Diners put heat back on eateries

Food bloggers: Liz Sheehan, Martine Van-Boeijen, Don Stott and Carly Rossbach. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

WA's top food writers and bloggers agree - attitude, the 1000-yard stare, ill- informed waiters and goldfish memory are the things that most irk us about service in WA restaurants.

Our recent article in The Weekend West outlining the gripes waiters have with WA diners provoked some strong responses from readers, restaurant critics and bloggers concerned that the story didn't explore the other side of the coin - waiters behaving badly. They say basic courtesies, being informed and a cheerful disposition are often missing.

Liz Sheehan, the popular The Breakfast Confidential blogger and a reviewer for The West Australian Good Food Guide, says it starts at the beginning of the meal.

"I hate it when they seat you and then . . . nothing," Sheehan said. "No water, no menus, no drinks order, no nothing. It's not that hard, You're in hospitality, so be hospitable."

Sheehan says leaving dirty dishes on the table and "attitude" are rampant.

Restaurant reviewer Don Stott agrees. "I can't tell you how often I have been the invisible customer in a restaurant," he said.

Stott, who writes for the _Good Food Guide _, added: "They look right at you and then right through you and see nothing. How is that possible?"

Getting orders wrong is another gripe.

"If I wanted the ice in the scotch, I wouldn't have gone to such lengths to ask for it on the side," Stott said.

ChompChomp blogger Martine Van Boeijen says getting orders right is basic stuff.

"If you have goldfish memory, write the order down," she said.

Carly Rossbach, who writes the Perth Munchkin blog, says waiters not knowing what's on the menu is a deal breaker.

"If they don't know the menu, particularly when you go to a top-end restaurant, they're in the wrong business," she said. "They really should be able to describe the food to you."

Among all the bad behaviour, there is good news.

"Service standards are improving out of sight," Sheehan said. "There will always be servers who are ill-suited for the industry but there is a growing core of true professionals who are slowly raising the bar."