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Managed Expectations--where do you fall?

I was at a dance convention that went well into the night at a hotel and we had two hours for dinner between performances. We decided the best bet was the hotel restaurant--a full fledged restaurant w/ attached bar. There might have been 7-8 tables of people so not busy. We sat for 20 minutes before we were given water and told the server would be right with us. In the meantime, we saw some friends who told us it took them 35 minutes between ordering and getting their food and they had to go to the bar to get their drinks. We decided to tough it out since it was late at night. Another 25 minutes goes by, we're not able to flag anyone so we leave.

I was talking to someone about it afterward who told me I had unrealistic expectations. She said if I were a more experienced business traveler I would know that a hotel restaurant (this was a Marriott, not a small cheap place) would be like that. Were we unrealistic? I wasn't expecting good food and expected to pay a lot. I wasn't expecting to serve myself at the bar and to wait that long but this person was almost rolling her eyes at my reaction. What do you expect in a higher end hotel restaurant?

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  1. I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law, so if I have a window of time that I must adhere to, I telegraph it (nicely) to everyone I encounter...the person who seats me, the person who brings me water, the person who hands me the menu (if that's a different person).

    That said, 45 minutes in a place without food? I'd be throwing salt shakers or setting my napkin on fire.

    1. I think your friend has it wrong. Hotel restaurants that are used to a lot of business travelers are usually very prompt and even brusque in their service. After all, most business travelers are not eating in the hotel restaurant because they are out for a fun evening. They are either tired and hungry, have an appointment to get to or have more work to do.

      Sounds like the restaurant was severely understaffed that night, maybe in the kitchen too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pamf

        I know exactly the type of Marriott you're talking about. Clearly they were understaffed, something.....b/c most of those Marriott's have a least ONE person on duty (out front) at all times.

        Me? I would have gone in the back to find someone, lol!, or gone to the mgr at the front desk!

        1. re: pamf

          I was wondering about it being understaffed but we saw quite a few workers wandering here and there in the restaurant. They seemed to have mastered the art of looking at the floor and away from customers.

          1. re: chowser

            "They seemed to have mastered the art of looking at the floor and away from customers."

            Eye contact is what happens immediately preceding death.

        2. A Marriot is not a higher end hotel restaurant. I view them as solidly mid-range. That said, your experience was pretty shabby but I wouldn't say surprising. Hardly anyone eating there isn't staying there so they aren't trying to get the best service to attract customers. But if you told me that was the service you had at a 4 Seasons or Ritz, I would be surprised.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bkeats

            "Higher" not high end. Higher as in not Holiday Inn. If I were talking about the Ritz (which is a Marriott hotel), I would have said high. But, I would put some Marriotts at the range just below those. I wasn't looking for "best" service that you'd receive at the 4 Seasons, just some service.

          2. That is a ridiculous amount of time to wait in any restaurant before ordering. There is no excuse for that outside of a kitchen fire, a medical emergency, or some other catastrophic event. Further, a restaurant in a hotel should be familiar with how fully occupied the hotel is and should staff accordingly.

            1. She said if I were a more experienced business traveler I would know that a hotel restaurant (this was a Marriott, not a small cheap place) would be like that. Were we unrealistic?
              ________________________

              No.

              I travel alot, and while I try to avoid them, I've eaten at my fair share of hotel restaurants. Aside from *generally* having nondescript, gussied-up Denny's fare (with the exception of resort hotels and/or upscale boutique hotel restaurants), most business and/or mid-range hotel restaurants are just that -- restaurants. They're essentially a Denny's attached to a big, tall building with lots of rooms for rent at a daily (hopefully not hourly) rate.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                I would have been fine w/ Denny's type. This tried to be more upscale, like donkatsu style tomatoes three ways w/mozarella in balsamic. It was like it was trying too hard but we only wanted "dressed up" sandwiches, something we thought might be fast. I used to travel a lot for business and never experienced this at any level hotel but it's been a while. We do travel a lot for pleasure, though, and this is a first.