One of the best things about going on vacation is coming home. Don’t get me wrong though… the cheap beer in Florida was awesome (What! Free wine with the purchase of a two-four of beer?… don’t mind if we do), the hot dogs at Disney World were amazing, and being responsibility free for eight days was the best… but there’s just something great about coming home.
And it might only be because Valentine’s day just passed, or it could be that I’m developing a devastating allergy to red wine… but I’m pretty sure this “warm and fuzzy” feeling that I have for the Justamere right now is because … well… to put it bluntly… the service we received and the food we ate in Florida was garbage (with the exception of Disney World hotdogs, of course).
Now, working in the food service industry it’s difficult not to be a little extra critical of restaurants when you go out to eat… but there are times when, regardless of who you are, you can see bad food and service from a mile away. I’m not sure how many times Mark and I said it, but it was upwards of a dozen that we wished there was a Justamere cafe in Florida.
So, I’ve compiled a list of “helpful hints” for Florida restaurants (and all restaurants in general) on what not to do… ever… not even a little bit… not even one time when no one is looking.
1. Don’t feed me soggy nachos in the dark and not give me any napkins.
And yes… I know I have a starched up fancy linen napkin somewhere on my table (although I can’t see it) but all those do to help is push food around… they’re about as absorbent as the palm of my hand.
2. Don’t bring me my cheque when I’m not done.
I just finished my soggy nachos… I just finished my beer… and while I’m sure not many people opt for a second round of that wet corn chip atrocity… I probably did want another beer to help rinse the taste out of my mouth.
3. Don’t be rude.
Just don’t. You know I’m a tourist… I know I’m a tourist… we can all tell from my camera and stylish walking sandals. If you came to my restaurant I’d be nice to you… so please be nice to me.
4. There is no “wrong time” to have a hot dog.
Don’t refuse to sell me a Disney World hot dog before 11am… I thought Disney world was where dreams come true? Well my dream was to have a hot dog at 9am and you’ve crushed it. Lucky for me there’s 300 places to buy hot dogs in the park and I didn’t have to see your smug face at 11:01 when I came for what was rightfully mine.
5. Don’t assume that I don’t want a balloon animal.
When your job is to go table to table making balloon animals for the patrons of your restaurant… don’t skip me because I have delicious crab and butter all over my face and hands. I saw you make that wicked dolphin for the kid over across the restaurant… and I even saw the parrot you made for the woman beside me. We locked eyes.. I smiled and then your turned away. If that ever happens again, I’ll need a balloon bucket to catch my tears.
6. Don’t give me a super cool futuristic pager and then not use it.
I’m pretty easily excitable, and when your restaurant gives me a flashy pager to alert me to when my table is ready… you best use that pager. I didn’t sit there for 30 minutes staring at it, afraid to use the bathroom, and on the edge of my seat for you to just call my name… rendering my pager useless.
7. Don’t give me a super cool futuristic pager and then not use it (Part 2)
When you hand me a pager and tell me it will buzz when my food is ready… and then it doesn’t… but I can see my food sitting on the counter – I am faced with a dilemma… Half of me wants to let it sit so I can feel that rush of adrenalin when my pager finally buzzes, but the other half of me can see my panini getting cold. Now i’m just disappointed – my food is cold and my pager never buzzed. Oh and my smoothie was gross.
8. Don’t rush me.
I hate, hate, hate when I’m rushed at a restaurant. I didn’t come in right before you closed, my nice dress and stylish walking sandals don’t indicate that I’m here for a quick bite, and we ordered a bottle of wine. Don’t rush me. When you put my entree down beside me when I’m only half way done my appetizer it makes me want to go eat soggy nachos in the dark and cry into my balloon bucket.
Well there you have it, my 8 helpful hints for Florida restaurants! Regardless of some less than fantastic meals, Mark and I did have an amazing vacation though! There were far more good experiences than bad, and we were lucky to even get the opportunity to get away for a week – and while vacations can be great, it’s always nice to come home… especially when you’re so proud of where you come from.