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Al-Taib: horrible service

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I used to go to Al-Taib regularly: it's cheap, tasty, and the food is fresh. But I've stopped over the past six months, and upon returning there yesterday I remembered why.

The service at this place is just TERRIBLE! I've never become so frustrated so quickly, or had back-to back-to back-to back disappointing encounters.

Half the time (literally) they actually forget about my order and I'm left just standing there looking like an idiot. I Ordered an entire cheese pizza over the phone once, they said to come in 10 minutes (which I did), and I still waited 30 minutes before I actually got my pizza (after reminding them 3 times).

Yesterday I got my order, but when I got to the cash, the cashier was gone. He was hanging out at the back talking and laughing with the other staff members. At this point there were four people behind me. He turned around, clearly looked at me, and then went back to his conversation! Two or three minutes before he decided to come ring me up (the line was now at least 8 or 9 people long).

The staff at Al-Taib are the RUDEST people in Montreal. Even McDonald's service keeps me satisfied, but Al-Taib I can't handle.

I thought it might have just been my own bad luck, but I rubbished that thought when I sent my cousin there one day and he came back telling me that the service was absolutely pathetic: slow, rude, and just not a good experience. He said he asked for hot sauce and they guy told him to get "No hot sauce, you go now."

Am I just always having bad experiences or do these guys need a wake up call?

  1. It's altaib, what were you expecting? At their mcgill location they have perfected the art of always having one less person than they need to make their line go smoothly.

    However, where else are you going to get the amazing lebanese pizzas? I still go there frequently because nowhere else can i get such yummy sandwiches for such low prices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hala

      Where's the McGill location? Thanks!

    2. Last time I went was probably 10 years ago and it was exactly as you describe; obviously people keep going for the food and not the gentile manners of the staff.

      1. People are rude! I would get over it... unless your at a restaurant that requires friendly customer service (like McDonalds) world renound reputation to protect.. I am sure the meat cutter at Altaib doesnt care to please you. The Pizzas are good and thats why people go.. for the food not service. Your in your out.... don't even look at them just order and go

        What were you expecting ? "Even McDonald's service keeps me satified"? McDonald's staff are well trained before they get hired. It's actually an impressive company to have on your CV. It's a high pressure fast paced environment. McDonald's needs well trained employees. My friends daughter got a party time job at McDonalds and I think it taught her the right skills she needed to successfully work in the service industry!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Alyson777

          "People are rude! I would get over it"

          I couldn't disagree more. There are many restaurants to choose from in Montreal and I'd rather give them my money then one that chooses to be consistently be rude. Bad service in a service industry shouldn't be tolerated. It's time to hold the door open for the person behind you again. Time to remember that manners and respect are of value.

          1. re: Alyson777

            What? People are rude? Man, what have we become when being rude is acceptable, in the service industry or not. And as far as McDonalds giving satisfying service, try going to the drive thru on St. Jacques and getting your order right. I go every Saturday with my son, after his 1 1/2 swimming lesson, and we never ever get exactly what we order - there is always something missing - either a toy from the happy meal, or they give us fries when I specifically request apple slices instead.... they are morons!

            1. re: maisonbistro

              What Maisonbistro and MM said. Rudeness is never socially acceptable, least of all in the service industry. And I never, ever knowingly give my money to arseholes in any context - I've struck much better places than a pizza/shawarma joint off my list on this principle.

          2. Obviously you haven't met the new manager of the Al Taib Grill, their sit down location on Guy. The man must have studied at Sid Vicious College of Human Relations.

            The counter staff are usually OK, but definitely have that Soup Nazi attitude: Order your food. Do not ask questions. Do not make extra demands. Do not chitchat. Better yet, do not move. I still go there because it is close to my work and offers cheap, dependable and tasty food. They messed up my order once, but redeemed it with some free salad of my choice. Not that bad. Actually, this was very surprising, because I had learned to not expect any sort of service from them. Most people go there with this attitude, and do not expect any services. Besides getting my food there gives me the illusion of being in NYC where this attitude is de rigueur.

            It is not reasonable to compare this to McD, where employees might get fired if they do not follow the service protocol. They are not naturally polite, they just have to deliver memorized lines dictated by the corporate head office even though they might hate your guts.

            1. Agree with OP. The service (if you can call it that) is a joke and the place just has a weird vibe to it. The food may be decent and very cheap, but there are SO MANY good cheap places near Con U it really isnt worth it im my opnion.

              1. I went once because it is close to home. Never again. There is simply no excuse for the level of service that they provide, or rather, fail to provide. There is a largish sign near a friends office at Concordia that telles other faculty members to boycott the place due to their service quality.

                1. This is a bit ridiculous, poster.

                  It's not a place for service. It's a place for taste and quick filling food where a massive line-up of Concordia students go each day. It has an odd layout which adds to the hectic nature. It's not purposeful.

                  And most of the time, though you won't get a complimentary basket of bread, you'll have your food and be out of there relatively quickly. All that counts.

                  (If I were you I'd be more disturbed by the VERY questionable hygiene)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: BoomerKid

                    I totally agree!!! I keep reading how much people hate the service but I also hear people saying" I keep going back because of the food". Well if the service is so bad then just don't go there anymore. The food is nothing great if you ask me and its just a dumpy dirty restaurant. really dirty have you looked around? It's a place for students and people who want delivery in the area. By no means would I concern myself with the staff at this establishment.. In this economy who knows if it will be around for much longer anyways! There are wayyyy better take out/ delivery joints. I don't think I ever had friendly service in any of those types of restaurants. I was just at Amir and the server was real chippy let me tell you. I was taking out WHO CARES??? if it was a chain establishment or fine dining i would be very annoyed.

                    1. re: Alyson777

                      Where else in the downtown area I can get an "all dressed" manakish ?

                      1. re: marblebag

                        I am not too sure about downtown... I don't even eat Manakish... but I saw on another chowhound forum this recommended:

                        You might also be able to find it at Adonis

                        Boulangerie Andalos Inc

                        264, boulevard Lebeau,
                        Saint-Laurent
                        QC
                        H4N1R4

                      2. re: Alyson777

                        Ignoring or justifying bad service perpetuates the problem.

                        1. re: Anth

                          Expecting classy and considerate service from a place that yells NEXT after each order is just silly.

                          The service fits the counter style. They aren't rude, they're fast-paced and if you're there considering for 5 minutes you're slowing the line and annoying everyone behind you.

                          Don't expect Au Pied de Cochon service.

                          If they were overtly rude then that's a singular bad experience. I used to eat there 2-3 times a week and never had one.

                          1. re: BoomerKid

                            When we used to come home late at night (ok, early morning!) and stop in at LaFleur's on Sources and the line up was out the door, those emplyees were working fast and hard. After each order I remember (rather fondly) the yell of "Suivant-Next!". They were were always friendly as I recall.

                            As for chalking it up to "a singular bad experience", I guess the posters here who disagree with you are making it all up.

                            LaFleur's, among others, proved it: simple, good, friendly service and a greasy spoon are not mutaully exclusive. Nobody expects APDC service at a place like this, just common courtesy. Just like everywhere else.

                            1. re: carswell

                              We should print this out, and slide it under their door. Give them a wake up call. I find that sometimes people are just so miserable, they do not realize it. Being miserable is contagious, and it only takes one to start.

                      3. The comments, including ones we've had to remove, are increasingly focused on the other posters, rather than on the restaurant, so we're going to lock this thread, and ask that people move on to a new topic of discussion. Please, remember to rate chow -- not chowhounds.