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Trying new restaurants can be a bit like spinning a roulette wheel, you never know what might end up ruining your night out. It’s easy enough to find out if the food is good beforehand, though tastes vary and you might catch them on an off night. But loud guests, blaring music, and dirty dishes are just some of the other risks you run when trying a new place. It does not take much to turn a night out into a disappointing dining experience.

One person wanted to hear what ruins a restaurant experience for others and the internet delivered. So get comfortable as you scroll through and be sure to upvote the most relatable examples. If you have a restaurant-ruiner suggestion, comment it below.

#1

I'm going to get hated on for this, but..

Children.

However, not every child. I'm talking about the ones that the parents are obviously not putting much effort into. The ones that will run around, cause a scene, pester other diners, and just make themselves a nuisance.. And God forbid you ask them politely to stop, because then Big Mama's gotta not look at her phone for five seconds to tell you to not parent her kid.

B***h, I wouldn't have to parent your kid if you actually behaved like a parent!

InkblotDoggo Report

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Wax0nWax0ff
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’m a parent but I’m definitely not hating on this person for disliking this. In fact, I agree. The main thing that it’s not really a kid problem, it’s an adult problem — the other parents 👎

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#2

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience #QR CODE MENUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

notAgirl77 , Pixabay Report

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Stary_cat
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is so annoying, like I went to a restaurant to get away from phones to have quality service, not bad wifi and using my phone to order may aswell get Uber eats at home.

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#3

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience When the background music is too loud

CrystalQueen3000 , K8 Report

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Firstname Lastname
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I go out to dinner to catch up with friends. If I can't hear them, then I feel like it's not a restaurant I enjoy, regardless of food quality.

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There is evidence that restaurants have gotten louder and louder over the last two decades. One study found that since the 1990s, the average noise level was roughly ten decibels lower than in 2018. Weirdly, this is primarily a result of customer demand. Most people don’t dine alone but feel uncomfortable speaking in a mostly silent room. You don’t want half the bar to hear your conversation after all. A lot of noise also looks attractive from the outside, telling us that there are lots of customers, no doubt for a reason. 

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Some specialists suggest that loud music also serves to keep the pace of dining quick. Normally, the level of noise creeps up on you only after you are seated as you slowly realize that you need to lean in to hear anything. The noise prompts you to eat faster, so you vacate the table sooner, generating more business for the location. Cacophonous music is one of those things a restaurant can get away with since some people don’t mind it at all and others tend to only realize it too late.

#4

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience You can smell that they wiped everything down with a mildewy rag

mmarc , Ketut Subiyanto Report

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or even better, you can see the gray murky sanitizer bucket they dip it in to that hasn't been changed out in hours. Bonus if there's little bits of food floating on the surface

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#5

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience When the tables are too small. Nothing infuriates me more than not having room to eat my food because the tiny table has three other plates on it, drinks, condiments/sugar caddies, what have you.
Also I hate those cheap, light, metal chairs that are always freezing and make a loud noise when you move them.
And more restaurants should have purse hooks!

meowmeow0092 , Lina Kivaka Report

#6

When parents let their kids run around and knock s**t over.

scaryboilednoodles Report

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While less dangerous to your eardrums, many here noted that if a restaurant has a massive menu, it’s unlikely that they are going to be experts at every single item. After all, how can one venue pull off fifty-plus dishes, across at least three cuisines well? The reasoning is simple, they want to attract as many potential customers as possible. If your date is a picky eater, this sort of location could be great, as they will no doubt find something among the hundreds of items they like.

#7

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Being sat too close together. My elbows need air.

Poosewees , Valeria Boltneva Report

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Went to a restaurant recently where there were just reaaally long tables where your group would be sat but so would other people, so you would end up with strangers sandwiching you in on either side of your party. The chairs were basically touching each other side to side, I felt like the guy next to me might as well have been on my lap.

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#8

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience A passive aggressive sign that complains about people not wanting to work anymore or some variation.

