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Feb 16, 2010 12:34 PM

Freezing restaurants! Please turn on the heat!

My husband and I went to a high end restaurant last weekend and had the Prix Fixe menu (The only choice for Valentines weekend unfortunately) selection @ $95 pp. (not including wine) But the restaurant was so cold I was literally shaking! Why do restaurants feel they can charge $100 a plate and leave the heat off? I was so uncomfortable I could not enjoy my meal. I asked the server if they had a heating problem and he told me that it was always cold and the manager never allows them to touch the thermostat. I told the server to inform the manager that we would not return if that was the case.

If anyone is a restaurant owner can you please tell me why would you allow the manager to make the choice of freezing the customer to save a few dollars and lose a lot more in repeat business.

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  1. Sorry if I sound crass, but you did stay and pay that price, so they "won". You should have expressed your discomfort with your feet and walked out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      That's a little harsh. As the OP stated, it was Valentine's weekend - not an easy time to just walk into some other restaurant and get a table. It was stay or starve.

      1. re: BobB

        or eat, freeze and be miserable? I highly doubt starve would have been the case. But I did read the OP's later post about how much this dinner meant to her husband and could see the reasoning there.

    2. My first thought is that they have a crappy heating/cooling system that either feeds into both the kitchen and dining room, or simply does not hold a consistent temperature in all dining areas. I think it'd be pretty odd that a high end restaurant would be set up in such a way, but probably not impossible if it's not in a brand new building. Also possible that it is only cold to some people (including you and the server) and not others. It's certainly not unusual for the server to not be able to do anything about it (aside from passing along temperature complaints to the management) because while one person is cold another is hot and you end up with a never ending shifting of the thermostat.

      1. Why didn't you ask to speak with the manager?

        If I was that uncomfortable and the server was unable to rectify the situation, I would definitely make sure that the manager was aware of the situation.

        3 Replies
        1. re: NE_Elaine

          Because I asked the server on the sly while my husband was in the rest room. I did not want to ruin my husbands special dinner he had planned for us. We very rarely do anything alone anymore and he really wanted to go all out and impress me. I would never in a million years have done anything to make him think I was not 100 thrilled with my evening. I know I should have, but that is why I told the server to pass along my message. I do wish I had seen the manager while my husband was away from the table, I would have said something then. My husband would have felt terrible if he thought I had not enjoyed my evening as much as he had hoped.

          1. re: gryphonskeeper

            Well, your husband didn't get what he wanted - a perfect outing and dinner for you. You could have told him before ordering that the place was too cold for you and that perhaps you should go elsewhere. Wouldn't your husband been very/more pleased to be able to help solve the problem and with your honesty?

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              jfood agrees Sammy. The jfood had this exact scenario twice in Italy last year. They made reservation in two high rated places and in the first place, way too cold, and the second place way too hot. He mentioned something to the MOD but to no avail. They left both. The result...two wonderful and relaxing dinners following their noses and asking a few people where to eat.

              But he sure would have liked to have eaten in the originals and not exactly around the corner.

        2. How frustrating. I'm another person who freezes in most restaurants. I bring sweaters but all it takes is the one rotten vent. I've often wondered the same thing that you do-- it's the nicer restaurants where I'm cold.

          1. So what was the temperature? And what were you wearing? Some folks feel chilled at 78 and others are sweating at 65. I was at a restaurant tonight that was overly warm at 74 AND the red wine was served at that high temperature....

            4 Replies
            1. re: NVJims

              I could see complaining if the restaurant had blaring TVs or music over its loudspeakers/soundsystem. But too cold? Your problem.
              Better to always bring a jacket and extra sweater with you when dining out...every place differs.
              Not the restaurant's fault. It's not a big effort bringing one in, and if you don't need it, set it aside with your purse. Oh well.

              1. re: EatNLoveLife

                I am one who is happy when it's cold, I keep my house at 66 during the day when I'm home and 62 when we go to bed. If it is too warm somewhere I suffer miserably. You can always put more clothes on if you are cold but don't have much choice if you are too warm. I have been known to sit on ice packs!

                I commend you for not wanting to make a scene in front of your husband! I hope the food was good.

                1. re: LikestoEatout

                  Yep. We turn our heat UP to 60 in the morning and down to 50 at night. So we're generally too warm when dining out. But when too cold you can always put on another layer of clothes. When too warm, it gets to the point where one would get arrested for indecent exposure and still be uncomfortable.

                  I would say anyone who lives outside of the tropics would have some additional clothing (jacket or sweater) when going out in the winter.

                2. re: EatNLoveLife

                  I could see complaining if the restaurant had blaring TVs or music over its loudspeakers/soundsystem. But too cold? Your problem.
                  I would disagree with you somewhat on this position. The temperature set for the dining room, in this case for the OP on the cold side, also affects the hot food and plates coming out of the kitchen and how quickly it can cool down on the table.