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Restaurant Talk - Modern Rules Of Dining (1 Viewer)

Talking about the "In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make" from other posters.

That's deeply ingrained in European culture that goes back generations. Americans gobble by comparison which promotes the desire among restaurants to turn a table over three times during a dinner service.

I don't think tipping servers has anything to do with this either way. It's just another local custom. Maybe I'm just an easy mark but I've had more good service than bad wherever I've gone.
Tipping servers is an essential part of all of this. Imagine you were a European server, relying on tips for income, and your manager insisted that you let people sit there for hours nursing their after-dinner coffee. That isn't going to work -- your interests are completely out of alignment with the restaurant. It makes sense to eschew tipping at places that don't put customers on a clock. Tipping is a cultural practice that, in this case, harmonizes with American's preference to get on with it.
 
Maybe it's just me but I prefer getting the bill early vs late. I like being able to up and leave without waiting around for the check.
Same here. And I like when bill comes with a QR code so don’t have to wait for the waiter/waitress to come back around. Although last time I paid that way, waitress came running up to us as we were walking out (maybe thinking we were ditching the bill) and I had to explain that paid using the QR code.
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.

Can you elaborate with specifics? You're saying 90 minutes for a restaurant meal is "impatient"? What are some other examples of being impatient?
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.

Can you elaborate with specifics? You're saying 90 minutes for a restaurant meal is "impatient"? What are some other examples of being impatient?
I think in general we want to be in and out at or before 90 minutes, excluding the exceptions I already mentioned. We don’t like to wait in line at the grocery store, or waiting in line anywhere, like being seated at a restaurant. We’re impatient when we drive. I think Europeans have a more relaxed lifestyle than Americans, not to say they aren’t impatient drivers. They don’t work as many hours, have more time off. Overall more laid back I believe. I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong about that.
 
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Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.

Can you elaborate with specifics? You're saying 90 minutes for a restaurant meal is "impatient"? What are some other examples of being impatient?

Didn’t we make “fast food” a thing? I guess other places have traditionally had street food which is a similar concept. I know I for one am extremely impatient. I want to get wherever I am going in absolutely the shortest time. I am loathe to order anything on line if it will take longer than 1-2 days to be in my hand. I can’t stand wasting time watching commercials, and will usually wait until an entire tv series is available before watching so I don’t have to wait a week for the next episode. And I hate standing in line for anything, whether it’s for a ride or a grocery store checkout line. I am militant about having priority to board the plane first instead of waiting in line, even though the plane takes off at the same time for everyone. Of course that’s just me, which may or may not be typical.
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.

Can you elaborate with specifics? You're saying 90 minutes for a restaurant meal is "impatient"? What are some other examples of being impatient?

Didn’t we make “fast food” a thing? I guess other places have traditionally had street food which is a similar concept. I know I for one am extremely impatient. I want to get wherever I am going in absolutely the shortest time. I am loathe to order anything on line if it will take longer than 1-2 days to be in my hand. I can’t stand wasting time watching commercials, and will usually wait until an entire tv series is available before watching so I don’t have to wait a week for the next episode. And I hate standing in line for anything, whether it’s for a ride or a grocery store checkout line. I am militant about having priority to board the plane first instead of waiting in line, even though the plane takes off at the same time for everyone. Of course that’s just me, which may or may not be typical.
At least you’re honest :)
 
as i have not looked at any books for european restaurants, there must be some other built in cost reductions. perhaps subsidies for leases or whatnot. European dining was the catalyst for me to get into culinary. i found quality/value amazing and wanted to replicate it
DK, any chance that in Europe, it’s far more common than in the US for a restaurant to own its own building vs leasing? I know Europe is a diverse place about which it is hard to generalize.

EDIT: Other thoughts

- Are there a lot of European restaurants that have been in their locales forever, in the same family, and are known by all and sundry? And as such, have no real advertising budget? I imagine (but don’t know) that English and Irish pubs work this way — people go because that’s just where people go and have always gone. Not because of snazzy TV commercials.

- Are commercial insurance considerations different in Europe? I know European employers don’t often have to pay in for employees’ medical insurance. But do property and business liability insurance differ as well from US considerations?
 
