The restaurant industry tends to be cyclical. It’s one trend followed by another. You’re cutting edge for a while and then you’re chasing the pack. It can be a real rat race. Perhaps lemmings are involved?
Yes, I’m trying to include lots of references to rodentia. We’re talking about restaurants here. I don’t recognize sacred cows. Like always I gotta keep it classy.
There’s a trend where celebrity chefs are seen everywhere except in their own kitchens. I’m looking but not looking at you, Naomi Pomeroy. Squee. One final Beast reference.
Honey Badger, though, will have the last word. Keep reading.
Now there’s a new trend: Order at the Counter. And his close cousin, Bus Your Own Table.
Eighty percent of the fun of eating out is sitting on your ass and having other people wait on you. That’s the experience. But no more. Now they’re trying to take that away from us.
What could possibly go wrong?
It works like this:
- Enter the restaurant
- Stand in line
- Order at the counter
- Pay at the counter
- In true Oliver-style you are asked to provide a “future-based tip” before things like service and food even exist
- Get your own water, napkins and accoutrements
- If you’re lucky a server brings the food; if not it’s back to the counter you go
- Bus your own table
No one greets you. No one stops by to check on your meal. The message is loud and clear. “You’re on your own. We’re saving a boatload on staff.”
Here’s my question: In the name of Zeus’ butthole, who is wiping down the tables?
The tops! The tops! No one is wiping down the tops! And, FYI, soylent green is people, but that’s not important right now.
The people busing their own tables don’t do it. And staff sure as hell isn’t stepping up. All they do is take orders. So who? Who?! Who?! Who?! (Bonus: Owl reference for the win.)
Who is wiping down the table? No one. Honey Badger don’t give a shit.
You know what’s gross? Other people. You know what’s even grosser? Their eating habits. You know what takes the cake? Sitting in the exact same place where it happened. Where they were.
Shortly after being seated two thoughts will soon permeate and sous-vide the dining out experience bubble of fun: Something sticky is slowly and inexorably pervading your ass and your arms are now glued to the table. We’ve got you now!
We went to Fire On The Mountain the other day for some chicken wings. That was the stickiest table I’ve ever
seen been superglued to. After they used the jaws of life to extricate us we licked each other’s forearms for sustenance. What a harrowing experience.
I’m supposed to tip to be treated this way? That must be the restaurant version of, “Thank you, sir. May I please have another?” I know the drill. I’ll strip down to my underwear and get on my hands and knees. Besides, that’s pretty much the best way to each chicken wings. Because, messy.
The restaurant experience used to be about getting something different than what you have at home. That advantage has been lost. Why go out and pay extra for the same thing?
To sum up: Eat me.