One night while we were living in Stoneville, I decided to take my Dad out to dinner at a very upmarket Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood.
We had been there before with friends and I was quite happy to spend $120 – 150 for us to have a lovely dinner with wine, beer, desert, coffee, whatever we wanted. I booked a table for two, for 8:00pm. When we arrived, the restaurant was very busy doing takeaways and a number of tables were set but not occupied. We were on time.
We were shown to a table for two, just inside the entrance to the dining area. My father was seated first, with his back to the room of diners. I was seated opposite him, with a first class view of the staff entrance into the kitchen/ serving area, the rubbish bins into which all plates are scraped before they hit the dishwasher and the repository for all empty bottles.
Suffice to say, I politely and quietly told the young waiter that the table was not suitable; we would not sit there and to find us something else. He was an astute young man, found us an acceptable table outside and, since it was a pleasant warm event, we had a very enjoyable meal. I tipped him accordingly.
On the way out, when paying the bill, I said to the owner/operator/proprietor behind the till “Table 14. You should get rid of it”.
She (Chinese lady) said, we “We don’t have Table 13 – Chinese don’t like that number!” “No,” I said, “Table 14. Get rid of it. I will not sit and look at your rubbish bins while I am eating! Go and sit there and see what you are looking at!”
What if I had been a lady taking the love of my life to dinner, and for a whole variety of reasons, I was making the booking? Restaurants have no right assume that female patrons have lesser tastes or sensitivities and the view from my seat was, frankly, disgusting.
The food was excellent; the prices reasonable and the service (from the staff) excellent. It would be interesting to see if the management was smart enough to respond to a serious and genuine customer suggestion.
At the Sheraton in Waikiki, I was seated front and centre in the fabulous Hanohano Room 30 floors above the beach, which is only accessed on the outside of the tower in a glass lift. I was dressed in a full length evening gown, and was later asked if I was indeed the elegant lady seen exiting the lift to enter the restaurant. The service was impeccable.
In Queenstown, NZ, I enjoyed the fine dining experience of a degustation menu at the Wai Waterfront.
On my recent trip around the US and Canada for six weeks, the hospitality and service offered in restaurants from three to five stars was remarkable. The food and wine service on the Rocky Mountaineer was luxury indeed.
Sadly, as a woman dining alone, I have had “5 star” restaurants in Australia treat me in a shameful manner. The overseas services greatly contrast with the North Sydney Harbourview, which wanted to seat me down the back, around the corner and out of sight, in a restaurant that was almost entirely empty. No harbour views for me, even as a hotel guest!
Suffice to say, I did not allow that occur. Maybe I had better stop now, before this turns into a feminist rant about the lack of consideration for diners as customers in Australia and for females dining alone.
Before I go, I am reminded of a story from many years ago, when Robbie and I were first beginning to go out together. We arranged to meet at a well known restaurant in South Perth later in the evening and I went early, for dinner. I dined alone. Only a short time before Robbie arrived, one of the patrons approached me and invited me to join him and the owner of the restaurant for a few drinks. I looked him up and down and replied “It must be obvious to you that if I am dining alone – it is because I have chosen to do so!”
His response and his conversation with Robbie, who arrived soon after, is a story for another day – since, unbeknown to me at the time, he and Robbie were already well acquainted, they greeted each other warmly and the gentleman in question wasted no time at all in telling Robbie of his rebuff. I later learned he dined on that story, himself, many times.
If you like our Snippets, join us online, get your first premium story FREE and get regular updates of new postings.
Get started here, today.