Not One to Complain, But....

This past weekend, my husband, his brother, his brother's wife, my mother-in-law, and I went out to dinner. We went to a nice Italian restaurant, a place at which my husband and I had dined several times in the past (although not in the last few years). The food and service were always excellent each time we visited. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case this time.

Our reservation was for 6:30pm. We were promptly seated at our table, which wasn't optimal and was in the kitchen's direct path, but that wasn't a concern for any of us. What was a concern was that no one approached our table after initially seating us and giving us our menus for over 30 minutes. We had no water. We had no bread. We had no service whatsoever.

When the waitress finally came to our table, she offered no explanation for her tardy arrival. No apology of any kind. She took our drink order. Then she disappeared for another 15 minutes. She returned again and took our food order. 15 minutes later our salads arrived. It was then almost 7:30pm. She didn't clear our salad plates, or refill our water, or visit our table again until our meals finally arrived at 8:00pm, one and a half hours after we first sat down. In that time, diners who had arrived after we had received and finished their meals.

Now, I have a deep empathy for waitstaff at restaurants. Their job is tough. They are underpaid. They're on their feet all night long. They have to deal with often-demanding and rude customers all night long, and they're often blamed for problems for which they aren't responsible. But in this case, I believe our waitress provided us with extremely bad service, the likes of which I can't remember ever experiencing while eating out at a nice restaurant.

We gave her a 20% tip, only because she was yelled at by rude customers sitting directly behind us who were complaining to her about their inadequate meal and the price they paid for it. We felt sorry for her. But if we hadn't witnessed their tirade, we wouldn't have tipped as well. We didn't know the cause of our lengthy wait, because she offered no explanation. The restaurant could have been short a few cooks in the kitchen (I know they weren't short on waitstaff that night, since we saw so many of them running around). Or perhaps she was new and simply overwhelmed. But I believe we were entitled to an explanation for our horrible service at the very least, and we really should have heard an apology from her.

So I'm tempted to write a letter to the restaurant manager complaining about the service. What do you think?

2 Responses to “Not One to Complain, But....”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    Yes I agree. The management would want to know. I probably would have asked to speak to the manager that night, but a letter detailing what you've explained here would be good too.

    A good server apologizes even if it isn't his/her fault that the service is so slow. The server is the restaurant's representative at your table, ferPetesake.

    Oh yeah. A letter. And a good restaurant will offer to make it up to you - by way of a gift certificate or something.  

  2. # Blogger Amy

    Yeah, I'd write a letter. You're right--any number of things that weren't the server's fault could have caused the terrible service. But he/she definitely could've offered an apology or, at the very least, an explanation.  

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