My question was whether to rate this place a 2 (poor) or 3 (average); it was overall below average (2.5). I got there at about 12:30pm, which should have been about the middle of the "lunch rush". I was surprised to see that the restaurant was only about 20% full--especially at this time of day--because Denny's generally has pretty good food. But I soon found out that there appeared to be little or no "sense of urgency" for customers by the staff. When I got into the restaurant, there was no one ahead of me waiting, and a sign said to please wait to be seated. However there was no host or hostess on duty to seat me. There was a big clock on the wall, so I know that it was 12:30 when I arrived. It was 12:34 before one of the servers came over to seat me. I was seated in a booth near an entrance to the kitchen area, given a menu, and again I waited--this time until 12:41 (according to the clock directly above my head) before I was even asked if I wanted anything to drink (all I wanted was water, but I hadn't even received a glass of water when I was seated). About that same time, my server came up to me and apologized for not waiting on me yet, claiming she hadn't seen me there because the booster seats they use for children were stacked up behind me (even though I sat where the person who seated had me sit). On the positive side, once my server finally got to me, my order was taken immediately, and I received my food in a very reasonable amount of time after placing my order. The food was good, as it usually is at Denny's.
I would have written off my experience with lack of customer service as a simple mistake by the staff except for the fact that I observed the same type of lack of service repeated with other customers. I was seated only about 20-30 feet away from the cash register/hostess station and facing towards it. I saw at least 3 groups of people enter the restaurant and have to wait at least a couple of minutes before anyone came to the hostess station to seat them. I saw customers have to wait at the cash register at least a couple of minutes for someone to come over there accept payment for the food. I saw a gentleman seated 2 booths away from me have to wait as long as I did for someone to take his drink order and be waited on (and he was waited on by a different server than I was). After my server brought me my food, she checked back with me once while bringing me another glass of water, then again a few minutes later to bring me my bill. When I was done eating, I went to pay my bill and had to stand in line behind a customer who was waiting to be seated (but again, there was no staff member at the cash register/hostess station), and we had to wait about 3 minutes for a staff member someone to come to the hostess station/cash register. When I was asked how everything was, I said, "Well, the food was good." When the staff person (I found out she was the shift manager) asked if anything else had been wrong, I explained about the lack of timely service. The shift manager apologized and said she was taking 25% off my bill. Since she tried to make amends for the situation, I rated the overall experience as a 2.5 (rounded up to 3). The food was very good, and it indeed did arrive within a very acceptable amount of time--once my order was finally taken. Had the shift manager not taken 25% off of my bill, the overall rating would have been 2 (poor).
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