So just what do you do if you find yourself in such situations?
No one likes feeling invisible when they are dining out. From my experience, if no one has taken your order within fifteen minutes or less of your being seated at a table, the food is more than likely to be as poor as the service. Leave and let other patrons that are arriving know the reasons you are exiting.
Good wait staff are efficient, polite, don't confuse or worse, neglect to take orders down. They know the menu, ingredients and wine list well and should be able to make recommendations you will enjoy. They usually return to check you are happy with your meal, to refill water and top up wines. They will not take plates away whilst someone is still dining on a course, or pressure diners to eat and leave quickly. It should seem nothing is too much trouble for them.
The very best wait staff can take this to another level again and make the most ordinary diners in the world, feel like they are genuine VIPs; you will be bound to go back when this is the case!
If the restaurant is busy, after seating you and giving you a menu, they should acknowledge they will soon be with you to take your order as they pass your table.
If your order has been taken, and food delivered to the table, but the service remains less than obliging, or downright slack, do not leave a tip and make it known to managment what your concerns are.
Sometimes however, the food itself can be the main cause of concern and disappointment.
Do not hesitate to let the wait staff know if something is disaterously wrong.
I well remember a night's dining with my mother and a group of friends, when the waiter, firstly neglected to take some of our orders down. Some of us were left waiting for meals, so long after the others had been served, that its was necessary to enquire what was happening with them.
That rectified, our fish eventually arrived. It was not sushi or sashimi, but was near raw and inedible. We sent it back to the kitchen and again were left waiting for our meals. By the time we got them, the rest of our table was ready to leave. It was a memorable night's dining for all the wrong reasons!
If the food is truly apalling and does not taste, or even resemble what you ordered you are within your rights to leave, without eating it, or paying. This rarely seems to happen, as most people are too embarassed to make a fuss, eve when a fuss is deserved!
If the food and service are exceptional, find a way to congratulate the entire restaurant team. Sometimes a waiter can convey compliments to the chef. Personally, I like to put my head into the kitchen and congratulate and thank the staff myself!
If you suffer from food allergies or intolerances, make sure you let the restaurant know and order accordingly.
Similarly, if you need to be finished dining within a short time frame, don't let the wait staff presume you are out for a long and leisurely meal. Tell them you need to be where you need to be by the appointed time. That way it falls on the restaurant to ensure your meal is delivered promptly.
When choosing a restaurant, avoid empty establishments. They are usually empty for good reason.
My mother also told me to examine their front windows. If they are dirty and fingermarked, hygene through the rest of the establishment was likely to be as neglectful!