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Old 10-11-2006, 11:00 AM   #1
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Not the best restaurant experience

We went out to eat at a local place the other night because I had a weird craving for that restaurant. We were seated right away as the place was not all that busy. I would say they were at 50% capacity.

I ordered the fajitas which I have had there before and they have been outstanding. It took a very long time for our order to come out. By the time it came out my DW had finished her drink so she asked the waiter to bring her a water. I noticed the guacamole was missing from my dish and I also did not have a place so I asked for both of those things. The guacamole arrived, but still no plate. Finally a few minutes later the plate arrives, but still no water for my wife.

I start to make my first fajita and realize that the peppers and onions are so cooked that they are non-existant. They are basically a few black strings fused to the cast iron plate. there was maybe 2 pieces of pepper that were salvagable.

The hostess comes over to ask how our meal is and I said it is fine except for the peppers and onions. She offeres to have the cook make up some more, but based on how long it was taking for them to do everything else I declined. She never offered an apology and just started talking about how cute our baby is. Well at least the hostess had good taste

Our waiter comes over a short while later, still without DW's water, and asks how everything is. I mention the water and also point out the onions and peppers. His response blew me away. He said "well there is really nothing I can do about that other than offer my apology". First off, he never actually apologized. He just said he could offer one. That is not the same thing in my book. Secondly there were numerous things he could have done about it. he could have offered to have more cooked up (as the hostess did). He could have offered to take it (or a portion of it) off the bill. he could have offered a comp dessert. he could have asked what he could do to make it better. now if he had offered to take it off the bill or comp a dessert or something like that then I have have thanked him and then said it was not necessary to do. my meal was still tasty and everyone is entitled to make mistakes so I was fine paying the whole bill. The offer would have gone a long way in making me feel better though.

Here is the part that really gets me though. Two more times, both the hostess and waiter came by to ask how everything was. What did they think was going to change?

When the waiter brought the bill that was the only time he showed concern. He explained to us at that point that they has a new staff in the kitchen and they are still learning the ropes etc. DW instantly thought that the only reason he was telling us at that point was so his tip did not suffer. I almost never tip less than 20%, but in this situation I only left 15%. no this was not the worst experience I have had and yes they restaurant did make one effort to correct the problem, but it was still a very dis-satisfying experience.

OK I feel better now that I have that off my chest

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Old 10-11-2006, 11:06 AM   #2
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Isn't it frustrating? I will say, however, that the waiter usually doesn't have control over comping, or adjusting your price; that's up to the hostess or manager. He, however, does have control over water and place settings; for that, I would have docked him more than 15%!!! And re when the hostess asked if you'd like your order replaced, I would have said yes; because then she would have had to go into the kitchen and address the 'new staff' (I've heard that one before, lol!), and maybe the issue would have gotten taken care of.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:07 AM   #3
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THere are times when a kitchen has no rhythm and those nights just don't go right. BUt if it happens a second time, it's not a matter of rhythm but of staffing problems not yet solved...time to go eat elsewhere.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:14 AM   #4
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Marm usually I would have accepted the offer to have the kitchen correct it, but in this case it would have taken too long, or at least that was my fear. My wife would have been done eating and the steak in my fajitas would have been cold by the time they brought out the onions and peppers.

What really got me though was his response of "there is really nothing I can do". That just schocked me. There is always something you can do. If he does not have the authority to do something then he can talk to someone who does. basicall what he told me, without using these words, was tough $%^&.

Robo, this is a restaurant that we have been to many times. it is a pub type restaurant so we are certainly not expecting 5 star service. Most of the times we have been there we have left extremely happy. There have been a few times that were not the greatest, but we expect and accept that. overall the place is great and we know that no one can get it right everytime so that is fine. I just wish the attitude of this waiter was a little more customer friendly.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:21 AM   #5
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I've been in the hospitality business for more than 20 years, and I realize there are times when everything goes wrong in the kitchen That is NEVER an excuse for the front of the house to drop the ball. Your dinner should have been comped whether you wanted it done or not. The hostess or manager or both should have been falling all over themselves to make sure that everything else was as perfect as possible for you that night. They didn't do that. They get an "F" in my book. I don't short tiip the waiter... He just works there, and his livelihood depends upon his tips in most places. I do tell the manager/owner.. and if it happens again, I don't go back.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:25 AM   #6
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I agree that the waiter should not be short tipped for the kitchens mistake. My wife actually made a point of telling him that we know the onions and peppers were not his fault.

What was his fault though was not bringing the water. Not making sure I had a plate. Not offering to do something to correct the situation. And this last one I am unsure of so I am looking to all you pros here for advice, but I would think it would also be the waiters responsibility to look at the order to make sure it is right before bringing it to the table. Had he done that then the onions and peppers problem would have been spotted as well as the missing guacamole. For those reasons, that is why I gave him 15% instead of 20%.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:29 AM   #7
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GB, I'd be upset as well. However, I don't think 15% is punishment. In small places like that, it's probably the average tip. To get his attention, it probably should have been less.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GB
Here is the part that really gets me though. Two more times, both the hostess and waiter came by to ask how everything was. What did they think was going to change?
Sorry but that made me laugh out loud, literally!

I would have asked to speak to the manager. And I would not have left a cent for a tip. I am an excellent tipper but in that instance the server was not only inattentive, he was rude, then he was obsequious at check time. That's uncalled for. It's not about the food and the kitchen -- I never fault a server for that. But terrible service should be rewarded with same at tip time, IMO. Leaving a tip just encourages such behavior, IMO.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:43 AM   #9
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Did they ever bring the water to your DW? That is inexcusable if you had to ask more than once.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:56 AM   #10
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Sounds to me like you are being rude and inconsiderate as a customer. Hey, look, this poor guy has to carry food around, deal with customers and all and then gets stiffed by by a guy who wants water AND good food... sheesh- what a demanding guy.

Just kidding of course.... There are really two fundamental mistakes at work here (pun intended)... improper food should never get out of the kitchen. If they have new people- somone should have been watching.
Second- when the hostess learned of the problem she should have corrected it- no matter that you did not ask for it.

She could/should have offered a dessert, reduced the bill, or at least had the kitchen make you new veggies.

The server was just a dufus.... 15% was too much. If it was a corporate owned outfit, they deserve a letter or email. If it was a local- they deserve a call to the owner.

As long as we accept and tolerate poor performance, we might as well be considered enablers....

Stand up, fight back, we're mad as **** and were not going to take it anymore...

There.
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