Rachel (purple_bug) wrote in bad_service,

The trains are efficient, the food service isn't always!

I've been living in Japan for five months now. In my experience, staff in Japan are usually always 'on', with their smiles and politeness, always very 'genki' (energetic and cheerful). The wait staff at one restaurant the other night was no different - except that something must have been going wrong between the waitresses and the kitchen.

We had a party of maybe 12 people, all foreigners. At least two of us spoke fluent-enough Japanese to communicate effectively, and made it known when we got there by translating for the rest of us when needed :)

Staff were very attentive with getting us lots of drinks, which was odd when compared with the food service, since we had opted for the 'all you can drink' option, so more drinks doesn't get them any more money. But on the food side of things, where they *would* be getting more money the more we ordered, they were surprisingly lax.

We were split over two adjacent tables, and several of the food items at my table were accidentally delivered to the other table. Which was okay in all but one instance, because they just passed it over. (The one instance was accidentally eating someone else's shrimp dish, so he had to reorder that.) But at my table, at least 7 food items were delayed until well after everyone else had started ordering seconds!
My girlfriend had to ask after 20 mins, where was her sashimi? It eventually turned up.
Two of our friends had to re-order their sushi after waiting over 30 mins, and still waited a good 15 mins after the second ordering. (Luckily they didn't have to pay for both, since only one showed up.) But my girlfriend and I had to leave early, and when we did, our friends had only just received their sushi. So we had time to eat two courses before they got their first.
I ordered seconds of a tempura dish I thought was pumpkin - it never showed up. When we asked, it turned out that it wasn't pumpkin after all (it was something else that I didn't like, so blessing in disguise), and they were actually out of it, they'd just never bothered to let us know that, so that I could have ordered something different instead.
And another friend at our table had one item eaten by the other table, and two items not show up in the whole time I was there. We really hope he eventually got something to eat!

I can kind of understand the mentality of "well, we don't know how to tell them that their food is delayed/not available, because we don't speak English", as Japanese culture tends to be very passive and non-confrontational (in my experience), but even if we didn't have any people in our party who spoke Japanese, a simple 'no' gesture when I ordered the tempura (making a cross with hands or fingers is common here) would have been understood by me perfectly! And I could have ordered something else, instead of leaving still peckish.

We couldn't tell if it was a busy night, as the tables are arranged in little rooms, walled off from other diners, and we could only hear one of the other rooms, so who knows how many customers they had in total that night.

*sigh* TL;DR - staff keep us waiting up to 45 minutes for simple sushi, and one guy doesn't even get any food at all.
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