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Davis Journal

Fancy restaurants becoming too snooty?

Feb 09, 2023 12:58PM ● By Bryan Gray

A reader mentioned that several of her favorite restaurants – more spendy, fancy eateries – are becoming less customer-friendly.

“It’s almost like they are establishing ground rules for me to even enter the place,” she said. “From reservation times to menu options to final payment, it appears that the most popular ones are somewhat snooty.”

Some of this, I said, began prior to the pandemic when high-ticket restaurants demanded customers wanting reservations to provide a credit card number; in case of a “no-show,” the credit card would be billed with a “reservation fee.” My reader said restaurant mandates have expanded since then and she wondered where it would all end.

Here’s a scenario:

“Welcome to the Cyclops Dining Salon and Bistro. To ensure this evening goes smoothly, with no misunderstandings, here are a few of our policies.

“Please be aware that we offer no parking area. We assume you will arrive either by Uber, Lyft, or taxi – and frankly, if you can’t afford a ride service you probably shouldn’t be eating here anyway. If you choose to drive, there are a few freelance parking attendants outside our restaurant. We call these attendants ‘thugs’ and while you’ll probably get your car returned, we won’t guarantee it will still have a catalytic converter attached.

“Our dress standards are quite liberal. Jeans are accepted, but only if they have been purchased at Nordstrom and you can show a sales receipt for at least $150 per pair.

“When it comes to payment, we accept all major credit cards. However, since we have to pay a 3% transaction fee to accept them, you will be billed an additional 15% to cover the cost.  We are a cashless restaurant, meaning we do not give any change. For instance, if your meal, tax, and tip comes to $108, you can give us two one-hundred dollar bills for payment; the remaining $92 will be kept by management to help offset the cost of our next egg delivery.

“Incidentally, if you want to split the check with another guest, don’t even think about it. We are environmentally friendly and only offer one guest check per table, part of our charitable effort to protect the redwood forests.

“It is also our policy to ensure the health of our guests and staff. For this reason, we strongly encourage all guests entering our restaurant to don COVID masks, have a ready supply of Kleenex, and, upon request, show that you have had a colonoscopy within the last two years.

“We do not offer a vegan menu. We have an aversion to silly people who won’t eat brie and think salmon is as dangerous as cigarettes. We do have a vegetarian item on our menu. If you enjoy aged turnips (in season) sprinkled with truffle butter, you’ve come to the right place.

“Our ‘fresh catch’ entrée often changes hourly. We don’t want to deplete the oceans, so our listed mahi mahi special may not be available. If that is the case, may we suggest fish sticks marinara?  

“Oh, one other thing. After you order your entrée, please don’t further bother the wait staff. They are far too busy ordering whiskey sours from the bar to meet your request for extra butter or a clean fork.

“Now that you know our house rules, we can all be on the same page…So enjoy, relax, and please refrain from burping or needlessly using our restrooms.”