Probably the worst restaurant service I ever had.

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larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
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Long Island, New York
So the wife and I took a few days to get away MA,VT and Upstate NY. We actually planned things around a few restaurants we have eaten in the past, and look forward to revisiting when we are in the area. We also try a few new ones to add to our list of restaurants we look forward to going back to, or the alternative , restaurants we should avoid.
Anyway, it we had a long day, and the Indian restaurant we wanted to go to was about 40 minutes away from the hotel, I did a little research, and found another Indian restaurant one 3 minutes away, but the parking looked like it was going o be a real treat, we knew (and loved ) the other restaurant , and we were kinda looking forward to going back since its been 2 years. We made the 40 minute trip.
The restaurant is actually in a hotel. We pull up, and the parking lot is packed. I figured it was packed cause it's a holiday weekend, and they are filled up with tourists vacationing for the long weekend. That might have been the case, but if it was, they all decided to go to the Indian restaurant on the premises. We have been here on an annual or semi annual bases for the past 6. - 8 years. When we first started coming, they had very few patrons. We couldn't understand because the food was really good ( quality and selection). Over tthe years we have seen the number of people get larger and larger. I was happy for the restaurant, cause I know the restaurant business is a tricky one, even before covid, but just to survive through covid was a real challenge.
This is where things got ugly. We walk in, and ever table is taken, and there are about 10 people waiting in the ' to be seated' area. We did not have reservations ( as having been here in the past, we didn't think we'd need them, our bad), butt to be honest, there ware so many people ,reservations and walk ins, it wouldn't have made a difference. The host gave us menus, and said we could look through and order now while we are waiting, so when we get seated, they can immediately get started preparing the meal. Sounded good to me, so that's what we did . Having gone there in the past, and doing my homework, I already knew what I wanted , and we gave them our order. People still packing in. I never saw anything like it.
About 15 minutes later, he says to us, if we don't mind, they have picnic tables ( under and awning) out back ( it is lake side, so there its a wonderful view of the lake, and it is sheltered from rain and sun, in this case rain, cause it hasn't stopped raining since we left NY). He said we can eat out there, and they would bring the food out to us when it's ready. We went out back to check it outlooked at each other and figured, why not. We went and took our seats ( two picnic tables). Sat down, and it was a relief. Much quieter with the serene lakeside atmosphere. Waited about 10 minutes, and another couple came outside and took the other picnic table. We waited and waited. No service, not even glasses of water. Finally, my wife said ( to the people at the other table) " you think they forgot about us ?". With that, she had to use the restroom, and was going to do a walk by, and inquire about the status.
She comes back and said that she spoke to the host. He said the order wasn't ready, and he would bring it out shortly. A few minutes later, the order came out ( in a stapled brown paper bag, as if we ordered it for take out. We opened the bag, it was our order, with plastic forks, knives in the bag. Still no water. We were very hungry, so we started eating out right out of the containers. I guess he saw this, so he came out with paper plates, noticed we didnt have any water, and said he'd be right back with water ( we didnt order any drinks, we told him when we placed the order, that we would just be having water). We heard the other couple outside speaking with him, in Indian. Don't know what was being said. A few minutes later, their food came out ( in take out containers). We saw them just take their belongings stuff and leave (around the back, not through the restaurant ). They didnt even take their food, they just bailed out.
The food was ok, not great. My wife said we should just leave too. Although the experience was poor at best, I figured we got the food, and I'd feel bad stiffing them. Obviously we weren't going to tip, since we had no waiting service, let alone being forgotten about and not even getting any drinks. We went in, the guy recognized us, but clearly forgot the he never even gave us the drinks. We paid and we left.
Part of me feels bad, because I think they just got caught with their pants down and didnt know how to handle it. Sure it's their job, as a restaurant, to be able to handle crowds adequately. I know when I used to work in a restaurant, Sundays were more of a late lunch , early dinner thing. Rarely did we have a night crowd like that. Even when we left, about 7:30 the waiting area was even more packed than when we arrived at a little before 6. I'm guessing, being an extended weekend cause of 4th of July, they got overwhelmed with an unexpected ( to them) crowd of diners, and couldn't handle it, and also didnt want to turn people away. The restaurant is also in an isolated area. Not really too close to other eating establishments, so leaving and trying to find somewhere else, at the time, probably wouldn't have made sense. Would have taken time to find a place, and then likely would have ran into a crowd somewhere else. Oh well, you live and learn. next time I'll be a little smarter and be more thorough with my homework.
 
Once again Larry, you've written an experience that is a joy to read, spell binding. You've put into words what shows both empathy and sympathy to a situation that would leave others flattened and/or enraged (and probably hungry). Kudos to you.
 
