Some friends and I had a strange experience in a restaurant recently, and I thought I’d mention it here to see if anyone else has come across this kind of thing. It was a Friday evening, and five us of were having dinner. As we were all 1) a bit skint and 2) keen to get to the pub and get some pints into us, our plan was to just have a main course and one glass of wine each.
We were enjoying our very good main courses, when one of the waitresses came over and topped up our wine glasses. This is not usually worth mentioning, but she did it in quite an odd way. She dumped the bottle (which was about half full) into four of the glasses on the table and emptied it, leaving one glass with only half an inch of wine in it. And then straight away said: ‘Do you want to order another bottle?’ We were a bit taken aback – we hadn’t asked her to top up the glasses, and if we’d done it ourselves we would have made sure that everyone got some, rather than leaving one person with no wine for their dinner. If someone had done that with the last bottle of wine at a dinner party, you would think them to be a bit boorish and rude.
It was the most naked attempt to make customers buy another bottle of wine that I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. Now, I do realise that restaurants count on selling wine to make a profit, and the food is extremely good value at this restaurant. But it should be up to the customers to decide when they want to buy more wine, and people should be allowed to drink at their own pace, no? Plus we were just having a main course and moving on, it wasn’t like we were spending the entire evening hogging a table while lingering over one glass each. It rubbed us all up the wrong way and made us determined not to buy more wine. It won’t put me off going back, as it’s great food at a great price, but I will try to stop the wait staff grabbing the wine next time!
Do you think it’s fair enough for a restaurant to do this, or would you have been a bit put out by it as well? Would you have said something?