Why Salad Dressing On The Side Is A Bad Sign At Restaurants

You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the way it prepares its salad. Soggy lettuce instead of crisp and an imbalance of ingredients in a bowl are all obvious worrisome signs, but sometimes bad omens may seem innocuous at first. If your waitress brings your salad with its dressing on the side, then you should beware. It's actually a sign that your salad will taste bland and that the restaurant didn't take the time to properly prepare it. It's also a sign that your restaurant may be cutting corners.

Let us explain. Have you ever noticed that salads generally taste better at restaurants than they do at home? That's because typically restaurants take the time to prepare the salad by mixing the dressing and the ingredients throughout. The dressing should lightly coat the ingredients, so every bite is properly seasoned. The last thing you want to do is eat one piece of lettuce with a glob of dressing and the next with barely a drop.

This is why it is alarming if restaurants serve dressing on the side. While it can be useful if \a diner has dietary restrictions or just wants to control the ratio of dressing to salad, it leads to an uneven dining experience. It puts more work on the paying customer, and the amount of dressing on the side is unlikely to fully coat the salad. It's also likely if the restaurant can't properly fix a salad, there are other areas not being addressed.

A bad omen for a restaurant

Sad salads are one of the tell-tale signs that your restaurant may be cutting corners. Not only may a restaurant include fewer ingredients, but may put the dressing on the side as a way to stretch its resources further. It begs the question of what other ways is the restaurant not upholding a higher standard. For instance, they may be serving smaller portions as a way to cut costs or not including salt and other seasonings to save a penny. It may help the restaurant, but it makes for a poor dining experience. 

Dressing on the side breaks a cardinal rule of salad mixing that many restaurants follow, which is to use two different types of dressing. Some restaurants, at least those who know their chopped veggies, will use a light vinegarette to mix their salads. This ensures that there's an even distribution of flavor. From there you can top the salad with a more showy, thicker dressing like Caesar or ranch. 

Likewise, a diner shouldn't be left to mix up their own salads. When mixing a salad, you should add the dressing before the other ingredients. By doing so, you're able to distribute the dressing properly throughout. You should also use your hands instead of a fork to mix the salad. This ensures that there's a light coating on every piece of lettuce without overdoing it on the dressing. So next time you order a salad, consider how the dressing is presented.