Monday, January 13, 2014

T(ea) Stands for how noT to have a pleasant dining experience

My dear friend Sally found a coupon in our local newspaper for this awesome restaurant.

From the very beginning, I felt we were under dressed, but Sally insisted we go as we were.

It was a beautiful, well appointed restaurant, but completely empty, except for us.  That became immediately apparent when we were told we could NOT use the coupon on the lavish buffet our server showed us before he seated us.

So, we looked at the menu for a long time, knowing we had a $10.00 buy one, get one limit.  Lunch would just barely cover that.  However, then we were told we each had to buy a drink in order for the coupon to apply.  Two drinks added right at $5.00 to the bill.  I had ONE cup of coffee and Sally had a Pepsi.  She hates Pepsi, being a Coke person, but that was all they served.

I took a photo of the menu cover, which looked nothing like the place.  Compare this to the outside of the restaurant!  Unfortunately, I didn't get to photograph the inside before our server was back trying to push certain foods off on us.

When he scooped up the menus, I asked if I could keep the wine list long enough to take a photo.  He insisted on holding it while I took a couple of photos.  I wondered if he thought I might steal it or something.  BTW, the "regular" drinks weren't even shown on either menu.  I looked.

Sally ordered a meal from the lunch menu and got a salad and loaf of bread.

I took photos and drank my coffee while I waited

for my seafood alfredo pizza.

I think the server got frustrated when I didn't tell him to stop shredding Parmesan cheese.  In revenge, he spread it all over the table instead of the pizza.  Note the empty coffee cup.  I always assumed (silly of me, I assure you) that coffee refills were included and automatic.

When our meal was complete, we were given the check and since I only had a $20.00 bill, I offered to pay the check and allow Sally to reimburse me after we split the tip.  Our meal came to $27.46, and with our $10.00 discount, I should have gotten $2.54 change back.  We both thought a $6.00 tip was sufficient, but when I got the change back, I only received $2.00.  Since he left the revised bill with us, Sally gently asked (because I'm more abrupt) about the change.  He said it was not his policy to return change, only bills.

I knew that was a practice for parties of 10 or more, and in very high end restaurants at dinner, but never at lunch served to two women.  I was so flabbergasted I almost didn't leave the $2.00 I got back.  I didn't add another dollar, though.  He had to settle for what Sally left and my $2.00.  What we thought was going to be a fun approximately $5.00 each lunch (not including tip), turned into over $10.00 for me (and possibly more for Sally) with tip.

Now I'm not as upset about the bill, as I am about the way we were treated.  First, no buffet after pushing it so hard before we were ever seated, then we had to buy drinks with no refills that were not listed on the menu.  Add to that the fact that we were treated like the server wanted us gone as soon as we sat down.  So if you live in or near Wichita, KS, I can't recommend Ciao's no matter how appealing the coupon might seem on the surface!!  In fact, I suggest you stay as far away from the place as possible.  And remember, there are very possibly hidden charges in those restaurant coupons that arrive in your newspaper.  My advise?  Go elsewhere in town for real Italian food.

I'm sure your Tuesday T(ea) experience today will be so much better than mine.  Please share with us, so, if nothing else, it will take my mind off the unpleasant T experience I had last week.

The link to this week's post is NOT showing in preview.  I even got a new one this morning.  If it doesn't show up, please, please add your link in "COMMENTS."

18 thoughtful remarks:

jinxxxygirl said...

Don't you hate it when your treated poorly at a restaurant?! I've never worked at a restaurant but i have worked customer service my whole working life and it really upsets me to be treated poorly like that. Infact i'm less tolerant of it than my hubby. You could have asked for the manager to at least voice your complaints. You also might consider putting a review on YELP and/or TripAdvisor . Two websites i do pay attention to when looking for a review. Hugs! deb

Divers and Sundry said...

i second the suggestion to say all this over at yelp. people do consult that site, and a poor rating affects business.

i'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. they won't stay open long if they continue to abuse their customers.

Vicki Miller said...

It is awful when this sort of thing happens. But it did provide fodder for your post, lol.

voodoo vixen said...

What did he mean it wasn't his policy to return change??? So he thought it wa sup to him to rob people of their money? Bloomin cheek! I would have made that 50 cents his tip and not added any more to it!

