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Attitude required by restaurant as part of "experience"

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There is a recent thread on this board about counter help that is rude, brusque, even telling you to go to the back of the line if you dont' knwo what you want, a la Pat's Steaks or the Soup Nazi.

I'd like to discuss a slightly different flavor of rude service, where being insulting to the customers is part of the waiter's training and supposed to be "funny," at franchises like Dick's Last Resort -- where they make everyone at the table wear insulting/profane hats -- or that place at Disney-MGM Studios where they won't serve you dessert if you don't eat all your vegetables first.

Rude people, I can tolerate, because I can deal with them in a situation-appropriate way. But a restaurant that prides itself on being abusive to customers, and considers it "funny" or "cute"? No way, Jose. If I make it into one of these places by accident, I never go back.

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  1. years ago [i dunno, maybe it still exists] there was a club in bay ridge, brooklyn called the crazy country club. right away, you knew what you were in for. they advertised 'warm beer, lousy food'. the waitstaff served food in a dog food bowl to any customer they perceived to be, shall we say, not fair of face. and throw you a toilet paper roll should you ask for napkins. and pity the unsuspecting woman who walked in there with a flowy skirt. there was a blower [a la 'the seven year itch'] near the door that would whoosh it right up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ericalloyd

      I grew up not far from this place and no matter how many times you saw the sign, "Warm beer lousy food", it looked totally incongruous.

    2. I went to Dick's Last Resort in Dallas when I was maybe 22 w/ a group of colleauges for "staff training". We thought the "rude" thing was hilarious, enjoyed the ribs and crablegs, got drunk and had our pictures taken in a photo booth. It's that kind of place, aimed at that demographic.

      I don't think it should be that hard for an adult Chowhound to avoid those places.

      1. I went to the Dick's LAst REsort on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Was at a Sales Conference, and our company had the wntire place. Like you said, drank a lot of beer, and ate the ribs. A fun experience, but certainly not chowish. Good for what is is!

        1. There is a place that makes you eat all your vegetables before you can have dessert??

          AWESOME.

          I think every place should do this!!!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sethboy

            It's the '50s Prime Time Cafe at MGM Studios in Orlando. At first when you walk in, it's all cute, the waitress calls you "hon" and tells you gently to keep your elbows off the table. But then it progresses to more and more nagging. Disney dining is expensive enough without being irritated by people NOT wearing fuzzy suits.

            http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/...

            1. re: Covert Ops

              Back when my mom and I took yearly trips to Disney World we used to love the 50's Prime Time Cafe at MGM. I remember the waitresses being cute with us, pretending to be our mom, but I definitely DON'T remember her nagging us or refusing to serve us dessert. Maybe things have escalated since then (we are talking at least 17 years), but we were also good eaters who ate all our vegetables.

              I can say, though, that we definitely wouldn't have continued going there had the waitresses been rude. As Covert Ops said, Disney is expensive enough without people being rude to you while you're on vacation.

              1. re: SarahEats

                My family was there last summer. There was no nagging then, either --- just playful fun. By the way, the food was pretty good.

          2. I have to say, I try to steer clear of any restaurant that tries to sell me a "dining experience." Here in Houston we are just run over will all of these types of places - Rainforest Cafe, The Aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe, Willie's Ice House, Papasitos, and on and on.

            Yet, these places are always packed (especially the chains in the suburbs). Maybe I just don't get it. After all I'm willing to pass by at least 20 McD's to get to my favorite fries.

            Speaking of rude hosts, when I lived in Arlington, TX, they had a steakhouse there where if you wore a tie into the place they would cut the bottom off of it and tack it up. How's that for service?

            2 Replies
            1. re: citizenconn

              They stole that idea from Pinnacle Peak Patio here in Scottsdale, AZ. Pinnacle Peak Patio has been doing it long enough that they have amassed the world's largest collection of neckties.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                Pinnacle Peak- I remember that place. Was at a Sales Convention at the MArriott Camelback. There were about 200 of us. They piled us all on buses, and off to Pinnacle Peak. We had people from all over the world- and a lot of ties in the group. It was really a funny sight to see them cutting off the ties. Food was horrible, but lots of beer and laughs.

            2. This whole thread reminds me of Jennifer Aniston's character in Office Space, where she works in the restaurant and has to wear all this crap! Something like a minimum of 15 somethings?

              Does anyone remember that?

              TT

              1 Reply
              1. re: TexasToast

                Yes, and you are not exhibiting the appropriate amount of "Flair" in your post!

              2. Yes, that's it. Rumor has it that the establishment in Office Space was based on TGI Friday's, who promptly stopped requiring their staff to wear all that crap!

                TT

                2 Replies
                1. re: TexasToast

                  I agree with comedian George Carlin who says the phrase TGIF should never be uttered again. He says if he opened a restaurant it would be called HSIOW - "Holy S*** It's Only Wednesday." He figured you'd sell more alcohol if people thought it was still just Wednesday all the time.

                  1. re: TexasToast

                    It ain't much of a rumor, it was pretty obvious they based it on Friday's. I worked at Friday's as a server for a while, and yes, they were called pieces of flair. The minimum was 10, either on suspenders or a vest. By the time I was done working there I had about 80 various buttons and things pinned to my vest, which weighs several pounds.

                    When they were getting ready for the uniform switch, all of the long time staff were griping about going to the generic polo shirt and jeans that they have now. The official line was that they were having a hard time finding potential staff willing to wear the getup (They didn't seem to have a hard time in the 30-some years prior!); we all believed that if you weren't willing to wear such a ridiculous outfit that you wouldn't be a good fit for working there.

                  2. my husband and i went to dicks last resort in san diego while on vacation. walking by and peeking in, the place looked fun & laid back. we knew going in it was "one of those places" where they were rude and its "supposed" to be funny and we didnt care...

                    WELL, i dont think we would have cared about the rudeness & attitude, if the service wasnt TERRIBLE! not on purpose terrible, but the waitress was swamped and it took sooooo long to get our drinks then our food, and you cant complain because its "that type of place" and the server isnt even going to care, right? everyone was just looking around like "what the -?"

                    never again...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: niccole

                      See, this is why I just avoid places like that, including Dick's, Champs, TGIF, etc. You know it's gonna be bad.

                      TT

                    2. There was a sandwich shop in Providence, called Geoff's, that used to be known for their "New York rudeness" to customers. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be funny, per se, and I don't remember always getting barked at, but some of my friends loved it. I took my father there once because he was in town visiting and we wanted sandwiches, he got their signature treatment, and he thought it was a horrible concept and vowed never to return.

                      Their sandwiches were good though. And I think that they've since dropped the rude factor.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jacinthe

                        There was a burger place in Dallas called Goff's and Harvey Goff was miserable owner who (intentionally) abused everyone! And he had a statue of Lenin outside!

                        http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tips/g...

                        TT