Saturday, June 10, 2023

5 Signs A Restaurant Doesn’t Want You Inside

As a food critic with a unique sense of style and a diverse group of friends, I know a dirty little secret about the restaurant industry. That secret? Many restaurants discriminate when it comes to their clients and some even actively try to push away those who they deem as undesirable. It’s disgusting, but it’s true. 

Sometimes, it’s a racial issue. Other times, it’s a matter of the way people present themselves or even the potential clients’ weights. (Yes, I know.) Truth be told, I’ve been discriminated against by restaurants in the past and it hurts. I quickly learned to avoid venues that didn’t want me there. After all, why would I want to give them my money? 


Learning how to notice the subtle signs of a restaurant trying to push you out is a smart way to ensure that you support establishments that really want you there. Wondering if you’re not welcome at that place you reserved? Here are some telltale signs…

  1. They insist that you need to spend extra money in order to get a table. Did they offer to seat a couple sharing appetizers at a table, but tell you that you will need to agree to order a full meal to get the same treatment? They’re trying to come up with a reason to reject you.
  2. When you ask for a table, they refuse to seat you or say the restaurant’s full despite tables that are visibly open. Nothing quite says you’re not welcome like actually being turned away at the service. 
  3. The waitstaff let others wearing similar clothing to yours in but claim that they have a “dress code” with you. In most cases, this is a sign that there may be a racial issue at the heart of the matter.
  4. While you’re dining, the waitstaff regularly show up while you’re still eating asking if you need the check or “need anything else.” Though this can actually just be the mannerisms of an attentive waitstaff, if you notice them regularly trying to push the check on you more frequently than others, they may be trying to get you to leave.
  5. The waitstaff or the patrons try to stare you down. This is what happened to me when I went out to my most recent restaurant, and let me tell you, it was bad. It wasn’t the waitstaff, either. It was the patrons–and sometimes, the others in the restaurant alone can be reason enough to dodge a restaurant.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a food critic, writer, and at home culinary enthusiast!


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