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Kicked out of our table at R&D Kitchen (Montana)

Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 09:39 AM

Three of us ate dinner at R+D Kitchen last night. I quite liked the food, especially the spicy chicken meatballs. My complaint is with the service -- I felt rushed throughout the meal, especially at the end when the servers hovered constantly over our table swooping up every last edible crumb and water glass. Finally, the manager -- Richard -- paid our table a visit. He introduced himself and then said: "I just wanted to make sure everything was okay with your meal." We agreed that our meal had been pleasant and he left. I interpreted Richard's visit as a not-too-suble hint that he'd like us to vacate the table. My friends weren't so sure, but we did leave -- we had been at the table for about 90 minutes -- and the hostess immediately seated a party of four.

Now, I understand a restaurant's desire to cram as many customers as possible into a given night. But I found R&D's aggressive approach distasteful. They could have handled the situation in various ways, all more palatable: 1) By informing us when we sat down that they needed the table by a certain time. 2) By requesting (after our meal) that we liberate the table and offering to seat us the bar, where we could continue our conversation.

R&D may have made a few more bucks on another table last night, but they lost my repeat business.

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    Ernie RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 09:59 AM

    Am I missing something here? The manager asked how your meal is. Nothing more, nothing less.

    1. Servorg RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 10:01 AM

      I'll just note that your title "Kicked out of our table at R&D Kitchen" is at odds with your post in which no one "kicked" you and your party out. You may have felt rushed, but every time we've dined there the service has always been efficient as you note. And the manager coming to your table to ask if your dinner was up par is something we have experienced more than once at Hillstone Group restaurants (Houston's, Bandera and R&D Kitchen). R&D is normally slammed with customers. I'm sure that their aim is to accommodate hungry patrons as best they can. I'll be willing to wager that if your party was at the bar and waiting for a table, that efficiency would be something you would have come on to the board to praise.

      I also note that you live (or lived?) in Paris where dining takes on a different dimension from that of the US when it comes to relaxed, leisurely pacing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Servorg
        maudies5 RE: Servorg Dec 20, 2011 10:44 AM

        The OP should consider themselves fortunate that they got a table. We always give up when told that there will be a 45 minute wait for a table, and possibly that long for a seat at the bar. It doesn't seem to matter what time we go. Early evening or late evening it's always the same story. No problem getting a table at lunch.

        1. re: Servorg
          Cookingthebooks RE: Servorg Dec 20, 2011 10:48 AM

          Perhaps I should have titled my post differently, but I felt rushed and pressured to leave my table by the manager's visit. I do live in Paris -- where this would never happen (though many different service problems could arise) -- and I don't think it's inappropriate to hope for a relaxed meal in any restaurant anywhere in the world.

          1. re: Cookingthebooks
            Ernie RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 10:51 AM

            Yes, you should rename the title of the post because that is not what happened at all.

            1. re: Cookingthebooks
              westsidegal RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 10:57 AM

              you can hope for anything you want,
              at least edit the title of your post to reflect reality.

          2. s
            silence9 RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 20, 2011 10:58 AM

            Hi... The manager stopping by your table and introducing himself by name (and not simply by a "good evening, how is everthing") seems anything but aggressive. What could he possibly gain by providing his name to you, other than insuring that you had a name to put to a face, should you require anything further from him?

            1. SanityRemoved RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 22, 2011 02:49 PM

              Although the thread title may be a tad erroneous, the bottom line is that your dining experience was ruined by aggressive service. I would have told the manager that dining while vultures hovered wasn't your idea of a nice meal.

              6 Replies
              1. re: SanityRemoved
                Servorg RE: SanityRemoved Dec 22, 2011 03:53 PM

                This is normal service at R&D (at least as we've experienced it over several visits). There are restaurants in L.A. where you are welcome to linger and there are others where that is just not in the cards. This is one that, because of the overwhelming number of diners that they get, lingering is just not part of their business or service model.

                1. re: SanityRemoved
                  Ernie RE: SanityRemoved Dec 22, 2011 04:06 PM

                  Asking how your meal is hardly "aggressive service"

                  1. re: Ernie
                    SanityRemoved RE: Ernie Dec 23, 2011 10:53 AM

                    Not in itself, but if done in combination with a hovering wait staff I would consider it to be not in the spirit of caring what you thought of the meal but as an attempt to intimidate.

                    If the manager was that concerned about the patrons dining experience then the hovering would not have occurred in the first place.

                    1. re: SanityRemoved
                      Ernie RE: SanityRemoved Dec 23, 2011 01:07 PM

                      Swooping up bread crumbs and removing empty water glasses does not constitute "an attempt to intimidate"

                      1. re: Ernie
                        SanityRemoved RE: Ernie Dec 23, 2011 05:22 PM

                        It's evident our standards of good service differ. Enjoy.

                        1. re: SanityRemoved
                          Ernie RE: SanityRemoved Dec 24, 2011 07:43 AM

                          Yes, clearly. More restaurants should emulate Hillstone Group's service model. Happy holidays.

                2. s
                  Shann RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 23, 2011 03:13 AM

                  The manager stopped and introduced himself and asked you how you liked your meal. Quelle Horreur!

                  1. h
                    Harters RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 23, 2011 03:33 AM

                    I think my definition of aggressive service must differ from the OP's. Not least in the ways that the OP thinks would have been better handling of things. Being told, when I'm being seated, that a table is required back or suggesting we move to the bar is, IMO, a more forceful and unwelcome attitude than what appears to have occured.

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                      ladybugthepug RE: Cookingthebooks Dec 23, 2011 01:26 PM

                      "...informing us when we sat down that they needed the table by a certain time."
                      Umm. Yeah, right. Definition of "no win situation". If they had done that, the title of your post would have made a little more sense.

                      ....and this is why people in the biz are able to regale each other with bizarre customer stories into the wee hours of the night.

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