(Not So) Fine Dining

Going out for dinner has always been a significant part of our social life, whether it was an evening with friends or a Date Night.  We have been fortunate most of our life to be able to enjoy the Fine Dining experience, Fine Dining often being a euphemism for small portions of expensive food.   But as Muri and I have aged … and we have, just a bit … we not only eat out more often, we eat more at middle-of-the-road restaurants, frequently chains like like BJ’s Grill or TGI Friday’s.  Service at these restaurants used to sound like this:   Hi, my name is Luke and I’ll be taking care of you tonight.  How are you two doing?  You just knew, Luke was working overtime not to call you Dude.   Then, just as you got the first bite of food in your mouth, Luke would turn up again with, How is everything tasting to you?  It wasn’t Fine Dining service but it was usually efficient.   But these days it frequently  sounds more like this:

Luke: Hi, my name is Luke and I’ll be taking care of you tonight.  This is Linda and she’ll be helping me out.  Connor is somewhere around here somewhere and he’ll be helping, too.  Are you ready to order?
Bud: We need a few minutes.
LindaOK, one of us will be back.
Five minutes later, Connor’s back:  You two ready?
Bud: Yes, I’ll have the burger and my wife will have a personal pepperoni pan pizza.  And I’ll have a Pete’s Wicked Ale. 
Five minutes later, Linda: Can I get you two anything while you’re waiting for dinner?
Bud: I had a beer coming.
Linda: What was it?  (She doesn’t know because Connor took my order)
Bud: It was a Pete’s Wicked Ale.
LindaWho took your order?
Bud: I think it was Connor (I can’t tell Connor from Luke).
Linda: I’ll check on it.
Ten minutes later, someone we haven’t met delivers our dinners:  Hi, I’m Bill.  Luke is busy in the kitchen.  Who has the burger? (He doesn’t know because he’s never seen us before)
Bud:   Me. I also had a beer coming.
Bill politely serves our food then says:  OK, I’ll check on it.  Who took the order?
Bud: One of those people (Bill scurries off)
On the first bite of dinner, Luke: How is everything tasting to you two?
On the second bite, Connor: How is everything tasting to you?  Can I get you anything?
Bud: My beer?
Connor: Oh, I’m so sorry.  I’ll have Linda bring it over right away.
Five minutes later, Luke drops off my beer then speeds off to another table.
Muri: I could use an iced tea.  Do you see Connor or Linda with anywhere?  (We know where Luke is … the other two are nowhere in sight)

Welcome to the world of team wait-service, where obsequiousness and lots of motion is supposed to pass as service.   It doesn’t work.   Eating out isn’t any fun when you have to spend all your time hunting down waiters and helping them remember what you ordered.   What am I going to do?  Well, for one, I’m going to cut back on tips.   And if it happens more than once at a restaurant, I won’t be going back.   And, of course, I’m going to let my Inner Curmudgeon rant about it to you, dear readers.


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3 Comments on “(Not So) Fine Dining”

  1. cherperz Says:

    It’s times like this that I am glad the Midwest still acts like it 1970. Our wait staff over at the Applebee’s, Chili’s, etc. are usually some sweet college kid that is working their ass off. The food might be mediocre but the service is usually pretty efficient.

    The few times we see a secondary person, it is a new hire being trained and they look scared to death.

  2. Um. No. That’s terrible. And if I am spending my money to go out for dinner, I expect a certain level of service. Sheesh!

  3. Coming East Says:

    We haven’t had that experience yet, thankfully, but we don’t frequent too many chains. Since I’ve retired, I cook a lot more at home. Your dining description was funny in your blog, but I know it was terribly annoying when you were going through it. I say find somewhere else to frequent.

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