Is "turning tables" bad business in France?

I love living in France. There are many things that are different from my home back in the States that I can get accustomed to easily. One thing I just don't get is why they can't seem to understand the idea of turning over tables in restaurants. Don't they know they could increase their revenue? Yes, I get it that the French "work to live" not "live to work" like us Americans. Yet squeezing in a few more customers at lunch or dinner seems reasonable. How many times, for example, have you sat waiting after a cafe meal for "l'addition"? Or to be served another beer? A little more attention to service could get a lot more people in and out.

Or is this why we all love France?

Some valid points Avril, I am sure you have a point.

May I suggest that if you want everything open in August you pass your hols in the UK. Go to any high street and follow your nose. You can smell chips and frying everywhere. Really nice? I don't think so.

I know why I am in France and I do not want to change the French.

Hi Deborah, I think you will find that it's all to do with the Tax limits, and not general bad service. They keep the amount of staff they have so that they don't pay out too much. On average to employ someone in France cost them for example 12,000 in salary and another 12,000 in cotisations for that person. If they are allowed to earn for example 32,000 per year, they on purpose keep themselves under that amount so that they don't then go up into the next tax bracket which is huge. They also take their holidays at for us, weird times of year....but if we can take ours in August to have time in the sun, why can't they. Perhaps its also due to the fact that they don't like how busy the towns become with tourists. Why did we all come to France? why do we all leave our native countries? I know why I did..........

Marmite Deborah is yeast extract, not a bouillon. I love it, my husband hates it and there you have Marmite. Love it hate it.

Secondly no we do not want sittings in French restaurants. I hate having to get up to vacate my table for the next sitting. Yuk, Yuk, Yuk.

Deborah- Marmite is something particularly British. You can find it here in some French supermarkets- Intermarche if they have a British section. The ad campaign was My Mate Marmite. It's very bitter and is spread thinly on toast etc. If cut in strips it makes Marmite soldiers. You can use it sparingly in stews etc. It's what goes on the outside of Twiglets. Intermarche has it here in some branches. Get a small pot first and spread thinly remember! Most non Brits loathe it. It's cheaper in the UK of course!

Oh.. forgot to say to David ... marmite? You're importing marmite? Please explain. To Americans like me, we don't get it. Isn't it sorta like bouillon paste? If there was such a thing?

I feel like I've just taken a restaurant tour. Thanks! I think the comment about the cost of hiring more help in a restaurant has a lot to do with the service. Also, why so many in this part of France are family-owned. They must know exactly how many customers they need to make a living for the family ... and that's it. If more customers, they'd have to look at hiring ... which is not sustainable. I'll try to be more patient next time. LOL another comment was about the French having less heart attacks. Learning to be patient was one of the reasons I looked forward to living in France. Hopefully my heart will learn to stop racing when I'm waiting for another glass of wine or the check!

David - I know what you're saying, I taught in st brieuc for a year and lived on galettes and crêpes for that year, and lots of cider! OH insists on three courses of bog standard local french grub even for a picnic! :-O

Turn it upside down and you have the alternative situation.

I am not thick Vic and not so crazy about scones.

Barbara I fear I live about 10 hours drive from you- each way!

Andrew- I'm afraid that it seems that I have become a real country bumpkin! For forty years I lived in central London and enjoyed its fruits! Now I'm in a small village in the Monts d'Arree any sort of "foreign" food becomes something very exotic and hard to find. So we have to import certain stuff like British bacon, Cheddar, Marmite, Gentleman's Relish, stuffing (but I frequently make my own), Indian foods, proper balsamic vinegar, pasta, olive oil, Philippino, Malaysian and Thai specialities. It would be nice to just pop out and have some street food from time to time without the need for a full course meal with wine. Luckily we do have some reasonable take out pizzas here but I like a variety and the French seem to be more into pizze than the Italians. We do have a visiting poissonnier and butchers, both of whom park outside my front door every Thursday morning. I'm making some meat pies this afternoon and tomorrow some kedgeree Yesterday we had a nice chicken curry. Re clotted craem Vic I've never seen any here, unless it was brought over by frequent visitor Cornish friends (they have a second home here).

