Chain restaurant - ASK (Italian food)
I hardly ever visit chain restaurants as I'm pretty skeptical about their food preparation procedures. Hardly ever is anything made fresh in terms of sauces (or so I'm led to believe)
I've been asking about Yo sushi as there is a new mall in the city and a few new places to eat, so I always like to try something once.
I recently visited, ASK, another 'new' restaurant at the new mall and I have to say it was not a very good first impression. The meal was less than average in terms of taste and appearance.
Service was terrible in that the waiter was standing over a patron and handing over plates. The table was big enough for him to walk around and hand the plate to the customer, not hold it over someones head.
After waiting for about 50 minutes, we asked a waitress if they forgot our order and instead of apologising and telling us the truth, she said no and that the restaurant was busy. I have to say it was not as busy as she claimed. A member of staff then came over and aplogised, but even with that said, when the meal was served, only 4 of us got our plates and my husband was left waiting for at least 10 mins before he got his meal served to him. Also, a waitress cleared half of our dishes away, got distracted and left 2 of my friends with empty plates in front of them.
My plate of rigatoni and spicy meatballs looked like something sloshed out of a tin! The pasta was way over cooked and the meatballs looked a bit suspect so I pushed them to the side of my plate. My husband had chicken in a marsala cream sauce which he said tasted as bad as it looked, so he ate only his salad.
I was thoroughly disappointed with my visit (we were there for just under 2 hrs for a 2 course meal).
It's hard to avoid the ASK family - the company that owns it also owns Zizzi and Pizza Express and, I think, a couple of other smaller outlets.
We don't have one in the Manchester area but I occasionally eat at one of the Greater London branches (Kew Green) simply because it's close to where I stay when visiting the area. Service there has always been fine and the food quality is OK.
I did mention to them that they need to pay attentation to service and the food, but they said that they're sorry and they're busy.
Robin Joy, this ASK is in Aberdeen :O). Who knows, the service might improve and food quality might change if there is constructive criticism made to the manager.
My guess is that only uber chains like McDonald's have the infrastructure for ensuring universal standards. I often take my 12 year old son and some of his schoolfriends to the Ask in Lymington in Hampshire and it's just fine for the money. The quality and attitude of the staff, which is essentially non cost-related, is first class. In fact we may well go tomorrow lunchtime, before rugby kicks off.
Where is the one which let you down? (Don't tell me, Lymington??!)