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Maggiano's

Is it just me or does the service at this chain stink? I don't care for this chain at all when it comes to the food, I think it's just okay so I don't seek it out for myself. But when I am with a group of co-workers, it seems to always be right near the hotel we're staying in or near a meeting we're at and so we end up there.

I have been to the Tyson's location twice, Bethesda/Chevy Chase location twice and two different locations in North Carolina and I just hate the service there.

Every time I go, there is an issue with getting seated, getting served, getting your food hot or even room temperature instead of ice cold or some other nonsense with service.

I'm not impressed with the food at all, but my gripe is really with the service.

I went to the Tyson's location two weeks ago. We had a reservation for a party of 17. They told us we had to do the Family Style menu because we were a large group (which I disagree with, but that's another story). 12 of us arrived at 11:20 (our reservation was for 11:30). They would not seat us until "most of our party" had arrived. Obviously 12 is not "most" of 17. Now, 12 people standing in the lobby/bar area and pretty much crowding the hostess desk doesn't sound like good business to me, but that's what they wanted.

Numbers 13, 14, 15 and 16 arrived at 11:29, so they finally let us go to our table.

We made our menu choices, we specified no bacon or ham on anything because one of our group cannot eat ham. All the salads came with bacon crumbles on them, so 2 had to go back.

We had 2 servers and lots of trouble with getting the right number of iced teas and diet cokes. At dessert, the coffee drink machine was acting up so all the cappuccinos were delayed and some were cold when we got them.

This meal cost roughly $500 ($32 each x 17 pp) and you would think we could get a hot cup of cappuccino.

Does anyone experience consistent good service at this chain?

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  1. Didn't you post this in Chains?

    Sorry, looking at the wrong board.

    1. I've been to the location in Scottsdale, AZ, many times including with large groups and small groups, on busy nights and on empty nights, lunch and dinner and quite honestly I've never had one single service issue. And I'm a tough critic when it comes to service.

      I think that, like many chains, it depends on the location, staff and management and you're mileage may vary....

      1. This has been an old mall standby for many years for us (Skokie, Illinois). Never really had any complaints.

        And if a good number of the 17 persons ordered cappuccinos and expected them served at close to the same time, then good luck getting them all hot.

        1 Reply
        1. I've only been to one of the Denver locations, but I didn't have any problems. It was only once, so that's a small sample size, but my friends who live there seem to go quite a bit so I'm assuming they have had decent service.

          While on the subject of family-style Italian chain restaurants, I have had atrocious service at Buca di Beppos at multiple locations on multiple times. The last time I went, our server forgot about us and didn't take our order until nearly 30 minutes after we arrived. We received the wrong salad (it was suppose to have olives, salami, etc) but we got a basic salad with only dressing. When we told our server when she finally returned, she simply brought us a side plate of the toppings that should ahve been tossed in our salad. Even with that delay, there was over 20 minutes between the time we finished our salads and time we got our entree. Presumably, they forgot about it somewhere, as when it finally arrived it was cold in the middle. It was over 2 and half hours between the time we were seated and time we left. It was terrible.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pollymerase

            Hi--I'm using you to vent. We went to Buca di Beppo in Austin last night (they sent me a $10 coupon and I'd never heard of it). Absolutely awful! We get this ersatz Disneyland-type tour of the kitchen on our way to a table. The whole place was empty, but they sat us in a room with a sqwalling baby. The Caesar salad dressing was very vinegary and the croutons were plywood. The beers were $7.75 a pint and my forgettable Pinot Noir $8 a glass, and then they forgot to give us our leftovers box. I'll never set foot in there again.

            Thank you. If this is posting wrongly somehow, I apologize.

          2. I had one of the worst service experiences, ever, at my local Maggiano's here in Orlando. We went for my son's birthday, and while the food was good, the server had the gall to argue with my wife and tell her the dish presented to her was the dish she ordered. Even if it was, which it wasn't, a server should never argue with a guest.