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Do they have outrageous Healthcare costs in Europe? Insurance costs?

Just asking, I dunno....never been. :kicksrock:
I think you know the answers to your questions, but I’m fairly certain the answer is “no” to both.

I also think European (broad strokes, I know) culture isn’t so materially driven.

Every European person I’ve ever met lives a simpler life than their American counterparts. Living that way makes maximizing profit less important.
 
now living in Europe (France), Ive noticed a day/night "dress code" to people in general, let alone in restaurants.

people leaving their home in "pyjamas/joggers/comfies" etc is a rare site here, even for teens... at a restaurant, people are always tastefully dressed... unlike what ive sometimes seen in Canada/USA.

To be fair, there's almost no "sports bars" here to speak of... but folks still tend to leave the house much more put together.

oh, and people also tend to greet each other when they walk into a restaurant. a simple "bonjour/bonsoir" as they walk past or walk in.
 
I know Europe is a diverse place about which it is hard to generalize.
Have you read this thread? Seems kinda easy. :wink:


Anyway:
France: includes service charge at any decent place: 15%. Required by law to include any service charge.
Italy: Very little, but all the nice places, here's a phrase for you: servizio incluso
England: Nice restaurants all have service charge added. 12% and up. English pubs (which appear to be representing Europe in this thread) tipping not expected, people will round up and such.
Netherlands: From what I could see, people just round up.
 
Maybe it's just me but I prefer getting the bill early vs late. I like being able to up and leave without waiting around for the check.
Honestly my favorite thing about dinner at airports. I can order and ask to bring the check with the food and it never phases anyone. They get it, may have to change terminals or whatever but really I just don't want to have to wait whenever I am done.
 
As others have said, being considerate of other patrons, and the restaurant staff, are paramount. So I don’t favor imposing most of these rules.

The two I have an opinion on are dress code (no) and time limit (yes).

I live in an informal place, and shorts/hats/slippers are accepted nearly everywhere. None of that stuff detracts from my dining experience. FWIW, I don’t like the pretense of “dressing up” in nearly any situation.

As far as time limits, I‘m impatient. I start to get annoyed when people chit-chat before looking at the menu, and the server needs to come back because someone hasn’t/can’t make up their mind. I also don’t like the custom of taking drink orders prior to ordering the meal.

It should take no more than a couple minutes to decide what food and beverage one wants, and it’s typically easy to review the menu even before you are seated. Big fan of QR code menus/orders to streamline this process.

Ninety minutes is more than enough time to accomplish a relaxed meal imo. The one exception may be tapas and sushi places, where it isn’t always clear how many dishes you‘ll eat a priori, and multiple orders are often placed over the course of the meal.

Somewhat related, I can do without all the cork-sniffing, glass swishing, and waiting for approval post first-sip that goes with wine drinking. Just order and drink it, like any other beverage.

I am NOT a wine guy, so this may be totally appropriate wine behavior, but I was at a dinner with someone who did the wine-sniffing, sip thing. And then sent the bottle back. I was horrified, but perhaps this is appropriate and acceptable.
It happens. Sometimes the wine is bad. Etiquette dictates that you turn away a bottle because it has gone bad, not because you simply don’t like it.
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
It’s simply a tradition that’s 100s of years old. And was probably more “necessary“ when the wine was made without all the modern advancements in preservation, sterile environments, etc.

fun fact: why do champagne and most other wines have the punt, the indentation, in the bottom of the bottle? . 2 reasons.the pressure of the champagne was causing the bottles to explode and the punt makes the bottles stronger. The other reason is that the wine drinkers were tired of the bottles scratching their tables, due to the swirled finish point of the glassblowers being on the bottom of the bottles. The more you know….
 
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time for the non-connoisseurs, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
I mostly do agree with you. The wine culture is mostly just snobbery. However, there is something like a 5% failure rate in corks so I get the idea of making sure you have not ordered a bottle of vinegar for the table to drink. That said, if we all just accepted twist tops, we could do with less show.
It’s way less than 5% in my experience.
 
