Thursday, July 26, 2012

Poor Service

Ron and I had lunch in a British-style pub last week. We hadn't been there before but had read good reviews about the food and we were looking forward to a nice meal. But no sooner had we walked in than a harried server greeted us with the announcement that a large group of people had arrived unexpectedly, and it would be some time before anyone could take our food or beverage orders.

Well, that wasn't the best way to start, but we were shown to a booth and given menus. I could understand not having the time to wait while we decided on what to eat, but surely taking an order for two draft beers wasn't all that complicated. We examined the menu, changed our minds several times, and finally decided. Ron was visibly annoyed and kept checking his watch. As our wait reached the twenty-minute mark he was ready to leave.

"We've come all this way, we might as well stay now," I soothed. I didn't relish going out into the hot sun to find another restaurant.

Just then a server appeared at our table. She was young and seemed nervous and embarrassed. She ducked her head and stared at her pad while she asked if we had decided. Ron frowned at her sternly and her blush deepened. I aborted any unpleasantness by asking about the specials, and she looked relieved as she glanced over her shoulder and recited the items from a board on the wall. We ordered and she scurried away.

While we waited (again) I took the opportunity to go to the washroom, and as I navigated the back passages of the pub I saw the reason for the young server's apprehension.

I could tell that these birch rods were on display for the benefit of the staff, to encourage them to do their best and be as efficient and courteous as possible. I imagined the manager having a discussion with the cooks and servers later on that day, inquiring why they had not been able to handle a large crowd at lunchtime, and illustrating his displeasure with generous servings of the birch for all.

The food and beer, when it arrived, was good, and I hope that our cheerful "thank you" to the hostess as we left would lighten any displeasure expressed later on.

From Hermione's Heart


Dee said...

Love the bathroom decor :) but once I read the part about the 'hot sun', I couldn't think of anything else except envy! Lol!

Dee x

sixofthebest said...

Hermione, I believe the 'tip', for the young waitress, who served you the beer, should have been a knicker's down birching on her bare bottom. Would'nt you agree?

bobbsroom said...

Hi Hermione

Sounds like a normal English pub to me very authentic. We have got such a lot to learn about service.

Have a good weekend everyone


Anonymous said...

The rods are much better than those motivational posters to keep the staff on itheir toes.

Aimless Rambling said...

Spankos see implements of pleasure or displeasure everywhere, don't we.

ronnie said...

I can image the waiting staff who gave bad service that lunchtime lining up to be on the receiving end of those.

Service started well - you were told that it would be sometime before your order could be taken, giving you the opportunity to leave but the server should have at least served drinks and on the house.

Bob's right we have a lot to learn about service.


otk4us2 said...

What a nice suttle way to keep the staff motivated, but occasionally one might hear "young lady, report to my office and bring some birch with you".


Anonymous said...

You would think it would have been easier to serve you and Ron first, and then concentrate on the large group of people.
Did you take one of the birch rods with you? Lol.


Hermione said...

Dee - Temps in the 30s that feel like they're in the 40s because of the humidity aren't something to envy:) If it's any consolation, we are having rain today.

Six - Yes, that would have made a splendid tip.

Bob - Oh dear, is that the way it always is? Sigh.

Joey - I agree, they're a good reason for the staff to do their best.

Sunny - We sure do:)

Ronnie - Yes, drinks are pretty simple to do. There was someone standing behind the bar who could have pulled a couple of pints.

Dave - Mmm, we must go back and listen for that.

Kiki - There were several other couples who arrived ahead of us and they didn't get their meals promptly either.


Unknown said...

hehe, not seen that in my travels round the eating establishments of England..... If it was, then it might make there service alot better... must encourage my employee to have this as a motive in the food shop I work in.... not for me of corse...... but the other girls... he would love that lol,
ps, what did you have.... was it very English?

Blondie said...

Maybe next time you can bring one of the birch rods back to the table and hand it to Ron. Maybe seeing him holding it would help the service to improve. Glad that the meal was good

Emen said...

I love how your mind works.

Hermione said...

TA - I had steak and Guinness pie with mash. Ron had a Reuben sandwich with chips. Both were delicious.

Blondie - Great idea! I will do that.

Emen - Aww, thank you!


Spankedhortic II said...

I can't comment on British pubs because I have never visited Scotland or Northern Ireland. But from my experiences of pubs doing food in England and Wales, you go to the bar and order the food there and pay for it, before it is sent to your table. So that they came to your table at all is a big improvement on those eateries. The birch threat must be working.


Julia said...

Ha! I love the bathroom decor and what you thought about it!

Christina said...

Ha Ha! I'm sure that's what the birches are there for!

Hermione said...

Prefectdt - Perhaps I should have made it clear that this was a restaurant in Canada, with British decor and food. Being served at a table was to be expected.

Julia - It was quite a surprise. I'm so glad I had my camera with me.

Christina - What else!


Anonymous said...

British pubs are hard to beat, unlike their employees!


Hermione said...

Rod - Groan!

Spankedhortic II said...

Please do not think that I was criticizing the post. Only pointing out what better service you are getting in a Canadian, English style pub, as opposed to the real thing.


Hermione said...

Prefectdt - Not to worry, I didn't think you were criticizing the post.