I can smell sewage, mold or excessive bleach or ammonia that overpowers the smell of the food when I first walk in, I’m turning around.”



“Hidden fees that aren’t specified up front or menu items that change in price regularly. If I notice this happens, I won’t return.”


“When they keep the lights dimmed so low that you literally can’t see the menu. I’ve been to a few places like this, and the food is always bad. That restaurant is probably dark for a reason…”



“Split plate charges. Look, I understand why some restaurants do this. If a couple orders just one main dish to share and asks the kitchen to split it onto two plates, I totally get it. But one of my greatest restaurant pet peeves is when a table orders a lot of food including one shared item and the bill still arrives with a split plate charge.”


“When the server clears some plates while other people at the table are still enjoying their meal. This makes me so annoyed. It makes those still eating feel rushed. Please, I beg, just leave all of the plates until the whole party is done eating.”

—Hannah Loewentheil


“A place where the seats don’t have backs or they’re those small/rickety/’modern’/’stylish’ seats that offer no back support. There are lots of old people, pregnant people, and people with bad backs for whom spending an hour in an uncomfortable chair just ruins the dining experience. You know what’s chic? Comfort. Make me want to order a drink and appetizer and stay for dessert.”


“When the waitstaff takes my order by memory and then gets it wrong. If you are going to take my whole table’s order by memory without writing any of it down, please get it right. If that’s a problem, just write it down. Literally no one cares, and I actually prefer it when I see my order being written.”



“Charging extra for condiments. No, that fast food sized portion cup of BBQ sauce is not worth $2. And it should probably be free considering I bought a plate of chicken.”


“When it takes a long time to be acknowledged by the waiter. I went out to lunch with some co-workers recently and the servers all seemed to ignore us. We got no consultation about the menu, nothing even 15 minutes after being seated. This was probably the only time I’ve ever walked out of a restaurant.”



“Taking forever to get the check really grinds my gears. I’m less likely to return to a restaurant if I had to wait a long time to get the bill. I don’t want to be held hostage after my meal.”


“Those picnic table style that force you to have your meal amongst complete strangers.”



“When the server brings me my main course while I’m still eating the appetizer. Come on, now.”

What are some of your biggest pet peeves when it comes to restaurants and dining out? Tell us in the comments!