I’ve never worked in a restaurant and certainly have no real management skills but I’m telling you . . I sometimes wonder if some restaurants even have a manager and if they do, what are they thinking?
We don’t eat out much but when we do, it’s usually not real expensive places and I don’t expect to be treated like royalty but whether I’m at McDonald’s or Taco Bell or Taco Bueno . . I”m thinking there could be other restaurants in the world but those are the only ones I’m familiar with! Anyway . . I only expect to be treated with respect and as a customer who has chosen to eat at their establishment.
While passing through Oklahoma City last week, I was pretty much through town, on the east side and I’m telling you . . I needed desperately to stop! I so rarely let my gas gauge get below 1/2 full, and it was down to where I was pretty sure some warning was about to go off. I doubt I really have a warning . . never been that low before but I could see me calling Vince from 6 hours away and saying “I ran out of gas. What do I do now?” Worse would have been calling Vince and saying “I didn’t make it to the bathroom in town. How do I clean these leather seats?”
I found a place to get gas. Kinda looked like a truck stop . . not great, not the worst but I was desperate. Not desperate enough to go to the bathroom in there though. It was about 11:30 a.m. and there was an iHop right there close. I could get to it easily and get back to the interstate easily. I couldn’t see any other cars in the parking lot. But . . hey . . it’s an iHop . . how bad can it be? I was so wanting iHop and have been for seems like forever.
So I went in thinking I would sit down and order and then go to the restroom. It’s almost noon and I saw customers at one table. I did see four of the wait staff sitting at a table in the room. Here’s how this experience went down:
Hostess: How many please?
She walks into this huge empty room with the four wait staff sitting at a table. As she seats me at a table, this conversation ensues across the room.
Wait Staff #1: Don’t sit her there! I’m on break!
Hostess: Didn’t you just get off break?
Wait Staff #1: It’s my break!!
The hostess leads me to another part of the room.
Wait Staff #2: Don’t seat her there. I’m on break too.
Hostess: You’re on break too?
Wait Staff #2: Don’t you see I’m on break?
At this point, I said “Where’s the restroom?” She showed me and I went and when I came out, she was waiting for me and told me she had a table for me in another room. I said “No, thanks! I’ll go somewhere else.”
There was no scientific survey done here but I’ve never seen an empty iHop. Maybe that one’s only been empty once — when I was there. I doubt that but you can bet that restaurant will not be on my list of places to stop on future trips.
On the other hand, I have always had such great service at Cracker Barrel. On my way back through the area, I stopped there and the waiter was so friendly and so quick and the hash brown casserole was so darned good!
Thank you Cracker Barrel chain for always having such consistently good restaurants.