Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here, There, Everywhere... Why I'm Disappointed in Texas Roadhouse Restaurants

Yesterday, the entire family got together to celebrate my oldest granddaughter's 5th birthday at a Texas Roadhouse Restaurant off the 60 and Stapley in Mesa, AZ. Texas Roadhouse has been somewhat of a family favorite since they opened their restaurants here in the Valley a few years back, and up until yesterday, I've always felt that they were a great place to go for some laid back casual barbecue fare, so keep in mind that my discontent is with the management of this particular restaurant for this particular event, based on my perceptions of what transpired there yesterday.

So, I'll tell you the story and you tell me if I'm crazy for saying I'd be hard put to bring a party back to this restaurant!

Since it was going to be a large get-together - 31 people to be exact (plus a couple babies in carriers) , my son not only called but actually stopped by the restaurant earlier in the day to verify that their "private room area" would be available for our party that evening and he was assured that it would be - no problem. Our reservation was for 5 pm and my son and his immediate family were there by 4:30 to once again verify the reservation and wait for the rest of the family to arrive. By the time that we had arrived at 4:45 there were about 10 of us and the rest of the party arrived within the next 20 minutes. We had been asked to let them know when the whole party was there and we did and they walked us back towards the sectioned off area where we believed they would seat our whole party. Since we were towards the back of the group, we were a little surprised when everyone stopped at the doorway into the seating area.

Before I go any further, I'll describe the area a little. There were 4 six seat booths along one wall, and 2 four seat booths plus two four seat tables along the opposite wall. Seating for 40... meaning that there would have been some extra tables once our party was seated. Not a problem from our perspective. Well, in their infinite wisdom, the restaurant had decided to recently seat 3 other parties (one couple at one of the six seat booths, a party of three at one of the four seat booths and a party of four at the last six seat booth) in the room and moved the two tables over next to two of the booths, plus bringing in an extra table... making one half of the room incredibly cramped and only giving us uncomfortable seating for 26 - comfortable would have been around 24.

When my son asked where the rest of the party would be seated, he was told they would be just outside the door in the main dining room. He requested to speak to the manager who came over and said (with more attitude than anyone in a customer service position should have) that they didn't "hold tables for large groups", and there's no way the woman Greg had spoke to earlier in the day would have told them that they could guarantee the room. The manager said he "knew her well enough to know that she wouldn't say that." Huh??? Implying that my son was lying? I don't think so... The restaurant obviously had a record of a reservation for 30, why would Greg lie about making arrangements to ensure that all of us to actually sat together? Um gee... let's see, you sit in here, you sit outside the room over there... and the rest of you, just pick a seat anywhere and everywhere. For cripes sake. The kicker is that there were several other empty tables in the main dining room as we walked through.

Greg reiterated that the hostess currently on duty knew that 90% of the party was there before 5 and that the other 3 people would be there within minutes. We actually didn't get seated until almost 5:15 - well after our reservation time. So 7 members of the party couldn't be in on the party because the restaurant hostess screwed up and the manager didn't even feel compelled to apologize or make good in some other way.

Needless to say, what should have been a fun and joyous occasion ended up being somewhat strained and stressful... and the restaurant serving staff was obviously annoyed when everyone in the rest of the party came into our cramped half of the room to stand around while presents were opened - somewhat hindering the serving staff's access to the other four booths in the room, but seriously, what were we supposed to do?

I know one thing I will be doing, and that's complaining to the restaurant's regional office and contacting their headquarters through their corporate website. There is absolutely no reason in my mind why this should have happened given the circumstances. My advice to you is if you have a get together that you want held at this restaurant, either go somewhere else (there are a lot of similar restaurants with great food at similar price points in the area) or get it in writing that your group will actually be seated in the same area. This is one restaurant I will NOT be returning to. Shame on the staff, especially the manager - there was no need to be rude and disrespectful and insensitive to the situation.

4 comments:

Carapace said...

Seriously, WTF? Write a letter to the main office, or something. We all understand sometimes there's just not room for a really large group, but good customer service dictates at least being polite about it and trying to find some way around the situation.

Geez, I bet the waitstaff just looooved the half-assed solution management came up with, too. Argh on your behalf.:P

Athena said...

I agree-- write the home office (I've unfortunately had to do this too many times). I hope you get an apology at the very least.

Sorry it wasn't as happy as it should have been!

storybeader said...

that's a shame. My DH used to be a restaurant manager. Usually the manager will take the blame for a faulty hostess (etc.) and rectify the problems. vThis guy doesn't sound like a person you want to give your money to...

Fusion Art Jewelry said...

Ugh!I totally agree with your take on things, and how you will proceed.

We had multiple problems w/a group at a restaurant once. After working my way to the top, we were given a $75 gift certificate to come back w/a letter of apology.

We went back a few times after that because it was our favorite steak restaurant, but then they went out of business? Hummmm....

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