We waited a while for our order to be taken. Fair enough, we thought, they're busy. While waiting, we noticed two people on the next table being served, then the dishes taken away as they were wrong. Then another two on the same table. Two of the dishes reappeared and were given to another table. It should have been a warning.
After 30-40 minutes of waiting for one cold starter, we managed to get the waitress to find out what was happening. Much checking of the system, repeating the order back to us (correctly), profuse apologies. She went to see what was happening. Ten minutes later, it arrived - smoked salmon and toast, only the toast was just bread. This should have taken a cook about 30 seconds to plate up. Two minutes if he had bothered to toast the bread.
We waited. We saw another table get the wrong food delivered and taken back. Several people who had come in after us had eaten and were leaving. We waited a bit more. Eventually, noticing our frustration, the manager came over and asked if we had ordered drinks. We explained that we had done so over an hour previously, had waited for ages, had chased up the waitress, and still nothing was happening. She looked horrified, and found out that after they had reinstated our starter order, the order for the main courses had "dropped off the system". Oh dear. When the first delay was reported, the waitress should have told the kitchen there was a problem and she needed this order quickly - it's standard practice. Instead, she didn't even manage to make sure the kitchen got the repeat order at all. First order lost, second order "dropped off the system".
From that point the manager got things moving, and she apologised again and offered free desserts. The right thing to do, but by that time we were just so fed up it was too late for us to be placated, but we were too tired and hungry to go looking for somewhere else. The food came - one wrong order out of three. This is not a complicated menu - it's basically burgers and fried fish, a couple of steaks, sauces out of jars - how hard can it be?
The waitress came and asked if we would like anything else. We said dessert. She didn't give us the menu, but wandered off and did something else. The manager came past and we asked her for a menu. While we were waiting, we saw someone in the queue lean forward and say "Excuse me" to a waitress who completely ignored him, though she passed within a foot of him. As we left, we saw another table looking around with an air of increasing desperation, hoping to be noticed.
This place could maybe do with another member of staff, but the real problem seems to be the utter lack of co-ordination, and the lack of care and attention of some of the staff. Quite a lot of the scurrying about was to do with correcting mistakes, and it's not easy to tell if they would look understaffed without this factor. The heart of the problem seems to be correctly communicating to the kitchen what the customers want, and delivering that back to the customers. If you can't get that right, then running a restaurant may not be the best career for you.
There's been about three times in my life when I haven't left a tip, and this is one of them.
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