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Poor Service in Ontario


lkernaz
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Realizing this is a little off topic ... I am visiting from Saskatchewan and must say that in the 4 short hours I have been here so far, I have received nothing more than barely adequete service at three establishments so far.

Is this a local culture that I am unaware of? My thoughts were that although there may be some local Idiosyncrasy with tipping, how to order, and other varying etiqeutte but I had thought that receiving good service was fairly universal. Perhaps I am being overly picky in that I own a bar and have certain standards I expect my staff to follow but I honestly have never been more disgruntled with the service I have received.

I am staying in Richmond Hill and started off by going for a meal at The Keg as soon as I arrived. As I was by myself I was more than happy to dine in the lounge. After being seated, I was ignored for much too long before someone came to ask my desire for a beverage. After someone finally came, I waited for quite some time again before the beverage was brought by another person (the beverage bearer I would guess was my server). It then took a very long time before my order was taken. The food arrived very quickly after which following the initial "is everything good" question, I was then ignored again until my plate sat empty in front of me for a goods 5 minutes. After my dirty plate was then taken away, another beverage was not offered to me, nor my bill brought to me until I was much past ready to leave - and to be honest I probably wouldn't have been in such a rush to leave has I been receiving the service I expected. Had the establishment been busy, I would have thought nothing of this lack of care taking as I am quite flexible and coming from a service industry background, quite happy to wait in order for more demanding patrons to be served but this was not the case. The entire time I was there I watched many of the staff basically dicking around. Lots of sitting at the bar and chatting, checking the hockey game scores, and standing around looking aimlessly. To my compete astonishment, even when a server came in from the dining room area with a drink order, the two bartenders behind the bar finsihed their conversation before even asking what the girls order was. I am not completely unhappy with them as they were very friendly and helpful when they were speaking to you.

I then went on a stroll in this nice weather back towards my hotel. I past the Fox and the . A friend had recommended this establishment to me from a visit a year ago as having some amatuer stand up comedy I may find entertaining. Upon entering I have to say I found the atmosphere quite inviting and cozy although I suspect the stand up comedy of last year has been replaced with sports. I proceeded to sit at the bar (no avoiding me there) and again it took quite some time for the server to acknowledge me. I was never again asked if I desired another beverage even after I sat with an empty glass in front of me for quite some time. I was getting quite frustrated with this seeming consistency of bad service so I decided to just go back to my hotel.

After getting settled in my room and getting bored, I decided to check out the hotel's lounge and again received poor service - this was the worst yet. I stood at the bar for quite some time before getting service. Finally a server asked for my order, and then served other people. She then went to the floor cleaning tables. The other server then asked my order and I finally received it. I sat down at a table (where I sit right now) and again was ignored. To catch their attention, I went up and stood at the bar for a couple of minutes - one caught my eye and promptly ignored me. I finally flagged down the other server and had my order taken.

I'm just not sure what to think of this. I all of a sudden feel like I am excessively demanding when I am the complete opposite. I always tip quite well but I'm beginning to feel like I should start holding back although I have rarely ever done so. I am trying to come up with an explanation for this because it really is nothing short of astonishing for me to be so upset over this. These people I have encountered as my servers seem to be very pleasant and nice if quite young. Is there a shortage of serving staff in this area so these kids are not getting properly trained or what?

Thank you for taking the time to read my ranting - I just am really so surprised at what I've encountered so far here.

Again, sorry for being off topic.

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I know the area you're staying in richmond hill so I can't assume you're hotel is all that great, and you went to two crappy chain restaurants and you're surprised the service was bad? I wouldn't think places like that hire for people who would give attentive and professional service as they're more inclined to hire for looks and really only care about getting people in and out for the lowest cost/highest profit

the chinese restaurants in that area are supposed to be excellent, or you might consider getting on the 404 and coming to toronto. there are some nicer casual places with great food and great personal service like the niagara street cafe, the citizen, starfish and jamie kennedy wine bar.

hope the rest of your experience in ontario goes better

ns

There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves - Fergus Henderson

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Well, I went to the Ambassador last night and was very impressed with the meal, service and atmosphere.

To respond to Nick, I very much expect adequete service from anywhere I go ... particularly a chain restaurant since there is the franchise's reputation at stake. From looking at the number of restaurants in the area I'd say competition is pretty fearce in this area and providing good service would be especially important.

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I know the area you're staying in richmond hill so I can't assume you're hotel is all that great, and you went to two crappy chain restaurants and you're surprised the service was bad?  I wouldn't think places like that hire for people who would give attentive and professional service as they're more inclined to hire for looks and really only care about getting people in and out for the lowest cost/highest profit

I can't speak for the Fox& whatever, but I've had friends work at the Keg, and the Keg very much cares about attentive and professional service. They offer extensive training, including mandatory "product knowledge" seminars (wine tastings, food tastings, etc.).

If I got crappy service at a Keg (not likely, since I don't eat there), I'd report it to the management of that particular Keg, as well as send a letter to the corporate offices since they still oversee the franchises to a degree.

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It was the Fox and Fiddle - I couldn't think of the name as I was on that sentence and meant to go back but it slipped my mind.

I think I may complain yet. I will say though the my 16oz rib eye at The Keg was absolutely AMAZING!

My experiences since that night have been much better service-wise. Tonight I went to 360 Restaurant and the service was exceptional - the food .... some very good, some not so good (especially for the price) but I really liked the server. Somehow this gentleman made me feel very important and the center of his concern without going overboard - with a full restaurant and many other tables to deal with as well. I was impressed at how exceptional he was at his job. It was packed in there and I never ever saw my server except at the EXACT moment it crossed my mind that I needed him there.

I am very relieved that my first night's disaster was a series of bad luck coincidences. Generally, I think Toronto life is a much faster track lifestyle compared to the prairies and I was wondering if this was at the expense of good service and a liesurely meal but I have not experienced any further lacks in this area.

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