            What made matters worse, was that the tables next to us had a different server, who was obviously on top of his game and ended up having to help our server out with our table, just to control the damage.

            I never got a management visit, and I did complain to the chef and the other servers. I emailed the GM and never got a response, either. Service does not seem to be their first priority...

            1 Reply
            1. re: orlwine

              Was it the Pointe Orlando location? I was just there recently and was appalled at how poor the service was. Our group was also lucky enough to get a table near a server's station, so a large group of servers were constantly hanging out discussing personal issues right behind us during the meal. One of them even started a wonderful discussion of what he'd like to do to one of the female managers if he weren't married.

            2. My son's wedding rehearsal dinner was at the Tysons Virginia
              Galleria location on Nov 7, 2008 for 73 people. Our service and food couldn't have been better. Plenty of staff and the food was
              served family style too. We had an appetizer bar and then platters of food served at our tables and everyone commented on how tasty everything was. I couldn't have asked for a better evening. However, we were in private dinning located upstairs where they have the catering kitchen. Just my experience and it was great.

              1. Maggiano's is owned by Brinker International. They own 4 chains Maggiano's .Macaroni Grill, On The Border and Chili's . Looking at the menu it look's almost exact to the Macaroni Grill.

                I love the Macaroni Grill! 500.00 for 17people isn't that bad, for my B-Day with my hubby and 2 little girls cost us 110.00 while I did drink a bit. lol

                I agree they shouldn't have forced you to have the family style?
                Macaroni Grill doesn't even offer that, and have more and better items on the menu, then from what I see on Maggiano's.

                As far as seating they should seat you immed, but do not take orders till all arrive. That is they way it should be done. Can not tell you how many times, I have waited for my food or someone else's while mine or someone's was getting cold or be rude and eat NO would never do that.
                Would send back and say bring it when so and so's it ready too. Pet peeve of mine.

                Maybe 17 was too much for that server to handle and they should have put more people on that table and order what ever each wanted, sorry you had a bad experience. The food is really good in my opinion. I use to lke Olive Garden..still do but Macaroni Grill Trumps them big time.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Rae2

                  "That is they way it should be done. "

                  This isn't meant to be sarcastic, but I'm wondering who you are to decide how things SHOULD be done? The restaurant seats this way for a reason. It keeps their tables from being tied up by late guests or no-shows. I doubt you're qualified to tell them how to run their hugely successful business.

                  Also, the OP was talking about Maggiano's, not Macaroni Grill (yes, same owners, I know).

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    This isn't meant to be sarcastic, either, but the "way it should be done" is the way that's most agreeable for the customers, while maintaining a reasonable balance of convenience and profitability for the restaurant. That's reasonable, not maximum. Sometimes it takes a while for a "hugely successful" business to tank, but it's a sure bet that the ones that lose their focus on customer comfort, satisfaction and service WILL tank sooner or later.

                    1. re: Emm

                      "This isn't meant to be sarcastic, either, but the "way it should be done" is the way that's most agreeable for the customers, while maintaining a reasonable balance of convenience and profitability for the restaurant."

                      Totally agree. And it seems that Maggiano's (along with many other chain and non-chain establishments) uses a policy that works best for them. If their customers were dissatisfied, they wouldn't dine there.

                      Sidenote; I simply dislike it when unqualified people say how things should and shouldn't be run, according to personal preference. "My Miller Lite SHOULDN'T be $3.00, this restaurant SHOULD serve calamari, there SHOULD be fewer booths but more tables, I SHOULDN'T have to make a reservation a week in advance for a Saturday reservation", etc.
                      Businesses make conscious decisions regarding their policies. Nothing is universally popular.

                2. Hostess was awful, we were told it was a 45 minute wait, but to check back in a 30 minutes. we did and was told it would be a few more minutes, that turned into another 40!! We waited an hour and 10 minutes. There were empty dirty tables all over the place, it was very frustrating, we never would have waited if we were told the truth.
                  Food was good, family sized portions, but we were not told that. They have a complete dinner special, but even though it didn't say it on the menu, the server said it was only available if the whole table ordered it.
                  Would not recommend it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rkaene

                    Can you explain: "Food was good, family sized portions, but we were not told that."

