theaftercath (theaftercath) wrote in bad_service,
theaftercath
theaftercath
bad_service

Beyond expected bad V-day restaurant service

As told to me by my little sister, therefore I cannot authoritatively attest to *tones of voice* and whatnot, but this sounded really bad.

My sis and her boyfriend made reservations at Kobe, a Japanese steakhouse in Bloomington, IL, a week and a half in advance of The Big Day, since they wanted to be sure they'd get a table. They had a reservation at 6pm, and arrived at 5:45 just to be extra sure they'd be there when their names were called.

A polite hostess quoted them a 25 minute wait, which my sis said was fine, it was clearly a madhouse and that only put them 10 minutes past their reservation time. There wasn't anywhere to sit, the bar was full too, so sis and her boyfriend were resigned to standing. Sis was a little bummed about that since she had taken the time to get all spiffied up and wear heels (which, I know, not the restaurant's concern if you don't wear orthopedic support shoes on a busy night, but definitely made things more painful for her).

Things seemed to get busier and busier and there wasn't ever an opportunity to wrangle a host to ask about their table. At 6:45, a couple they knew showed up to claim their own reservation, which was set for 6:45. That couple was hastily quoted a half hour wait before the host ran off to do something else.

Finally, at 7:45, now having stood around for 2 hours, my sister and her boyfriend got sat. They noted, however, that their friends with the reservation at 6:45 had gotten seated maybe a minute or two before them. They, of course, were starving and dying of thirst, but their server didn't get to them for 15 minutes. They didn't get their complementary waters until 8:05, their little appetizer salad things until 8:20, or their cocktails until 8:30. Their friends, with the later reservation, had finished their entire meal and were leaving to pay before my sister ever got her entree.

Naturally, they were kind of upset at a) having been responsible enough to make a reservation way ahead of time, and still been treated like a walk-in, and b) having gotten the slowest service in the history of the world. So when they went up front to pay their bill, their server was the one cashing them out. My sister asked for a manager. Their server said "I'm a manager". My sister then asked for a more superior manager, and the woman said "I'm the general manager. Do you have a problem?"

Sis then complained about having a reservation, the 2 hour wait, their friends with a much later reservation getting sat first, and the horrifically slow service. The apparent GM then took an attitude (thus sayeth the sis), and said "So what do you want me to do? Do you want free food, is that what you're trying to get?" My sister then truthfully replied, "Well, yeah, that would be nice."

The GM then went on a tirade about how "Everyone had a reservation and everyone had to wait! Everyone got slow service tonight becuase maybe you didn't notice, but it was really busy<" and "if Sis and BF got free food then she'd have to give everyone free food and you can't run a business like that!"

The BF was a little pissed, and spent a few minutes arguing (sister said not loudly, just insistantly)  with the woman, trying to get her to understand that they had to wait longer than other people because the service was even slower than everyone else's, and they had a terrible time, this wasn't helping, and even without the woman's attitude they'd never be coming back. The GM grudingly gave them 10% off (which was... $4 and some change) and actually said out lout she was just doing it to get them out of her restaurant, not because her restaurant did them any disservice, and then to please get out.


I'm aware that Valentine's Day is hell for most restaurants, I work in one. But this seemed way above and beyond typical V-Day hell. The restaurant probably overbooked themselves which is a terrible practice, probably screwed up the reservation list when chaos broke loose from having too many people in the building at once, the hosts were unprepared and unprofessional, and the General Manager herself gave the slowest and most inattentive service in any of my family's experience. Then arguing about the bad service was icing on the heart-shaped cake, I feel. Sure, good restaurants can have their bad nights, but I feel like any place that folds that badly under pressure can't be all that great on a normal night, especially hearing how the GM acted as both a server and a manager.

Tags: *restaurant
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