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how to address a bad meal? and lack of manager attention.

We went to a Italian restaurant in Hatboro on Saturday 1/5/13 at 5 pm intials PF. The service was ok, but the food was not. everything on the menuu was al la carte and very overpriced for a macaroni and gravy iIalian restaurant. We ordered a "special" salad which cost $9.95, it was a mozarella cheese, avocado and tomato salad with a garnish of olives and roasted peppers. the 4 pieces of mozarella were the size of 1 piece of Bonbel cheese, the avocado were 4 slivers, the tomato slices were small and the olives were tiny and the peppers were right out of a jar. We tried getting the attention of the manager, but he was too busy handing out complimentary bruschetta to every table, except ours and ignoring us. He honestly avoided every attempt we made to get his attention. My husband's special broccoli rabe, sausage and orrichette was ok, but had at least 2 inches of grease in the bottom of the bowl and cost $18.95, my rigatoni with marinara wa $13.95 and half of the pasta was overecooked and the other half was not even al dente. Should I call this restaurant or just write it off as a bad experience and not go back to this restaurant. This actualy was our 3rd visit to the restaurant.

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  1. How were you last two experiences? I would definitely contact them. They are local and small if I am correct. They need all the business they can get! I am personally all done with paying top dollar to dine out and being served subpar food.

    1. If I owned this restaurant I would want to know and if the letter were written respectfully and the details concerning the poor quality were detailed and sincere I would comp 2 meals. I would also be pulling time sheets to see who was working.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Tom34

        Tom34, you are correct- even if you didn't offer a comp. If somebody has a complaint, you need to hear it and make amends if necessary. You'll be bombarded by assholes looking to get a comped meal, but you can tell those types, most likely, if you're a restauranteur. Oh man, those comp scrounges are so horrible to me.

        1. re: EWSflash

          That was my thought pattern...as an owner, you have to know and correct the problem so it doesn't keep happening and at the same time make good to the customer. As I posted below though, usually, if there is a problem with a meal, it is quite apparent from the start so inform MGMT after a few bites, NOT after it looked like a dog licked the plate clean! The latter will most likely result in it being the most expensive meal you ever ate after a Judge nails you with retribution, fines and court costs.

          1. re: EWSflash

            About a year ago, we were dining at a very up-scale NYC restaurant. My wife's crab dish (early on in the tasting menu), had a bit of crab shell in it. As we are from New Orleans, and are used to such, regarding crab, I hesitated, but whispered my observation to our service captain, just to alert the kitchen that some shell had escaped their eyes.

            In moments, we were presented with another dish, plus a wine for THAT dish, over the "sommelier's pairing" for the tasting menu. I pulled her aside again, and complained, as all I wanted to do was point out a potential issue. She looked into my eyes and stated "We expect 100% perfection from our kitchen, and greatly appreciate your observation. This is our way of saying 'thank you,' and hope that you enjoy. Then she shaved a giant truffle on that "replacement" dish, and poured an extra wine. Not only was that replacement dish missing from the tab, along with its wine, but she reduced the price of the Chef's tasting, and Sommelier's Pairing, to remove that dish, plus its wine.

            Wow, not what I had expected, nor anticipated. I only wanted to wave a tiny flag to the prep stations for the crab. Nothing more.

            Even with a tiny bit of crab shell, I could not have asked for that much, and certainly no more.

            Some management is just better, than others.

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Nice story. Not every restaurant can afford to do what this particular restaurant did, but they can use this as a model for best practices and do something in a similar vein commensurate with their budget.

        2. Personally i would just never go back

          1. BTW what did you have previous visits that made you want to visit again?

            The price points on the Pasta Fazoul menu are reasonable.. 15 dollars for pasta and 5-7 dollars for salads. This is not trying to be haute cuisine by any means. Perhaps you just learned never to order the specials here.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cwdonald

              Agree with CWDonald.
              Frankly, I think you should not entertain the idea of returning. There are many other restaurants to choose from. You realy don't need this particular one and they will survive fine without you.

            2. Write a very nice letter, mentioning that it was your third visit. Explain your frustrations and see what they do. If they care, they'll reply. If not, nothing lost.