Monday, February 02, 2009

Example of Poor Restaurant Service

A couple of weeks ago I had dinner with a cultural studies group. The venue was a suburban restaurant. I'll spare the guilty by not naming the place. I'm not a food critic and, in any case, the restaurant has probably lost enough custom as it is.

The group was scheduled to meet at 7pm, and I was the first to arrive. I usually don't eat much at night, so I was happy to wait until the rest of the party had arrived before ordering.

As people started arriving, our waiter asked for our drink orders. Some people selected drinks from, but I and a few other people just wanted water. The non-free drinks arrived rather promptly, but the water took a little longer.

When everyone in our group had arrived, we ordered our meals. This was about 7:45pm. Within about 20 minutes food started arriving. I was getting hungry at that stage, and a meal was placed in front of me. But alas, this was brought to me by mistake - apparently is was the entrée ordered by someone else at our table, so it was whisked away from me in a flash. A couple other entrées were served at the same time. Hmmm, okay, it would've been nice if the waiter asked us when we were ordering if we wanted the entrées and mains brought out at once. Hopefully the "mains" wouldn't take long to be served.

Over one hour later, our mains had yet to be served. People were getting a bit restless. The waiter kept coming around asking if we wanted more drinks, but oddly never offered us more water. I was now both hungry and quite thirsty by this stage. Not good.

During his visits to take more drinks orders, the waiter failed to notify us that our mains would be delayed. When people started replying that we were more worried about our meals than more drinks, the waiter didn't think of apologising for the delay.

By about 9:30pm, I couldn't wait any longer. I needed to eat some food. I had a headache (which often occurs when I need to eat), so I walked out of the restaurant to clear my head and decide what to do. Should I try to cancel my order and leave to get something somewhere else? I knew that I would still have to pay for the meal if I cancelled the order, so I thought maybe I can grab a bite somewhere else until my meal arrived. As I was walking and thinking I noticed a Chinese restaurant, so I thought I'd grab some spring rolls. I walked in and placed a takeaway order. A few minutes later, I got my spring rolls and ate them as I returned to the first restaurant. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say.

When I got back, my meal had finally been served. I started eating it, but found the wait had not been worth it. In disgust, I excused myself, letting my fellow diners know that I was going to pay my part of the bill and leave early. As I paid for the meal, I complained about the tardy service and the fact that the meal wasn't that good. No offer of discount or refund was made, but rather I got a rather weak reply that they were "a bit busy that night". I didn't buy it, and neither did anyone else at our table that night.

[Adelaide's maximum temperature was only 38.8 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) today. It's still hot, so I'll continue ranting for a little longer.]