And getting food poisoning

silentbobdrummer , Nick Karvouni Report

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Tucker Cahooter
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If I wanted to get food poisoning I am quite capable of undercooking my own meat in the comfort of my own home

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#9

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience When they don’t put price on menu. Makes me not want to order anything just incase it comes out to $30 per dish and also feel embarassed to ask for price of each item

Theoldage2147 , Terje Sollie Report

Speaking of menus, some respondents indicated a distrust of price-less menus, which they theorize are a method to hide the more ludicrous prices showing up these days. The origin of the idea is somewhat more benign. During business lunches or when a person was treating a group of guests, they would make sure everyone received a ‘blind menu,’ so people could order without feeling guilty. Only the person who made the reservation would get a menu with the prices on display, a setup that could probably be used in a sitcom to great effect.

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#10

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience When the table you’re seated in wobbles from the slightest touch

zexzunara , Fani Chan Report

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Megan Curl
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Does anyone else find this picture with what looks like a bathroom sink in the background, kinda gross? Also, wonky tables are the worst.

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#11

I live in redneckville and some honkeytonk places like to declare their political affiliations so for me the biggest restaurants to avoid are the ones flying the Back the Blue flags or the F&@k Biden flags over the front door.

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Tamra
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This seems like a poor practice for a business. Alienate a significant portion of potential business for your political beliefs? Stupid.

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#12

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Went to a small restaurant that I've liked before. For some reason the owners decided to put up a karaoke machine in the middle of the place. With the size of the place and how loud the machine was, you could hear everything at any table.

We sat down, heard a kid trying to sing Let It Go full blast and all decided to leave.

KingofSheepX , Kane Reinholdtsen Report

This practice is not as common anymore, now no one sees the price. Restaurants rely on social pressure to discourage the guest from asking for the specific price of something. There still are cases where the restaurant is acting in good faith. If you notice fish dishes where the price is ‘on request,’ or simply not shown, be sure you are getting something fresh as restaurant staff had to negotiate with fishmongers directly. Since the price would change daily based on supply, demand, and negotiation skills, it’s easier to not print a set price on a menu.

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#13

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience I personally like a dark and quiet atmosphere where I can sit in a high-backed booth and enjoy my meal with my family. Restaurants that are too open, too bright, and have loud music playing in the background ruin it for me personally.

X_brokeham_X , shawnanggg Report

#14

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Slow service coupled to food not served hot enough because it's been sitting in the kitchen too long waiting to be delivered.

Back2Bach , Louis Hansel Report

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is why staffing enough food runners during busy times is so important

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#15

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience When they don't treat/pay their staff well. You can tell, especially if you've worked in the industry, and it seeps into every aspect of the place. You can practically feel it oozing out of the walls.

Hey_Its_Crosby , Pelle Martin Report

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Seadog
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Same goes for how corporate treats them. Our closest Olive Garden was the best. Because the GM cared. We got in good with him and would let him know anytime we saw something he should know. He even kept items available when OG would drop them from the menu because his patrons wanted them. He was too good though. They wanted him to start traveling to fix other OG's with issues. With a newborn at home he wasn't about to do that, so he quit and opened his own place. OG replaced him with one of those idiot GM's that thinks he can manage a restaurant from the office or kitchen. Never comes out to speak to patrons. Thinks a gift card will fix any problem. I don't want a gift card, I want you to fix what's broken. We (and many others based on the parking lot) went from multiple times a week visits to 3 times in the last 6 years. Occasionally we ride through the parking lot and as long as we see Rhett Cobb as GM, we just keep driving.

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A more modern abomination, at least according to some respondents, is the QR code menu. Yes, it was more sanitary during Covid 19, yes, digital menus can be updated more easily, and yes, it’s easier than listing a hyperlink somewhere if you insist on an online menu. But way too often, it will just be a scanned pdf that forces guests to desperately zoom in to figure out what is available. It also vaguely feels like ordering something from Doordash or an equivalent, not a feeling anyone wants to replicate when actually going out.