                    If I'm reading it right, it seems as though maybe you weren't aware that this restaurant serves everything 'family style' in those large portions? If that was the case, the restaurant then shouldn't assume that everyone knows their concept and should just quickly ask if you're familiar with their menu style. The few times I've been there, it was explained to me up front, even though I already knew.

                    But nevertheless, it sounds like you had a bad experience, which is too bad.

                    1. re: FoodyGirly

                      I never even knew this place was a chain, there are none in my area, and I never noticed it in my travels. We did not know it was family style portions, and the server nid not mention it. We did, as I said see the family style option on the menu- and that was what we assumed most of the people were having.

                      I have been to several other italian family style places, carmines in ny for example, and it is always carefully explained.

                      1. re: rkaene

                        Yes, just as I thought. It's more of a server training issue it seems since they just assumed you knew. Bad on their part. Unfortunately these places usually make so much money that they don't care as much about losing or pissing off a customer here and there. It's too bad.

                  2. Maggiano's is running a buy one, get two meals (one packed to take home) for $12.95.
                    http://www.fishbowl.com/clt/mggns/pc/...
                    Here's an interesting piece about it on the Wasted Food site,
                    http://www.wastedfood.com/2009/08/03/...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      I've been lucky to have had good service at the Boca Raton, FL location. Others who were in my party, though, have been disappointed on other visits.

                      1. re: Fibber McGee

                        Maggiano's is what it is. It's the decent Italian place in the mall. Some people look upon it a scourge, I think it's fine. I've never run off in horror after a meal. However, every time I've gone it's been because we happened to be in the mall or because of a Holiday party or some vendor event.

                    2. I went once and that was enough for me. Definitely a place that thinks that it's more than it is, which is just a mediocre Italian food chain. I got seriously naseous from the overloaded garlic in their fra diavolo sauce and would never care to eat there again if they're that heavy-handed with all of their dishes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sockii

                        We go to the Macaroni Grill in Portland, Maine whenever we are in that area. The food has always been very well prepared and tasty. I especially like the flounder with caper sauce and rice with sun-dried tomatoes.

                      2. I go about twice a year to the Tyson's location and another couple of times to the Bethesda location. I like maggiano's a lot. I think the food has always been solid (mussels are a hit or miss sometimes) and the service is pretty consistant. If you do family style dining, much of your experience will depend on how good your server is. I have tipped the server at the beginning of the meal a few time. Never had a problem.

                        Best corp event I've ever had was a 4 hr. xmas/holiday lunch at magianno's in bethesda in a private room upstairs.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Soup

                          Maggiano's at Pointe Orlando has the distinction of being the very worst dining experience I've ever had, mostly from a service standpoint. Too many things wrong to list here, but more appallingly, when I emailed the corporate office and the GM with specific examples of their disappointing service, I got exactly zero response. I'll never give them another dime of my money.

                        2. Supposed gluten free options, but no gluten free pizza on kid menu. Also, no gluten free breadcrumbs so no stuffed mushrooms for our starving son who is allergic to wheat and waited 30 minutes for his bowl of pasta with marinara sauce (would have been faster to get something at Trader Joe's then heat it up in the micro!). The friendly but inexperienced and glacial wait service was shocking. The restaurant shouldn't have newbies working on Friday nights.

                          15 minutes to get a glass of wine, another 20 to get a small bowl of parmesan to sprinkle on the pasta, and that was after waiting 30 minutes for our food. How long does it take to boil some pasta?! Also, the hostess was snarky.

                          NOTE: We ate in the bar area. Perhaps the dining area is better. $100 for two glasses of wine, two juices, one appetizer, two main courses and a child's pasta. But it is a lovely looking place and parking is convenient and inexpensive w validation.