Saturday, 19 September 2009

Service with a frown

Holiday time again, so more exposure to the vagaries of British restaurant service. The favourite transgression recently seems to be serving coffee before the dessert, which surely should be an obvious no-no. To her credit, the waitress in one establishment made a point of asking me whether I wanted my coffee with my dessert, or later. That merited a £2 tip.

Worst of all was in a Belgian-style restaurant. I had a perfectly decent meal, although I felt a bit overfaced by the number of mussels. The frites were some of the best I’ve had in years. Then they served the coffee before the dessert, when both had been ordered at the same time. To add insult to injury, they then added a standard 10% service charge to the bill. When a two-course meal cost £26, this seemed quite unreasonable. I struck this out, and returned the bill. They took the full amount, so I complained. I was then given the difference, with ill grace, in shrapnel.

The culinary experience was fine, but the customer experience was execrable.

1 comment:

  1. It's a problem, if coffee is ordered at the same time as the desert it is made by different people and the coffee invariably is quicker to make. We normally don't ask if the customer would like coffee until they have their desert. Remembering to wait until the desert is served before the coffee is made, when you are busy, often results in the coffee being forgotten.

    I agree that ideally coffee should be served with, or preferably after the desert.

    Compulsory service charge is immoral in my view.


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