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The Olive Garden Complaint - Waiting.. - Costumer service

Review by Ma'am on 2010-12-06
MAPLEWOOD, MINNESOTA -- The customer service there is great! Every time we go, they're always friendly, and accommodating. I always leave there feeling very satisfied. Although, there was one time, we went to one, and the server couldn't speak English very well - not that I'm prejudice or anything - I'm a person of color myself. He came and introduced the menu to us, and wanted to talk about their drink specials (pointed to the pictures and read off the menu). I almost couldn't understand what he was saying because he wasn't loud and clear. It almost was as the words were mumbling out of his mouth, but me being nice all the time, I didn't want to make him repeat himself, I just nodded and said, "Okay, I'll try that one." and pointed to the picture. The restaurant was very busy and you would have to speak up to even hear the person you're sitting with. Anyway, I ordered the Chicken Gnocchi soup and the Bella limonata - one of the drink specials that he pointed out. I remember on the menu, the chicken gnocchi soup costs 5.35. Keep in mind, this is dinner time. After taking our order, he seated a group of five behind us and started taking their order.

My boyfriend and I sat there for ten minutes before he came with our water. Servers - not the one who took our order - came out with a big bowl of salad and bread sticks. We thought they were bringing it to us, nope! they set it down at the table with the group of five. My boyfriend and I looked at each other confused. At this time I thought, okay, the soup usually doesn't take this long? Our server then walks over holding a tray with a bowl of soup sitting on it. My boyfriend looks over and says, "Here comes your soup!" The server walks right pass us, and sets the bowl of soup in front of the guy - in the group of five - behind us. Confused? We were there first and ordered before these people even sat down behind us. My boyfriend then says, "Op! I guess not!"

Okay, shortly after they served the people behind us, we got our salad and bread sticks. Our server brings me a drink - not the one I ordered - but a drink. He told me that the one I ordered is going to take a while, that there was something going on, so it would be a while? I don't know, I just nodded and looked at my boyfriend. He pulled out the drink menu and pointed it out on the menu. "This is the one you ordered, it's going to take a while." waving his hand in the air, "They're doing something" "This one I bring for you to try." Points to the strawberry-mango limonata "It's the strawberry uh.. mango lemonade. It's very good, try it, try it." He pushes the drink over to me, and sticks a straw in it. I thought, okay? I'll give it a "try".

When my boyfriend's food came, I still haven't gotten my soup yet. I kept looking back at the group behind us to see if they got their food, and they did. They guy got his chicken gnocchi soup, their salad, bread sticks and food before we did. I few minutes after my boyfriend got his dish, my soup came - fresh and yummy of course! I'm still waiting on my bella limonata that was suppose to take a while to make. It never came. Once we were done, we sat there and waited some more. The food was great! but now, more waiting. We waited very patiently, and was very tempted to just walk up to the counter and tell them that we're ready to go and want our bill, but who does that? everyone gets their bill at the table.

When we got our bill, I was charged for the soup AND the salad. Hm? My soup was 5.35, I thought the salad and bread sticks were unlimited? I was also charged for the drink that I didn't order, that he wanted me to try since mine was going to take a while. ??? I told my boyfriend that I was going to ask about it. He asked me not to. I told him, we've been biting our tongue, and waited patiently enough, that a question wouldn't hurt. My boyfriend thought that I was just crabby and being fussy. Fussy? that's an understatement, I didn't even leave him a tip! Sorry to say, but I work with customers everyday, and have a great understanding about how customer service works. I've been in the customer service industry for over seven years. I would ask if something didn't seem right which is rare. This time, it wasn't feeling right, but I decided to just pay and leave. I was done with it after bickering with my boyfriend over asking about the bill. Okay, this is something minor, but it really irked me.

After we left, my boyfriend asked, "How long were we even there?"
Comments:8 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-12-06
Posted by trmn8r on 2010-12-06:
I used to eat at Olive Garden, Lone Star, Outback, Ruby Tuesday, TGIF, Red Robin, Applebees. There are probably others...

