Item Number 458 on the Waiter/Waitress Hate List: The Non’trée

The San Francisco Chronicle hails one of the saddest and/or wisest developments of the ongoing recession: the habit of diners rolling into an upscale restaurant and ordering appetizers instead of entrées. Frugal customers who order light are, says the paper, being dubbed “non’trées” by unimpressed staffers.

The trend, along with high ingredient costs and competition with rivals offering bargains for value-starved diners, is helping put Bay Area restaurants in jeopardy. That said, the paper’s Greek chorus of a comments section has another take on the trend: Struggling upscale restaurants should examine their own fronts of the house before blaming cheap customers for their decline and fall:

“Service, for the most part is terrible; has been for a long time, which in good times, shouldn’t be tolerated, and now in bad times is simply unacceptable. When you order a $40 ‘entree,’ and a $60 bottle of wine, and get treated like crap, sort of ‘you’re doing us a favor by being allowed in OUR restaurant,’ then you reap what you sow.”