What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

Lock down restrictions are beginning to ease in Atlanta, and we decided to take advantage by taking our three grand daughters to Applebee’s which is a reasonably priced chain restaurant. The parking lot wasn’t very full when we arrived, but the good news was the dining room was now open, according to the big sign displayed in their front window. We opened the door and noticed there were a couple of staff members sitting at the bar, but none of the tables or booths were occupied. Nevertheless, it was relatively early in the evening and we waited patiently at the front desk waiting to be seated.

Approximately ten minutes at elapsed when a sullen hostess came walking up the steps towards us, brandishing a bunch of napkins which she slapped on the desk. We were all wearing masks and so was she, standing the required six feet apart, but she gestured in an aggressive manner for us to stand further away. It was not going well. In fact it quickly went downhill:

Wife: Hello.

Hostess: Can I help you?

Wife: We need a table for a party of five please.

Hostess: Name?

Wife: We don’t have a reservation.

Hostess: We don’t take reservations.

Wife: Why do you need our name?

Hostess: To add you to our wait list. It will be a 35 minute wait.

Wife: What are we waiting for? ( pointing to an empty dining room.)

Hostess: We don’t have enough staff.

Wife: Thank you very much.  (sarcasm dripping from her every fiber) We’ll go somewhere else. Background comment from me: But there’s nobody else here!!!!!!

We trudged back to the car and Grand daughter No 2 exclaimed: ” My stomach hurts. I’m so hungry.”

Postscript: The reason for the wait could possibly have been the result of online orders. But we will never know as the hostess with the charm and personality of Meghan Markle  grudgingly told us they were short of staff. We eventually found a restaurant at the third time of asking which saved Grand daughter No 2 from wasting away.  Lock down caused by the pandemic has been very stressful for restaurants and bars, but that’s no excuse for staff to be churlish to customers. Needless to say, hell will freeze over before I set foot in another Applebee’s.

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