In my humble opinion the refreshment table is pretty neat idea. A Mage spend two Arcane Powders and starts casting the ritual, then two others join in. Viola! A buffet of yummy, health-and-mana-regenerating, Manna Biscuit goodness appears before your raid. The table sticks around for five minutes or however long it takes to deplete its fifty stacks of food. This is probably one of Blizzard's best additions.
In it's own way, the Ritual of Refreshment is also kind of a curse for Mages. True- the reagents cost a total seventeen silver at the vendor, that's not hard to swallow. Keylogger of Stormscale is annoyed by requests for tables. She pointed out that anyone with a friendly level of reputation with the Shattered Sun Offensive can purchase Naaru Rations, no badgering required. Other posters agreed that it's not the process of casting that's at issue, but the sense of entitlement from other folks about a table.
Yorec of Azuremyst argued that the mage table is equivalent to buffing. As a Paladin, he often has to rebuff when people are unhappy with his first cast. Group buffs from Mages, Paladins, and Priests require reagents purchased from vendors. Gold isn't a problem for most players anymore.
Conjured Manna Biscuits and Naaru Rations give back 7500 heath and 7200 mana over time. Warriors and Rogues have it easier because they need only pick up any edible food from a vendor. These are more expensive alternatives, but should be in every non-Mage's inventory in case of an emergency.
Tables are necessary in raids but a nicety in battlegrounds. I have to admit that I find "table plz" in the battlegrounds mildly irritating. I'm always happy to grab some grub when there's a table down, but I don't think it's fair to place demands in PvP. My philosophy is to come prepared and be happy if I get a little something extra. Thanks mages.
Do you expect to cast or benefit from Ritual of Refreshment in the battlegrounds?