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Greco - Slacko


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Called in to Greco on Southbank in Melbourne tonight after a movie, circa 9pm. We were seated readily enough but it took a lonnnnnng time before anyone came to take our order and then only because I flagged down one of the several passing waitpersons and asked if we could order. He didn't actually take the order - went and found another person (another 5 minute wait).

We asked if we could have the wine forthwith - no problem. And the food was prompt. But we had to flag down another waiter for some water. And yet another because our wine had disappeared down the deck for "chilling".

No offers of desserts or coffee. We nailed yet another waiter for our bill. You guessed it - no one wanted to collect the credit card so we eventually went to the till. "How was everything?" Spouse went into polite mode. "Food was good." (It was).

Dammit, I thought, so said: "BUT the service was VERY SLACK."

The place was crawling with waitpeople. No excuse. Man on till apologised.

We have a son in hospitality to pay his way though a degree and we usually tip generously because we know it's part of their income. Not tonight, folks. It would be the first time in yonks we haven't tipped.

What would you have done?

Just looked at their website - they claim to be the "Champse Elise" in Melbourne :hmmm:

Website: http://cookingdownunder.com

Blog: http://cookingdownunder.com/blog

Twitter: @patinoz

The floggings will continue until morale improves

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Hi Pat,

once, in a club restaurant, I actually called the waitperson and asked her to make up the bill for what we consumed up the that time (a bottle of wine and a Caesar salad) because we waited for about 1 hr for our main meal. People in the next table were served, gone, and new people arrived and served and we where still waiting. Apparently they kept on loosing our order.....

After we left I went to complain at the desk about the service. The next day the club manager rang to apologise and, eventually, sent me a letter offering 2 dinners at no expense.

We went back, the service that time was excellent but the food was poor. Needless to say we didn't go back for a long time.

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You're not alone, as I have also experienced bad service at Greco Crown. We have asked several times for a bottle of water to be brought to us and no one did. Finally, I asked this waiter who happened to walk by and he rudely told me to "get your own waiter, I'm not in charge of this area" and walked off. I told the cashier later about it, and all she said was "they're really busy" with no apologies whatsoever.

Needless to say, I never tipped nor return after that visit.

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Has tipping become the norm in the Eastern States?  We rarely see a tip jar here in W.A. and while we may tip for spectacular service, there doesn't seem to be an expectation for it.

I don't think it's the norm. I live in Melbourne and wouldn't dream of tipping. Nor do my friends.

We have a hard time stopping our American friends because they feel weird leaving a restaurant without tipping, but it doesn't take them long to get used to our way.

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Has tipping become the norm in the Eastern States?  We rarely see a tip jar here in W.A. and while we may tip for spectacular service, there doesn't seem to be an expectation for it.

I don't think it's the norm. I live in Melbourne and wouldn't dream of tipping. Nor do my friends.

I almost always leave a tip. It might be due to having friends who have worked as waiters, and tips make up a large chunk of their income (and also hearing some of the horror stories of some of the diners they've had to put up with). I usually leave about 10%, but if the service has been exceptionally good, I'll tip a lot more

However, I won't leave a tip if I get bad service.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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It's funny... I'm an American here for good, but when I first got here, there was an awkward feeling when I left a good restaurant experience without a tip... when I tried to leave a little bit (out of habit), my local friends reacted with near-hostility, as in "don't bring your American ways here, we're not like that." I got over the awkwardness soon enough and stopped tipping entirely. Now, many years later, I find that I tip good service everytime, not because it's/I'm "american" but because, finally, it's exactly what the word says it is: a tip, a gratuity, and expression of my gratitude. Versus the meaning of the concept in the US: "wages".

Anyway Pat, tipping in Oz wasn't your original post. I don't know about Greco, but the "Champse Elise" quip on their site is equal parts hilarious and bizarre... what are they actually trying to say?

I haven't eaten "high end" southbank in years, even tho I worked there til recently - nearly all of them looked like I'd have exactly the experience you described (although Blue Train was always good for a cheap tasty dahl and several pots of Coopers, on the deck looking over the Yarra for summer lunches though).

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I haven't eaten "high end" southbank in years, even tho I worked there til recently - nearly all of them looked like I'd have exactly the experience you described (although Blue Train was always good for a cheap tasty dahl and several pots of Coopers, on the deck looking over the Yarra for summer lunches though).

I don't often frequent Southbank as a dining destination. Usually eat there only if we've been to a movie at Crown or a show at the Arts Centre.

Wonder how Neil Perry's place will go at Crown Casino. Here's the menu

Website: http://cookingdownunder.com

Blog: http://cookingdownunder.com/blog

Twitter: @patinoz

The floggings will continue until morale improves

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i think the restauarnt will do well of course it will but it brings something to melbourne that i dont really want that sydney feel big names big $$ no love another trademark stamp hey i live in the uk now but if i was back in melbourne hell id eat thier and probably enjoyit even though i know in my heart its a step towards sydney where the chefs are never in the kitchens and u cant get a tasting menu over 9 courses GRRRRRRR:) and 3 course du jour is 50 $

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Why is the big name so important?

Isn't it a little like wearing Armani Jeans when Levi's, the originals, are superior, even when you know it you do it because everyone else is?

Is being the largest island on Earth so isolating that we need to feel better about ourselves by digging into the big names?

Am I ranting again?

Yes.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Neil Perry and Rockpool Bar and Grill was the feature article in this week's Epicure.

Here's the link: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/10/...1455634702.html

The numbers involved are mind boggling.  I hope he succeeds though.

I hope he does well also.

Should do, he's had plenty of practice........

Some might say he's closed more restaurants than he's opened, but that's the restaurant game.

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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I hope he does well also.

Should do, he's had plenty of practice........

Some might say he's closed more restaurants than he's opened, but that's the restaurant game.

He has the balls to put his money on the line, but he also has the brains to walk away before the losses kill him off. It makes him a pretty smart operator imho.

It'd also be interesting to know how many (bad) opportunities he's turned down too.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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He has the balls to put his money on the line, but he also has the brains to walk away before the losses kill him off.  It makes him a pretty smart operator imho.

I'm not sure I agree with that logic.

Anyway, one thing for sure is the guy can cook. Afterall, that's what it's all about.

Edited by The Chefs Office (log)

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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I'm not sure I agree with that logic.

Anyway, one thing for sure is the guy can cook. Afterall, that's what it's all about.

Any business is tricky, but I think restaurants is one of the hardest industries to survive in. I think that many people hang on for too long (due to their emotional involvement), and can easily lose everything. The fact that Perry can look at things coldly and exit on (more or less) his terms shows that he's got a pretty good mind at work.

He's a very wealthy man, so he must be doing something right.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Many talented businessmen are presented with opportunities all the time, not all take every one.

I consider this approach better than taking on many opportunities and pulling out when (many of them) don't work. Certainly your losses are less also.

Before I can admire someone for pulling out before it hits the fan, I need to admire them for taking the right opportunities in the first place.

Anyone can open and close restaurants, it just depends on the depth of your (and/or your backer's) pockets.

"He's a very wealthy man, so he must be doing something right." - sure is, cooking, PR and media.

Running multi restaurant empires is perhaps done more successfully by other chefs/groups.

Regardless, I do want to see the Melbourne venture floursih and bring the his level of food and service to Melbourne!

CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.com.au/newsletters/chef/sep07/

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Running multi restaurant empires is perhaps done more successfully by other chefs/groups.

On reflection, you do make a very good point. Certainly there are quite a few Melbourne people who run some very good empires of higher end restaurants. I would assume that there would be a few in Sydney too.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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