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Indoor temperatures in Austin restaurants

Last night, I was at a restaurant that had it's air-conditioner running full blast. The temperature outside was in the low 40s! The room was uncomfortably cold - at least for me. A polite complaint to the waitress didn't provide any help in getting a more comfortable environment. I ended up wearing my jacket and a scarf - inside - the whole time I was there.
Air temperature is a complaint I have at too many area restaurants. Regardless of the time of year - they are really cold. It seems like in the summer, it's even worse. We go out most nights, but there are some places that I just don't go to now because I know I will be miserably cold. And yes - I take a jacket.
My take on it, is that management and/or employees set thermostats to temps based on how comfortable they are while at work - and they are often wearing long sleeves and pants, and of course running in and out of the kitchen.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to get the message to restaurants that thermostats should be set to diner's comfort, not their employees?

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  1. I've adjusted many thermostats myself, on the sly. That may be bad, but I've only done it when my entire table feels that it is too cold.

    1. Every time I go to Magnolia Cafe (which is rare, so I tend to forget) I am freezing. Once I asked a particularly pleasant waiter and he turned off the fan above me, but otherwise I have to order tea and sit hunched over to keep warm.

      1. I'm with you. At most restuarants, I'm freezing. I vote we eat more and build up a better fat layer. ;-) When I was waiting tables in college, I remember thinking that it was very rude of my customers to ask me to increase the temperature, I mean really, couldn't they see how hard I was working and that I was sweating already. Yeah, we were obnoxious, we kept the thermostat to our comfort, not our customers. Paybacks are hell.

        1. Hate to be the devil's avdocate here; but can't you dress appropriately?
          Very rarely here in Austin is it cold enough to layer like the rest of the country, so why not take advantage and break out your shawl, leather jacket, turtle neck, etc.

          Don't mean to be disrespectful, but if it's cold you can layer up; the hot places are what get ya! You can't really undress respectfully, at least not at my age and figure.

          5 Replies
          1. re: amykragan

            I agree with the previous post. I remind my cold natured friends they can always put more clothes on but I can't sit there and keep taking things off.

            1. re: amykragan

              I am one of those people who is always cold and I take a sweater, jacket, etc..everywhere I go. However, the OP states that the AC was on when the outside temp was in the 40's. That is too much.

              1. re: amykragan

                But who wants to bring along extra clothes if you want to go for a stroll in the summer before or after a meal? What if you get off the bus on a balmy night after partying downtown? These were the scenarios I was in. People don't think to bring a jacket when it 90 degrees outside.

                1. re: Lixer

                  I disagree. I am from Florida and we expected it to be 70-72 degrees inside all year. Those of us who get cold bring a sweater.

                  1. re: queencru

                    That temperature is certainly fine but the experiences I'm talking about involve sitting directly underneath a ceiling fan where where the moving air makes it feel much colder than that.

              2. My take on it, is that management and/or employees set thermostats to temps based on how comfortable they are while at work - and they are often wearing long sleeves and pants, and of course running in and out of the kitchen.


                As someone who has worked in the Food and Hospitality Industry for three decades.....this is definitely not the case.....in fact, most restaurant employees would argue it is quite the opposite, i.e., working conditions tend to be poor when considering employees well being and comfort.

                Also, from my experience, diners are far more uncomfortable when they feel warm or hot....then they can't sit still and move about and get a little cranky....in a situation where the customer feels hot, then they demand a lot more water refills as a result.

                Another reason why restaurants keep it on the cool side, is if they have fresh flowers....it makes them smell better and last longer......also, did you ever sit in a room where people tend to sweat, like a gym....not very pleasant.

                1. The issue is that when it is cold outside, everyone should probably be wearing long sleeves. Nothing annoys me more when I go in a place up north and it's probably 78 degrees inside and 15 degrees outside. I am wearing a winter coat, sweater, and probably a grungy t-shirt under the sweater and it's misery because at a minimum I'm stuck in a sweater sweating bullets because I can't take it off.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: queencru

                    Maybe it's not that the A/C was turned on while it was 40 outside, maybe it's cold because they didn't turn on the heat. Just came back from Louisville, where the outside temp was 20 degrees and every restaurant was cold and drafty, because management never turned up the heat.

                  2. Research shows that people buy more food in restaurants with lower temps.