Americans love dining out, whether at fancy restaurants like French Laundry or at fast-food chains like Chuck E. Cheese, because these are great places to expand your culinary repertoire and enjoy familiar, even comfort, food. Indeed, the restaurant industry in the United States is among the most respected and most profitable industries.
But there are times when restaurants aren’t exactly the best places to be in! Take it from the experts in the restaurant industry – the chefs, managers and waiters – who wouldn’t think about being in restaurants during these five times.
Mothers’ Day and Valentine’s Day
These are the days when nearly everybody with a date or a partner on Valentine’s Day and a mother or mother figure on Mothers’ Day wants a fancy dinner. But these two Hallmark holidays aren’t the best times to be in restaurants, especially fine dining places, for many reasons.
For one thing, every Tom, Dick and Harry will likely have the same idea so the reservations have dried up weeks before, the restaurants are crowded, and the menus are limited, not to mention that the prices are inflated. You may just find that the dining experience was slightly unpleasant with the crowd, the noise and the rushed feeling.
There’s also the fact that the chefs and waiters are under pressure to make dish after dish in order to keep up with the demand and to make each dish look and taste special. The extreme pressure can take its toll and the dishes may not live up to the expectations. Even the quality of service will likely suffer because the waiters are stretched too thinly.
If you want to celebrate these holidays without these hassles, you should think about celebrating it the day before or after, perhaps a couple of days before and after, the actual day. You will still be making your partner or mother feel special and you can truly enjoy their company.
Lengthy Menus Can Mean Trouble
Well, of course, a wide variety of food and drinks to choose from is nice. But there are disadvantages to having one too many dishes on the menu where the restaurants are concerned and these will affect their diners’ experiences.
The lengthier the menu, the higher the risk that the food may not be up to par or up to your expectations. In restaurants with large menus, many of the ingredients and meals may be frozen and reheated or the ingredients aren’t farm-fresh. While these are acceptable practices, these can adversely affect the overall quality of the dishes.
You may want to consider instead a restaurant with fewer options since the food may be better. If you want a steak dinner, for example, your best choice is a steak-centric restaurant where the cuts of beef are likely to be fresh, not frozen.
Eating at a restaurant for dinner can be tempting because you don’t have the energy to cook a full meal at home. But you may want to reconsider dining out during the dinner rush, which usually happens between 5 in the afternoon and 8 in the evening.
During these hours, the chefs and servers are likely overwhelmed by the crowd while the dining room itself isn’t a relaxing place to eat your dinner. You’re less likely to enjoy your dinner and linger over coffee because of the rushed and crowded ambiance.
Instead, you can eat between 4 and 5 in the afternoon when you favorite restaurant isn’t so crowded.
The restrooms are the reflection of the cleanliness of a restaurant. The cleaner the restrooms are, the likelier it is that the kitchens and dining room are also clean! Besides, you don’t want to enter a dirty restroom to wash your hands before eating and after eating because, in both instances, you may want to puke.
Before ordering in a restaurant for the first time, you should check out its restrooms and kitchen, if you can see it from the counter. If both places are well-maintained, then you’re likely in good hands. You can check, too, if the restrooms have a clean floor and walls, urinals and toilet bowls, and fixtures as well as well-stocked with toilet paper, handwash liquid, and water.
Closed for the Holidays
Has your favorite restaurant been recently closed for the holidays and then opened soon afterwards? If it did, then you should reconsider visiting it so soon after reopening! Yes, the holiday break may have done its chefs, servers and staff good because they were able to take a break but it may not be so good for your food.
Why? Many restaurants store their ingredients in their freezers during the holidays so that these can be immediately used once they reopen for business. Again, this is standard practice but the food’s overall quality can be compromised.
In all other times, by all means, get yourself and your family and friends to your favorite restaurants! Life, after all, is too short to deprive yourself of the pleasure of great food cooked by others.