Last night, TheBoy and I slipped out for dinner. Nothing fancy- it was Sunday night, and rather late at that.
The location: Chili’s at the Puente Hills Mall
We arrived, a little on the late side (it was around 7:30). The restaurant didn’t seem to be very crowded and we were told we’d be seated “soon” (they took our party size, not our name). We began to chat. People left, and tables were cleared and still we weren’t seated.
After about 10 minutes, we were seated. We looked at our menus for about another 5 minutes before our waiter appeared. We ordered our drinks and an appetizer, and he assured us he’d be back in a few minutes to take our order.
Time passed, and we hadn’t see any waiters near us to flag down, nor were we able to see our waiter. About 20 minutes after we ordered our appetizer, another waiter came out with our appetizer, and in desperation, TheBoy asks if he can take our actual order. He did, and we dug into the spinach and artichoke dip. Well, TheBoy dug in, I devoured. About 10 minutes later, our waiter emerged to ask if everything was alright. Then vanished. Again.
Around this point, we could hear laughter and celebration coming from the back of the restaurant- back meaning the kitchen. I don’t care if there’s some sort of birthday party, someone’s last day… it shouldn’t stop the operation of wherever you work if it’s in the service industry. Yes, offices can stop work, but restaurants and Disneyland can’t.
Then, he arrived with our food. TheBoy’s steak and jalapeno quesadilla and… a bowl of blackened chicken alfredo pasta. Which wasn’t what I ordered. I calmly mentioned that fact, though I wanted to wring his neck by this point in time and told him what I had ordered. He walks back to place the order, and I force TheBoy to start eating without me. The waiter comes back with my plate and tells me that he’d grabbed the wrong one, but it wasn’t his fault because he wasn’t the one who put in the order.
That’s right. He tried to blame the guy who covered the table for him, who did put in the right order, when he (our waiter) didn’t bother to see what our order actually was. He checked on us numerous times after we got our food, and refilled our beverages (though he didn’t know that I was drinking water, he asked if the nearly full glass was Sprite).
I’ll say this, having worked at Disneyland, and having a father who put himself through grad school by waiting tables and working in a kitchen, I am far more accommodating than the average person. Normally I wouldn’t have minded him asking what I had to drink, but after not knowing what I’d ordered for dinner, I expected him to at least look at our ticket to see what we’d had to drink. It would have been a small act to restore goodwill. But with everything combined, I was upset and honestly, I don’t know that I’ll go back to that Chili’s for a good long while.
So yes, I’m writing about this experience. I plan on emailing Chili’s as well. I’m not asking for an experience where waiters spend all their shifts hovering and asking how my meal is. All I expected was for our waiter to at least make sure that our table was covered if he was unavailable, and to make sure he knew what our actual ticket was- to try and make sure that we got our food in a timely manner.
Update: Okay, Worst Service Ever is a bit harsh. Our food was warm, and we did not fall ill. But we were neglected.