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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by EdwardParkernl, Mar 14, 2019.
How do you rate any restaurant?
I'd note, in order: Quality of food served, cleanliness, and FOH staff attentiveness. If you can't nail those big things, it's hard to consider it a good restaurant.
As a person who has worked as a cook for about 3 years, always the first thing I look at is the supply and freshness of products. Often a tomato in a salad speaks of a restaurant much more than a neat trading room and a bright sign.
I don't consider any one part of the restaurant experience to be the only deciding factor on if I am going to go back or not. Obviously you are going out to eat and drink, but sub par food can be saved by excellent service and ambiance. Likewise a great meal can be easily overshadowed by a server who pays little to not attention to you. I'm always more forgiving of the food because usually the problems aren't things like hair in the food or raw chicken, it usually has to do with my personal tastes on seasonings, ect. If you have a bad experience I would always suggest taking a little time and trying them again, everyone has bad nights and sometimes it's worth giving a place another shot.
The reason why we go is to eat. Therefor the quality of food needs to be first. I put service and cleanliness second with both being equal. I see the Health Dept inspections of our area restaurants every Tuesday in the Newspaper. I have never failed a Health Dept inspection. I would be embarrassed to see a restaurant I Owned, Managed or Chef at fail an inspection.
To me, these are the criteria in order with a brief explanation:
1. Food quality and freshness (and menu offerings) - The necessity of fresh food speaks for itself, so I won't belabor that point. However, no restaurant, regardless of its ambiance, service, location etc, will ever succeed if the food isn't good. They may last for a little while, perhaps a few years. But, existing is not the same as succeeding and most will eventually close or are taken over. As for menu selection, its easy for a chef to get carried away and overload their menu. Its infinitely better, in my opinion, to offer a smaller selection comprised of the chef's best offerings as opposed to offer a wide variety of options that are just ok. Not to mention the smaller, focused menu means less overhead. However, from the customer's point of view, a large menu will often fail to impress the customer precisely at the point where they should be impressed. A menu focused to the point where it can split atoms grabs their attention and puts the chef's best creations front and center.
1a - Quality of service - I put this one as a very close tie to #1. A good server is worth their weight in platinum plated white truffles. They are the point of contact between the establishment and the public. Clean hands, clean hair, clean appearance, friendly, attentive and accurate service are all necessary components. No one wants to be waited on by a server with dirty fingernails who smells of cigarette smoke that can't get the order right.
2. Cleanliness of the dining area - No wants to sit at a table that has a stained table cloth, food under the table, bused dishes piled up on cart in the corner etc etc. The dining area's cleanliness, more than its appearance, to my mind is more important than its aesthetics. However, if both can be top notch, even better.
3. The design of the dining area - As I mentioned in #2, a pleasant, well appointed dining area is very important. It sets the tone of the dining experience. It doesn't matter if the establishment is Michelin Starred or if its a burger and rib joint on the corner of podunk and hayseed avenue. A good atmosphere is the proverbial "icing on the cake." However, I have seen restaurants thrive with horribly designed eating areas and no atmosphere thanks to their outstanding food and service.
4. Location - This is probably the single most overlooked factor by new restaurant owners. Again, poor location can be compensated for if the other factors are top notch. Who doesn't know of a little hole in the wall joint in the middle of nowhere that has soul breaking good food? However, location is a very important factor in the planning of any restaurant.
I am sure that others will put different values on these criteria. However, regardless of their order, most lists will include these criteria nonetheless. After all, its all a matter of opinion.
Great thread question, by the way.
I couldn't agree more.
I like a straight forward menu, not 7 pages of mediocre options, none of which is likely to be done really, really well. Also agree with your comments on FOH Staff and general cleanliness. Piss poor waitstaff is a major turn off; and if they can't keep the public portion of the restaurant clean, I shudder to think of what's happening in the walk-in
Food quality, cleanliness, ambience, service. They are all legs on the same chair as far as I'm concerned.
You can rate any restaurant by eating food, Serving time and behavior of Staff members
There was a very similar thread not too long ago, with a lot of people weighing on the topic. You can find the thread here: