/ / / / / /

Can An Unfriendly Waitress Ruin Your Hotel Stay?

February 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM | by | Comments (15)

The other day, we were meeting friends for brunch and settled on a restaurant in a Brooklyn hotel which shall remain unnamed*. We'd heard nice things, and having popped inside the lobby once or twice, we figured it would be an opportunity to soak up the vibe, relax, and eat good food.

Wrong.

It all started when the hostess refused to seat us until the rest of our party had arrived, even though we could see plenty of open tables. Fine. We told them we'd wait in the lobby and order some tea. Well, we had to elbow our way to the bar to get that done. And after one barista impatiently took our order, we lingered for ten minutes waiting for the tea to materialize (how hard can it be? You fill a pot with water and stick a teabag in it) before giving up and heading back to the lobby.

Five minutes later, another grouchy barista tracked us down in the lobby to inform us our tea was sitting at the bar—in other words, he could have brought it out to us, but didn't. OK, we said, we'll come get it. On the way back to the bar, we requested that the tea just be added to our brunch bill since we'd already put our names down for a table.

"Fine," he said, as if we'd just asked him to commit adultery.

Evidently, this was not off to a good start.

The meal itself didn't fare too well either. The waitress who took our order was different from the one who served us our food, who was different from the one who re-filled our teapot, so that by the time we needed the check, we didn't really knew which one 'our waitress' was. But since they were all equally grumpy and only answered in monosyllables, it didn't really matter.

Needless to say, we don't plan on returning to this place for a meal (our scrambled eggs with sourdough toast was good but we've had better), but we're still kinda curious about the rooms.

Our question is: should a negative experience in the hotel restaurant turn us off from ever wanting to stay there as guests? Does a bad waitress translate into bad service all around? Or should we still give this place another chance?

We're curious to hear your thoughts: submit a comment below, or feel free to send us an email. Or if you just want to make a few recommendations for other brunch places in Brooklyn, we'll happily take those too!

*The hotel rhymes with the word 'lithe,' which means agile or graceful, which our multiple cranky servers were most definitely not.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Comments (15)

Post a Comment

Well now...

You sited a number of staff that makes matters worse as to their overall moral and/or training.  That said, it makes sense for a hotel developer to lease, as the case here, out his/her F&B to a presumed known operator   BUT the hotel and restaurant can become 2 separate spheres operating standards under a single roof.  Do they share the same vision of the hotel or do each have their own? Is the developer hands off on that end; is the GM scared to interfere or lack the experience to do so. Are you a guest within the hotel or a customer of the restaurant? Doubt there is a shared concern here and one side washes its hands of the other.  To your question, the hotel operation could be far better or possibly worse but you entered one space that may have little to do with other. Stay in the hotel to find out.  

Tea in the lobby, expect scowls

By no means are the F&B staff's actions defensible, but i have to say, unless you are at a 5 star or maybe 4 star hotel, you better expect the F&B staff to not be pleased that you are ordering tea.

Hot tea is the single most annoying "normal" request here's why:

The setup (find a lemon, tea selection, honey and possibly cream. sometimes finding a tea pot is hard bc often sloppy f&b management forgets to replace these items when they break or disappear)

Hot tea drinkers are notoriously picky people and often tip poorly (maybe bc they always have poor service, I'll  concede that) and they often sit and linger far longer than other guests

Also asking for them to bring it to you in the lobby, you might as well have asked them to serve you on the moon (idk why but f&b people hate going out of their narrow areas for anything)

lastly you asked the tea be transferred to your brunch check, ensuring that the person who made the tea won't  get a tip (not that thry deserve one after this por service but the cycle was just reinforced again - "Tea equals extra work, extra walk to deliver and clean up and in the end equals no tip")

i was a waiter for a long time, now I'm a manager and when guests ask for tea i still cringe (unless of course I'm at a 4 or 5 diamond where the setup is more intact)

Sorry, not agreeing with you getting poor service, just explaining why perhaps


For real?

How can tea be the single most annoying request at a restaurant? Even with the reasons you listed, it still doesn't quite compute. Yes, I ordered honey on the side but it's not like I asked them to fetch it from the beehive.

OMG

Yes, service does ruin a hotel stay, a meal or any interaction. As for tea being an annoyance...really? As an englishman I find that almost bordering offensive. I think the "why" comes down to the server - which is obviously the wrong word because they didnt actually serve anything - being either ignorant or deliberately impertinent (we Brits take our tea bloody seriously). Personally...I'm voting for deliberately impertinent.

OMG

Yes, service does ruin a hotel stay, a meal or any interaction. As for tea being an annoyance...really? As an englishman I find that almost bordering offensive. I think the "why" comes down to the server - which is obviously the wrong word because they didnt actually serve anything - being either ignorant or deliberately impertinent (we Brits take our tea bloody seriously). Personally...I'm voting for deliberately impertinent.

didn't mean to offend anyone about tea

not trying to offend anyone agian you should you be able to order tea without someone being mad at you :-)

i'm juwt saying what I've expirenced in 14 years in f&b service.

a couple of months ago i saw a career breakfast server haul a bin of misc tea stuff to the bar, asking him what he was doing he replied "i have most of the stuff here for tea so that way when someone orders tea i don't hate it as much."

please order your tea, enjoy it :-) I'm not saying you shouldn't feel bad, just sharing my experience.


Hoteliers best not get comfy

Any hotel that takes customers for granted whether they order tea or a cocktail is in the wrong business. There is just way too much competition in NY at this time for folks to get funky. What might start off as tea may end up lingering and then deciding to add on. Prejudging your customers not only does the company a disservice, but then you end up being talked about in a venue like this one, where we just have to put on our thinking caps and see what ends up rhyming with "lithe", and is in BK. Then we'll tell all our friends. Worth all that because you didn't want to serve some hot water and a tea bag? Hmph.

Tea in the lobby, expect scowls???

Sorry, but the diatribe on tea is completely insane.  The difficulty of preparing an item is not something a guest should ever consider.  Unless that item is not on the menu, of course.

I've worked in several hotels, so I've dealt with numerous "challening" guests.  Nothing presented in this posting comes close to being a problem.

Frankly, xj22jaguar, you might need to so a little soul-searching if you think it's okay for one of your employees to scowl at a guest just because she or he ordered tea.


Good service is so important

I stayed in a downtown NYC design hotel and the girl serving breakfast was so unbelievably rude and unhelpful, there was actually a queue at front desk to complain about her.  The rest of the staff at the hotel were excellent and very friendly, so I didn't think badly of them as a result. It was a shame that she brought down the standards of the hotel, as the breakfast was great.

I'm looking forward to ordering lots of tea on my NYC trip next month. I have faith that staff can cope with the imposition of a teapot!


you are right

i had thought that i had made it utterly clear that it was not appropriate for staff to be mad at guest for requesting tea. And again you are right, a guest shouldn't have to consider the difficulty involved with a guest request just as the entire store this was written about shouldn't have happened.

i had thought that the things i had written would make it clear that employees shouldn't act like this wheni included the following:

thank you thackffil

"by no means are the F&B staff's actions defensible"

 "not that thry deserve one after this por service"

 "not agreeing with you getting poor service"

"agian you should you be able to order tea without someone being mad at you :-)"

"please order your tea, enjoy it :-) I'm not saying you shouldn't feel bad, just sharing my experience"

 Please forgive me for being ambiguous in my response. The genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.

We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience.

We thank you for this valuable feedback you have provided and will be reviewing it with our Food and Beverage management team to ensure we do everything in the future to exceed the expectations of all of our guests.
:-)


you are right

i had thought that i had made it utterly clear that it was not appropriate for staff to be mad at guest for requesting tea. And again you are right, a guest shouldn't have to consider the difficulty involved with a guest request just as the entire store this was written about shouldn't have happened.

i had thought that the things i had written would make it clear that employees shouldn't act like this wheni included the following:

thank you thackffil

"by no means are the F&B staff's actions defensible"

 "not that thry deserve one after this por service"

 "not agreeing with you getting poor service"

"agian you should you be able to order tea without someone being mad at you :-)"

"please order your tea, enjoy it :-) I'm not saying you shouldn't feel bad, just sharing my experience"

 Please forgive me for being ambiguous in my response. The genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.

We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience.

We thank you for this valuable feedback you have provided and will be reviewing it with our Food and Beverage management team to ensure we do everything in the future to exceed the expectations of all of our guests.
:-)


Opinion from Irish Hotelier

An unfriendly staff member in any department of a Hotel can ruin your stay and unfortunatly are becomming more and more common.
I was a Manager of a 750 bedroomed 5 star Hotel and was in constant battles with senior Management to improve customer service. I then became Manager of a 5 star Hotel in the 'Leading Hotels of the World Group' where people were paying a small fortune for top class service and were sadly not getting it most of the time.
I have since taken matters into my own hands and opened <a href="http://www.almarabb.com">http://www.almarabb.com</a> so that the book stops with me!

Tea?

Your stay at a hotel regardless of who runs the restaurant, bar, or cafe should be a package deal.  

That is, why should anyone dismiss the bad service in the restaurant just because it isnt run by the hotel? Your staying at that hotel, and if they cant ensure your service is equally top-notch , then you are right to look elsewhere.

That being said, you "tea" drinkers can stay up in NY.  If you want "tea" in Texas, you can help yourselves to the hot water and tea bags in the lobby :)


The Antonym for agile & graceful is uncouth.

Attention to staff's responsiveness to personal attention is paramount to the success of any business. The evident examples presented in your article only point to a poor management structure that does not empower or challenge it's employes to think and act. It suggests just the opposite and a poor working environment. Until the ownership hires and empowers a GM to make changes that particular property will mutter-by in mediocrity.        

baink, HRTM major

There was a time that I was on a family vacation and we were staying at a hotel in Virginia. I went down with my cousin to get dinner at their restaurant, and we were being served by a waiter who did not look like he wanted to be there.  He looked so despaired that i was even afraid to ask for ketchup.  I shouldn't have to feel like that at a hotel while on family vacation.  And he even had the sniffles as if he was sick.  I do not like the idea of a waiter of mine serving food while fighting a cold!  i completely agree after reading this article, bad servers can ruin an experience.

Join the conversation!

Not a member? .