Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bad Service

While we were eating at Osha last night, Tara and I tried to think of the best and worst service we've had in restaurants. Some of the list:

Chili's, last week, Bell and 7th Street - We were seated and no one ever came the table. at least ten servers walked by our table of the course of ten minutes. The final straw came when a table seated right next to us, ten minutes after we sat down, was immediately greeted by a waiter. We got up and left.

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Tatum and Shea - We were seated and for fifteen minutes watched the staff meander through the nearly deserted restaurant, often glancing at our table and even making eye contact, but never coming over. As we got up and left, several waitresses and the hostess watched us leave without a word.

Benihana, Tuscon - We were seated at one of the grill tables with a couple parties already there and drunk. We waited for nearly 1/2 hour before a waiter noticed the table seemed to be without a server. He offered to get us drinks and we ordered. He brought them and told us our server would be there soon. After another fifteen, Tara and I walked to the hostess stand and asked to speak to a manager. He wasn't happy to hear what happened and the waiter who had brought us drinks saw we were leaving so he had come over. He explained to the manager that the new guy was assigned to our table, but was swamped. The manager asked that guy if he could take our table and to get us to stay, offered to comp our whole meal. Good customer service this time to keep customers somewhat happy.

Chanpen, 51st Ave and Thunderbird - Not all the time, but on occasion the older staff can be downright surly if you aren't a regular. Both by myself and with Tara, we've had incredibly unfriendly service, but at the same time, watched them be totally fawning with other tables who obviously go there a lot. It's mostly because of this that we don't go here regularly. Tara loves their garlic dish (with it's pile of crushed roasted garlic chips) and satay, but the hit-or-miss attitude of the service doesn't make up for it.

Corbin's Bar & Grill, N. Central just south of Dunlap - Ranging from distracted during a very slow Saturday afternoon to all but ignoring us in favor of larger groups at dinner, it certainly wasn't the attitude and service we expected from a supposedly friendly neighborhood restaurant. From no one wanting to wait on our table or even knowing who should, it just went south from there.

Oregano's, Camelback and 10th Street location - Normally we have great service at any of the Oregano's we visit, but one time Tara and I went and were seated. Again, servers would just blithely walk by for long periods of time. Finally, we overheard one waitress ask another waiter if he was serving us, and he said we weren't in his section. She finally TOLD him to help us and for the rest of the night suffered through a sulky service experience. Rule number one, you don't argue within earshot of the customers.

China Max, San Diego - We went for dim sum and ended up in the Phantom Zone. Servers wouldn't come to our table. The would approach and then veer away like we were like-charged magnets. This happened for ages. Finally someone pointed at our table and a waiter came over to reluctantly take our order.

Pinky's Cafe, 7th Street and Thunderbird - Brain-dead hostess, waitresses who think making fun of how long our food took to arrive will help cut the tension with obviously pissed customers, and watching the staff take shots of maple syrup. Never again.

Yupha's Thai Kitchen, Tempe - Waitstaff gabbing at the soda fountain, completly ignoring that we are waiting to give our order. Same thing happened during the entire meal. Finally we were the last table and STILL our waiter didn't come by to give us the check. Instead, he started cleaning the bar. Eventually he sent the bus boy over to give us our check and the bus girl had to take it, because the waiter couldn't be bothered. Another thing is that all three times we visited, Yupha herself has visited nearly every table in the place and asking how the food was, but never once stopped by our table. She once went from the booth in front of us to the booth behind us, skipping our table. And it wasn't like she was only visiting regulars. We could hear her asking how other tables had heard about the place. Not the way to make us feel welcome.

Thai Hut, 1st Street and McDowell - Worst service we've had. Several times the wrong order was brought to our table, our apps being brought to the wrong table, and the capper. Our entrees dropped-off at another table, where the people told them they hadn't ordered them. Leaving the dishes there, the waitress left for several minutes, checked the orders, took the plates back, and tried to give them to us. We sent them back, after arguing with the waitress, asking for new ones. When our "new" ones arrived, they were lukewarm and obviously the same dishes just brought back after a few minutes. Never again.

And to end on a positive note, the best service we've had:

Capital Grille, Scottsdale Rd and Frank Lloyd Wright - Outstanding service. Gracious, knowledgable, and any mis-step they thought they did, they would make up for it. My lobster bisque wasn't served at the same time as Tara's salad, so they comped it when they realized it. We waited for our table and to make up for that wait, they gave us a free appetizer. Drinks were filled up exactly when needed. Dishes removed and new ones were brought. They visibly synchronized it so that our main courses were put in front of us at the exact same instant. Amazing. And the food was great, too.


Tara said...

Just to expand on this a little bit. Tim and I have discussed a couple of times how we sometimes seem to create a no-fly zone around our table. I don't know what it is, but there have been quite a few times when we've been sitting there watching every table around us get more attention and better service than us. A great example he forgot to mention was our Valentine's Day at Lon's.

I don't know what it is, but we must give off some vibes or something.

Andy said...

We've been pretty lucky - no horror stories in terms of service (that I can recall).

Best service experience would have to be Kai. Incredible all around - orchestrated service, attentive, sincere, knowledgeable, etc.