Diners Deal With a Parade of Problems

April 1, 2011

in Odds & Ends Stories

I had my reservations about going to this hamburger restaurant in the first place, given the number of less than stellar reviews on both Yelp and FourSquare. As a social marketer I do my research on new places and generally think the crowd gets it right. But I figured, “What the heck, it’s in the neighborhood, I’ll give it a whirl,” and I was a big fan of the spot when it was under a different name. Plus one of my dining companions claimed to have heard good things about it. From whom these “good things” were heard, I have no clue, they clearly were talking about a different restaurant.

We were seated in the back dining room, where I believe only one other table was occupied. We order drinks, which come pretty quickly, however all of the sodas were flat. Problem #1.

We then ordered our appetizer. We went with the fries, but added on truffle oil, demi-glace, and cheese curds to make them more poutine-like (as we all love the delish poutine at a nearby pub). Five minutes later fries arrive. Plain. With a plastic cup of ketchup on the side. No cheese curds, no demi-glace, no truffle oil, no poutine-ness. Problem #2.

We tell the waiter this is not what we ordered; he insists this is it, the toppings are buried inside the pile of fries. We think “Hmmm, that’s weird,” and dig deeper in the fries. But we still don’t find any yummy toppings. Problem #3.

We call the waiter back again to tell him about this. He takes the plate back into the kitchen and returns with a plastic cup with shredded parmesan cheese and tells us these are the cheese curds. Clearly that is not the case. Problem #4.

Our waiter comes back to take our dinner order. We get through three of the four burger orders, when my friend mentions the plainness of our fries and describes what demi-glace and cheese curds should look like. The waiter then swiftly picks up the plate and takes it back to the kitchen, without taking the fourth order. Problem #5.

Five minutes later he returns, apologizing for the mistake; fortunately this plate of fries resembles what we ordered. Our fourth diner then had to ask if he could order. Problem #6.

Ordering finally complete, we dive into the fries, which were actually delicious. This is a good thing since it took 30 minutes to get them right and we were starving. We were then joined by two other friends who pulled up a table and joined us. One orders a lager and is told they don’t have any. Seriously? Problem #7.

Another orders a Stoli Razz drink and is told they have no Stoli. Problem #8.

We were amazed that a place with such a big bar could have no light beer of any kind and no top shelf vodka, but they order other drinks and are satisfied. Our two new guests were given menus and here’s the kicker… wait for it… are told that the place had “run out of beef.” Problem #9.

Given the fact that there were only maybe seven other people in the place the entire time we were there between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm, there is no way that they had a run on burgers before we came in. Also burgers make up 75% of the menu; once you knock those out of consideration you are left with pizza or pasta for dinner. Fortunately, our friends are told that it happened to be two-for-one-pizza night. So they order two pizzas and dinner marches on… and on… and on. We wait over an hour for our burgers, which keep in mind were ordered 20 minutes before the pizzas, yet still somehow the pizzas arrive first. Problem #10.

We had our suspicions that they had actually run out of beef before any of us had ordered and ran over to Safeway to get some. Finally, an hour and fifteen minutes after we sat down, our burgers arrive. Problem #11.

Had the experience leading up to us receiving our food not been so negative, I may have been okay with the mediocre burger that I was served, but the burgers my friends got were terrible. My Princess Di burger had limp wet bacon on top, my friend’s medium burger was so overcooked and dried out he couldn’t eat it, and my other friend’s burger with an egg on top had a huge piece of egg shell in it. Problems #12-14.

I won’t even get into how long it took to get the bill once we had finished attempting to eat. Problem #15.

Once we got the bill, we were charged for two pizzas instead of one as we were promised. Problem #16.

After some conversation with our waiter the bill was fixed, and after some additional urging and our reminding him of the ridiculous things that had happened, he cut our bill in half. A very nice gesture, but it still does not salvage the situation.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

TacoDave April 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

It sounds like a crappy evening, but I think your problem rating is a bit off. "Wrong fries" is a single problem, not multiple ones, even though you put them in separate paragraphs. Plus, ordering drinks that are not on the menu (like the Stoli drink) is your acquaintance's fault, not the restaurant's.

I give you half-credit. 🙂

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Howdy April 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

I agree with the Stoli comment. Regardless of how big the bar is, sometimes they just don't have it. Not a problem, order something else.

Still – that was a bad night all around.

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Belle April 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I'm not sure I would have been as patient as the OP. Not so much as issue about certain items not being available on the drink menu, but the whole thing with the fries, etc. An inept waiter & an even more inept kitchen make for a poor experience all around.

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

inept about something not on their menu that was clearly asked for in a poor way? Many restaurants do not have cheese curds, many restaurants have either gravy or demi glace, they are different but similar. Requesting a plate of fries with a ton of custom toppings added that the place may or may not have had is not on the server. After they better described what they were actually asking for they received it, clearly a customer fail.

