After a having some draining work days for both of us, J and I went to dinner at a place we never had been to before. It was a relaxed, yet elegant space where you could get a safe, but well made meal – great for unadventurous out-of-towners.
BUT, and this is a huge BUT, our meal was marred by a table of drunks near us. They yelled. They screamed obscenities across the room. They poured drinks down each others’ pants. They knocked over drinks. When I went to the restroom, they drunkenly bugged J asking about his food. Now they weren’t mean or belligerent. Just REALLY loud with the f-bombs.
And boy were they drinking. In the time we were there they went through a round of tequila shots and a round of mojitos. We could tell other diners were equally uncomfortable. The restaurant wasn’t crowded and we could see servers at their stations surveying the room. We just couldn’t understand why none of the restaurant staff were addressing the issue.
We just couldn’t take it any more and asked for the check, paid and left. We told our server that it was unlikely we come back because of the unruly party. He was apologetic and asked us to give them another chance and come back. But he also said the party had been there since 5pm (we got there at 7:45pm) and acknowledged they were drinking too much. We said we’d love to because we like the food and the service but we had real concerns about management letting a table get that out of hand.
A couple of questions for you, dear readers:
1. How should we have engaged the restaurant staff? Should we have told them earlier in the evening? What should we have said?
2. Would you go back and trust the restaurant? It’s a hard dilemma because it was clear the table of drunks was spending some mad cash and were regulars. Would you as a restaurant sacrifice customers who would come back and probably not spend the kind of money that those folks were spending even though they were making half the room uncomfortable?