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Dec 22, 2007 08:52 PM

Poor Service - We Walked - What Would You Have Done?

My family and I had a 7:00 reservation for four at a very well known restaurant in Larkspur tonight. We were seated at about 7:05. Menus were brought by the hostess and we were left to peruse them. The waiter never came to ask us about drinks nor made any contact with us at all. The restaurant was busy, but, not jammed. We waited; as did two other tables with menus folded as no one approached the table.

At 7:23, we got up and left. While we were there, no one spoke with us or indicated that they were occupied and would be with us shortly. I mentioned to the manager as I was leaving that no one had approached our table. His comment - was nothing. No apology or excuse.

When I got home, there was an email from open table saying that the restaurant had cancelled my reservation at 7:24. So, they knew which table walked.

We dine out frequently and rarely have experienced this level of incompetence, particularly at what is supposed to be a fine dining experience.

How long would you have waited? What would you have done? Should we bother contacting the absentee chef-owner or his partner next week?

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  1. I'd have left after 10 min without contact but would've given them 10 min for sure....

    1. Same thing. Maybe I wouldn't have waited as long as you. I just feel resentment building and when I get to a certain point, nothing is going to make me feel better or compell me to stay. A line gets crossed; it isn't about money (for instance a free dinner will not make me happy), it is about my time and I can't go backwards.
      I mean it is one thing to see that a restaurant is busy, but another to be ignored. And the worst is when you left and no one said anything...
      I am a server and have forgotten about tables. It has happened, I have made that mistake and I have to live w/consequence. Sometimes I can win a table over and sometimes I can't.
      But I have been a diner far longer than a server and leaving is the best thing to do. Too many alternatives out there. As for spending effort w/owner. This will get back to them. Find someplace else to eat.

      1. Leaving was perfectly appropriate and I would tell the owner. Somebody, or several people but especially the manager, needs a dressing down. And I was a server for years.

        1 Reply
        1. Maybe it's the time of the year,to spread kindness, but I'm inclined to say I think after 15 min or so,I would have made one attempt to catch the attention of someone, a server, a busser, the Mgr, and made mention that no one was attending to the table. I know my fellow CH'ers will disagree and state that it's not the responsibility of the patron to attract the attention of the server, and they'd be absolutely correct,., but sometimes, miscommunications happen. It's possible that everyone thought someone else was taking care of the table. That's still no excuse. Someone should have noticed that no one was taking care of the table. The fact that 2 other tables were also not being taken care of makes me wonder if the server in that section became ill and left the dining room w/o notifying the Hostess or the Mgr.. Before I walked and further aggravated myself by having to locate another place to dine without reservations, I think I would have made that one reach out. The Mgr's lack of response to the OP is totally inexcusable. That having been said, I would definitely encourage the OP to contact the owners.They need to retrain/replace their Mgr. It would be interesting to see their reaction and whether or not they would do the right thing and offer a gift card , etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tay

            "Before I walked and further aggravated myself by having to locate another place to dine without reservations, I think I would have made that one reach out."

            --- I agree. I think that after about 10 minutes, I would have tried to grab someone's attention and ask where my server is....I'd be assuming at this point someone didn't realise I was in their section (or something like that).

            "The Mgr's lack of response to the OP is totally inexcusable."

            ------ Yeah - I don't think I'd be inclined to go back again. And I probably wouldn't bother writing anyone. If the manager is that blase, it's their problem.... (just being honest)

          2. I would have excused myself from my guests, then talked to the manager. If his attitude was the same as when you spoke to him on your way out, as opposed to asking him to instruct someone to tend to your needs, then I would have been very tempted to announce the problem to the whole restaurant! But I probably wouldn't have gone that far. But I would have said to my guests, 'Sorry. Time to leave. This restaurant is too busy to take our orders." And hoped surrounding tables overheard.

            It seems vaguely possible that the manager's lack of response when you were leaving was because he was stunned speechless. Well, let's hope that's the case. By all means, let the absent chef-owner know. Absolutely!