Flamingoes south of Montpellier, France.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Somewhere in Spain.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How long should you wait...?

I was out for dinner last night with four old friends. Went to the Heart and Crowne pub in the market area of Ottawa.

So we met up at 6:00pm and were seated right away. We were served our beer and the last of our group showed up at 6:10pm. We were all starved so we ordered right away. We were enjoying our beers and having a lot of laughs when I happened to notice that a table who had sat down well after us already had their food. I didn't really think anything of it, but it did cross my mind that it was taking a while. At around 7:05, the waitress comes over and says she doesn't know what happened, but our food order wasn't ready yet.

I'm thinking, this just isn't right. She admitted that she didn't put our order in right away, but that it still shouldn't be taking that long. I piped in and said that our food order should be free and that I shouldn't have to be the one to say so. I said that she should be going to the manager and explaining the situation and that SHE should be the one telling the manager our food should be in the house.

So, the manager eventually comes over and says that the waitress told her that we were waiting a half hour, versus us saying it was almost an hour. She says that even if she splits it in the middle and says we were waiting 45 minutes, that is too long and our food order will be free.

So then the discussion begins.

Three of our party thought I shouldn't have said anything. The fourth guy was impressed that I spoke up. One guy said he was worried that they would now spit in our food! One guy felt bad for the waitress saying that she would have to pay for it so we should give her a bigger tip!  Considering that all of these guys make well over $75k a year, I 'm thinking maybe they have no consideration for receiving value for your money.

The bill for our drinks was $82 and we left her $125. I thought that was too much, but I was in the minority. What do you think of the whole situation...?


  1. OH MY!!! I would have complained too but waited til I did get my food... and I would have NEVER left her that big of a tip at all ~ maybe $8 dollars since it is her job to make sure your food gets out to you!!! I bet she forgot to put your ticket in at all or misplaced it in there. You shoulf of got 50% off your bill and her tip was outrageous... we never tip more then 20% unless everything was exceptional. But never 150%
    And that's my opinion!
    Have a fun day

  2. We have become very tough on restaurant performance. It seems that many are getting very sloppy in their treatment of customers.

    If it takes longer than we think to be served, we speak up right away. Because of a number of really bad experiences, we have will leave if the food is not served in a reasonable time. If the food is poor quality we will not accept it. On the latter, we find that restaurants generally get this and will go out of their way to get it right.

    Those that can not even produce the order, generally are not worth dealing with.

    Between service issues and the unhealthy style of most restaurant food, we now eat out very rarely.

    It helps to have a great cook in the family:)

  3. I had my own restaurant for 10 years and would not tolerate that kind of service at all. I would ask why its taking so long then see the manager after it was served. Yes the food should be free, 15 percent for your drinks maybe. Tips are for good service and you obviously did not get it, this should never happen with a good waitress. With a small tip she might learn to pay more attention to her customers or get a new job. A good waitress can make a so-so visit into a great one.

  4. When your paying for a service I always feel you should receive that service..wether its food or customer service of any kind. Nothing irks me to the limit than poor customer service. I also would have complained and asked to see the manager. This has happened to us in June. The restaurant was not full~other were receiving their meal before us, even tho they arrived after us. The manager approached us stated there was a shortage problem of staff in the kitchen and our meal and drinks were complimentary. I was surprised the drinks were free..at least we received an apology and a nil bill. We did leave the waitress a 20% tip because it was not her fault.

  5. Almost every job/career is in a service industry. You please other people to make money. If you don't, you lose customers. Period.
    The waitress should have put the order in ASAP, the manager should have listened to your grief rather than argue with you, and you should have received some compensation for your time.

    We got a free chocolate milk at Boston Pizza the other day for complaining about the poor service! The waitress had a good excuse however, as a family of 30 (celebrating the end of Rammadam) came in for a meal. All in her section.

    I have been a waitress, and never EVER forgot to put in a food order before. That's inexcusable. I agree with the others, you should have been treated better by both the manager and the waitress.

    I would not go there again and tell my friends not to either.

    Good for you to speak up, how does the waitress or the manager learn about customer service if we all tolerate that?

  6. I would never blame the server for bad kitchen performance. It's possible that the cook on duty was mad at her, or that something else entirely was going on outside her control.

    I would say it's entirely appropriate to suggest to management that the meal should be on the house after such a wait. I would accept this "gift," but I wouldn't stiff the waitress. I'd tip her on the original value of the meal, percentage being according to how she performed her own duties (not how slow or unorganized the kitchen was). It sounds like she got a good tip, regardless, and I never begrudge a server a good tip unless she's horrible at her job and likes it that way. My feeling is that, in planning for this meal out, if I can't plan for a generous tip I probably can't afford to eat out just then.


  7. I am patient to a point. I understand mistakes happen. I understand that a waitress can be overloaded. But I will definitely speak up if I see others getting served ahead of me. I will also say something about poor service and will not leave a big tip. If the waitress is smiling and pleasant and takes the time to explain the problem, I am then a happy camper. I do expect Management to step up to the plate though and give us some sort of a discount. And usually they do. If not, they won't see us again and I will spread the word.

