8 Things We All Hate When Eating Out at Restaurants

Its time for a moan, so here at Cube we’re looking at the things that really bug us about eating out. Now, eating out is great, of course,  we all love it, but that’s not to say it’s always perfect. So, in no particular order, the 8 things we all hate when eating out are…

dining-at-restaurant

1) “We’re out of [insert food here], I’m afraid”
It happens. We know, we know. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept when you’ve been eyeing the options for 10 minutes and finally narrowed it down to that one special selection in amongst tens of delightful dishes only to be told you can’t have it.

2) “Sorry, we don’t take bookings”
We shouldn’t have to take a chance on getting a table at our favourite restaurants on a Friday or Saturday night after a long, hard week at work. Even worse, we don’t want to queue or sit and wait for an hour to get a table. So it’s a big thumbs down to all restaurant who enforce the policy.

3) Being ready to order, but being unable to see or attract the attention of waiting staff for what feels like an eternity
Is there anything more frustrating? We’re ready to order and have been for quite some time now, but there is not a single waiter or waitress in sight. We’ve all been close to getting up and leaving to go elsewhere, but we never do, do we? A little more vigilance from the waiting staff is all we ask.

4) Overly-friendly, overly-attentive and borderline intrusive waiting staff
Now we might just be being picky, us diners, but surely there’s a style somewhere in the between being a ghost waiter and a ‘hi-how’s-your-day-let-me-practically-join-your-party’ type of waiter. Just be ready for us when we need you and, well,  politely clear off when we’re trying to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Is that being cruel?

5) Badly positioned tables and/or a lack of common sense by the person seating you at a particular table
If we’re out for dinner with that special someone, we don’t want to be sat right by the door and definitely not next to the party of 10 rowdy jack-the-lads who have a hundred empty beer glasses on their table, do we? So why do some waiting staff or hosts fail to consider seemingly obvious things like that? We don’t know, but it’s incredibly annoying and is one of our biggest bugbears when going out to eat.

6) Having a table on borrowed time
OK, so we’ve been taken to our table, we’ve all squished into a booth and we’re ready for a nice big feast to celebrate an occasion, but then the waitress hits us with that “I’m afraid we need this table back in an hour and a half”. Now, we can understand if we’ve come out on the off-chance of getting a table, but if we’ve booked and still been told to clear off by a set time something is quite clearly wrong.

7) When a “discretionary service charge” is added automatically to the bill
The key word here is “discretionary”. It’s up to us if we want to leave a tip or not, so seeing it has already been added to our bill without our say so is just rude and something that needs flagging up.

8) Having ‘that debate’ about tipping with our friends/ family at the end of the meal.
Oh, here we go again. We’re paying up, splitting the bill and now it’s time for that contentious debate about tipping. We have it every single time we go out and it always ends up with the good Samaritans of the group pioneering the Union of Waiting Staff and the more, shall we say, frugal types criticising the entire concept of tipping and vociferously repeating that they “don’t get paid tips for doing their jobs”.  So, next time you’re out, don’t get sucked in. Just sit back, observe, remember this post and have a little laugh to yourself.

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Cube Company | Restaurant Seating | Restaurant Furniture

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Project Watch: Swarovski Diamante Button Back Seating at Aren’s Bar & Restaurant, Northwood

It’s not everyday we get asked to make deep button back seating with Swarovski Diamante buttons, so we knew this project was going to be a bit special.

The Woodman, Northwood
And it certainly was. The owners of The Woodman in Northwood wanted black faux leather seating with traditional folded and pleated deep buttoning to convey a lavish image, and the Swarovski Diamante buttons certainly helped that.

We reupholstered over 20 metres of fixed seating and also created a brand new type of drum with deep button backs to match as well as some gold faux leather barstools with, you guessed it, deep button backs.

But the deep buttoning didn’t stop there, we upholstered a number of panels in white faux leather with more Swarovski Diamante buttons for the bar area and DJ booth.

Once the project was finished, The Woodman had been transformed from a building site to an incredibly trendy and up-market bar with a sea of glistening diamond buttons all around.

Visit the official Cube Company website to see more projects…

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Choose the Perfect Restaurant Seating With 5 Simple Steps

Achieve restaurant seating that looks fantastic, functions well and even encourages your customers to spend more with these 5 simple steps.


