When The Wait-Staff Live Up To Their Name

, , , , | Working | January 17, 2019

(I win a $100 gift certificate to a local, non-chain restaurant. My husband, our two boys, and I go to eat there and spend the certificate. The restaurant is not busy — maybe three tables, already served — when we are seated. We sit for 40 minutes without our waitress coming to get our drink order. I’m fed up, and I step over the hostess desk and ask to speak with the manager. Once I explain what is happening, he apologizes profusely and promises the waitress will be right over. I follow a group of four as I head back to our table. The group of four sit at the table next to us.)

Waitress: *rushing out of the back to the new group of four* “I am so sorry for the long wait. They didn’t tell me they sat someone in my area. What can I get for you folks?”

(The waitress walks past our table and into the back and quickly returns with the drinks. I wave her down, but she refuses to stop. We wait another twenty minutes, and the new table of four are now eating. Fed up again, I head back out to speak with the manager. He follows me back in to our table. He calls the waitress over and asks why she hasn’t waited on our table.)

Waitress: “They just got here two minutes ago! I was on my way out.”

Manager: “No, they have been here one hour without drinks, dinner, or anyone waiting on them for over an hour! I told you about them twenty minutes ago.”

Waitress: *gesturing to the new table of four* “But I served them right away!”

Manager: “Take their order and make sure they are taken care of!”

(The waitress takes our drink and food order. Food arrives. No drinks. Food is ice cold and mostly the wrong food. We flag down the waitress.)

Me: “Our food is cold. We still do not have drinks. Please take these back, and bring us our drinks!”

Waitress: “Hang on. I need to get a tray.”

(Fifteen minutes pass with no sign of waitress. The manager arrives to check on us.)

Manager: “How are things going, folks?”

Me: “We still have no drinks. Our food arrived cold and wrong. We pointed it out to our waitress, but we haven’t seen her back here for 15 minutes, so it hasn’t been taken care of yet.”

Manager: “I am so sorry. Let me comp your meals!”

Me: “No. We are here because I won a $100 gift certificate. I don’t plan on coming back, so comping our meal is a wasted gesture.”

(The waitress returns at this time with our “drinks”: two clear sodas, a very dark beer, and a lemonade.)

Me: *to waitress* “My kids ordered Cokes, my husband ordered a [popular light beer], and I ordered an iced tea.” *turning to manager* “We are leaving. We are not coming back. We’ve heard that you are struggling with your restaurant, and this is why. Your wait and cook staff are useless. Cold food. No service. Ineffective management. Here is your gift certificate.”

(We left and headed to a nearby fast food joint. Got exactly what we ordered, right away, with hot burgers and fries and cold drinks. The restaurant went out of business two months later. We found out that the “waitress” was the owner’s sister-in-law and the “cook” was his brother — her husband. They “worked” every night of the week the restaurant was open.)

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