Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How not to run a restaurant. In my humble opinion.

Recently some friends and I were staying in a wee tourist town and were in need of some dinner. I had been to a restaurant there some years ago and it was really good, so we decided to give it a whirl. I rang, just to make sure they were still feeding people and and they said they were - as long as we were there before 8.30 p.m.

We rock up at 8.15 and duly ask for to be shown to a table.

'We're only serving only soup and chowder,' says the waitress.

'Oh really?' says I, 'you didn't say that when I rang.'

'Oh, you're the people who rang.'

('No, they're on their way.') 'Yes.'

'Here are some menus, you can order here - now.'

'Could we possibly sit down and at least read the menu?' (Isn't that the fun part about going out for a meal, meandering through the menu, deciding what to eat?)

'Oh, sure. Come this way' Clenched grin.

The waitress was like she'd been dipped in cow shit and then sprayed perfume on herself to disguise the eau de merde. While she smiled, she clearly didn't want us there.

We sat down and approximately a minute thirty later she was back at our table.

'Can I get you anything?' She said perkily, but it sounded like, 'The chef's in a filthy mood, the owners aren't here and I want to go home early.'

'Some more time.' I think but, like the waitress, keep it on the inside.

'A bottle of wine.....when we've had time to read the wine list.' Says another member of the team.
She gave us a pinched smile and left us. (I hate customers.)

Two minutes later.

'How are you going with your menus?' (Pimp my Ride is on at 9.30. )

'We'd go a lot better if you would leave us all alone to contemplate them.'

No, I didn't say that, either.

I won't continue with a blow by blow,but you get the picture of the evening. They could have got a whole lot more money out of us as everyone was keen for coffees and a round of puddings, but the Arctic wind that blew from the waiting staff was not worth enduring.

And when you realise that you're actually paying for the privilege of her and her colleagues' bad service, it kind of makes the whole situation kind of ironic.

And then you think of the restaurant owners who have employed this team of people who are merrily trashing their restaurant's reputation.

There are some days I am really pleased I don't own a restaurant, and that day was one of them.

That, and the fact that I would be really rubbish at it.


Esther - ex Surfergirl said...

Complain! To the owners. I did. About a fairly well known Chch cafe that did the same thing (they said they could't do us lunch as it was 'too hot' - the weather, not their service).
I am now the proud owner of a never ending credit at this establishment - what do I do in return? I give them feedback everytime I visit. Easy and win-win.
I have now been able to see why everyone else raved about the place and they know I'll be honest about the service I get.

Janie Jones said...

Wow. Makes you wonder why they even said they'd be open.

And I thought service up here was bad.

laughykate said...

Hiya Esther. What a sensational result!

I did that once at a now-closed cafe. It was the night of a huge rugby game and this place claimed they had run out of food. My letter said, 'You've known this game was going to be here for over a year, if a woman can prepare to have a child in nine months, surely you can stock a kitchen.'

I got a $50 voucher, so not as good a result as you, but I seem to remember the margaritas were bloody good.

laughykate said...

Is service up your way bad, Janie? I would have thought with tips and all, it would have been a lot better.

Saffron said...

Send the owners a link to your post - new readers, and they get to find out how appalling their restaurant's service can be.

laughykate said...

Ohh, nice idea. Thank you Saffron!

Fat Sparrow said...

Do you have Yelp.com there? I'm a Yelper, and in fact, I am due to write a scathing review of the burger joint we visited Sunday night.

The Spouse Sparrow wanted to go to one burger joint, I wanted a different one, so I looked them both up on Yelp and the one that he wanted to go to had only 2 reviews, both of which were one sentence and both of which gave 5 stars. Dodgy, very dodgy. I looked up the one I wanted to go to, 4 1/2 stars, with several lengthy reviews, which means that it's not people that work there that are posting the reviews, or paid reviewers, it's honest reviews.

And you know what? I'll bet the one that I wanted to go to didn't have a grotty teenager that used the same rag to clean the tables AND the trash can AND the floor and then the tables AGAIN.

Oh yeah, the Spouse Sparrow's never gonna live that choice down.

Mwa said...

You really should let the owners know, I agree. If they're any good, they'll be grateful.

laughykate said...

No, we don't have yelp. Are you going to try the one you wanted to go to? Or are you going to go Italian next time?

laughykate said...

I have forwarded the link, Mwa. Shall be interesting to see if I get a response.

Fat Sparrow said...

I will definitely be trying the one I wanted to go to. I dropped the daughter back off at Uni yesterday and got a burger and fries there; her Uni has a great cafeteria. I have been craving red meat and fried stuff, and it's not even cold weather here yet. In fact, it's 104 today, and supposed to be 105 tomorrow. I should be hungry for fruit and veg. Ah well, the calendar says "Autumn" so obviously I must fatten up for hibernation as it will get down to all of 60 degrees here in winter.

That sucks about you not having Yelp. They have it in the UK (even Norn Iron) so I can praise and insult a whole new round of establishments when we move there, ha.

No Italian for me, unfortunately. I don't know if it's an allergy or what, but I now can't eat garlic (or onions, for that matter) without it triggering a migraine, meh. It has seriously cramped my cuisine choices.

laughykate said...

No garlic? That sucks much.

Medbh said...

Wonder how restaurants can survive this economy with such shiftless, shitty service.

Medbh said...

Wonder how restaurants can survive this economy with such shiftless, shitty service.

laughykate said...

Exactly. And have heard nothing since i forwarded the link.........

Fat Sparrow said...

Do another post with their name, address, and phone number, and piss poor review. Put their name in the tags for your post. When people Google, voila. Or "walla," as my daughter at Uni thinks it's spelled...

laughykate said...

'Walla', heh.