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time for the non-connoisseurs, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
I mostly do agree with you. The wine culture is mostly just snobbery. However, there is something like a 5% failure rate in corks so I get the idea of making sure you have not ordered a bottle of vinegar for the table to drink. That said, if we all just accepted twist tops, we could do with less show.
I didn’t realize that. Other than tradition (environment?), any good reason to stick with cork?
Not really.
 
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time for the non-connoisseurs, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
I mostly do agree with you. The wine culture is mostly just snobbery. However, there is something like a 5% failure rate in corks so I get the idea of making sure you have not ordered a bottle of vinegar for the table to drink. That said, if we all just accepted twist tops, we could do with less show.
I didn’t realize that. Other than tradition (environment?), any good reason to stick with cork?
Theoretically, there's a difference in how a wine can age with a cork vs a screw cap. How much this matters is up for debate, as screw caps are new enough for studies to not have enough longevity to be fully conclusive. My personal sense is any bottle that wholesales for more than like $100 should probably be corked, and even then it depends on varietal and style.

Worth noting that the vast majority of wines aren't aging, and then a subset of the ones that are, aren't gaining much from it anyway.
What do you mean that wines aren’t aging? even crappy wines evolve over time.
 
Talking about the "In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make" from other posters.

That's deeply ingrained in European culture that goes back generations. Americans gobble by comparison which promotes the desire among restaurants to turn a table over three times during a dinner service.

I don't think tipping servers has anything to do with this either way. It's just another local custom. Maybe I'm just an easy mark but I've had more good service than bad wherever I've gone.
Tipping servers is an essential part of all of this. Imagine you were a European server, relying on tips for income, and your manager insisted that you let people sit there for hours nursing their after-dinner coffee. That isn't going to work -- your interests are completely out of alignment with the restaurant. It makes sense to eschew tipping at places that don't put customers on a clock. Tipping is a cultural practice that, in this case, harmonizes with American's preference to get on with it.
I can vouch for the high end restaurant experience, ownership and management are making ZERO decisions based on how much money the waiters are making. Unless the waiter is being shady and doing something against policy that benefits them financially. Then that waiter either changes their behavior or will be shown the door.
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?
I think in general he is right. Of course there are exceptions, like when you’re having a meal with friends as opposed to just you and your spouse. There are exceptions to that also when fine dining. My wife and I tend to want to take longer the nicer the restaurant.

Can you elaborate with specifics? You're saying 90 minutes for a restaurant meal is "impatient"? What are some other examples of being impatient?
I think in general we want to be in and out at or before 90 minutes, excluding the exceptions I already mentioned. We don’t like to wait in line at the grocery store, or waiting in line anywhere, like being seated at a restaurant. We’re impatient when we drive. I think Europeans have a more relaxed lifestyle than Americans, not to say they aren’t impatient drivers. They don’t work as many hours, have more time off. Overall more laid back I believe. I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong about that.
European drivers would like a word….
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?

  • 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently
  • More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less
  • 71 percent frequently exceed the speed limit to get to their destination faster
  • Americans will binge-watch an average of seven TV episodes in a single sitting
  • Nearly a third of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one second before bypassing a slow walker
  • Gen Yers check their phones an average of eight times when waiting to hear back from someone they've dated
  • When waiting for a table at a restaurant, nearly a quarter of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one minute before approaching the host again after the wait period has passed
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?

  • 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently
  • More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less
  • 71 percent frequently exceed the speed limit to get to their destination faster
  • Americans will binge-watch an average of seven TV episodes in a single sitting
  • Nearly a third of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one second before bypassing a slow walker
  • Gen Yers check their phones an average of eight times when waiting to hear back from someone they've dated
  • When waiting for a table at a restaurant, nearly a quarter of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one minute before approaching the host again after the wait period has passed
Some of that is very funny, but true.
 

