9 Horrible Restaurant Trends That Need To Die In 2014

I’d rather not eat my dinner out of a toilet-bowl, thank you. Also, fries are supposed to be bad for you; can’t we just leave them alone?

1. Annoyingly vague menu descriptions.

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That “pork” could be anything from chops to a chicharrones, and what if I order monkfish expecting a pan roasted filet but instead end up with ceviche? While diners should certainly try their best to trust the chef, it’s irritating when a menu gives absolutely nothing away.

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2. Restaurants doing stupid things on social media.

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Chipotle pretended they didn’t know how to use Twitter, which was weird.

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Remember them?

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The owners of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique and Bistro had an epic melt down on Facebook. It was rude, but mostly just hilarious.

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And Taco Bell continues to retweet or respond to anyone who mentions them. Which is weird and super annoying and needs to end.

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3. Restaurant employees doing equally stupid and absolutely disgusting things on social media.

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A subway employee (@weedpriest) Instagrammed some really disgusting things, including his own penis on a loaf of unbaked Subway bread.

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And someone posted a picture of a Taco bell employee licking a stack of taco shells to the company’s Facebook page.

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4. Customers refusing to tip for “moral,” often bigoted reasons.

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In January, an Applebee’s server got stiffed by a customer who claimed, “I give GOD 10%, why do you get 18%?” Again in October, a waiter in Kansas was denied a tip by customers who cited his “homosexual lifestyle” as the reason. Personal beliefs aside, tipping is not optional.

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5. “Single-concept” restaurants with too many options.

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Single-concept restaurants have taken off, obviously. The idea is great: Take a popular food, perfect that food, then devote an entire restaurant to the mass production of that food. Nothing but nuggets? Sure. A metropolitan shrine to potatoes? Yes. A rice krispie boutique? Fine.

The problem is when single-concept spots offer infinite preparations, sauces, flavors, and toppings for their namesake items. Then the whole idea of simplicity and singular focus gets lost, and what could be a spectacular biscuit shop overextends itself with homemade compound butters, jams, even charcuterie. Here’s hoping that in 2014, single-concept restaurants have the sense to simplify.

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6. Fast food chains losing their sense of self.

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This year, fast food chains made big efforts to get healthy, usually resulting in weird/gross/pointless new menu items and inevitably laughable marketing campaigns. Burger King’s Satisfries are not good. KFC’s Kentucky Grilled Chicken has no place in a fried chicken joint. McDonald’s Egg White Delight McMuffin has 250 calories, and almost that many ingredients. Enough is enough; long live burgers and fries.

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7. Very expensive, “haute” chicken dishes that discriminate against single people.

Francesco Tonelli /!slide=2
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Pictured above is the Whole Roasted Chicken For Two ($79) from The Nomad in NYC, which comes stuffed with foie gras, black truffle, and brioche. Boston’s Craigie on Main serves a Whole Roasted Misty Knoll Chicken For Two ($76), with a seasonally changing garnish (currently cabbage, barley risotto, and pickled pine nuts). Rotisserie Georgette in NYC recently debuted a wild mushroom-stuffed Whole Roasted Label Rouge Chicken For Two, served with foie gras ($72). All sound delicious, but what’s wrong with simple, affordable roast chicken dishes that don’t require a partner?

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8. Restaurants inside retail stores.

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Department stores like Bloomingdales and Barneys have long had in-store restaurants (Forty Carrots and Fred’s, respectively). But this year, Tommy Bahama opened a full service restaurant (pictured above) inside it’s Manhattan flagship, Urban Outfitters debuted a coffee bar inside one of its Manhattan locations, with plans for a bar/restaurant in a forthcoming Brooklyn outlet, and Brooks Brothers announced plans to open a steakhouse around the corner from its flagship. I’m all for multitasking, but no one needs to be browsing for cufflinks and kaftans while waiting for their steak to arrive.

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9. Really creepy themed restaurants.

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There’s a hospital-themed restaurant in Latvia where the waitresses dress like nurses and feed diners as if they were ailing patients. And, a Barbie-themed restaurant opened in Taiwain, which at first doesn’t seem that creepy but on closer inspection is kind of like an American Girl Cafe/Hooters hybrid.

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Elizabeth Daniels /
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And, ICYMI, there is now a bathroom themed restaurant in Los Angeles. Magic Restroom Cafe, diners sit on toilet-shaped stools and a “Bloody Number Two” sundae is served in a toilet shaped bowl. Themes can be fun (well, sort of), but these new restaurants are taking things to seriously unappetizing extremes.

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