What makes you cranky when you are dining out? Do you have some pet dining peeves? Kerry Heaney sure does — here are five of them.

You can guess from the name of my blog — Eat, drink + be Kerry — that I eat out a lot. In an average week I have plenty of great dining experiences but it’s the ones that don’t live up to the promise that add to my list of pet dining peeves.

Online business directory and review website TrueLocal asked 961 Australian diners what irked them when dining out. Their main gripe was poor quality food (39%), followed by rude staff (25%) and long waits or being ignored (22%).  Queensland topped the list of complainants when it came poor quality food (45% of Queensland respondents).

So here’s a list of my pet restaurant dining gripes and suggestions to restaurateurs on simple fixes.

1. Food that doesn’t taste as good as it looks

It’s the cake that’s been sitting in the fridge too long, the prepared lamb shanks that have obviously just been pushed out of a bag, the chips that are soggy.  When it arrives at the table expectations are high but one mouthful soon reveals the sad truth.  Even worse, this happens just as often with $4 cupcakes as it does with $30 mains.

Solution: Please use good ingredients and try eating the food that you serve.

2. Staff who can’t be bothered

All it takes is a smile, a simple acknowledgement and a promise that service is on the way and most people will wait patiently for a while, but not forever.  I don’t want bad service because the waiter is chatting up the new waitress or everyone is hung over from the night before.

Solution: Staff training, adequate staffing and reward good staff.

3. Tables that are too close together

When I can’t squeeze out of the gap between tables without putting my backside right in someone’s face, I’m not comfortable and I probably won’t be back.

Solution: Management should be made to negotiate the tables daily as part of their exercise regime.

4. No ambience

My favourite dining experiences are at venues that have a personality. It doesn’t have to cost much but it should match the food and enhance the experience.

Solution: If you want people to dine on your footpath, café or restaurant please make some effort and refresh it regularly.

5. Not even a Facebook page

I always have questions when I’m dining out at a new venue.  Is it licensed? Dog friendly? Where’s the best parking? Are there some interesting specials to tempt me? When your website is beautiful but tells me nothing, worse still – plays music (what were you thinking?) or doesn’t exist, even on Facebook, I’m frustrated.

Solution: Please get a web page that answers common queries or put it on Facebook (it’s free).

Do you have dining out gripes?  Feel free to share them below!