I took my 11 year old son and his 11 year old friend out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Salem. This restaurant is not a chain. My husband and I began dining there over 12 years ago before my son was even born. At one time we knew each and every server’s name and they all knew ours. Now they have some new faces though. My husband wasn’t with us, he had to work.
It was much later than we normally go out (about 8:30) so we were very hungry. The restaurant wasn’t very busy at this time because the evening rush was over. As we all know the Salem dinning scene has rolled up its carpets by this time of night! We were seated in an area that is separated from the main dinning area because we wanted a booth and the booths were either occupied or dirty. The area where we were seated is separated from the main area because years ago it was the “smoking section”. We were the only people seated in this section.
We were given menus and as we looked them over and discussed what we were having we noticed no server had been to our table in what seemed like forever. Finally she arrives looking hurried; she drops a pitcher of ice water off, but no glasses. Aren’t you supposed to get glasses of water and then she comes around to refill them w/ the pitcher? We figured maybe this was a community pitcher where we all picked it up took a chug and passed it around! She also dropped off a placemat & place setting because there were only 2 at the table. However, I was miffed to see her carrying the placemat under her arm pit for lack of another hand.
Now we wait and wait and wait to see her again. Meanwhile I see a busboy. I ask for 3 glasses to drink the water from and our customary pot of tea that also has not been delivered. Much to my relief he brings them right away. Ok here we sit waiting and waiting and waiting again to have our order taken. Humph. I’m getting really ticked by this time.
Finally the server emerges from the kitchen to take our order. I ordered a small appetizer for us to share and a family sized bowl of soup to share. Then I ordered our entrees. The appetizer took much longer to come out then the same appetizer that I have ordered there almost each time in the past.
Then the wait began for the soup for what seemed like 3-hours-later (as in the SpongeBob episodes). As we sat I almost began to sing the Jeopardy theme in my head. Finally after what seemed like an eternity the entrees arrived. WHAT? Where in the @#$%! is the soup? When I asked the server said she didn’t know why the entrees came out before the soup. She said she called for the soup 3 times. I think she was full of egg rolls because she probably forgot it and was covering her butt. And if it truly was the kitchen’s fault why hadn’t she been to our table to apologize for the delay of the soup?
As we dive into our entrees because we are starving what appears out of the corner of my eye? The server with our soup! I promptly sent her back to the kitchen to pack it to go. Had I been quicker on my feet I would have told her to cancel it, or shove it where the sun didn’t shine! As we continued to dine she showed up with to go boxes and the check. She didn’t ask if everything was ok. And normally when I dine there they wait till you are done and then ask if you want containers and drop the check. And they always offer to fill the containers. Also it was my son's birthday I would have liked to have it recognized but didn't get a chance. :(
When I went up to the register to pay I asked the Asian lady at the counter if she was the owner. She said yes, I am a co-owner. I went on to state my complaints telling her it was the worst service I have ever had there and made sure she knew I had been coming there for 12 years. I also told her I am in the food service industry and I have lowered my standards in the past but this time was inexcusable. She barley looked up as she was shuffling some papers in a near squatting position under the register and only offered a few “I’m sorry about that”. I said SO AM I”! I was furious! I just spent $40 and had the worst experience I have ever had. And for the first time I left the server no tip. I have never stiffed a server in my life. And I always tip 20% and more.
In addition after we were seated 2 more parties were seated in our section but a different server took them. It was very evident to me that they too were getting poor service. As I voiced my disappointment to the co owner the booth behind us came walking up to pay. They told me they also had bad service. I told them I was disappointed the owner didn’t offer to make things right. Maybe comping my soup or something. I also told them that there are plenty of choices to dine and I don’t need this place. Especially in this economy.
My question to all of you is what do you expect when it comes to service? What do you do if the service is terrible? What do you expect the establishment to do to fix the problem and make you want to return as well as not bad mouth the place all over town?