Noisy, unruly children, servers who go missing in action, and restaurants that take plates away mid-bite before diners’ have had a chance to finish are among some of America’s top dining pet peeves.
That’s according to online restaurant guide Urbanspoon, which looked at the most common complaints posted on user reviews and solicited “expert” feedback to compile a list of the top 15 restaurant pet peeves.
Topping the list is “unsupervised kids,” a recurring topic that generates no small amount of heated debate.
Earlier this year, Michelin-starred Chicago chef Grant Achatz kicked off an online ruckus when he took to Twitter to complain about a crying baby that was disturbing the service and his patrons at his restaurant Alinea.
In what was promptly dubbed ‘Babygate,’ parents and childless diners weighed in on the touchy subject, with one camp defending the right to dine with kids, another camp defending the right to dine in quiet, and yet another camp deriding the controversy altogether for being ‘bourgeois.’
Rounding out the top three pet peeves was slow service, and, on the flip side, rushed service.
Here are the top 15 dining pet peeves:
1. Screaming babies and unruly children
2. Slow service and servers who go missing in action throughout the meal
3. Fast service, defined as restaurants that take plates away before diners have had a chance to finish them
4. No substitutions or accommodation for food allergies
5. Unexplained wait times for tables that are readily available
6. Menu typos
7. Couples who engage in excessive PDA
8. Talking on the phone
9. Dirty silverware or glasses.
10. The refusal to seat diners until the last person has arrived
11. Nosy neighbors who blatantly eavesdrop
12. Rowdy diners
13. Indecipherable menu descriptions that require culinary dictionaries
14. Watered down, weak drinks
15. Having to ask for items that should be staples such as cutlery, salt and pepper, water and bread.