You’re dining in a restaurant. You finished your meal and are looking to get out of there. You ask your server for the bill, and, rather than walk away to print the bill, they feel the need to remove every single thing from the table.
Most recently, last night, I was dining at my local PF Chang’s (aside: stands for “Paul F. Chang’s”), and this happened. After I asking for the check (and even tried to make it look like I wanted to be on my way), I had to watch the waiter totally bus the table before thinking about walking away to print the check.
In the past 2 years, I’ve noticed this become more and more routine almost everywhere. From a practical standpoint, after it’s been established that the meal is over, I really don’t understand why they can’t just clear the main plates and get you on your way before completely busing the table.
Related to this, some places really need to work on the pacing of clearing appetizers from the table. The general rule should be that if there is food remaining on the plate and you are chewing, the wait staff shouldn’t even bother asking you if you’re finished with it. I witnessed this recently, where Cute~Ella and I were eating sushi at a stop on our #missionsushi tour. She had a Philadelphia roll as an appetizer, and just as she grabbed the final piece, the waitress lifted the plate. I think its even possible that the plate was off the table before Cute~Ella even lifted the piece of sushi.
Don’t get me wrong. I totally comprehend that the staff in all of these cases is attempting to provide a clean and unobstructed dining experience. I’m just saying that some thought needs to go into how they prioritize when and what to clear from the table.