What I discovered at each was that while they may have some tasty items on the menu (just a few at AB's), the problem is they don't offer consistent food quality or service. You may have a few great experiences, and then suckola. Sometimes you end up with a few lemons in a row. They may comp something or give you a coupon, and you return to find... suckola.

I gave up. I eat out less often, and at more expensive restaurants. It is much more satisfying.

Just my .03
Posted by momsey on 2010-12-06:
This is a valid complaint, but it always bugs me when people who are 99% of the time happy with an establishment will post a complaint on the internet because of one less than stellar experience. You didn't give Olive Garden a chance to rectify the situation and you just flat out stiffed the server of his tip because of a few snafus that you barely tried to address with him. I don't think every server is entitled to a full tip every time, but if you're not going to tip a server, he at least deserves to know why.

Again, valid complaint, but kind of unfair in my eyes.
Posted by spiderman2 on 2010-12-06:
Sounds like you had a bad time. You do need to learn to speak up for yourself. IT is not rude to speak up or stand up for yourself and it can be done very polietely. Also I think the salad and breadsticks are only free and unlimited with the purchase of an entree. At lunch you can get the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks meal, but i don't think they offer that at dinner.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-12-06:
As a lover of languages, I always smile when I encounter someone trying their best to learn mine because I know that if I was in their country, I would not be able (or terrified) to seek employment, attend college, order food, and any of the ambitious things they do. I am pleased to be a part (even a small one) of helping them become successful. Your waiter sucked. He seemed to be TRYING but he admittedly fell short. He will continue to do so if he is not given the appropriate feedback and given the opportunity to rectify his behavior. It seems you WANTED to do it but made the choice not to in order to appease your sweetie. Sometimes we do this...lol! But I think you should rightfully be more annoyed with him than OG. Had you voiced your very valid concerns, chances are they would have made it right. Now we'll never know.
Posted by clutzycook on 2010-12-06:
You're more patient than I am. A hungry CC is a mean CC :).
Posted by Stale Peanuts on 2010-12-06:
I have had a few issues with Olive Garden over the years, My family goes there 1-2 times a month, and usually more than half the time they mess something up, or provide poor service, We are not shy in letting them know how we feel and they comp our meals for the issues we have had, except for the time the waiter smacked my infant Son upside the head with a full tray of food while we were trying to get out of the establishment. The manager chased us down to make sure he was okay but offered no additional assistance. good think my son got a thick skull from me:)
My point speak up and they will make it right if they don't then go to a different establishment. I agree with others who have posted if you don't say anything how can they improve the service they provide. If you have been in the customer service industry you know that feedback is crucial. So give them hell next time and don't leave until you have a gift card in your hand and an apology that would make you possibly shed a tear.
Posted by Ma'am on 2010-12-06:
Yes, I should have just asked politely. That's what I WAS going to do. I am a very patient person, and don't like to complain much. My boyfriend and I usually tip more than the minimum when we eat out. We usually consider the bartenders, the cooks, and the servers. This time, I admit, I was being stubborn - and I regret not saying anything. I don't expect anything free out of a complaint. I just don't want it to happen again.
Posted by Ma'am on 2010-12-06:
Yes, I should have just asked politely. That's what I WAS going to do. I am a very patient person, and don't like to complain much. My boyfriend and I usually tip more than the minimum when we eat out. We usually consider the bartenders, the cooks, and the servers. This time, I admit, I was being stubborn - and I regret not saying anything. Things would have been better, and everyone would have been happier if we had communicated, and been more constructive. I don't expect anything free out of a complaint. I just don't want it to happen again. Next time, I'll definitely speak up regardless of what my boyfriend thinks.

I don't mean to degrade anyone or The OG. They're a great business with a friendly staff. I just wanted to share this little inconvenience I had. I learned from it, and hope people learn from my experience as well.

Thanks for all your feedback!

Peace!

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