  • 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently
  • More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less
  • 71 percent frequently exceed the speed limit to get to their destination faster
  • Americans will binge-watch an average of seven TV episodes in a single sitting
  • Nearly a third of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one second before bypassing a slow walker
  • Gen Yers check their phones an average of eight times when waiting to hear back from someone they've dated
  • When waiting for a table at a restaurant, nearly a quarter of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one minute before approaching the host again after the wait period has passed
  • 85% of FBG will skim this post
 

  • 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently
  • More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less
  • 71 percent frequently exceed the speed limit to get to their destination faster
  • Americans will binge-watch an average of seven TV episodes in a single sitting
  • Nearly a third of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one second before bypassing a slow walker
  • Gen Yers check their phones an average of eight times when waiting to hear back from someone they've dated
  • When waiting for a table at a restaurant, nearly a quarter of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one minute before approaching the host again after the wait period has passed
  • 85% of FBG will skim this post
I’m a 15 percent guy
 
Americans are a notoriously impatient people and our customs have evolved from that.

Can you elaborate on this?

  • 96 percent of Americans will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth; 63 percent do so frequently
  • More than half hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or less
  • 71 percent frequently exceed the speed limit to get to their destination faster
  • Americans will binge-watch an average of seven TV episodes in a single sitting
  • Nearly a third of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one second before bypassing a slow walker
  • Gen Yers check their phones an average of eight times when waiting to hear back from someone they've dated
  • When waiting for a table at a restaurant, nearly a quarter of respondents ages 18-24 wait less than one minute before approaching the host again after the wait period has passed
4%
 
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time for the non-connoisseurs, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
I mostly do agree with you. The wine culture is mostly just snobbery. However, there is something like a 5% failure rate in corks so I get the idea of making sure you have not ordered a bottle of vinegar for the table to drink. That said, if we all just accepted twist tops, we could do with less show.
I didn’t realize that. Other than tradition (environment?), any good reason to stick with cork?
Theoretically, there's a difference in how a wine can age with a cork vs a screw cap. How much this matters is up for debate, as screw caps are new enough for studies to not have enough longevity to be fully conclusive. My personal sense is any bottle that wholesales for more than like $100 should probably be corked, and even then it depends on varietal and style.

Worth noting that the vast majority of wines aren't aging, and then a subset of the ones that are, aren't gaining much from it anyway.
What do you mean that wines aren’t aging? even crappy wines evolve over time.
Not meaningfully. And many fantastic wines aren't wines that gain depth with age. The classic example would be a Beaujolais, a wine meant for the powerful fruit. While you're right that it would evolve over time, that evolution wouldn't be producing better wine.

In any case, the vast vast majority of wine is consumed within 1-3 years of bottling.

Yes, all wines change. Not all wines (in fact, the vast majority of wines do not) get better with age.
 
I get that, but wouldn’t the same be true for just about any food or beverage? Why all the ceremonial pomp for wine, but not other pricey liquor, steak, lobster, risotto, etc.?

As a non-participant in the show, it just wastes time for the non-connoisseurs, imo.

I guess there is showiness involved with high-end desserts, like all the flaming stuff, and other items prepared tableside, but nobody is getting certified to ensure they display enough culture when served a nice Caesar salad.
I mostly do agree with you. The wine culture is mostly just snobbery. However, there is something like a 5% failure rate in corks so I get the idea of making sure you have not ordered a bottle of vinegar for the table to drink. That said, if we all just accepted twist tops, we could do with less show.
It’s way less than 5% in my experience.

I've had a few bad bottles. In Texas you are more likely to get a stressed bottle then corked. Not near 5%.
 
Yes, all wines change. Not all wines (in fact, the vast majority of wines do not) get better with age.
Oh man, you just reminded me about my parents buying this old house and finding 2 cases of crap wine from 25 years ago (whatever brand wine they serve at a VFW, this kind of wine), and they were all excited that they had some vintage something or other.

They were very disappointed that not only were they not gonna crush the next Sotheby's auction, but that I wouldn't even get within 5 feet of those bottles.
 
Speaking of dogs and restaurants, we had our first "service dog" situation a couple of months ago.

This was obviously a BS service dog situation. Irritating as it is to see someone blatantly abuse laws meant to protect true service dogs and folks that depend on them, I knew I needed to proceed with caution on handling it.

First time I saw the dog, he was sprinting across the parking lot, off leash.
So the guy gets the dog leashed, they come in. Dog has a service dog vest obviously ordered on Amazon.
He's a good dog. Black lab mix. Behaving just like my recently departed, amazing, Omar, would in a restaurant. Sweet and friendly, but obviously not a true service dog.
He's standing up the whole time, blocking walkways at times. Owner is literally feeding this dog in the restaurant.
Other customers seemed to love the dog, and the owner let the dog approach them, when invited.
Dog even playfully barked at one point.

