All posts for the month July, 2016

The Joys of Dining Out

Published July 3, 2016 by mindfulofchatter



I live alone. On the rare occasions that I dine out, I often dine out alone.

Fairly recently, I visited my local Shari’s restaurant for dinner. I had sold some of my consignment items and I thought a meal out would be a nice little celebration.

But I was dining alone. The kiss of death when eating out. Or so it seems.

I was shown to the table right next to kitchen. I declined. I was then shown to a table next to three unruly toddlers ‘dining’ with their parents. I declined. I was then shown to the world’s smallest booth for two. I barely fit in it. It was too small for tall people. My feet hit the bench on the opposite side and my knees were still bent.

Please note: the restaurant was neither busy, nor full of diners.

I ordered my beverage and it came fairly quickly. I ordered my food and drank my drink. I place the empty glass at the outer edge of my tiny table to indicate a refill was needed. Several servers walked past me and my empty glass. Several servers looked directly AT me and my empty glass. But no one bothered to refill my beverage.

Please note: the restaurant was neither busy, nor full of diners.

The food came after waiting nearly 30 minutes. I know it was nearly 30 minutes because I entertained myself playing on my phone. I only wish I had set the stopwatch function to show the server the incredible lag time for serving one person. Only when my meal was delivered was my beverage refilled.

Please note: the restaurant was neither busy, nor full of diners.

My food was luke warm as best. It had less than luke warm areas in it. The french fries were cold and mushy. To be clear, I ordered a hot sandwich, not a cold sandwich or a chef salad. Hot food. Not cold food. Hot french fries, not cold, mushy french fries.

Please note: the restaurant was neither busy, not full of diners.

I heard other people who were checking out complaining that their food was also cold. From my tiny, cramped booth, it was easy to overhear the complaints all around me. They were all the same. The food is cold. Why is it taking so long? Why aren’t the drinks getting refilled?

And why is this a problem in a restaurant that is not in the middle of a dinner rush?!?!?? At least the poor food and poor service wasn’t just me. But the seating was.

Every time I go out alone to dine, I am offered the worst seats in the house. Why is that? Is it felt that people dining alone WANT to sit next to the kitchen, the screaming children or the loud, drunken couple? I don’t want to sit in the back, next to the revolving kitchen door. I don’t want to hear the kitchen staff yelling at each other. I don’t want to sit next to the screaming kids. I look around and there and TONS of available tables in the place! So why am I being shown the worst ones? And why would you show someone who is darn six feet tall to a the tiniest table in the place?

Lucky for me I will say no, I am not sitting there. Or there, or there. I will sit over there, thank you. And I will tell your company just how lousy your service is.

And I did. I wrote to the corporate offices of Shari’s, and shared my evening of awful seating, awful service and awful food. I received an answer apologizing and assuring me that the managers of my local Shari’s were be spoken to about my ordeal. They also offered me meal coupons good at any Shari’s in hopes to win back my business (I told them I was never going back to my local Shari’s because all the issues mentioned seem to be the status quo there).

I agreed to the coupons thinking I can always use them the next time I go out of town. They sent them off to my home address lickey-split. I got them a few days ago.

They got my name wrong on the coupons. Not my odd last name. My first name. The simple, easy, not oddly spelled, first name.

Way to go Shari’s.