felicity (purewhitestars) wrote in bad_service,
felicity
purewhitestars
bad_service

a la carte fine dining my butt.

Sunday night, myself &three other people went out for dinner down the road from where i live to a placed called the Sailmaster Tavern in Adelaide, South Australia.

I used to go here all the time with my dad, growing up, because it had a pub-ish atmosphere with a guy on a keyboard every saturday night &very family orientated.

In the past few years, it's been done up and now has two sections - bistro and a la carte. We'd chosen the place for our sunday night dinner because it was in the gold section of the entertainment book and we wanted to use the deal on it.

When we got there, we asked what the difference was between bistro / a la carte. The waitress was very.. air-headed. She showed us the two menu's and said 'bistro is all bar service. a la cartewe come to you for table service.. and you can only use the entertainment card in the a la carte section as well. but there's a band playing later in the bistro...' she trailed off.

my friend said 'band...?' contemplating it. the waitress replied with 'yes. you know. music?'

um. right.

so the four of us decided on a la carte. the waitress said she'd show us to a table &we asked for one by the window overlooking the boats, right next to another party of four who were already enjoying their dinner. waitress said 'well i'll check if i can seat anyone in that area because i dont think i'm allowed' (even though another party was there, plus there was a reserved sign for a party of five on the table next to the one we wanted) and walked away for about 30 seconds before coming back saying 'yeah! thats fine! we're just having a huge function in here tomorrow and dont want to mess up many tables.'

um, why is this information relevant to 4 people who come in for a nice dining experience who are completely oblivious (&dont care) about said function?

she handed us all our menu's, went through the specials menu &asked us immediately what drinks we'd like. we all ordered soft drinks so she said 'so no wine tonight?' my friend said 'well.. we just GOT the wine list so we'd like a few minutes please..' and we asked for a garlic bread serve to start as well because we were all quite hungry.

she said 'well you get wood oven rolls with oil &balsamic anyway...' but we said 'well we'll take one serve of garlic bread and have the rolls' because there was only 3 pieces of bread in a serve (why do they always do it in 3s??) with 4 people.

our garlic bread came out, 3 of us had a piece, the 4th person said she'd wait for the rolls &balsamic.. which never came. the table of two who got seated after us got their bread. so another few minutes went by before the waitress came past &we asked for the rolls. 'oh did you want them as well as the garlic bread?' we said 'yes, thats what we asked for, thanks.'

the service got progressively worse.. she brought out two bottles of wine at once for our table &another (which you dont do if you are a la carte) &she just poured all the wine, no tasting. another no-no for a la carte. she put the wine in the cooler on the table, which took up a lot of room so my friend lent over &put the wine on the table next to us (which we have seen places do all the time if it's not reserved). the waitress came past shortly after, saw this, and moved it back onto our table. my friend said 'it's just taking up a bit too much room on the table, thats why i moved it there..'

the waitress said 'oh. well. i'll just put it on the floor here then.' and PUT THE BOTTLE OF WINE ON THE FLOOR.

wtf?

we sat there gobsmacked when she did that.

we were also wanting refills of our water which she'd originally poured for us as we sat down, but had taken the bottle away.. good table service would mean they would come and refill it. but no, our waitress plus one other were now crawling around on the floor wiping down chairs with chemical spray &buckets of water. what the hell?

i'd rather my waitress to NOT be touching chemicals as she deals with my food / serves me / pours my wine.

my friend who put the wine on the other table had finally had enough of it (&he's worked in 3 of the top 20 restaurants in adelaide) &went to speak to the manager. discreetly &calmly.

another waitress then brought over a bottle of water to our table &we asked if it was okay with her if we put the wine on the other table.. she said that was fine. &apart from the fact i had to pour my own wine for the rest of the meal, everything was okay.

we sat there for ages after our meal waiting for the bill.. but no waitresses were to be seen.. they were still wiping down chairs (let me also say that a couple walked in &we counted over 2 minutes before they were approached &seated at a table. just to see how long it'd take). so we had to go up &ask for the bill.

&then no one wanted to take our money. so we had to go up &have that processed as well. so much for 'fine dining' table service! we could have walked out without paying, i'm sure they would have been none-the-wiser!

i put a bad review on the entertainment card website and they are going to personally review the place to see if it's "worthy" of the book.. which it isn't. their staff obviously are not trained for more than a pub atmosphere.. when they upgraded they perhaps should have upgraded the staff as well.
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