Lifestyle | Just For Fun

Behold, 11 Signs That Foretell The Impending Doom Of Your Favorite Restaurant

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Isn’t it just delightful to have that one go-to eatery that feels like your second home? The place where you can recite the menu from memory, where the servers greet you like long-lost friends, and the atmosphere wraps around you like a warm, cheesy blanket. Ah, the assurance of a scrumptious meal awaits!

But, oh my pasta, don’t you just despise it when that beloved restaurant of yours decides to vanish into thin air, leaving you heartbroken and famished?

Fear not, my friend, for we have cracked the code! Behold, the signs that foretell the impending doom, all expertly assembled for your awareness. No need for jaws to drop or eyebrows to raise in disbelief. And if by any culinary calamity you find these happenings unfolding before your eyes, brace yourself for the ultimate disaster. Trust me, my dear diner, the notorious Gordon Ramsay might just have his fiery fingers in the pie. Bon appétit, and may your meals forever be free of kitchen nightmares!

Parking Lot Is Empty

one car in large outdoor parking lot.
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Let’s start at the beginning. You arrive at the parking lot at at time when your favorite place is hopping, and…it’s empty. Or there are dramatically fewer cars than usual. Other diners might have already figured out what you haven’t yet. This restaurant is going down.

Tables Are Empty

empty outdoor dining area.
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Or maybe there is no parking lot. But as you are approaching the restaurant, you notice that the usually crowded outdoor tables are empty. Inside the restaurant, the populated tables are far fewer than what used to be.

Hours Change

closed sign in window.
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Let’s say you arrive at 5pm for a drink. The plan is to head to the bar to relax a bit. Door is locked. New hours are posted; they aren’t opening until 6pm. Or, even worse, they aren’t opening until 6pm, but the old hours are still there. The door is just locked. Or there is a makeshift sign indicating to come back later. And they have ceased serving lunch. What’s going on?

Lack of Sanitation

filthy bathroom.
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If you have still decided to stay, and as you walk in you sense something different, but what is it? The general “feel” of the restaurant is off. Then you realize, the gorgeous flowers they usually have are missing. The overall cleanliness seems to have taken a dive, too. 

Menu Items Not Available

server taking an order.
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Now you are now at your table, and menus are offered. You have your regular order, but you always like to take a look in case you want to try something new. You tell the server what you would like, and they inform you that it is not available. What? It has never not been available…not a good sign. And they have no reasoning other than it just isn’t available.

As one person put it: “The death spiral: shrinking menu, or items listed on the menu not being available; rising prices; reduced days/hours. Lather, rinse, repeat — fail.”

Servers Are Unknowledgeable

server talking with customer.
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Being a regular, you also happen to notice that you have never seen this server before. And they are particularly unknowledgeable about the menu. Questions cannot be answered, and now that you think about it, everything about them seems off. They look uncomfortable in their apron; they are having difficulty taking orders. They look suspiciously like the owner’s mother. They almost seem as though they are not an actual server, but just someone who is “play-acting” one. Could be…

Your Dish Arrives And…?

bad looking meat on plate.
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Luckily, your standard order is available. It comes to the table. You always order it medium-rare and it is always done to perfection. The dish doesn’t even look the same. It is decidedly not medium-rare, and the meat quality is not the same either. Is the same chef in the kitchen? Seriously doesn’t seem so.

Check Social Media

girl checking social media.
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OK, so you got out of there. Now what? What is happening to your special place? Check social media. Check Yelp. What are people saying? You might learn a lot. Maybe there has been a decline that many people had reported upon. If a lot of people are all experiencing the same downward spiral, that is hugely telling.

If the restaurant offers free items for a positive review on Yelp or Trip Advisor, that is a bad sign.

If you have a local social media outlet, like a, post a question about the place. If you get dozens of negative feedback posts from other locals, the writing is on the wall.

Insider Info

woman sharing information.
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Through the grapevine, or also via social media, you might find comments from employees, or ex-employees, that give you an insider’s opinion. And when folks have stories, they share them!

Wages being late, or non-existent. Head chefs being fired or leaving. Maniacal management. An abusive work-place environment. Tips not being shared appropriately.

Stories about vendors not being paid. New vendors all of a sudden servicing the restaurant – and with inferior product…

How To Tell For SURE That Your Favorite Restaurant Is Failing

thumbs down on blue background.
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This one person on Quora, who apparently had loads of restaurant experience, had this to say:

“Back in the day, this was how you tested the end of the world hypothesis. You walk into the place on a quiet afternoon. Sit down at the bar and order a Dewar’s and water. The bartender replies…’Sorry sir, we’re out of Dewars.’ No big deal, you then order a J&B and water. ‘Sorry sir, we’re out of J&B.’

This means tonight’s the night they’re gonna burn the place down for the insurance money.”

That’s It Folks

chef looking pensive in empty restaurant.
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Or, more succinctly, here was another take: “You see Gordon Ramsay walk in followed by a camera.”

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