Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Flashback

(I’m trying out some ideas about redoing older posts from the Better Blogging class I am doing this month)

This was originally posted in Aug 2008 & refers to an event from the previous year.

Worst Dining Experience Ever!

At least, it was for the people around us.

We were not exactly thrilled by it either.

We were visiting friends in Baltimore for a weekend. We had gone to the Baltimore Aquarium and then decided to visit a casual & inexpensive seafood restaurant for dinner.

There were 12 of us - 6 adults (over 30) and 6 kids (under 5).

We were, or course, every waiters worst nightmare.

And we recognized that fact. 

Every one of us had, at some point, put in a year or more in the restaurant business. We made sure to call ahead, to arrive at the family dining hour of 5pm, to bring our own sippy cups, goldfish and some toys.

Had the restaurant held up their end of the deal I think it would have been a much better experience for everyone.

But they didn't; so they have no one to blame but themselves.

First, we had to wait 10 minutes for them to decide how to seat us, even though they knew we were arriving when we did & had known for about 5 hours. Plenty of time to work out a seating plan.

Second, instead of tucking us into one of their many alcoves (which were empty and would have seated us just fine & were later in use by others) they pushed 3 tables together right in the middle of the main floor. (why would you do that? ).

Then there was the waiting.

We waited a rather long time for the drink order to be taken. Attempts to also place kid food orders or appetizers at the same time were rebuffed.

We waited an even longer time for the drinks to arrive and then for the waiter to come back and actually take our food orders. No lie, we'd been seated at least 20 minutes before we were allowed to order food.

Why didn't we leave at that point? It was pouring down rain and the cars were parked 2 blocks away.

The appetizers arrived in a timely fashion but nothing else. We'd asked them to put the kid meals in with the appetizers but that failed to happen.

So we waited some more.

Naturally 6 kids under the age of 5 are by now out of their minds with boredom & hunger (not yet being fans of calamari) and have nothing else to do but egg each other on in screaming and running matches. We can't take them outside for a run because it's still pouring rain.

We're getting death looks from the entire restaurant and are actively looking around for our waiter so we can cancel the meal and go to Burger King when finally *some* of the food arrives.

The rest of it would arrive 10 minutes later.

This is not a matter of having 12 entrees to make at the same time. 1 adult chose to just have the appetizer, 1 was having a salad, 2 others were sharing an entree, so there were only 3 entrees to make, plus the 2 kids meals we'd asked to have arrive around the same time as the 3 appetizers we'd ordered. I've seen tables of 5 order just as much food with far fewer problems.

The kids settled down and ate rapidly. No wonder, they were starving. They were done long before the adults, even before some of us had received our food.

By now we are just as annoyed as the people around us & decided to stick it out and eat our meals rather than box them up. Given the rate of service so far, we’d be done eating by the time the boxes finally arrived anyway.

The waiter seemed to realize something needed to be done and suddenly baskets of bread sticks appear at our table (where were they an hour ago?) to keep the kids occupied. Yeah, occupied....

Breadsticks make great swords.

Our longest wait was for the check.

When the last of the food arrived we'd asked for the check right then.

It didn't come.

Time passed.

Food was finished. Breadsticks were broken by breadsticks wielded by others. Spilled ice cubes melted into small puddles.

Time continued to pass....

One of our number even went looking for the manager so we could get our check & could not find one. People at nearby tables asked their waiters to bring us our check. Eventually our check arrived and we were able to leave.

Surveying the stacks of plates, the numerous plastic cups, the food on the floor, the broken breadsticks everywhere and the disgruntled patrons one of our number observed "Chaos, misery & destruction. Our work here is done."


Andrea @ The Creative Junkie said...

I cringed as I read this - because what parent hasn't been there?

Why why why do restaurants do that? Why is it impossible to get a child's meal with the appetizers? Are they cooked in different kitchens? And sitting in the middle of the restaurant, at a table which kids can run around when you could have easily been seated elsewhere WTF? And why is the check not ready to go the second you are?

Lori, Martha Points said...

Yeah, well, they deserved ever spilled drink and disintegrated bread stick.

I HATE experiences like that.

And I will complain.

SciFi Dad said...

Wow. I probably would have left cash on the table instead of waiting for the bill.

Too little? Too bad.

LosingBrownies said...

Yeah, that resturant stinks. It's totally their fault!

Comfy Mom said...

It was a disaster from the start. We should have left when we realized they were making us wait to be seating despite reservations & a nearly empty restaurant. We should have seen it as a warning sign.

Comfy Mom said...

Had there been anyone besides random servers to complain to,we would have. I think someone called the place the next day & gave them an earful though.

Comfy Mom said...

That was considered. If nothing else they probably would have stopped us as we were leaving & we could have gotten the check then

Comfy Mom said...

We've never been back, which is sorts sad because it was good food, once it finally arrived. But it was just too terrible an experience to try it again

Lynnette Penacho said...

Bad service makes me cranky. So sorry you had to deal with all that!