Point is.....Nice, decently mannered dog, but clearly not a real service dog.

I didn't say anything at the time, knowing I needed to make sure I understood the laws before doing so. But the owner clearly picked up on my irritation. They haven't been back since.

Looking into the laws, wow, it's ridiculous. I understand why, but really ridiculous.

Best I can tell, I can ask if this is a service dog, and maybe, what service does this dog perform. Obviously, no asking about anything related to the nature of the disability.

But anything I can ask can be given completely BS answer that I'm not allowed to verify. So, a pointless endeavor.

But I can make reasonable requests to help ensure the health and safety of the other customers. If they ever come back, I'll ask that they sit out of the way, and not block walkways or approach customers.

Anyway, for anybody truly insistent on taking their dog to any restaurant, just slap an orange vest on them, write service dog with a Sharpie. If they ask, say the dog helps you remember to take your meds. But they probably won't. The 1 in a million chance that it's actually a service dog isn't worth the risk.
 
Speaking of dogs and restaurants, we had our first "service dog" situation a couple of months ago.

This was obviously a BS service dog situation. Irritating as it is to see someone blatantly abuse laws meant to protect true service dogs and folks that depend on them, I knew I needed to proceed with caution on handling it.

First time I saw the dog, he was sprinting across the parking lot, off leash.
So the guy gets the dog leashed, they come in. Dog has a service dog vest obviously ordered on Amazon.
He's a good dog. Black lab mix. Behaving just like my recently departed, amazing, Omar, would in a restaurant. Sweet and friendly, but obviously not a true service dog.
He's standing up the whole time, blocking walkways at times. Owner is literally feeding this dog in the restaurant.
Other customers seemed to love the dog, and the owner let the dog approach them, when invited.
Dog even playfully barked at one point.

Point is.....Nice, decently mannered dog, but clearly not a real service dog.

I didn't say anything at the time, knowing I needed to make sure I understood the laws before doing so. But the owner clearly picked up on my irritation. They haven't been back since.

Looking into the laws, wow, it's ridiculous. I understand why, but really ridiculous.

Best I can tell, I can ask if this is a service dog, and maybe, what service does this dog perform. Obviously, no asking about anything related to the nature of the disability.

But anything I can ask can be given completely BS answer that I'm not allowed to verify. So, a pointless endeavor.

But I can make reasonable requests to help ensure the health and safety of the other customers. If they ever come back, I'll ask that they sit out of the way, and not block walkways or approach customers.

Anyway, for anybody truly insistent on taking their dog to any restaurant, just slap an orange vest on them, write service dog with a Sharpie. If they ask, say the dog helps you remember to take your meds. But they probably won't. The 1 in a million chance that it's actually a service dog isn't worth the risk.
What are the rules for emotional support animals?
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
 
The original article you linked to was from a UK paper, and they have been enforcing time limits in nice European restaurants for close to a decade that I am aware of.

So people talking about no time limits in 'Europe', I don't get it, when this is demonstrably false.

Thanks. I was mostly just responding to the folks here fawning over how aweseome it is in Europe where you take all the time you want and "have to beg" for the server to bring a check.

I spend a lot of time in Italy on business, and honestly, I wish the meals were shorter. Getting back to my hotel from dinner at close to midnight is brutal when you’re jet lagged and working all day. So not really awesome per se or fawning in my book.
solo meals, family meals? i fully understand what you are saying. I love not being rushed, but having a place open at 7.30p for service basically means you are there likely until 10p at the earliest. if you go DEG (me and the mrs. use this acronym for Dessert, Espresso, Grappa) add another hour. i have found that trying pizzerias for dinner makes time more efficient. many have pasta menus and are open all day. unless you are looking for a true secondi, you can get by at one of these places and sit down before 7.30p. the menu will be much smaller than an osteria or trattoria, but the prices will be lower and the time factor matters.
 
