Thursday, 27 September 2007

Diners Rights Through Dining Right

Over at the Accidental Hedonist Kate Hopkins looks at a suggestion for a diner's bill of rights and suggests that the restaurateurs get something similar.

Both seem to boil down to "act with politeness and propriety and try not to annoy anyone". Really that should go without saying. These things do seem to come up semi-regularly, though, whether its diners wanting to set some kind of minimum standard of service or waiters describing how terrible customers can be. It seems even something as potentially pleasurable as eating out can quickly turn hellishly adversarial.

Then again certain establishments pride themselves on treating their customers with something like haughty disdain and, well, the customers do seem to like it that way. Being, as it can be, all part of the game.

Going back to the list linked to above, though, two items stand out. First:
Diners deserve to hear the list of specials with the price included. Don't make us ask.

Huh? I can't see this a important enough to even mention, never mind call a right. I'd expect the specials to be roughly the same price as the standard main courses and that the price might need to be mentioned if this was not the case, but otherwise this seems like churlish penny-pinching.

And from the other side:
A restaurant has the right to expect that a person who makes a reservation, will be on time for that reservation, and not show up twenty minutes early or twenty minutes late and still expect to be seated.

If I turn up early I'd expect to be seated at the bar and if I'm late I'd expect the restaurant to simply assume that I had my good reasons and try and show some class about it. So, while, in general this seems a decent rule of thumb it also seems to be a little restrictive, though if the restaurant does make it a clear rule that if you are 20 minutes late they will give your table away, then that is their rule to make and the customers to respect. Of course it wouldn't predispose me to try to eat there again.

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