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#16

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Bad food. It could be a hole in the wall with a leaky roof and horrible service, but people will still go if the food’s good. They’ll probably just call it a hidden gem with *character*

4Ever2Thee , jack shingai Report

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Tucker Cahooter
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I used to go to various restaurants with a small group of work colleagues on a regular basis. On one occasion I had to use the toilet there as I had a bad case of the runs. When I got back to the table I asked if anyone else was having issues, but everyone seemed okay. But the next day the woman who had chosen this place came down with food poisoning (I assume it was a delayed reaction) and was off for a week. The thing which startled me is that several weeks later on she wanted our group to go to the same restaurant again. No way Jose, once bitten twice shy, there were plenty of other restaurants in town to try. Now whenever I drive past it I still remember.

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#17

A TV always on where you can't get away from it.

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Depends on the place. For example, at a sports bar/restaurant where people actually go to watch a game and eat then obviously TV's are a big part of that. A quiet little spot that's supposed to be romantic or intimate then not so fitting.

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#18

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Noise. Restaurants need to be thoughtful about how noise reverberates when designing the space, and then take other measures like playing music at a volume low enough that you don't have to strain to hear those at your table but loud enough it helps distract you from everyone else's conversations.

ClementineJane , Nick Hillier Report

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liam newton-harding
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sound baffles, I've seen restaurants that use these, and they are so god-damned helpful. I have also been in restaurants that have bare concrete floors, with bare brick walls, and metal fittings, and then wonder why patrons aren't interested in coming back, after their first experience of literally shouting across the table, to be heard by their partner.

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#19

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience A menu that's way too freaking big, saying this as a food service worker.

N1hili , Lina Kivaka Report

#21

Owners who can't treat their staff like people.

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R Dennis
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If a business treats an employee badly, I leave a negative review. I specifically say how the employee was great, who the manager was, and how they completely ruined the experience.

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#23

Music you have to shout over to have a conversation.

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Jeremy James
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think some places do this because, if you can't have a conversation, you won't be nursing that beer or cocktail, so you're more likely to drink faster and more of them.

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#24

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Charging for ketchup.

MinxManor , Brett Jordan Report

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Huddo's sister
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11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Does this happen in regular restaurants? I've only known that to happen in fish and chip shops etc

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#25

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Waitstaff walking towards me carrying a cake and singing Happy Birthday...

ccl_now , Aneta Pawlik Report

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's not the restaurant's fault, that's the fault of the other people at your table. Pretty sure the waitstaff hate this even more than the rest of us do!

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#27

"I've Left Places Due To This": 30 Infuriating Things That Ruined These People’s Restaurant Experience Restaurants that are too bright, too loud (with music or just poor acoustics so you can hear everyone else), no music at all is also a no-no, food being served on ridiculous items rather than plates, over or under attention by waitstaff, unattended kids, tipping being expected unless it’s for excellent service (I’m from the UK and Australia where tipping is NOT expected before you come at me, k)

hollbert , Life Of Pix Report

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What's wrong with receiving your food in a nice shovel head or old egg carton, or perhaps atop the Turbo-Fire V-8 engine of a 1956 Chevy Bel Air?

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#28

Christian music.

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Weasel Wise
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Insane fact I learned through experience: in Belize, on Sunday mornings, if you missed church, don't worry cuz every restaurant, grocery store, etc is playing the christian music station on their speakers. "Why yes, I love to shout to the lord, all the Earth let them sing...while I buy my groceries."

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#29

Concrete floors, high, open ceilings, metal or stone walls. When it's like they're trying to create the loudest, most echo-ey place possible.

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#30

Tablet menus and buttons to summon waiters. I’m here for an analog, human experience ffs.

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RagDollLali
Community Member
11 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There used to be a restaurant near our house growing up where you would raise this little flag on your table to call the waiter over. Worked really well, they noticed it pretty quick and you didn't have to spend twenty minutes staring at the waiter to make eye contact or figuring another way to call them over that didn't make you feel rude.

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