I am not certain about a lot of things in the world, however I am certain that I am not the only one who has experienced what I call, the empty restaurant dilemma. The scenario is, you are walking around, looking for a quick meal in an average restaurant, nothing expensive, you just want to get quick sustenance. Then you pass a restaurant, you know of the place, the food is ok, the price is affordable, but it is extremely crowded and you just can’t be bothered to wait. You look next door, similar restaurant, but barely anyone inside, should you go in?
While an empty restaurant can be a telltale sign of restaurant serving bad food, this is not always the case. I’ve had numerous occasions where after trying their food, you can tell the restaurant is simply losing in the battle of attracting customer not because of their food but of other factors. I know of a place that’s constantly having fewer customers despite having better and cheaper food simply because their decor isn’t inviting and the other shop is more inviting and looking more spacey. Unfortunately for the restaurant owner, this may lead to them trying too hard to attract customer by adding special deals, adding a lot more menu items, changing their signs to “under new managements” and changing their restaurant concept completely while not addressing the real problem. When this happen usually their food quality eventually degrades and next thing you know, the place is closed down and replaced with other restaurant.
While it seems like I’m fighting for the ‘smaller guy’, there are times when it is just a case of bad food, so in the end, it is a gamble, but I found as a consumer it is a gamble worth going for. The way I see it, if you their food is bad, then you just never return. It is a knowledge worth a $10 meal. My one exception to this rule though, if a place is dirty (and I’m not talking about a case of oily table here- I’m talking about obvious laziness like cobwebs, accumulating dust on obvious spots), get out. If they can’t attend to at least basic cleanliness, then I’m not risking my stomach.