Surly Servers

Czech, Please! Which Countries Offer the Surliest Service?

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Not endorsed by Trip Advisor. Photo: iStockphoto

Chef Zdeněk Pohlreich has cornered the celebrity Czech chef market: He’s that country’s Gordon Ramsay, starring in Yes, Boss!, where he berates lousy restaurant owners. Today he let loose in a candid interview blasting his countrymen’s taste in food, preference for water parks over restaurants, and horrible waitering skills. (Not only does that country lack good meals, it also apparently lacks restaurant publicists.) “I am afraid that the Czechs are just not born to work in service, a lot of them still find it humiliating or frustrating,” he mourns. Which makes us wonder: Which countries make a stay in the Czech Republic look like a trot through Barcelona in the spring?

Some cynics would say that horrible service can be found right here at home. But travelers might want to avoid Great Britain, too: Last year, no less an organization than the BBC tackled the deep-rooted problem of snooty customers and groveling waiters; here, people continue to suffer a “hangover” from the British class system. “It’s the old Upstairs-Downstairs syndrome, where it is only for the lower classes,” said one chef at the time. Also problematic? Per the BBC, those stodgy Brits “don’t know how to complain.”

Meanwhile, over in Belgium, there’s a comedy troupe, Basta, which is basically Saturday Night Live meets Zagat. “During history, we’ve always been conquered by the Spanish, by the French, by the Austrians. But all we do is mumble … We don’t fight the system. We just go inside, sit in our living rooms, and get mad about it,” one jokester admits (though he does say the country has great waffles). Note to Yelp!: Do not expand into Belgium; they’re too wimpy.

But our award goes to Japan, where one izakaya resorted to hiring monkey waiters dressed in female wigs, who are tipped in soya beans. “They’re actually better than some human ones,” say customers.

Celebrity Chef Laments Current Czech Food Culture [Radio Praha]
Why Is Service So Bad in the UK? [BBC]
The Amazing Monkey Waiters That Serve Tables in a Japanese Restaurant [Daily Mail U.K.]
Related: America’s 13 Most Abusive Restaurants

Czech, Please! Which Countries Offer the Surliest Service?