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Restaurant gripes

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This afternoon, I had a business lunch with 3 other people. 2 of us ordered dessert. The server asked the other 2 if they would like forks to share. Not only didn't I want to share, I had just met these people for the first time. A few months ago, I was at this same restaurant and was the only one who ordered soup. The other person I was with was asked if she would like a spoon to share my soup. Thankfully she said no. We both thought that was odd. Sharing soup??? This past weekend, I was out with 3 people and the other 2 ordered their meals and I ordered a hamburger with a side of onion rings. The waitress brought the onion rings first and gave each person a plate for them. What's up with this behavior from servers??? I'm really getting sick of it.

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  1. Wow, that's very odd and awkward. I've been offered forks to share a dessert -- but only when I've said to the server, "We'd like one dessert to share." It'd be very weird to be offered a fork for someone else's dessert... but much weirder to be offered a spoon for someone else's soup, or to have the server offer my side dish to everyone to share.

    1. What kind of world are we living in where a restaurant thoughtlessly gives us the option of sharing our meals with the people we are eating with? This country, truly, is going in the wrong direction.

      I suspect it has something to do with entitlements. Everyone's always looking for a handout. This soup? You didn't earn that!

      We may be sharing a table and our time, dear dining companions, but you can get your own goddamned onion rings, thank you very much.

      1. As long as they only asked and didn't require you share, I think you're getting steamed for nothing. Lots of places bring extra forks in case others want to share. I would hope strangers wouldn't double dip but would have no problem with close friends and family doing so.

        4 Replies
        1. re: libertywharf

          <I think you're getting steamed for nothing>

          The server brings the spoon and asks the other diners if they'd like to share the OP's food. It puts the OP in an awkward position. What if the other diners said 'yes sure'? and the OP didn't want to. All the servers mentioned by the OP were being unbelievably presumptuous with the OP's food.

          1. re: latindancer

            As long as the food and service was good, this little issue would have been a non issue with me. I would have had no problem with not sharing or saying order your own. Possibly the waiter got several groups that day who wanted to share. I'd rather hear about how the dessert was.
            And if the op was taken back the first time with the suggestion, why keep going back?

            1. re: libertywharf

              Oh, I agree. However, not everyone is likely to feel comfortable with saying to their server, out loud and to the point, "Please, I don't want anyone sharing with me, they can get their own if they want it...bring me one spoon and don't bring anyone else a spoon to share mine".

          2. re: libertywharf

            "I think you're getting steamed for nothing."

            Is it still steaming if placed in the oven and covered with foil? LOL

          3. I am sure the management has told the servers to ask. I've never heard of anyone asking about sharing soup however. I would also hope that a server would be able to recognize whether or not a group of people are intimate enough to share a dessert. Couldn't the server recognize a business lunch?

            1. I think next time you are at a restaurant that provides free refills on drinks you should order one drink and ask for extra cups to "share" with your dining companions.

              That'll teach 'em.

              1. I hate when I order soup for an appetizer and the server brings it out first, without all my fellow diners salads...
                So my hot soup gets cold as I wait for the salads to arrive...I usually order a soup instead of salad and this happens soo often..

                2 Replies
                1. re: burlgurl

                  I hear you, but you can also say, when ordering, "please bring my soup with the salads, and not before, thank you", and the problem is solved.

                  1. re: burlgurl

                    I am curious as to why you allow your soup to get cold? While etiquette states that you should not begin eating in until all are served I am sure your fellow diners would not mind if you begin. I would also be surprised that they have not offered.

                    But then again if this happens "soo" often than I would think you would be wise to follow caviar's advice.

                  2. I'd suggest you go to better quality restaurants, sharing with people you have never met before??? Some of the people I do business with make me feel sick.
                    Anyway I think straws would be better than spoons when sharing soup.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: davidne1

                      It's not my choice. Two of the people work close to this restaurant and it is where they conduct their business lunches.

                    2. Sharing soup? that's a strange idea... I'll give my spouse or a good friend a taste, but wouldn't be comfortable sharing soup with a bisness associate.
                      and don't anyone DARE lay a finger on my onion rings or dessert! LOL.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jujuthomas

                        The staff doesn't know that a man and a woman dining together are not espoused or good friends. It is not an outrageous assumption that a mixed couple dining together are at the least friends.

                        1. re: FrankJBN

                          It wasn't a mixed couple.

                      2. I've found that although onion rings are listed as a side order and not an appetizer, many places mistakenly serve them as such. I have to be very specific as to when I want them to be served...

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: KSlink

                          I had left out that she had come over to the table saying the onion rings would be up soon and she assumed we wanted them first. I replied "no I didn't." She said she would quickly put the rest of the order in. A few minutes later she showed up with the rings and 4 plates.

                          1. re: catsmeow

                            In that case she should have waited so they came with your meal.

                            1. re: melpy

                              Even after being told she didn't wait to bring them.

                        2. So pretty much, the other diners were offered extra forks or an extra spoon and then nothing happened.. No wonder you're so upset. Wow. It's like they spit on your food.

                          You missed a great opportunity for humor here by being upset about it. 'So, what do you think you're going to do with that fork?' or ask the server, 'Just who do you think they are going to share with?'

                          Actually, the last two times I was out as a mixed couple, soups were shared.

                          1. Mercifully, sharing food in restaurants is not common in my country. It would be odd if a server acted as the one in the OP. Very odd.