The original article you linked to was from a UK paper, and they have been enforcing time limits in nice European restaurants for close to a decade that I am aware of.

So people talking about no time limits in 'Europe', I don't get it, when this is demonstrably false.

Thanks. I was mostly just responding to the folks here fawning over how aweseome it is in Europe where you take all the time you want and "have to beg" for the server to bring a check.

I spend a lot of time in Italy on business, and honestly, I wish the meals were shorter. Getting back to my hotel from dinner at close to midnight is brutal when you’re jet lagged and working all day. So not really awesome per se or fawning in my book.
Have the bigger meal at lunch and have a snack for dinner. That’s what we are planning on doing for our trip to Italy in May, with the exception of a few times.

Yeah, sorry I wasn’t more clear. These are work-related dinners when I’m on business trips so not really optional. But yeah, your plan is a good one though you should definitely have a few nice dinners. There are places that open earlier.
My wife is the planner and it was her idea of having the bigger meal at lunch and just snack for dinner. That way your whole evening isn’t taken up by dinner every night. Of course we want the experience of nice dinners as well. Kind of mix it up I suppose.
this is how they do it in italy but remember, if you are sightseeing and touring, it's hard to lose 12-4p for a meal.
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
so, i think the turning tables thing is also a time thing, from an opening standpoint. some restaurants in the US are always open or open at say 4.30p. you can expect to turn the table 3-4 times i would guess. in italy, place open at 7.30p, maybe 7p. if they close at 10p how many people are coming in to eat a meal at 9.30p or so? i think they are very happy to have each table filled one time and if they get lucky with a second seating, so be it. when we go out to eat, we often see italians coming in to eat after 9p. we do notice that they are simply getting a drink and a pasta, nothing fancy or long.
 
The original article you linked to was from a UK paper, and they have been enforcing time limits in nice European restaurants for close to a decade that I am aware of.

So people talking about no time limits in 'Europe', I don't get it, when this is demonstrably false.

Thanks. I was mostly just responding to the folks here fawning over how aweseome it is in Europe where you take all the time you want and "have to beg" for the server to bring a check.

I spend a lot of time in Italy on business, and honestly, I wish the meals were shorter. Getting back to my hotel from dinner at close to midnight is brutal when you’re jet lagged and working all day. So not really awesome per se or fawning in my book.
Have the bigger meal at lunch and have a snack for dinner. That’s what we are planning on doing for our trip to Italy in May, with the exception of a few times.

Yeah, sorry I wasn’t more clear. These are work-related dinners when I’m on business trips so not really optional. But yeah, your plan is a good one though you should definitely have a few nice dinners. There are places that open earlier.
My wife is the planner and it was her idea of having the bigger meal at lunch and just snack for dinner. That way your whole evening isn’t taken up by dinner every night. Of course we want the experience of nice dinners as well. Kind of mix it up I suppose.
this is how they do it in italy but remember, if you are sightseeing and touring, it's hard to lose 12-4p for a meal.
Lunch takes as long as dinner?
 
Speaking of dogs and restaurants, we had our first "service dog" situation a couple of months ago.

This was obviously a BS service dog situation. Irritating as it is to see someone blatantly abuse laws meant to protect true service dogs and folks that depend on them, I knew I needed to proceed with caution on handling it.

First time I saw the dog, he was sprinting across the parking lot, off leash.
So the guy gets the dog leashed, they come in. Dog has a service dog vest obviously ordered on Amazon.
He's a good dog. Black lab mix. Behaving just like my recently departed, amazing, Omar, would in a restaurant. Sweet and friendly, but obviously not a true service dog.
He's standing up the whole time, blocking walkways at times. Owner is literally feeding this dog in the restaurant.
Other customers seemed to love the dog, and the owner let the dog approach them, when invited.
Dog even playfully barked at one point.

Point is.....Nice, decently mannered dog, but clearly not a real service dog.

I didn't say anything at the time, knowing I needed to make sure I understood the laws before doing so. But the owner clearly picked up on my irritation. They haven't been back since.

Looking into the laws, wow, it's ridiculous. I understand why, but really ridiculous.

Best I can tell, I can ask if this is a service dog, and maybe, what service does this dog perform. Obviously, no asking about anything related to the nature of the disability.

