Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I Expect at a Restaurant

Recently I had a comment come in reply to my review of Casey's Restaurant at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket.   I've held off in publishing this comment to the post as I felt a reply was duly needed, hence this post.  Also, there should be clarification on what I'm looking for when posting a Restaurant Review on this blog and thought that the below response would also do that nicely.

So first the comment:

"you have obviously never served before... and reading your post is an absolute unreal complaint or even aspect. first off if a server is busy god forbid she drop everything for your table she has 7 others... they try and treat everyone as a guest in their own home but unfortunately there are tables much more needy then others. For you to insult a server at that and not tip... you realize they make less then 9 dollars an hour?? how about you take a step back next time pull your head from you but and realize your not the only table in the place.... ESP if they are understaffed or busy.... people like you make our job as servers so much harder. maybe try serving or realize our jobs are much harder then you think thanks to dicks like you. Iv never been to caseys but im sure as hell to go just because of your stupid complaint."

It is much more easier to reply to the comment when it is broken down into repliable bits:

"you have obviously never served before...and reading your post is an absolute unreal complaint or even aspect. "

Very true, I've never been a waiter in a restauarant before.  But I've had a lot of experience being a restuarant customer throughout southern Ontario, New York City, Vancouver and Las Vegas.  I've watched  many a server do their jobs.

"first off if a server is busy god forbid she drop everything for your table she has 7 others... they try and treat everyone as a guest in their own home but unfortunately there are tables much more needy then others."

No, I'm not expecting the server to drop everything and serve me.  I do have patience.  Where I get a little irritated is when I've duly requested my bill and she has served the other table with 8 people on two occassions before dropping off my bill.  At this particular restaurant, as stated in the review, she spent an large amount of time serving them:

"We watched our waitress first take the drink orders of a new large group (8 or so people) seated near us. Then come back with their drink order and return to take the order. A brief stare from myself as she was taking orders brought an apology that our bill was coming. The waitress dissapeared soon after taking the order."

It took at least 3 minutes for her to stop by and take their drink order and dissappear.  Another three for her to pull the drinks together and return to drop them off.  Then she could have easily excused her self by saying "I will be right back in 2 minutes to take your food order, I'm just going to drop off the bill to that table over there" and done that before scooting back over to the table to take the order.  All I was basically asking was to get the bill in a reasonable amount of time.  At a restaurant like Casey's where there was a host at the front and a couple of other servers around who could have helped, I wasn't asking for rocket science.


"For you to insult a server at that and not tip... you realize they make less then 9 dollars an hour?? how about you take a step back next time pull your head from you but and realize your not the only table in the place...."

Again, I realize I'm not the only table at this place.  However, when I visit a restauarant like Casey's I'm also paying for decent, not necessarily the best, service.  Thus, I could care less as to what the waiter/waitress is making.  That is a contract between the restaurant owners/managers and the server themselves.  As a customer I could care less what the serving staff is making in wages, here is what I'm looking for:

1. Decent timely service with a smile when taking the order, bringing the food out and attending our table to ensure our meal is satisfactory.

2. Decent tasting food that is not over or undercooked. 

3. I do appreciate value for money.

4. Timely presentation of the bill when requested (i.e. it shouldn't take 10 minutes to figure out how much a customer owes the restauarant).

5. Clean amenities (e.g. entrance, bathrooms, floors, etc.)

For all of the above I ensure I tip.  However, if I get irritated with some or all of the above (i.e. at Casey's Sweet Potato fries that taste like cardboard and 10 minutes to even present the bill), I do leave less to no tip.  I feel good service from serving and support staff should be rewarded, but bad service should not be encouraged.  Hence the tip I choose to leave will reflect this. 

"ESP if they are understaffed or busy.... people like you make our job as servers so much harder. maybe try serving or realize our jobs are much harder then you think thanks to dicks like you.".

I attended Casey's on a Saturday evening.  Most restaurants in that area of similar value (e.g. Swiss Chalet, Boston Pizza, etc.) are normally lined up out the door.  So Casey's would not be understaffed for this evening as customer volume is expected to be higher on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year.  I would expect more customers on those nights in comparison to a Tuesday evening.  Thus, the staffing should reflect the need for more service due to more customers. 

If a restaurant on a Saturday is so run off it's feet because it is understaffed this is a reflection on poor management and the workers should be complaining about it as the tips will obviously be lower. This is because people are less likely to tip and return to a restaurant if they receive rushed poor service. 

A server's job isn't easy, I fully admit it.  But a customer has the right to expect a certain level of service, food and atmosphere.  This is after all what a customer pays for and tips.  So if a server wants that tip, they had better show a decent effort for it.  As for the waitress at Casey's, she seemed more interested in the tip from the table of eight than she did in finishing up a decent experience with us. 

"Iv never been to caseys but im sure as hell to go just because of your stupid complaint."


Congratulations! I hope you get/had better service than we did. 
 
So hopefully that clears everything up in terms of what I expect at a restauarant. I've nearly seen everything from the great (Swiss Chalet service) to the worst (also Swiss Chalet) and everything in between.  My wife and I obviously provide repeat business to places we like (Jonathan's Fine Foods in Aurora) and rarely return to places we have had issues with (recently at London Pub).  However, we do allow places to improve by returning in six months to a year to a place with a bad review.  We also return to a place we can't decide if we had a mediocre time (i.e. can't figure if we like the place or not) to give it another try.
 
Bottom line, if you want our business you have to give us a good time and decent food.

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