patios toronto

People in Toronto want a moratorium on complaining at restaurants right now

Bar and restaurant patios are finally open again across Toronto and Ontario at large after weeks of stringent lockdown, and businesses and their customers are rejoicing.

But despite how appreciative we all are to be in Step 1 of the province's roadmap to reopening, hospitality staff are already anticipating the less glamorous parts of their jobs — which includes, at times, dealing with rude patrons.

And after so many weeks of devastating forced closures, massively reduced incomes and a stressful lack of work, some in the industry are asking people to try their best to be kinder and more patient upon their return.

Renowned Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg of Bar Vendetta and Grey Gardens on Wednesday issued out (half-)joking request for a complete "moratorium on complaining in restaurants in general" for the next little while, reminding diners that such establishments and their employees are dealing with a lot right now.

Many businesses found themselves scrambling to staff, prep and set everything up in time for reopening their outdoor spaces — with pre-COVID last call and all — on June 11.

As such, Agg hasn't been the only one asking for guests to be on their best behaviour as the industry gets back into the groove of things amid such hectic demand.

"We know you're excited to get out and enjoy some food and drinks on the patio. We know you haven't been able to enjoy any type of public dining in over 7 months," Eataly Chef Ash MacNeil aptly stated in a widely-shared Instagram post shortly before Step 1 commenced.

"Please remember — that means we haven't been able to serve you in seven months... we may be a little rusty; we are adjusting. Please be kind to your severs, support staff and cooks. We have all had a rough time and we are all just doing our best."

The message obviously resonated and made a fair point given that it garnered nearly 20,000 likes, a slew of shares and hundreds of comments, including ones with further advice, such as "no sitting at a table and spending the bare minimum for three hours" and "don't forget to freaking tip!"

Though it's a bit sad that those in the industry have to outright make such requests rather than rely on individuals to simply act respectfully on their own accord, hopefully these posts will indeed nudge people to be a little more forgiving and less obnoxious as we return to what will hopefully be a somewhat normal summer.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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