I'm behind on my house work, I'm behind in my blogging, I'm tired, and I've generally got that disgusted, sweaty, smelly, summer-y feeling, today on June first.
That's supposed to come about August, you know. At any rate, I deemed it too hot to cook, and flipped through my trusty stash of Restaurant.com gift cards for a quick, inexpensive meal out option.
This was a mistake. I didn't know that then, but I do now, and I'm taking this moment to document it for myself and the entire world. We ate at a little, local Italian place that serves complimentary wine, salad, and bread. You've got to love the option of free vino...even if it was Riunite Lambrusco. My in laws have me spoiled with good wine. This stuff tasted like really sweet grape juice with a slight ferment. But it was free, so I drank it. And I'm glad I did, but we'll get to that.
I should explain to those of you that will stumble past my humble blog that I have a long history in restaurant management, a job I gave up to do the only thing in this world I love better: mother my children. Unfortunately, it's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget it. I love the restaurant industry so much I still wait tables almost as a hobby. Yes, I suppose I AM a bit off in the head.
We were the only table in the restaurant when we arrived, which I thought was a VERY good thing, considering we travel in a pack like a herd of wild elephants, and dining out is something I'd rather DIE than do. I showed the waitress/hostess/foodrunner <-----important information> our coupon, and she was very cheerful about it, I thought. Also a good sign.
We ordered quickly. I know Italian food well, having worked at THREE Italian places in the course of my *ahem* young life, and my husband only eats a combined total of four food items, so ordering didn't take long.
Another table arrived, and another, and another. With us, our server/hostess/food runner now has four tables, and we still don't have our food. Bell dings, she runs to the kitchen, brings out our order (kind of) and runs back to the door to seat tables again. Soon, she's up to seven including a party of eight walking in, and I'm holding down (barely) a twitch in my leg that wants to desperately get up and help her.
The problems with our meal were many fold- and not addressed at all. My husband had finished his soda long before the meal arrived, and was never given another, much less the opportunity to ask for one. We split a meal with the two youngest, and never received the second plate, my oldest child never got her dessert OR her salad, and my meal was NOT what I ordered. I ate it anyway. It had taken almost a half an hour, and it didn't look deadly.
She was VERY busy, so I don't blame her for most of it, but here's the thing...I asked for the check at some point, and it finally came almost twenty five minutes later, with the gratuity added by hand, prior to the deduction of the coupon. This WAS the deal on the coupon, to be sure, so I didn't question it, but when you all but ignore a table in your effort to maintain an entire gaggle of people, do you actually take the minute or so to figure out the gratuity (to the penny!) to add it in prior to the deduction of the discount, or do you just drop the check and run?
I know what I'd do.
The good news is, I got the meal at almost half price with Restaurant.com gift cards. I buy them to local places when they have the 80 percent off sale...so it's really, really, really cheap.
The bad news is, I'm left wondering, when the gratuity is added automatically, do servers lose interest?
What do you think?