A rant: The six most obnoxious things restaurants do.


Since when did you have to have a PhD in Rocket Science to make a restaurant booking? Since when did, oh you know, those things called plates become so daggy? Why can’t I just get a drink in a freaking GLASS?

I’ll tell you why: Restaurants have had an obnoxious overload. I don’t know if it’s since being a foodie became a thing, or since Instagram meant every meal served is being judged by all of @miss_Sassy19’s followers, but it’s almost impossible these days to organise a pleasant meal without throwing your hands up in exasperation and saying this:

Alas, I can’t change the ways of the food industry. But I can give you a list of the most obnoxious things restaurants do, in the hopes it will give you the power of choice and exclusion. Selfless, I know. You’re welcome.

So by all means: Go out. Dine. Be merry! Just don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Here’s the top six obnoxious moves that restaurants pull:

1. A booking system designed to make you give up.

You can have a table for 6 but only after 8pm. Tables for two are fine but there’s a minimum spend of $100. We can fit you in at 7 but you have to be gone by 8:30. Tables between 6 and 9 can only select from banquet option B. If there’s going to be less than five of you we’d like you to prepay.

We can fit you in – in an hour – but only if you wait in our bar and we require a minimum drink spend of $50. Each. We only have tables of that seat 2 or 4 – NO variations. You can book by phone but only with the codeword. We only take internet bokings with a credit card.


We don’t take bookings. If Sally has 8 friends and the restaurant has 4 tables with 6 chairs and each of Sally’s friends is going to spend this much on wine and take banquet option C and be gone by –


2. Classic meals ‘with a twist’.

Oh I’m sorry, when you ordered a meat pie were you not expecting a single sheet of pastry, topped with a single scoop of mince garnished with a single mint leaf – all crammed into a single mason jar on a bed of mushy peas?

No, I wasn’t. And one piece of ravioli is one bloody piece of ravioli – I don’t care how big it is.

If I wanted my food ‘deconstructed’ I wouldn’t be paying a professional to construct it for me. Now put a pastry lid on my freaking pie.


3. Serving all the things in mason jars. All. The. Things.

Would you like that mason jar served in a mason jar?

It’s not just the aforementioned ‘pie’ – these days, you immediately know how hip a restaurant is by just how much they choose to put in mason jars.

Drinks. Cocktails. Coffee. Food. Flowers. Cutlery. Desserts. Candles. Menus. If all of these don’t come in a mason jar (or at least a soup can with the label taken off), you are not in an awesome enough establishment my friend.

Leave immediately, head to the nearest venue with industrial lightglobes hanging from the ceiling and ask them to take everything from the menu, blend it and serve it to you in a mason jar. Topped with a single sprig of rosemary that they grew in a mason jar on the window sill. Mason jar.

4. Being asked if ‘you know how the restaurant works’.


I’m ordering food – not bringing peace to the middle east. If I can’t figure out how to pick what I want and eat it by myself then I’d rather go somewhere less complicated.

Got some Mac and Cheese? Here’s some truffles.     Now give me my Michelin Star.

5. Make not-so-fancy food very fancy by adding truffles.

Mac and Cheese with truffles – 100 bucks. Pizza with truffles – 200 bucks. Scrambled eggs with truffles – 150 bucks.

This a smart way for restaurants to make lots of money with very little effort and have nobody question them because they’re being clever and because IRONY.


6. Being unfamiliar with the concept of tap water.

“And will that be still or sparkling water for the table?”

“Oh, just tap is fine thanks.”

You want water from WHERE?

This is the moment your waiter will take on a look that is equal parts concerned/confused. They will sound out the word ‘tap’ like it’s some sort of bizarre foreign language: “Te – Ap?”

Upon explaining to them what this strange request means, their confusion will immediately turn to horror, as they basically think you’re demanding that the main pipeline from the sewer to be diverted directly into your glass.

They’ll make up for this disgusting, unbottled beverage by refusing to serve it without a garnish. So get ready for some lemon/lime/mint/rose petals and too much crushed ice.


So they’re the top six. What other obnoxious restaurant moves can you add to the list?