“The customer is always right’ is kind of a crazy concept in my mind”
In more and more restaurants these days, the customer is not always right. With patrons’ expectations reaching ever higher, while their manners can descend to new depths, a rising number of service staff are willing to make their displeasure known. A small French café has even gone so far to reportedly charge customers more for coffee if they order it without please-and-thank-yous attached. A group of anonymous chefs out of Montreal run a Twitter feed called The Punisher, tweeting real quotes from real customers like “No wine for me please, I just had my hair done.”
At the same time, diners complain about aloof staff who don’t know their stuff and restaurateurs who set ground rules such as no cellphones and no amateur food photography that cause some would-be guests to bristle. It all culminates in a more fraught restaurant experience than in generations past, observers say. There’s a tension at the table, and both server and diner are finding themselves bracing for an imminent breach of social contract.