No you are in Brittany but you can get it posted to you from UK

yes thick .....Just like clotted cream

you should be able to get it too

are you near St Foy la Geande or Berberac?

We have in our area a cream which is almost as rich as clotted cream.

So it would not be a problem for me.

But I will probably not include scones and go for sponge samwiches which will

contain that cream and variations on raspberry with a hint of rose petal jam.

Pop up restaurants (food trucks) are all the rage in big towns here too, David ;-)

My picnic consists of a lot more complexities than sarmies David.

I go for Special.

The whole holiday experience is what we go for.

Latest addition is a big outdoor Pizza Oven and we help clients

make real Pizza,

Absolutely yummy.

Picnic basket sounds good Barbara! Maybe they could eat it in situ in the garden if they chose? Our boulangerie does filled baguettes which people can eat on a bench outside the front door. No disabled WC but we do have the European funded Toilettes nearby and they are super luxurious naturally!

pop up

In Uk the individual now holds the liscence and has to pass a tiny exam

so the property can be POPPED UP.

Here it is a little different and also not so transparent.

I do not think that it is easy setting up a tea garden....

and having ran a tea shop cum deli....I can tell you David that there is a fair bit

of washing up and time spent waiting for tea drinkers to chat over 2 Hour spends of

8/10 euros....not too much volume in this unless you have a big garden and commercial

machinery for coffee making.

You need to be Sturbuck size on a main road or Ritz style charging 40 pounds per

head and offering an amazing spread.

I am yet to have a great afternoon tea....

There was a n exceptional Austrian set up in Chiswick High road around 30 years

ago.....CAKES never got as good as those. Here the cakes are overpowered with sugar,

cheap chocolate and a refusal to use butter.

For next year my plan has been set to offer clients afternoon tea.

Clients only.

Plus picnic baskets to take with them.

Nothing better than a good picnic with good friends.

Funnily enough a German has set up a sort of camp not far from here and serves apparently quite good food from his caravan! Pop up restaurants are apparently all the rage in the UK but I wonder how it would work here- there would be lots of forms to fill out! I did wonder about setting up a tea garden in our garden, just for the summer months here. No alcohol, just teas, coffees, cakes, scones etc but not sure if Brittany is ready for cream teas. I won't do it if it requires filling up lots of forms, installing disabled WCs etc. Too much hassle at my age!

if the restaurant has a decent product to start with then it stands a chance.

What is the point of trying to fool people with 95 percent pre cooked

microwaved food?

Presuming that the restaurant has decent food and the rest of the package it

stands a chance of working.

Cooking lessons are not not a good idea unless a premises are

organised for such an event. Can explain this in detail if you like.

In the next village there is a business which seems to be working well.

I say seems....because I have no idea of their figures....of course.

But it is working because it has hit the spot.

Operated by a young man....AS far as I know...he opens the

restaurant for the summer season and he seems to run with very

little help.

The prices are reasonable and the food matches.

The setting is just by the river and he sets up camp each

year.....takes him 2 days to reconstruct.....along side this project he

takes care of rides along the river.

I imagine he is in his early twenties and that he does something else for

work in the winter.

All your ideas about music and special events have gone through my mind....

They are difficult....but not impossible.

A Vinyard near by has a yearly food and music event....they sell masses of their wines and

have a decent band is a great success.

A chateau along the road has opened for teas at the week ends....if she gets it right she will sell

more wine.

Corporate image, uniforms and websites are not imperative or even needed for a country

restaurant. A bit of imagination and ability is, however essential.....

The days of the Stock Pot have long gone.

And the ability to find something to rent or buy in the Kings Road, Chelsea have

long gone with the inflated rents and rates in London.

My flat kitchen was well used....