Oh, yes, I am back!! and I got mail! Thank you so much for my lovely tip in!! Will be blogging tomorrow, have to do laundry and see my son off back to the UK this evening or I would be doing Tea with you!!

Anonymous said...

bad service is bad service, I wouldn't be going back. anyone who is rude as a server or cashier or whatever, reflects the owner's mindset....tick em off your list for good. xox

Darla said...

What an awful outing. I've never heard of not returning change. Apparently there were no other diners present for good reason.


Craftymoose Crafts said...

Well, that is one restaurant that I am sure will not pop up in your blog again!

It is no wonder there were no other diners. While I might not be as vocal as some, I would definitely not have left a tip to someone who was just downright rude. On top of that, to just sprinkle the cheese all over the table--totally unprofessional.

Hettie said...

The cheek of it. If Hubby had been with you he would not have left a tip at all! After all, you are not required to tip - only if it was a good dinner!
At least you did not have to clear the mess he made up!
Sending a hug over to you.

dawn said...

How awful for you and Sally, can't believe all of this. How sad that he had to act this way, no reason for this behavior.

Thank goodness you two have had better lunches before and I'm sure will continue after this one.

I wouldn't have left a tip either, you are both very kind.

My blog won't let me upload pictures, it did that a long time ago but I can't remember how I fixed it. Will work on it and post when it's up again.
I did post a words only post if you'd like to read that or if your readers want to.

Happy T Day to everyone and you dear friend!

Halle said...

That's terrible! Poor service and mediocre food is one of the biggest reasons we rarely ever go out to eat. We'll get takeout occasionally...and that's many sushi. :)
Happy Tuesday anyway!!

Krisha said...

Oh I TOTALLY agree with Jinxxy! I would have had the manager up front and accountable for that kind of behavior, and the robbery.

I, too, have done customer service for ever and that is totally uncalled for, don't know of any company that would stand behind it.

I definitely would NOT have left a tip AT ALL! That is a gratuity, for GOOD service and not mandatory thing! My DH and I DO NOT tip if the service is bad.

So they have lost good customers and now we know why the place was empty. With this type of customer service they will be GONE before ya know it......which sounds like a GOOD thing! (I'll get off my soap box now....grin)

Sending sunshine your way.
Happy T-day to you, Sally and Bluebeard!

Rita said...

How rude! And that bread and the pizza look underdone, too. Especially her bread! Oh, and technically, if it doesn't say that something is excluded on the coupon then it isn't. What a snooty place. I would never go back there, either. You're nicer than I am. I wouldn't have left him anything, to be honest. No tip. I used to be a waitress for several years and there's no excuse for bad behavior in my book. I will put up with a lot when they are swamped with customers and such--but he was just rude. All he would have gotten from me was the 54 cents he stole. ;)

Dianne said...

Linking up with T Tuesday...a bit late today... So sorry you experienced such poor treatment at this restaurant! Unfortunately I think that people are not treated with dignity or courtesy for a number of reasons. all of them invalid. You mentioned not being dressed up enough...that shouldn't matter. but often does. two older women together shouldn't matter. but it does. (I bet if there had been a man with you you'd have been treated better!) If you are over 40, young people tend to treat you as though you don't know anything! I probably would have said something to the restaurant manager. That waiter is not doing the restaurant any favors.
off my soap box now! Hope it's warmed up a bit there, and your year will improve! we actually have sunshine in Ohio today-at least for the moment!

Ariel said...

That was an awful experience! I too think you should write a review about this restaurant. Hope you have a wonderful time for the rest of the week.

Jo Murray said...

Voucher or not, you should be treated like a potential return customer. My husband and I often use discounts to try out a new restaurant. Some have become favourites, and some we'd never return that one.

Denise Price said...

Sorry to hear about your unpleasant dining experience. Try to put it out of your mind. Next time you and Sally will find somewhere better for lunch, and you'll have much more fun. Here's to better times ahead!

Spyder said...

sorry not been in to visit for ages, am sooo busy but just had to share pics of Jinx for Bleubeard!

~*~Patty S said...

Thank you so much dear Elizabeth for touching my he♥rt so sweetly with your really lovely words and tender wishes for Mr M and I on Alex' anniversary...
I appreciate you so much!!!

Shame on this place for being so difficult...
in this day and age one might think businesses would welcome customers and be a bit gracious and happy to have seats in the seats if you know what I mean...
wonder how long they will survive doing business that way!
not long me thinks!