What makes you decide to go back? [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]
I have a friend ask me this. And I'm wonder how other people feel?
What makes me go back to a restaurant is pretty simple, yet complex too: Good service; good food; good wine; service that has a sense of humour...
And on the other hand, what makes you not go back?
My biggie is bad and/or indifferent service. I can put up with just about anything else.
Poor food. Hubby is more of a "give them another chance" type of guy and will even get the same item again even if it was poorly executed the first time. I can deal with poor/slow service if I'm prepared for it if the food is worth it. I will make a place a "regular" place if it has great service and passable food. Service tends to be the key item to making a place a regular spot, but bad food is the what will take a restaurant out of the running.
Poor service will keep us from returning to a restaurant more than anything else. The other night my wife and I went to a restaurant here in SF; we thought the atmosphere was great, the drinks were excellent, the food mediocre but the service was just awful. We agreed that if the service had been even decent (not all the way to good) we'd likely have looked forward to a return for the space and the cocktails.
Last night, we went to another spot in town that we return to all the time and they have the whole package. Consistently good food (not spectacular, but always well exectued), comfortable and very good service, a nice selection of half-bottles, good cocktails, a nice dessert list and really reasonable prices for all of that. We go there when we want to know we're going to have a nice meal and a good time.
Keeps me coming back: location, price, taste of food.
Keeps me from returning: poor service, lack of parking, crowds.
I'll become a regular if the service is great. Even if the food isn't, we'll go back for drinks if the servers/bartender are a pleasure. Good food is the other reason. If the service sucks, I'll do take out.
If a dining room is dirty, I'll turn around and walk away. If the food is overpriced for what you get, I will never return.