                            1. It appears to pretty normal these days. I don't know if sharing has become a new standard but I find that whenever only a part of the table orders desserts the servers always serve it with extra utensils. It has never occurred to me be upset about it. The same goes with appetizers, if everyone doesn't order the assumption seems to be is you must are sharing.

                              I also wonder how a server would know that it was business lunch or that the patrons were basically strangers, not friends or family? I guess if they are listening in to the conversation?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: foodieX2

                                The onion rings were not an appetizer. They were a side to the hamburger, probably in lieu of French fries.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  I was not commenting on the specifics in the OP. My point is that the assumption that patrons are going to share appetizers or desserts seems to be the new "norm".

                              2. It's possible that the server has had many other patrons who told the server after the item was delivered that they were sharing it. It's easier to find out in advance if someone is intending to share something than it is after it's been delivered. I have had several people tell me they wanted to share soup.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Missmoo

                                  There was only a few tables with patrons at the business lunch. I just think its not appropriate to put the people who chose to order dessert in an awkward position....regardless of whether its a social or business lunch. I'm perfectly able to ask for an extra fork if it is going to be shared. The server shouldn't assume anything.

                                  1. re: catsmeow

                                    I agree. My husband and I often share appetizers or dessert, but we say that's what we are doing.

                                2. Interesting. I have not encountered that, BUT, as my wife and I do share/taste each other's dishes, we DO ask for additional, proper utensils to do so.

                                  Also, we dine out with a particular couple, and often do pass the dishes, or samples around. The lady writes cookbooks, so is almost always doing research. Her husband is just a wino, like me, but we usually end up with different dishes from "soup to nuts." Still, we ask, when appropriate, and have never had the offer come, without our request.

                                  While what you mention is a bit alien to me, I have many more, pet-peeves.

                                  Hunt

                                  PS - maybe the mentioned server dealt with us, the night before, and assumed that everyone did that?

                                  PPS - business lunch with non-family (or very close friends) members - no way!

                                  1. Two thoughts.....

                                    1.....No Big Deal

                                    2.....Phil Leotardo

                                    1. I think sharing is on the increase because so many restaurant portions are completely out of control, and people are attempting to manage their portions and their self-control by splitting a lot more items instead of just attempting to stop at half and take the rest home or let it be thrown out. The soup one I have never heard, but the others are pretty common.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                        I think it should be left up to the patrons to decide if they are going to split something and not up to the server to assume sharing would be ok. It's not the server's place.

                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                          But that's why the server asked, right? Because s/he wasn't sure and didn't want to assume. Asking the question does not assume the answer to that question. I don't understand why this should be embarrassing to you. The answer is no, and no big deal.

                                          1. re: Missmoo

                                            When she was taking the dessert order, the other 2 said they weren't going to have dessert. It should have ended there.

                                        2. re: rockandroller1

                                          Actually, I think the issue arises now -- not because portions are huge -- but because of the "small plates" trend. It seems like every new, hip restaurants features "small plates" to be served family style and shared. When I'm dining socially, I've got no problem with sharing plates but in a business setting, especially when I don't know the other diners well, I'd just as soon that each of us have our own dishes.

                                          If I want to share a dish, I'll suggest that to the other diners while we are looking at the menu and selecting an item, and then inform the server that we are sharing the dish. The server should be guided by a request from the patron for an extra utensil, rather than gratuitously offering one.

                                          1. re: masha

                                            Totally agree with both of you that one should have to tell the server if you intend to share. I was just speculating as to why this might have happened proactively. If you wait on 40 tables a day and 99% of them want to share something, you probably "shouldn't" assume the other 1% want to share as well, but sometimes you try to guess what your patrons would want in an effort to provide better service. If you guess wrong, you should be corrected.

                                        3. This is fairly unusual. Perhaps it was the way you ordered, ie:
                                          "We'll have the soup and an order of onion rings, etc."
                                          vs.
                                          "I would like the soup and a side of onion rings, and she/he/my friend is having the roast beef with a side salad".

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Michelly

                                            With the onion ring episode, I was the last to order. I ordered "the cheeseburger, medium rare, with a side order of onion rings." I couldn't have made it clearer that it was MY order.

                                            1. re: catsmeow

                                              Yum....medium rare cheeseburger AND onion rings. Delicious!

                                          2. I think sharing soup with people I barely know is pretty skeevy, and unless they bring 20 spoons, so each dip into the bowl is with a fresh spoon, yuck.

                                            I also think that you should stop by, call, or email the manager and ask them why they promote this unhygienic practice, that has such a great potential for embarrassment.

                                            I do, however, share soup with my husband, but I already have his cooties.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                                              Last night, I did call the manager and he was very receptive. The server was very good other than that and I emphasized that I wasn't calling to cause her a problem. i explained to him that it had happened a few months ago as well with a different waitress when being served soup. He thanked me for giving him the heads up that this was happening and said he would talk to the servers.

                                            2. You gotta stop going to this restaurant, or nip it in the bud. Server brings plates for everyone to share rings? Say "sorry....you misunderstood me. The onions are the side to my sandwich. I'll have them with my sandwich. Thanks." And stack the plates and hand them to her/him if s/he doesn't get it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: pinehurst

                                                The problem with doing this is that it was a business lunch. Making a big deal out of it might magnify the importance of the error in the eyes of the bisiness associates. Besides that, the server is an idiot. Who serves the side as an app?

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  The onion ring episode was not a business lunch, but I agree with your analysis. When having a business lunch, especially one where things are being negotiated out and you have never met 2 of the other 3, you don't want to draw that type of attention to yourself and appear offensive. Best to just let it go(and post about it on this board:-) ).