Some Americans even complain when there is too much nutritional information provided with their restaurant meals.
Going out to eat is a staple of American life, but the restaurant experience is vastly different depending on what establishment you go to.
While going out to eat is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, there are encounters and events that can effect that expectation.
Consumer Reports surveyed 1,000 Americans in March of 2014 to find out what their top restaurant complaints were, and the quality of the food was not the No. 1 problem.
The No. 1 complaint from the survey was dirty utensils at the table, a complaint registered by 76 percent of all the people surveyed. As perhaps expected, women complained about dirty utensils more often than men.
The same is true of dirty restrooms, which registered complaints from 73 percent of all participants. Again, women were more likely to make that complaint.
Receiving just as much negative attention (72 percent) as dirty restrooms was impolite or condescending wait staff. Two-thirds of respondents complained about the sloppy appearance or poor hygiene of the wait staff.
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Two-thirds of restaurant goers complained that the food was presented at the improper temperature, while just under two-thirds (62 percent) complained about getting served something other than what they ordered.
A complaint that has risen in past years is the feeling that they are being rushed to finish their meal so the restaurant can seat a new set of customers. Sixty-one percent of respondents had that complaint.
Other complaints that at least 50 percent of respondents have made are the server removing the plate before the customer had finished eating (59 percent), the food does not look or taste like it was described on the menu (54 percent), and slow service (51 percent).
Two interesting complaints were chosen by exactly 50 percent of respondents: when the tip is automatically added to the bill, and when a table is not ready 15 minutes after the reservation time.
Other complaints respondents suggested included an inaccurate check amount (48 percent), tables that are too close together (39 percent), noisy patrons at another table (38 percent), and a poorly situated table near the kitchen or a door (38 percent).
Some people do not like their servers to become too familiar with them. Twenty-four percent complained when their server called them “honey’’ or “dear’.
Finally, in a world where nutritional value of a meal has become such an important topic, 14 percent complained when there was not enough nutritional information available about their meal. On the other hand, 16 percent complained when there was too much nutritional information provided.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.