But anything I can ask can be given completely BS answer that I'm not allowed to verify. So, a pointless endeavor.

But I can make reasonable requests to help ensure the health and safety of the other customers. If they ever come back, I'll ask that they sit out of the way, and not block walkways or approach customers.

Anyway, for anybody truly insistent on taking their dog to any restaurant, just slap an orange vest on them, write service dog with a Sharpie. If they ask, say the dog helps you remember to take your meds. But they probably won't. The 1 in a million chance that it's actually a service dog isn't worth the risk.
What are the rules for emotional support animals?
While this article is Louisiana-specific, a good summary of the federal ADA laws regarding service animals is embedded within. Start with the third paragraph where it reads: Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog (or in some cases, a miniature horse).

You’ll notice that “emotional support animals” aren’t a thing at the federal level. Instead, it would depend on state laws — Louisiana, for one, doesn’t require businesses and public spaces to recognize emotional support animals. Not sure about other states’ laws on this topic.
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
so, i think the turning tables thing is also a time thing, from an opening standpoint. some restaurants in the US are always open or open at say 4.30p. you can expect to turn the table 3-4 times i would guess. in italy, place open at 7.30p, maybe 7p. if they close at 10p how many people are coming in to eat a meal at 9.30p or so? i think they are very happy to have each table filled one time and if they get lucky with a second seating, so be it. when we go out to eat, we often see italians coming in to eat after 9p. we do notice that they are simply getting a drink and a pasta, nothing fancy or long.
Yeah it’s crazy. That means US restaurants are doing as much as 4 times the business Euro restaurants do, don’t have to pay servers as much because of tipping, and yet they still struggle so much.

Something with this system is broken.
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
so, i think the turning tables thing is also a time thing, from an opening standpoint. some restaurants in the US are always open or open at say 4.30p. you can expect to turn the table 3-4 times i would guess. in italy, place open at 7.30p, maybe 7p. if they close at 10p how many people are coming in to eat a meal at 9.30p or so? i think they are very happy to have each table filled one time and if they get lucky with a second seating, so be it. when we go out to eat, we often see italians coming in to eat after 9p. we do notice that they are simply getting a drink and a pasta, nothing fancy or long.
Yeah it’s crazy. That means US restaurants are doing as much as 4 times the business Euro restaurants do, don’t have to pay servers as much because of tipping, and yet they still struggle so much.

Something with this system is broken.
overhead, specifically rent/mortgage, sourcing of products since the supply chain has become so expensive. also, how often do you go to a restaurant where the owner is actively on site? either cooking or front of house? in italy, if the owner or his mother or father or family is cooking, well you are saving say $80k on not having a head chef.
 
The original article you linked to was from a UK paper, and they have been enforcing time limits in nice European restaurants for close to a decade that I am aware of.

So people talking about no time limits in 'Europe', I don't get it, when this is demonstrably false.

Thanks. I was mostly just responding to the folks here fawning over how aweseome it is in Europe where you take all the time you want and "have to beg" for the server to bring a check.

I spend a lot of time in Italy on business, and honestly, I wish the meals were shorter. Getting back to my hotel from dinner at close to midnight is brutal when you’re jet lagged and working all day. So not really awesome per se or fawning in my book.
Have the bigger meal at lunch and have a snack for dinner. That’s what we are planning on doing for our trip to Italy in May, with the exception of a few times.

Yeah, sorry I wasn’t more clear. These are work-related dinners when I’m on business trips so not really optional. But yeah, your plan is a good one though you should definitely have a few nice dinners. There are places that open earlier.
My wife is the planner and it was her idea of having the bigger meal at lunch and just snack for dinner. That way your whole evening isn’t taken up by dinner every night. Of course we want the experience of nice dinners as well. Kind of mix it up I suppose.
this is how they do it in italy but remember, if you are sightseeing and touring, it's hard to lose 12-4p for a meal.
Lunch takes as long as dinner?
they call it a riposo or pausa pranzo for a reason........biggest meal generally takes the longest, especially if it's a restaurant sit down. i much prefer a grab and go, pizzeria, tavola calda. finding an awesome tavola calda is the play. basically pre cooked buffet style where you point and go and don't spend 2 hours.
 
some restaurants in the US are always open or open at say 4.30p. you can expect to turn the table 3-4 times i would guess
Which restaurants turn their tables 3-4 times?

