Buca di Beppo has been running a series of coupons to lure customers to their restaurants. Unfortunately, once they’ve accomplished that, they don’t create an experience that has customers wanting to come back. Here’s my recent experience.
I arrived at 5:30 to have a quick bite to eat. I had two coupons, one for $10 off of a $20 ticket and one for a free dessert for my birthday. I asked the server if I could combine them, and she said no, I had to choose. No problem.
She had only two other tables to serve. One with a family of 3 who ordered shortly after I was seated. Another table of 2 was awaiting another couple to join them so ordered just drinks.
She took my drink order, then my meal order when she brought the drink. I had a salad and pasta, two simple, quick-to-prepare options. The salad took 20 minutes to arrive, the pasta 20 minutes later. She walked by several times attending tothe other tables, but never made eye contact nor stopped to see if I needed anything. When I’d eaten my fill, I waited for her to come by then asked for my bill, expaining I needed to go. And I asked for a take-home container.
She took my leftovers and returned 10 minutes later with the bill. If she’d brought the bill, then took the leftovers, the credit card could be processing while she boxed up the leftovers. She cleared my place of all utinsils and plates. When she brought the bill, she also brought a complimentary piece of cake, which she didn’t have to do as I was using the $10 coupon. I thanked her, but said I’d need to have a take-home container since I had to go. She brought back a styrofoam container. But I had no utinsils to transfer the cake.
It took 35 mintues from when I asked for the bill to when I got out of there. I asked to see the manager but got tired of waiting, so left my card saying I’d like to speak to him. He never called.
While I realize servers have no control over how quickly the kitchen gets out the dishes, they do have control over how they manage their customers’ experience. An occasional, “how are you doing?” or “Your pasta will be right out,” or “How is your meal?” goes a long way. Then it would be nice to listen when your customer says they need to go and thinking of the most expedient way to help them go. Then is it too much to ask that the server be present to the fact that they have brought food after the customer has said they are full, and after you’ve cleared all the silverware? I spend 90 minutes having a dinner that should have taken 45.
Since my visit to Buca di Beppo a friend suggested we go there as she had coupons. I’ve declined, saying I can’t afford to spend the time and frustration from bad service.
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