The 12 things that restaurants must stop doing in 2016

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The 12 things that restaurants must stop doing in 2016
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Get rid of the tiny tables and put in some lights so I can read the menu. Please

My dentist tells me that I grind my teeth at night. He says this is a very bad thing and needs to be remedied. Apparently the problem is tension, brought on by stress. Clearly I need less stress in my life. To make this happen I have decided to use this column to address all the things about restaurants that I truly hate; the atrocities I hope to see disappear in 2016. These things may sound minor, but together they amount to a hurricane of tooth-blunting fury. My ability to chew meat properly depends upon all of it being dealt with.

Please stop taking my order without a notebook. I dont know you. I dont know whether you are Francesco the Famous Memory Man, or were off your tits last night on crystal meth and can now barely recall your own name. I dont trust you to remember what I ordered. Write it down.

All restaurants must install big enough tables to accommodate their small-plate-sharing menus. The small plates menu was your idea, not mine. Most tables cant manage more than four dishes, and you want us to order seven.

And while were at it, please stop sending dishes out when theyre ready. I am tired of not being able to remember if everything I ordered has been delivered. Im bored with the potatoes arriving before the steak, and the steak arriving before the salad. Its convenient for the kitchen. Its not convenient for me. Stop it.

Stop it with granola too. Apart from at breakfast. Granola at breakfast is OK, but if I ever see it on a main course again, I shall open my mouth and point at my ground down molars. Its ugly in there. Forget the jaws of hell. These are the jaws of Rayner. Also, please sort out the lighting. I am old. I dislike having to power up the torch on my phone to read the menu.

What is it with taking the bread plate away at the end of the starters? No restaurateur has ever explained to me why that happens, but still you do it. And while Im on bread: unsalted butter? I mean, really? I dont want a mouthful of flavourless grease with my bread. You dont want people in your restaurant who dislike salted butter. They have feeble, over-sensitive palates. They will hate your food. And if they dont, I will. Oh, and put salt and pepper on the table. Who do you think you are? Nico bloody Ladenis?

Please stop putting the pages of wine lists inside plastic sleeves. Its cheap and feels nasty. How much does it cost to reprint them? And list bottles in price order from cheapest upwards. I love learning about the wines of the world, but not when Im knackered and just want a sodding drink. I dont like having to hunt for something in my budget. And if I tell you Ill fill the wine glass myself I mean it. Tell your colleagues so I dont have to keep repeating myself. Dont you dare move my bottle to a table at the far end of the room. Its mine. I paid for it. Ill do with it as I like. And finally, dont you ever, ever, ever again give the bill to the only person on the table who happens to possess testicles. You have no idea whos paying for dinner. Put the bill in the middle of that table and walk away.

There. Im done. And you know what? My teeth feel better already.

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