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Kim Craig April 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm

We went to Chicken Treat and they told us they'd run out of chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Laura April 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm

The whole time I read this, I kept thinking "why didnt you just leave?"

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Stephanie April 4, 2011 at 6:50 am

This.

First time the fries came back wrong would have been it. If the servers don't understand enough what is on their own menu (and what it looks like) then I eat elsewhere.

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steph November 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm

these fries weren't on their menu. These customers made them up to resemble something they get at ANOTHER restaurant.

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memee April 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I went to Arby's once and they were out of roast beef.

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Roasts take 4 hours to cook, yes they are raw when they come into the restaurant and bleed. They must cook 4 hours and then rest an hour before serving. Running out of roast beef usually actaully means they don't have any cooked that is yet usable because of either an unexpected rush of orders or failure to prep enough roasts in a timely manner.

Running out of stock also happens, everywhere. Various things come into play, being short shipped your stock, the delivery being late, simply not ordering enough.

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Hugh April 13, 2011 at 5:49 am

My initial reaction, based on your tone and condescending attitude was to call you a douche-bag. I then quickly realized what a horrible insult that would be…to douche bags everywhere.

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pes April 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Sounds like a hellish session but after the first 2 strikes, why didnt you just leave. Also if your dialogue oozing of condescending attitude about something as prententiously named as a Princess Di Burger (does it come with Dodi fries?) was directed towards your server, God knows what they were doing to your food in the kitchen.

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Jean June 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

It doesn't sound like the best place in town, which is why I personally would not go in there and request fries with fancy add-ons like truffle oil and cheese curds. Sheesh, can't people just eat fries any more?

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Karl June 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Be careful when complaining about your order and they take it back. A former girlfriend of mine went into the hotel business to become a manager and part of it to become one she had to do different stages in a hotel such as waitres, housekeeping or working in the kitchen etc. She told me that sometimes those food servers or kitchen personal did somethings to the food for the complainer. She saw it but kept her mouth shut because, as I said, she wanted to be a manager. I was so discusted what she told me and now , if I don't like the food , I send it back and just pay for the drink and stuff I already ate and just leave. So, be careful when sending back a drink also….

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steph November 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Ya, the best way for your girlfriend to show she was manager material was to keep her mouth shut and let the kitchen staff do disgusting things to the food. That really shows what good leadership skills she has and that she could run a really great restaurant if she was in charge. NOT!

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jonasgal September 1, 2017 at 4:21 am

While I agree with your "post", you didn't have to be sarcastic abt it!!!

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Nicky December 31, 2011 at 1:30 am

Yeah, the whole post is so condescending that it's pretty hard to take as valid. Stoli isn't top shelf, and there are so many different vodkas there is no way a place can carry all of them, or even enough to satisfy everyone.

I also have a really hard time listening to people complain this much about special orders, insist that more of an already discounted bill be discounted, who then continue to complain that it wasn't enough. You sound like a terrible customer. If Ford was out of a tail light, would you also demand a free car?

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Loki November 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm

It’s a shame that they ran out of beef by why take that out on the server?
You walked into a restaurant, asked them to slap together a bizzar order that another restaurant in town serves and then complained when they got it wrong? How incredibly pompous of you.
And no, Stoli is NOT top shelf vodka haha. You don’t bad talk a bar because they don’t have a particular mid grade vodka, do you have any idea how many brands of vodka there are? It’s a simple matter of saying oh, I’ll have Absolute then. Simple.

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Unless you mentioned the flat soda to the server, you don't get to complain about it. CO2 tanks run out and have to be changed, without drinking the soda the employees have no way of knowing the tanks are out until it's brought to their attention.

The not having specific beer or vodka is not a problem, not everywhere offers every brand of everything, they don't have on menu then order something else.

Running out of burgers, shit happens, stock orders arrive short, while it's annoying they informed those whose orders couldn't be completed prior to ordering, that's all they have to do.

The fries are one issue, yet it's clear this place doesn't sell poutine and many places outside of Canada will not make a poutine correctly if they even know what it is, most places have the wrong gravy, calling it gravy instead of demi glace would have likely helped make things more clear as well. you shold've better explained what it was you wanted when ordering a dish of your 'own creation' that's not on the menu.

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Mel November 3, 2016 at 1:10 pm

This mostly sounds like the OP's fault. Drinks were flat, but they didn't alert the staff and get new ones? Those tanks to run out and the servers aren't taste-testing your sodas before bringing them to you. How else would they know the soda was flat, ESP? He went to a restaurant to order things he liked at another restaurant. If they wanted what was served at another restaurant, why not go to that other restaurant? They ordered drinks that the restaurant doesn't stock or ran out of. That happens and not every restaurant is required to carry the alcohol that you so desperately need to feel good about yourself. The other problems happened because they pegged you for the jerks you were and did it purposefully to you. They shouldn't have, but if you were giving them attitude from the second you entered into the door, which I suspect is what happened, no wonder they decided to return your niceties.

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