Restaurateur, I am your target demographic. I have disposable income. I do not really enjoy cooking. I no longer have kids at home, so I have time to go out. College bills are long gone, and my first car is paid off. However, I find I’m going to restaurants less and less. So why am I not going?
1. Restaurants are just too noisy. I know loud music creates a buzz, and people are more in the mood to buy drinks when this buzz is exciting. Maybe the drink to numb their senses so they won’t hear the loud music. The result is restaurants are not relaxing. The drink mixer is spinning; the ice is cracking; the minimalist decor, which is great for cleaning, provides no muffling of the sound. I know the bare floor is trendy, but if you add a rug, we might be able to hear each other. My hearing is just fine, thank you, but I don’t want to leave the restaurant with a soar throat from screaming over all the noise, while trying to have an intimate conversation with friends.
2. My time is valuable. It has taken my friends and me weeks to set up a time to be together and I don’t want to be interrupted by some waiter who wants to describe 15 different wines to me when I want to talk with my friends. Nor do I need to know every celebrity who has ever walked within a 15 mile radius of this restaurant. If I wanted to go to the theater, I would have gone to the theater. I know the sommelier is trying to earn his keep, but spare me. I’d rather hear what my friends are thinking.
3. I don’t like feeling stupid, particularly about things I am not especially interested in. Oh, the duck is confit with a roué of something unintelligible, fantastic. What is the benefit of your making the source obscure. It’s great to one up me with all your fancy words. I know you know a lot more about cooking then I do. After all, why would I go to your place of business if I didn’t think you knew more about cooking? You don’t have to rub it in my face. Just tell me on the menu what I’m eating, and don’t make me ask.
4. The climate is frightfully off. I am eating indoors so I can remove my ten pound jacket and show off my beautiful new frock. Instead I find myself spending the whole night with my teeth chattering, and no one is chattering about my new dress. Besides it costs much more to clean the coat than the dress when I inadvertently dribble one of your delicious sausages, which stain.
5. Public Health comes first. I like to have my food cooked. Alas, I do not want to hear that the Chef recommends it red and bleeding, or worse, as happened to me in California, being told the restaurant would not reheat the dish because it would lose its taste. There is no accounting for taste.
So here I am, airing a very ‘First World Problem.’ I am ready, willing, and able to spend money in your gourmet palace, but not at the cost of not enjoying a comforting evening.