Saturday, April 08, 2006

Terrible, surly service and cold eggs -- Woolworth's Coffee-Shop, Campus Square, Melville

Friday, April 07, 2006

Service: *
Food: * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * *

This is my second visit to this branch, and it's my last.

The first time was okay-ish. Long, long, long waits. And some trivial details of orders gotten wrong.

Today's session iss just plain awful. I order scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and two slices of seed loaf. And a decaff cappuccino.

My instructions for the food are simple: 1) Scrambled eggs, very well done. No runny bits. 2) Bacon, extremely well done, VERY crispy, NO soft bits. 3) Toast, VERY well done.

Now in many establishments, the waiter will repeat the order to demonstrate that they've understood. In this case, blankness.

About twenty minutes in, my coffee arrives. I ask the standard, anxious, 'Are you sure this is decaff?' and get a surly stare for three seconds, and a curt, 'Ya.'

Another ten minutes later, my food arrives. The egg looks great. But the bacon's pasty and soft. The toast is hardly even singed, let alone well done. And there's only one slice of it.

I send it back, with the same instructions.

The food comes back ten minutes later. Bacon ultra crispy, the way I like it. The toast is like a very thin biscuit. And the egg. Hmmmm. The egg... Ice cold. They hadn't even bothered to keep it warm.

I ask for some Worcestershire sauce. Five minutes later someone brings me some tomato sauce. 'I asked for Worcestershire sauce,' I say.

'We don't have any,' the waitress says, as ultra surly as my bacon was crisp second time round.

I say, 'This is a Woolworth's food store. Have you checked the shelves?'

The three-second glare. 'Someone's looking now.'

Twenty minutes later, I finish eating. And noone comes to offer me the elusive Worcestershire sauce.

But that's not ALL!

Normally, I tip 20%. In this case, I decide that I will tip 0%, with an explanation directly to my waitress as to why I'm giving her nothing. My explanation will include my impressions, such as, 'You took ages for every piece of service I got. You didn't check on me. You didn't give me what I wanted. You got my order wrong. You let my eggs go cold. You didn't bring me Worcestershire sauce.'

Instead, it takes ten minutes to get my bill.

When the bill arrives, she's very cheerful. For the first time all day. So I kinda think, 'Ag, I don't need to be mingy. I'll give her 10%. Doesn't matter too much.' And anyway, I'm not really interested in educating her in customer service right now.

So I mark the tip on the bill, give her my credit card. Wait ten more minutes for it to come back. And find that she hasn't added the tip to the card.

And then I remember... the last time I was here, the waiter told me that they don't put tips on the credit card. What the hell????

So hey... I'm not going to the Melville Woolworth's coffee-shop again soon.

[Update:] This post originally appeared as my comment on Clive Simpkins's blog. It's since turned into a conversation in the comments field, and has been forwarded by Clive to the management of Woolies. We hold our breaths. Read Clive's post and the conversation at: Prepping for Problems.

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  1. Andrea, Cal and I got up and left when we visited the Woolies restuarant in The Design Quarter, basically because the service was non-existant. We wont bother going back

    Woolies should either stick to their guns, or make sure the new stuff they get into doesn't negativley impact on my perceptions of the company as a whole...!

  2. Heya Rich...!

    I've posted a comment over on Clive's blog that speculates that Woolies management is running the coffee-shops under their retail model, instead of making sure that they're actually standalone coffee-shops.

    I'm guessing that they're NOT treating their staff correctly. My sense is that they're creating some major staff-resistance, and it's coming out as indifference to the customer.

    The interesting thing for me is whether or not they're going to be listening to blog articles like mine and Clive's.

    I'm meeting him for coffee at the Hyde Park Woolies on Thursday. I'll be sure to blog about it.

    Blue skies


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