I just got back from having brunch with a rather large group. I’ve been to a Hashcapade before, my friend Clark puts these on as a way to get together, eat good food and enjoy the company of friends. This one was a special event to preview his new video (to be released this week!) and they created, with the help of the executive chef, a masterful set of hash options.
Here’s the thing: This event had been planned for at least 30 days. I got my invitation in the end of March. Now, when I look at the Facebook invitation; I see that 9 RSVP were “Yes” and 3 marked themselves as “Maybe” – When I got to The Mark Restaurant – inside the Shilo Inn on Canyon Road, in Beaverton – I was the 16th person to arrive. Now, since they had a table set up for eighteen, you’d think they would have imagined they would be busy.
…Unfortunately not. The hardest part for me to believe in this whole situation, was that they didn’t expect this kind of thing. Again, never mind that the reservation has been in the books for 30 days, that the executive chef prepared a special menu and one of their host employees was at another table, completely unaware of the lack of service.
There were a couple of moments which really stuck with me. The group I was seated with all work in the service industry, from a customer service representative to a director of hotel events; we know service and this wasn’t it.
A couple of the more quotable exchanges:
“I’m sorry we don’t have enough menus, this is all we have.” – Your restaurant has 100 seats, you should have enough menus.
Q: “Do you have anything that can make this bloody mary any better? A: “No.”
“I’m sorry, we’re out of a lot of things, you guys came at a really hard time for us.” – See above about a reservation.
Aside from those things, the server asked names for all the checks, which is the smart thing to do when you have a large group, however, none of those names were correct when the food came out: Nick became Mick, Ryan/Bryan, Lydia (Who spelled out her name) became Lybia (and hilarity ensued,) then Lars came out of nowhere, and even our host’s name was incorrect.
In the service industry, where I’ve spent most all of my career, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference, it’s those little things that make you remember, or run screaming from, a service based company. I loved the breakfast I had, and normally I would be on the side of a server who was taking care of 16 people at once, except she wasn’t. When asked for a manager, she said she was the manager.. “Amongst other things.” If you’re the manager, then you’d know when your service needed a little work, I’d hope.
The comedy of errors would have been funny, except they were all-consuming. At the bottom line, at least the food was good, even if the service wasn’t.