  8. The most important thing is to speak up!! Many years ago, I was once served a salad with a piece of glass in it. The manager (White Spot) offered me a free dessert, nothing more. We never returned to that restaurant. He didn't care, they were always busy and there was always someone else to fill the table. I did put in a written complaint but received no response.

    LOVE the Zipolite beach photo, now that is where we had the most delicious meal ever, served in chairs much like in the photo. One of my favorite places in the world.

  9. I think what you did was fine as long as the restaurants loss was not taken out of the waitresses pay. Like someone said, we do not know what was going on in the kitchen. Part of your order may have been given to another table, making them start all over or there could have been a conflict in the kitchen. The order could just have been lost in the shuffle.

    Waiting table is a tough job and here in BC the government has made it worse by instituting a lower than minimum wage for anyone serving liquor, expecting them to make it up in tips.

    It would have been interesting to have found out what the actual problem was and to ensure the waitress did not have to pay the $82 out of her wages as it may not have been completely her fault.

    This is why we need unions in the service industry. Someone has to stand up for workers who may easily be mistreated in these circumstances.

  10. $43.00 is approximately 50% tip considering that the meal was free I think that was fair. The people that felt this was right probably go there more often then Kevin and will go there again so they were of a different mind. This being the case their next visit to the place should be very different.
    Everybody has bad days, even waitresses, the fact she works there indicates to me she is worthy of the job unless this was her first day on the job in which case consideration is allowed. We all have our first day on the job, think back!

  11. We waited a LONG time for our meal in Mexico a few years ago. The waitress was very upset. We got our meal free without asking. I didn't feel it was the waitress's fault and left her a super tip.


  12. As a server who just got home. Waiting can happen depending on how busy a restaurant is. Restaurants are staffed by the usual customer count for the same period the previous year. So if you get an unusual flux of patrons the kitchen may not be staffed. Also a table that came before can be served first depending on the orders. One table gets a turkey sandwich and chef salad, the other a well done steak, then of course the sandwich table will get their food faster. But we have had 30 people just walk in and they will be served much faster than an hour. If there is a problem, the server should be at you table apologizing for the delay and explaining it to you BEFORE you have a complaint. There are bad servers, I have worked with many over the years and does sound like she totally forgot to put your order in and did not notify the kitchen. I have delayed putting an order in and first thing I do is go to the kitchen, explain to the cooks how I messed up
    and that I need this order on the fly. Oh they give you static, but they will help. You do have servers that are too busy texting to do their job and many know they will get the same tip regardless of their service. By the same token you also have cooks that are not conscientious about ticket times. Most restaurants have times stamped on ticket when it goes to the kitchen, so the manager would have been able to tell if it was a server error or kitchen error. Not knowing whose error, can't make much of a call, but in my opinion you were more than generous to the server. Do not know about Canadian wages but in US serves make 3.50/hr. Glad the manager compd the meal.

  13. The waitress should have apologized for the delay and offered a round of FREE drinks. Without asking, she should have the manager come over and apologize also. I am not so sure food should be free. Unless it says you will be served in X amount of minutes, the number of people at your table and the extent of the order can take longer than other orders. Finally, I would really like to be your waitress. Your group probably gave her the biggest tip she has ever had.

  14. Sorry, but I'm not a big tipper. There is a discussion going on over on rv.net right now. I have been chastised for speaking out. If I order a rib eye and the next table orders a burger, should my tip be larger simply because my food cost more? I got the same service.

    I think people are afraid to speak out for fear of being embarrassed. I don't like tip jars either, it's like asking for a handout. Should I endulge myself at Starbuck's for a "cafe del día", does that deserve a tip? Someone poured me a cup of coffee and took my money!

    These are the effects of government intervention, minimum wage was a bad idea. Let the market determine what the wage will be. If the job doesn't pay enough, go to school, get a better paying job.

    I'm with you Kevin, we need for more people to speak up. If they did, service would improve greatly. If not, we will be tipping guy at the drive through at McDonalds.



  15. On the subject of waiting for an order, I think it is up to us to let the waiter know our time constrictions. If we go to a restaurant for a leisurely glass of wine, meal, desert and conversation, we do not appreciate having our meal dropped of with one hand and the bill with the other within a few minutes. That spoils the meal for me. On the other hand if we are looking for a quick bite before a meeting, that is the type of service we need and appreciate. It all depends on toe circumstances.

    It is up to us to let the establishment know beforehand which kind of service we want so they do not have to guess.

  16. Like Chris, I do not like the idea of having to tip in general. But also, like Donna says, US servers make $3.50 per hour. This is not even close to a living wage and these people need tips to make ends meet. If none of us tipped one of two things would happen. 1) we would end up serving ourselves or, 2) wages for servers would rise to the point than tipping would not be necessary. We do not tip our real estate salesman, our electrician or our car mechanic. Why is this any different? People should make a living wage by supplying a good service or product. This is the case in most of Europe.

  17. I like what Croft said above... (being an ex-waitress myself) If there wasn't any tipping, the restaurants would be paying higher wages.... and turning the costs around to us. Then we would be paying $12 for a burger and $50 for a steak!

    Karen and Steveio
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard


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