We love Dublin restaurants; we really do.
But isn't it always the ones you love who drive you up the wall? So we've put together a list of eight things that Dublin restaurants could really do with cutting out – changes that would be simple to make, that wouldn't tear up the business models (much as we'd like to suggest universal BYOB) and would make a massive difference to us customers.
If you have anything to add, or if you think all this is a load of rubbish, then please do let us know...
Stop acting surprised when we ask for the card machine
Let’s start with an easy one.
Can we all just agree that the card machine comes with the bill, as a default? We all know what happens otherwise – you come over with the bill, we put our card on the tray, and because you're focused on serving newer customers it's another 10 minutes before we see you again.
There's nothing – NOTHING – worse than being forced to sit there for 20 minutes
Stop making us ask for water
The ideal scenario here is putting taps on every table. But that's a bit of a big ask, as it would require some pretty hardcore plumbing operations around the restaurant with pipes or tubes running up table legs or… okay, it wouldn’t really be practical at all in most places that aren’t Yo Sushi.
But as a compromise, how about a jug of water coming as standard at every table? We don’t have to request cutlery, so why water?
Stop making us flag down waiters like marooned sailors
We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve needed something – usually the bill, or perhaps a card machine – right at the very moment where every member of the floor staff has seemed to collectively disappear.
Farm on Leeson Street counters this with an excellent call button system, which works just like the system on an aircraft, with one button to request the bill, and another to request service.
Can’t be too hard, can it?
Stop forcing us to either eat too much, or waste food
Standard portion sizes are getting increasingly massive – stupidly so, in some cases – so half-portion options would be a very welcome development.
Let’s be honest; most people feel like absolute nobs ordering off-menu, so stick this option on there as a one-liner and everyone’s a winner. It would’t need to be half-price, because most of the price you pay goes on labour and overheads; just a euro or two off would be perfectly fair.
Stop asking us if everything is okay
A post-service check-in is fine, thanks. After that, it's excessive and annoying.
Stop making us book like it's the 20th century
Seriously, who actually uses the phone these days unless they’re calling their mum? And no – email or even social media booking options don’t cut it, as they’re too slow and there’s no way of knowing whether your message has actually been received.
Online booking platforms like OpenTable and ResDiary make it insanely easy to make your booking online and receive an instant confirmation – they work like a dream for consumers, feedback from restaurant people I've spoken to has been great too, and they're an absolute must-have for any restaurant that belongs in the 21st century.
Stop blasting us out of it with the tunes
I don't care if I sound like an old man here, but we come to restaurants to do two things: eat and chat.
So keep the tunes down, for goodness' sake.
Stop making us feel weird for wanting ALL the pepper
Fair enough, freshly ground pepper is much tastier than milled pepper from a shaker – but having a member of staff stand over me as I self-consciously decide when to say ‘when’ is just weird and uncomfortable.
It’s a tiny change that probably won’t even affect most people, but those of us who plenty lashings of the stuff would really love mini-mills on the table, and the option to do our own pepper.
Do you have some suggestions to add to this list? Or maybe you work in a restaurant and can explain why these things might be more difficult to implement than they appear? Drop us a line and let us know...