I'm sorry that happened to you and yours, @larry_stewart . I kind of wished they had just said, they only had take-out available at that time, to be more honest about what they could do.
I agree. Now, a restaurant we once depended on as reliable, now has a question mark. Any time I go away, I always have a plan B ( and sometimes a plan C) to counter bad weather, traffic or whatever obstacle may be thrown our way. I don' like being left having to scramble to make something work when Im on vacation trying to relax. I spend so much time planning, so everything goes as perfect as possible and stress free. I never thought I'd have to do it for a restaurant ( especially this one, as it has been dependable for years). Now, on the way home, I told my wife any time we go away ( from this point on), I will have a backup restaurant so we don't have to deal with that again. I'd still go back, as maybe they learned a lesson from their mistake. But I sure will have a plan B.
We had a plan B for activities and it's a good thing we did, as it literally rained all day, non stop. No stress, just shifted gears and had a wonderful time, and found a bunch of new things to do.
 

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Once again Larry, you've written an experience that is a joy to read, spell binding. You've put into words what shows both empathy and sympathy to a situation that would leave others flattened and/or enraged (and probably hungry). Kudos to you.
Whats funny is that I wrote that in the middle of the night. I dont sleep well in any other bed than my own, so I have to find ways to keep myself busy when I wake up a like 3 am. I also like documenting my experiences, especially when on vacation. As annoying as they are when they happen, they make for funny memories when looking back on them.
 
LOL, from your past posts I figured that's exactly when you wrote it!
It is fresh on your mind, there are absolutely no other distractions - you wax eloquent as 'twas vivid and 'movingly expressive'.

(OK, I looked up some of those words. :whistling )
 
So the wife and I took a few days to get away MA,VT and Upstate NY. We actually planned things around a few restaurants we have eaten in the past, and look forward to revisiting when we are in the area. We also try a few new ones to add to our list of restaurants we look forward to going back to, or the alternative , restaurants we should avoid.
Anyway, it we had a long day, and the Indian restaurant we wanted to go to was about 40 minutes away from the hotel, I did a little research, and found another Indian restaurant one 3 minutes away, but the parking looked like it was going o be a real treat, we knew (and loved ) the other restaurant , and we were kinda looking forward to going back since its been 2 years. We made the 40 minute trip.
The restaurant is actually in a hotel. We pull up, and the parking lot is packed. I figured it was packed cause it's a holiday weekend, and they are filled up with tourists vacationing for the long weekend. That might have been the case, but if it was, they all decided to go to the Indian restaurant on the premises. We have been here on an annual or semi annual bases for the past 6. - 8 years. When we first started coming, they had very few patrons. We couldn't understand because the food was really good ( quality and selection). Over tthe years we have seen the number of people get larger and larger. I was happy for the restaurant, cause I know the restaurant business is a tricky one, even before covid, but just to survive through covid was a real challenge.
This is where things got ugly. We walk in, and ever table is taken, and there are about 10 people waiting in the ' to be seated' area. We did not have reservations ( as having been here in the past, we didn't think we'd need them, our bad), butt to be honest, there ware so many people ,reservations and walk ins, it wouldn't have made a difference. The host gave us menus, and said we could look through and order now while we are waiting, so when we get seated, they can immediately get started preparing the meal. Sounded good to me, so that's what we did . Having gone there in the past, and doing my homework, I already knew what I wanted , and we gave them our order. People still packing in. I never saw anything like it.
About 15 minutes later, he says to us, if we don't mind, they have picnic tables ( under and awning) out back ( it is lake side, so there its a wonderful view of the lake, and it is sheltered from rain and sun, in this case rain, cause it hasn't stopped raining since we left NY). He said we can eat out there, and they would bring the food out to us when it's ready. We went out back to check it outlooked at each other and figured, why not. We went and took our seats ( two picnic tables). Sat down, and it was a relief. Much quieter with the serene lakeside atmosphere. Waited about 10 minutes, and another couple came outside and took the other picnic table. We waited and waited. No service, not even glasses of water. Finally, my wife said ( to the people at the other table) " you think they forgot about us ?". With that, she had to use the restroom, and was going to do a walk by, and inquire about the status.
She comes back and said that she spoke to the host. He said the order wasn't ready, and he would bring it out shortly. A few minutes later, the order came out ( in a stapled brown paper bag, as if we ordered it for take out. We opened the bag, it was our order, with plastic forks, knives in the bag. Still no water. We were very hungry, so we started eating out right out of the containers. I guess he saw this, so he came out with paper plates, noticed we didnt have any water, and said he'd be right back with water ( we didnt order any drinks, we told him when we placed the order, that we would just be having water). We heard the other couple outside speaking with him, in Indian. Don't know what was being said. A few minutes later, their food came out ( in take out containers). We saw them just take their belongings stuff and leave (around the back, not through the restaurant ). They didnt even take their food, they just bailed out.
The food was ok, not great. My wife said we should just leave too. Although the experience was poor at best, I figured we got the food, and I'd feel bad stiffing them. Obviously we weren't going to tip, since we had no waiting service, let alone being forgotten about and not even getting any drinks. We went in, the guy recognized us, but clearly forgot the he never even gave us the drinks. We paid and we left.
Part of me feels bad, because I think they just got caught with their pants down and didnt know how to handle it. Sure it's their job, as a restaurant, to be able to handle crowds adequately. I know when I used to work in a restaurant, Sundays were more of a late lunch , early dinner thing. Rarely did we have a night crowd like that. Even when we left, about 7:30 the waiting area was even more packed than when we arrived at a little before 6. I'm guessing, being an extended weekend cause of 4th of July, they got overwhelmed with an unexpected ( to them) crowd of diners, and couldn't handle it, and also didnt want to turn people away. The restaurant is also in an isolated area. Not really too close to other eating establishments, so leaving and trying to find somewhere else, at the time, probably wouldn't have made sense. Would have taken time to find a place, and then likely would have ran into a crowd somewhere else. Oh well, you live and learn. next time I'll be a little smarter and be more thorough with my homework.
Maybe there was a convention somewhere nearby and so the place was flooded with people.
 