1) Ensure you have flexibility in your seating plan

Fixed seating is great. You won’t find bigger advocates of it than us, but we know it’s limitations and are honest enough to admit them. Fixed seating limits flexibility. You need to have enough table and chair configurations so that if a large party arrives without a booking, for example, you can find room for them by pushing tables together. You can, however, still achieve a degree of flexibility with fixed seating by having straight run along a wall with tables and chairs opposite that can be configured to form 2-person tables or 12-person tables, but just make sure you have enough flexibility.

2) Have an exclusive collection of booths
It’s a really good idea to have a small amount of booth seating in your restaurant. Booths give us this sense that we are isolated from the rest of the restaurant, that we are in some way privileged. Studies have even proved that customers, on average, spend more in booths, but be careful… install too many booths and you lose that exclusivity, and your restaurant ends up looking like an American highway diner.

3) Choose a layout that leaves ample room between tables and enough room for walkways
We’ve talked about this before – it’s one of our big pet peeves. Make certain there is enough room in between tables (ideally no less than 500mm) and enough room behind chairs (800mm or more) so that your customers can enjoy their meals with a bit of privacy and comfort. There is nothing worse than cramming customers in purely to seat more people. In fact, this ends up being counter productive as it puts customers off coming back.

4) Consider your customer base when planning the sizes of your fixed seating
Know your customers. Know your positioning within the market. Your seating must reflect your brand and must cater for your customers and their intended use. For example, if you run a fast-food restaurant, you can opt for slightly smaller booths and fit more people in as your customers will be in and out relatively quickly, therefore comfort is not of paramount importance. If, however, you run a fine-dining establishment, comfort is key and you also want your customers to have plenty of room. Consider your customers and plan your seating accordingly.

5) Choose your theme and design carefully
The theme and design of your restaurant greatly influences how your customers perceive your restaurant, and seating is one of the biggest aspects of your interior design, therefore you need to ensure you choose the right design. These are the things you need to consider: seating shape (e.g. straight runs, back-to-back booths, circular booths), back style (e.g. plain backs, fluted backs, deep buttoning), colour, material (e.g. fabric, vinyl or leather), and even the finer details like kickboards and cappings. That’s where the fun begins, crafting seating to represent you and portray the image you want your restaurant to have.

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Head over to www.cubecompany.co.uk now to view our portfolio of restaurant seating and get some ideas.

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Could Your Current Table and Chairs Layout Be Turning Customers Off?

What’s more annoying at a restaurant: bumping elbows with someone at the next table, not being able to get out of your seat through fear of clattering into the person sat behind you, or not being able to have a private conversation with a partner because you’re practically sharing a table with couples either side of you?

Moo Grill in London gets it right with its tables and chairs.

Most restaurant owners underestimate the impact table configurations have on a guest’s dining experience. Guest’s not only want great food and drink, they want a nice atmosphere, a clean and well-decorated establishment, somewhere they can feel comfortable and somewhere they can have a little bit of privacy. The way your tables are laid out strongly influences a few of those factors, not least the last two.

Grid layouts (tables in rows and columns) are fine for large, formal restaurants, but it seems as though every small to medium-sized restaurant uses that layout now purely to fit in with the conventions of restaurant interior design. This often results in tables being far too close so that you can fully hear the conversation on the table next to you creating an awkward dynamic, or, even worse, bang into the poor person behind you as you get up to go to the toilet.

Restaurant owners need to get more creative with their limited space and, in some cases, even sacrifice some tables to benefit the dining experience of guests. Think about some of the restaurants you’ve been to, have you ever knocked elbows with the person next to you or needed to have a private conversation with your guest, but felt inhibited because you had people so close either side of your table? These are things that affect customer loyalty and put people off coming back to your restaurant, so you need to get things right here.

The simplest tip is to not over-crowd your restaurant. Our best tip, however, is to lay your tables out diagonally! It sounds odd, but turn your tables 45° and stagger the columns so that no table is directly behind the other and you have a great layout with ample room in between tables and a creative seating plan that many of your guests will not have encountered before. In some rooms, you can actually fit MORE tables than if you had straight rows and columns.

table-layout-config

Getting your layout right is about knowing your restaurant and, more importantly, knowing your customers. Fast-food outlets need not worry about slightly over-crowding their restaurants as the turnover of customers per hour is much greater than that of an up-market Italian restaurant, and fast-food guests care less about comfort and intimacy.

So, think about the typical profile of your customers and put yourself in their shoes. Think about what they want, what they like and what they might dislike about your restaurant.

Cube Company

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