Midlife expectations too high?

Fred has always been a winner in my eyes; his restaurant is extremely popular too in our area.

We’ve been eating there for more than 30 years on and off.  And last night’s visit was a bit special for us, because we took our two daughters along with us for the first time to celebrate my birthday.  I know, I know, I’m also not sure why they’ve never been with us before to this amazing restaurant; they’ve been almost everywhere else we’ve ever frequented.

The same staff have served us all these years; Fred is obviously a very nice guy to work for.  Decor is attractive; food is excellent.  Well, usually.  But not last night.  Out of the four meals we ordered, three were deemed to be less than great.  What a disappointment.  Gutted.  Girls are now wondering why we kept harping on about Fred’s for all those years.

Well, we’ll not be harping on about it any more.  We do eat out quite often; we like good food.  It occurs to me this morning, however, that maybe our midlife expectations are set a little too high, bearing in mind that we are in the middle of a recession.  Perhaps restaurants are having to cut corners a little or a lot just to survive.

On the other hand though, surely a recession is precisely the time to go the extra mile, and satisfy customers’ expectations.  And more besides.  I’m sure we are no different from most other families in that we expect value for our hard-earned money, and only the best will do.  It’s not as if a birthday meal can be repeated the following night, now can it?

Did you voice your opinion, I hear you ask.  No, we did not.  Normally we would have, but Fred himself was absent.  He’s gone overseas to visit family.  We will, however, make an effort to chat to him once he’s back from his travels.  And will we give Fred the opportunity of having another bite of our eating out budget?  Probably, but not for a while.  Will I lower my midlife expectations?  I don’t think so.  Unfortunately for Fred, we live in a world where nothing is indispensable – and there are plenty more restaurants where Fred’s came from.



  1. I completely agree that in a recession business should go the extra mile. However, having been a waiter myself, the job does get so tedious that rightly or wrongly when the manager is away standards will slip somewhat. You should always complain if you are not happy with the food. Any manager of a restaurant will tell you they prefer for a complaint inside the restaurant so they have the opportunity to fix the problem rather than you walking away unsatisfied and telling your friends. Remember it is a lot easier to make a bad impression than a good one.


    • You know what Mr Handbags’n’Botox, I agree with you about complaining at the restaurant. And we will be complaining to Fred, the owner, in a nice friendly manner once he’s back from Hong Kong. I suspect that you’re also right about standards sliding whilst he’s away. We’ll make a point of eating there again once he’s back in residence! In the meantime, both of my daughters waitress part-time, so we know what sort of problems can crop up, and that it’s not an easy job. Have to say, finally, thank you for your honesty. I’m liking you already!


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