Although not the worst service, we just recently went to a restaurant where I just can't understand what was going through their minds. We attempted to go to a Chinese restaurant we usually take in from, but as we pulled up, we saw it looked dark inside. Sure enough, there was a sign on the door " Closed for Maintenance". We were going to a sow after dinner, so we were on a time schedule, still plenty of time ( 2 hours before the show started), but were limited to what our ' Plan B' would be, as the Chinese Restaurant was in kind of a remote area, with minimal other options. We considered an Italian Restaurant a few miles away, but were afraid we'd be cutting it too close, so we decided to go to the Indian restaurant a few doors down ( only other thing close by was a 'Subway".
We walk in ( about 5pm on a Sunday), no one else was there except us. There was a greeter, a waiter, 2 other people ( im not sure if they were additional waiters, busboys ...) and I assume at least one chef in the back. We were seated promptly, they gave us time to look over the menu, took our order , so far, smooth sailing. bout 15 minutes in, a table of 6 comes in and were seated. Looked like they were attended to properly. Our meal came on time. Everything was correct ( except my wife asked for mild spiciness, I asked for medium, and they mixed it up ( mine was mild). No big deal, we share dishes anyway. Towards the end oof our meal, we noticed the table of 6 had gotten their meals and were eating, 2 more people came in and were seated. Their order was taken , at the same time we completed our meal. So now, we have a table of 6 eating, a. table of two waiting for their meal to be prepared, and us who had finished. our meal, and. they cleared our table.
We were in no rush, as the show venue was only a few minute away, but we remained seated and unattended for at least 20 minutes. ( maybe even more). No one came over to asked if we wanted dessert, no one came to ask if we wanted anything else, and. no. one came over to present us with the check. The whole 20 minutes, the one water was. standing. about. 15 feet from us, looking at. the dining area ( not in our direction, primarily at. the. table off 6). Finally, after 20 minutes, my wife said " whenever the. waiter passes by I'm going to ask for the check". I told her. " He's been standing behind you for. the last 20 minutes :LOL: ". I just cant understand why we weren't asked about dessert, coffee and basically ignored for 20 minutes ( I think it. was even longer). Maybe he saw we were talking and didn't want. to interrupt, but even still, I just cant comprehend why we were over looked. I'm telling you, if my wife didn't turn around to get his attention, we'd still probably be there. The only other thing they had going on wasI saw the other two bringing take out orders to the front periodically. The waiter was at a complete stand still with minimal/ nothing to do ( one table was eating the other was waiting for the food from the kitchen and we were finished).
 
