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My fault or theirs? A friendly rant.

andlulu Feb 11, 2007 04:28 PM

Need some clarity.

Decided today that we wanted to go out to eat - went back and forth between a few ideas and settled on dim sum which I was somewhat in the mood for but wasn't entirely thrilled about driving as far away as it was, not sure, just an off day. Anyhow I was poking around online as the husband was getting ready and decided to pull up the website of a restaurant near us I had been wanting to try, I saw that they offered tapas and became intrigued, so I changed my mind and the husband was good with it. I didn't pay attention to any hours, etc - clearly my fault from that perspective.

When we get there (around 1:45ish) we notice 2 or 3 tables dining outside and walk on it, there weren't any hours posted outside. We walk over to the hostess station and she sat us, we were 1 of only 2 table in the restaurant, a small one, but still.

The friendly waiter came over and took our drink order and told us to help ourselves - huh??

I peered over into the next room and noticed a brunch set up - oops. Not only was I not in the mood for brunch but how much is this and what time do you close? I had always known that brunch went from 10 - 2. So we got up and got our goodies and sat back down and by that point I was starting to feel the eyeballs on me and thought.."Oh god, I bet they close at 2.." it had to atleast been 5 after by that point. I walked over to the waffle station and asked the chef and he says, "Yes, we normally close at 2 but we are staying open for you guys and another table". I wanted to crawl under the waffle station.

If there is anything I hate more it is holding a bunch of people up for no good reason. I recall back to my restaurant days how irratated I would get when the hostess would seat another table 5 to close. I whispered in the husbands ear whom was chatting it up with another chef and ran off to table to gobble down my food. I also sucked down my mojito and asked for the check - and left a bigger than usual tip. We must have booked it out of there within 10-12 min of being told that?

So my question is - was this an error on my part, the restaurants part or combined? I looked again outside and nothing was posted, I also clicked thru their entire website and Sunday wasn't mentioned as being closed, open or etc. Now of course I could have called before going and regret not doing so but also wonder why they posted no times of any kind and also really really wished one of the hostesses would have told me they were closing in 5 minutes!! I would have felt a lot better walking back out of the door knowing I didn't hold anyone up than sitting their with 20 eyeballs on me.

The whole thing obviously ruined any fun I seeked out of that experience..

Anyone else had this happen to them? What did you think about it?

Thank you.

  1. a
    Atlantis Feb 11, 2007 04:35 PM

    Sounds like you weren't getting in anyone's way. The server was nice taking your drink order, and told you to help yourself. The waffle guy sounded like it was just doing his job. Seems to me they were set up for people to patronize them, and that's what they're in business to do.

    You took it personally, which will always screw you up. The restaurant seems to have been perfectly happy to wait on you. If they don't post times, maybe that's a sign of their flexibility, which seemed really first-rate in your narrative.

    Too bad. I hope you have a better experience next time.

    1. a
      andlulu Feb 11, 2007 04:45 PM

      Hm, you're probably right. I'm fairly skilled in taking things too personally =x

      Me too - I will go back on a week night to try the tapas - and will call first!

      1. h
        hilltowner Feb 11, 2007 06:07 PM

        I totally agree with Atlantis. They chose to let you in, and everybody was nice and friendly. This is the sign of a good restaurant. No need to feel guilty at all. Don't take 2 hours either, but yeah, no fault here on anybodies part. I know that wehn I let people in just before closing, I expect them to enjoy their meal, not just get fed like a cattle call. Definitely put that place on your goto list.

        1. m
          misterbrucie Feb 11, 2007 09:41 PM

          I also tend to hate keeping a place open, even if they're nice about it. But if they didn't even post hours and didn't tell you, it's their fault.

          (I have had places say "by the way, the kitchen's closing in 5 minutes, and they'll be glad if you can order anything but the _______ [which takes 20 minutes to make]." Not the way a high-end restaurant would behave, but in the type of place it was, I appreciated the honesty. Ordered something quick & simple, ate it and left in a reasonable time, and nobody seemed to mind.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: misterbrucie
            andlulu Feb 12, 2007 06:36 AM

            It just happen to combine the two things I hate the most about dining out - holding a place up and feeling rushed. I did have the best cheescake I've ever had though - guava. Mmmm =)

          2. jfood Feb 12, 2007 06:50 AM

            Sounds like they were being reasonable. Hostess did not mention they were closing at 2, so they were obviously open toserve the customers. The first time i read your waffle-guy comment I thought he was rushing you, but the second time feels like he was telling you no problem, enjoy.

            What is interesting is you did not mention that the resto was breaking down the buffet section. That is a harsh signal that you have overstayed your welcome.

            Sounds like you could have enjoyed a more leisurely brunch.

            What's extremely impressive is, according to your post, you grabbed your waffles, grabbed your husband from a conversation, sat, ate waffles, a piece of guava cheesecake and a mojito in 10-12 minutes. That's turbo-eating. :-))

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood
              andlulu Feb 12, 2007 08:31 AM

              I didn't waste any time - I did have a nice sunday nap post mojito buzz =P

              They did close the doors off to the brunch area & opened them back up within a minute or so, it appeared as though they were discussing the idea and thought it not a good idea.

            2. a
              amyvc Feb 12, 2007 08:50 AM

              I agree with what's been posted above for the most part. They sat you so they made the committment to getting you a good meal. Restaurants vary on this one. As for the waffle-guy comment, he could have phrased it a different way to not make you feel that way. In my restaurant days, as much as i hated the 5 to close tabe, we seated up until we closed. Having had that comment myself, I was taught to say, "We stop seating at 2 (NOT we close at 2) but you should feel free to enjoy your meal." At this point the customer usually expressed concern about holding people up at which point you say "That's so nice of you. How about if i get your order and then we can get everybody out of here" or something like that. If they don't seem in a hurry, depending on the type of place, a well-placed comment such as "would you mind ordering soon so the chef can shut down the kitchen" is fine.

              I have to say I think the waffle-guy was trying to make you feel bad. either way, you had your sunday nap and i think overall they did a good job of not makign you feel rushed.

              2 Replies
              1. re: amyvc
                andlulu Feb 12, 2007 12:30 PM

                The rush was mostly self imposed but it was hard not to.

                1. re: andlulu
                  amyvc Feb 12, 2007 02:57 PM

                  I can totally understand. I'm someone who would do the same thing, even though I recognize that they shouldn't have made you feel badly.

              2. c
                chow_gal Feb 14, 2007 09:04 AM

                The restaurant behaved beautifully here. (There have been posts here in the past about hours of operation meaning just that: the kitchen is in operation.) I believe your post should have been how lovely this place behaved. No one rushed you. No one told you about any time limitations. No one did anything but provide you a delicious meal. The discomfort was entirely self-imposed.

                1. Midlife Feb 14, 2007 01:33 PM

                  I'm with all those who feel that there's no fault here. I truly believe that "We seat until X:00" is what a posted 'closing time' means, unless the place is specifically posting or advising something different. That doesn't help with the thought that the staff would probably like to clean up and leave, but all that should dictate is that you not hang around for an inordinately long time.

                  We have a business in which we post hours until a specific time. If someone comes in two minutes before 'closing' they are entitled to the same service as anyone else. It comes with the territory for us, though most people seem very sensitive to the timing issue. We frequently have to protest that we are fine with the timing, even though that can mean a 9PM close stetches to 11. Not what we'd like, but we signed up for it by not specifiying otherwise.

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