American restaurants?

Four seems like a lot for a restaurant serving dinner from 5:30 to 9:00. Unless you have an early crowd going to a show or something, a nicer place will do 2-3 turns. There's a 50% difference of course which explains why it's such a big deal for restaurants to average closer to 3.

More casual places have some cushion because of delivery/takeout orders which may explain why seemingly empty restaurants are able to stay in business.
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
How long was your meal?
 
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:
I’ve been told if we wanted dessert it would have to be given to us to go because of the next reservation being overdue. We did not go back to that place.
How long was your meal?
Not long at all. Just a standard meal at a nice-ish restaurant. 90 minutes tops. I’m always conscious of not lingering if a restaurant is busy.
 
yeah, US. the goal would seem to be turn it as much possible until closing. am i wrong?
The goal, or the expectation? You said 'expect'. That is significantly different. And it is not a realistic goal.

Outside of a tourist/resort places, I have never seen an area where restaurants can plan on 3+ turns per shift.

In any area, such a restaurant can definitely exist. A well-placed Cheesecake Factory. A great BBQ joint. The best family restaurant, with little competition. But 'American Restaurants', are not averaging CLOSE to 3-4 turns.
 
yeah, US. the goal would seem to be turn it as much possible until closing. am i wrong?
The goal, or the expectation? You said 'expect'. That is significantly different. And it is not a realistic goal.

Outside of a tourist/resort places, I have never seen an area where restaurants can plan on 3+ turns per shift.

In any area, such a restaurant can definitely exist. A well-placed Cheesecake Factory. A great BBQ joint. The best family restaurant, with little competition. But 'American Restaurants', are not averaging CLOSE to 3-4 turns.
by using expect, i think i mean to hope. if perpetually rushed and impatient americans can eat and go in 1 hour, a table could turn 3-4 times an evening. of course we are talking about non fancy or upper end places. like you mentioned, bbq, a red robin, cheesecake factory.
 
I eat out all the time, I am afraid to post the exact number, but it is a lot of times in a year. In fact I am on my lunch break at work eating at a local Vietnamese restaurant right now.

I almost never see any issues in restaurants that would justify the amount of posts in this thread.
 
I’m guessing the 90 minute rule is only posted so that if you’re still dawdling for 30 minutes after dinner they can politely tell you to GTFO
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

This seems like the constant refrain about how wonderful Europe is with people spending 4 hours at dinner.
For the US, I don't know "it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make." From what I can tell, a restaurant is a tough business with ridiculously narrow profit margins. I'm not sure I fault a restaurant for wanting to turn their tables every 2 hours.
What percentage of the time do you guys feel rushed through a meal, in comparison to delays in service?

For me, the breakdown is 0% rushed, maybe 25% delayed due to service. I can’t recall ever receiving the check before I was ready. A four hour dinner is about 3 hours too long, imo.

But about 50% of the time the meal takes too long because my wife and father-in-law are the two slowest eaters on the planet. :kicksrock:

Similar, 0% rushed, 10% delayed.
 
Big fan of servers bringing the credit card machine to the table. Seems ludicrous that in general we just hand our card to a stranger who takes it into a back room for a few minutes
 
I’m guessing the 90 minute rule is only posted so that if you’re still dawdling for 30 minutes after dinner they can politely tell you to GTFO
Restaurants here should cut their reservations down at least 25%. In Europe by contrast, they are much more relaxed and it is unheard of to rush people through a meal just to seat the next table. Hell, they don't even give you the bill until you ask for it. But here, it's all about how many butts you can serve and how much money you can make.

Colombia takes it to the other extreme. I would let the server know upfront I want to be rushed through dinner and it was lucky to be under 2 hours and a fast lunch there is still over an hour.

2 hour lunches and 2-3 hour dinners are the norm there.
I would bring my gaming laptop to dinner and ask to sit near a plug. If I was going to sit by myself at a dinner I was not going to waste my time.
 

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