Although not the worst service, we just recently went to a restaurant where I just can't understand what was going through their minds. We attempted to go to a Chinese restaurant we usually take in from, but as we pulled up, we saw it looked dark inside. Sure enough, there was a sign on the door " Closed for Maintenance". We were going to a sow after dinner, so we were on a time schedule, still plenty of time ( 2 hours before the show started), but were limited to what our ' Plan B' would be, as the Chinese Restaurant was in kind of a remote area, with minimal other options. We considered an Italian Restaurant a few miles away, but were afraid we'd be cutting it too close, so we decided to go to the Indian restaurant a few doors down ( only other thing close by was a 'Subway".
We walk in ( about 5pm on a Sunday), no one else was there except us. There was a greeter, a waiter, 2 other people ( im not sure if they were additional waiters, busboys ...) and I assume at least one chef in the back. We were seated promptly, they gave us time to look over the menu, took our order , so far, smooth sailing. bout 15 minutes in, a table of 6 comes in and were seated. Looked like they were attended to properly. Our meal came on time. Everything was correct ( except my wife asked for mild spiciness, I asked for medium, and they mixed it up ( mine was mild). No big deal, we share dishes anyway. Towards the end oof our meal, we noticed the table of 6 had gotten their meals and were eating, 2 more people came in and were seated. Their order was taken , at the same time we completed our meal. So now, we have a table of 6 eating, a. table of two waiting for their meal to be prepared, and us who had finished. our meal, and. they cleared our table.
We were in no rush, as the show venue was only a few minute away, but we remained seated and unattended for at least 20 minutes. ( maybe even more). No one came over to asked if we wanted dessert, no one came to ask if we wanted anything else, and. no. one came over to present us with the check. The whole 20 minutes, the one water was. standing. about. 15 feet from us, looking at. the dining area ( not in our direction, primarily at. the. table off 6). Finally, after 20 minutes, my wife said " whenever the. waiter passes by I'm going to ask for the check". I told her. " He's been standing behind you for. the last 20 minutes :LOL: ". I just cant understand why we weren't asked about dessert, coffee and basically ignored for 20 minutes ( I think it. was even longer). Maybe he saw we were talking and didn't want. to interrupt, but even still, I just cant comprehend why we were over looked. I'm telling you, if my wife didn't turn around to get his attention, we'd still probably be there. The only other thing they had going on wasI saw the other two bringing take out orders to the front periodically. The waiter was at a complete stand still with minimal/ nothing to do ( one table was eating the other was waiting for the food from the kitchen and we were finished).
We had the same thing happen to us, though it was more like a little over 10 minutes, maybe closer to 15 last week. It was at a fairly high end Italian place we have been to several times. We were first there in a dining area, had our appetizer almost done by the time a table of 3 came in. They took their time before ordering wine and looking at and discussing menu while the loudmouth, apparently know it all boor entertained them and us unfortunately. We got our mains, they ordered wine and appetizers. We finished our meal, the 3 table got their appetizers and wine bottle, and a party of 4 walked in as we were ordering espresso and a to go dessert for Craig. We got our coffee and to go, plus the check, finished our coffee, then waited and waited and waited for server to come back to get the credit card. Granted, the 4 party needed drinks and possible appetizer orders, and the loudmouth needed something, but she couldn't have snagged our check as she walked by since she had to pass close to our table to get to either of the other 2 tables?

It's a big place, multilevel, a 12ish seating private room, plus bar seating with a few booths, then 2 large different level dining areas. I know there was at least 2 other servers, plus a seating host, a bar man, and a couple of runners/bus boys. It wasn't busy since it was early on a Tuesday night. They have a lot more staff on Friday and Saturday nights because it's always busy then.

Anyway, I was about to get up and take our bill to the host area when she finally came to pick it up. Guess she finally noticed us getting antsy.
 
Had similar experience in Miami. We came to this hamburger place, ordered our stuff and seat down. After half an hour or so I asked where our food was, the guy says right here on the counter and pointed out to take out bag. We are seating right there in front of his nose and even if he thought we are getting take out why not to say that here it is? There was no tipping that night.
 
My family had a similar experience at an Olive Garden many years back. My family (5 in tow) had with us 2 Japanese foreign exchange students (sisters) and we figured we'd treat them to a fun night out since they said they hadn't had Italian food. So we get there, yes it is full, but we figure, hey, we're 7 people, we're basically a pretty good money table, and we sit down in a corner of the room. So we get our menus and look at the options. And wait. And wait, and wait. 20 minutes go by and no one comes to our table, so my dad gets up and says to a server, "Hey, we'd like to place an order." So she says someone will be there shortly and he sits back down. Fifteen minutes go by, and servers are passing us by, checking on every other table than us. Which is weird, as corner tables are often (I've heard) even more coveted in restaurants due to seclusion. So we figured that we'd receive prompt service due to the restaurant's desire to "flip" the table as quickly as possible. Alas another 30 minutes go by and nothing. There are at least 6 servers in the room, and my dad finally huffs and tells us all to get up. It was the one and only time I'd ever left a restaurant. My father complained as he was walking out, and we received gift cards from Olive Garden about a month later in apology. Still blows my mind that they let 7 paying customers get away, especially since our foreign exchange students talked to literally every server (including the manager) in broken English as we were waiting for our table, and everyone they interacted with was very charmed by them and asked about them when we went back, gift cards in hand, a month later. (By this time they were back in Japan, but we regularly receive Christmas gifts from them every year. And we hosted them at our house 13 years ago!)
 
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