As you may have guessed, I am a big fan of restaurants. So, it pains me to talk about any of them in a negative light, but I just had to share a recent dining out experience. A group of us, each one a bigger foodie than the next, were hitting up a high-end, very well-reviewed restaurant I’d been to when it first opened and had very much enjoyed. I also know a few of the folks who work there. Unfortunately, they were off that evening. I say unfortunately because the service was so, well, unfortunate.
Four people in our party had never eaten at this restaurant before. And, clearly, neither had our server. She knew next to nothing about the menu. And I wish I could say this was an exaggeration. It was not. She had to go into the kitchen no fewer than eight times. EIGHT times. No one at the table had any allergies, so it wasn’t because we were asking if anything had nuts/shellfish/gluten/dairy, etc. Rather, we were asking questions such as, “What kind of oysters do you have?” (Her response: “Raw.”) and “How are the lamb chops prepared?” (Her first answer: “Rare, medium rare, medium, or well done.” This was actually better than her second answer, which was, “On a bed of vegetables.”).
From the drinks that took 20 minutes to be served (while we watched my poor husband’s draft beer grow warm and headless on the bar) to the overcooked steaks that arrived well before the spendy wine we’d ordered to accompany them, every step of the service was a misstep. The real kicker, though, came when we wanted our check and our server had all but vanished. We flagged down one of her colleagues who was kind of enough to drop our check and collect our credit cards. She finally appeared, breathless and smelling like the Marlboro Man, asking if we needed anything else. My very kind tablemate gently chided her for her disappearing act and she explained, “Well, I’ve had a really long day and needed fresh air.” I wish I had something clever to write regarding this, but it leaves me speechless now, just as it did that evening.
When I arrived home, I shared our unfortunate experience with my friend who works there. He offered to make it up to us, but I don’t know that anyone wants to bother. In fact, I’m quite certain that this restaurant will never get the business of my dinnermates again. What’s even more damaging for the restaurant, though, is that while I may pop in to see my friends, neither I nor my dining companions will ever recommend it to anyone else.
Do you complain when you receive poor service? And, do you ever return to the restaurant? Share your tactics on un-servicey situations in the comments section or over on Facebook.