Table Waiting – How To Fail

August 25, 2010

Lots of my posts here are rants. You might have gotten that impression by either reading some past entries or by looking at the description of this blog where it says, “Jeff Cutler’s Bowl of Cheese – Not so gentle ramblings about the inane and insane.” But if you missed that, the stuff here is supposed to get your blood moving and make you feel alive. You’re welcome.

Now on to my latest freak out. Today I had lunch at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. I ate at City Bar because the folks at MJ O’Connor’s had staffed their host station with inept, inconsiderate and ill-mannered teenagers. I have nothing against teens – except maybe their acne and attitude and general gangly, uninformed nature – so I was very open-minded when I approached the host stand looking for a table.

After receiving one of those table-buzzer devices and being informed that it would be fifteen minutes until a table was ready, I wandered around the hotel lobby for a bit. Nearly eight minutes later I went up to the gaggle of idiot hostesses and asked how much longer. I showed them my table vibrator and they looked it up on their list. All three of them practically in unison told me that it shouldn’t be much longer.

“Just about 15 minutes,” they said.

WHAT THE HECK?!! That was actually the same amount of time I had been told when I started this restaurant visit. So, here are my questions for the restaurant or you, dear readers (leave your answers in the comments here or send them to MJ O’Connor’s)…

1 – Does it really take three teenagers to manage the lunch rush at your restaurant? Especially when two of the three avoid eye contact and don’t interact with customers and are just standing there to fold napkins and shuffle menus?

2 – Have you considered training any of these kids so they know how to read a clock and realize that 15 minutes minus eight minutes does not equal 15 minutes?

3 – Would you consider using Textaurant or some other product so that people waiting for tables won’t get so fed up with waiting for tables while watching extra bodies stand around your seating area?

4 – How many visits will I have to make before I’ve taken all your vibrating table alert devices and put them in mailboxes all over the city – just to get your attention that the front of the house needs some reworking?

5 – Has anyone told the host staff to suggest diners go over to City Bar if they can’t wait a long time for a table? That’s where we ate and found out they serve off the same menu as MJ O’Connor’s.

I shake my head and wag my finger. If money was growing on the trees around me, I wouldn’t be so fussy. But if I’m gonna spend $13 for Bangers and Mash, I feel that the people seating me, serving me and providing my dining experience should put in some effort to make it memorable in a good way.

Feel free to share your best or worst recent restaurant visit.