Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friendly's isn't so friendly anymore

Wow, I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted anything! Sorry!

Well, inadvertently following along the previous vein of thought, I felt the need to share some comments on the local Friendly's restaurants today. They just don't live up to their name anymore. I've been at the one on Monroe Ave twice now this summer, and each experience has left me kind of blah.

In June, I was babysitting, so I took the child whom I was watching to Friendly's to share a summer sundae. She had never been there, and I have such fond memories of going as a kid. The sundae itself was fine, but the service seemed a little blah, and they didn't give her a kids menu. It was just a blank white piece of paper, with four crayons, that of course broke before she did anything.

Then, this morning, I felt like having someone else make my breakfast for me. I almost stopped at a local restaurant, but their parking lot was too full. So, I went a little further down the road to the same Friendly's. No one was really in charge of seating people at tables, so I waited for a couple of minutes while the servers watched me standing there and the manager was readjusting the ice cream display in the freezer.

I was seated, and the server came over promptly to take my drink order. I got coffee and water, then perused the menu for a while. I finally settled on the Lumberjack which came with eggs, sausage, and pancakes. I will be literally running around with a 9 year-old in a few hours, so I need some good fuel!

When she came back with my coffee, I got a filled coffee cup and a bowl of three creamers in ice. Kudos for putting the creamer on ice to keep it cold! But then there was also a carafe of coffee so that I could pour my own refills when I wanted them. Really? There were about five other tables in the restaurant. You can't take two seconds to fill a coffee cup? If they were busy, I guess I could see it, but really they weren't. In fact, the one server who was working was leaning against the counter in back, reading today's newspaper. And these are young girls.

The food came out, and really wasn't too bad. I liked how they brought out a caddy with four different options for syrup: maple, caramel, swiss chocolate, and strawberry. But, no one came over to see how my food was until my plate was about 2/3 empty, and I wasn't wolfing it down. And it wasn't my server who came over, it was the manager. I do think it is important for managers to be in touch with the consumers, but shouldn't a server be checking on me first? She didn't even stop by until I was almost finished.

They have now changed their policy to where you are supposed to pay your bill at the table, instead of going up to the register. I like that, because I can pay my bill and finish my coffee. Although, I find it odd that the bill is brought to you when your food comes out. Anyway, it came to $9.70 because apparently you have to pay $1.99 for the privilege of pouring your own coffee! All I had on me was a $20, so I stuck it in the holder. When my change came back, she gave me two $5s with the change. Ok, I never waited tables, but first rule of thumb: If you want a tip, you give back $1s, because no way in hell is someone going to tip $5 for a $10 bill! I had to ask her to break it down, and she seemed distraught over that.

I stayed to finish my coffee. After all, I had paid a lot for it, and was still trying to organize my thoughts for an article I have to do today. But I really struggled with the tip. I didn't have any coins on me, and a 15% tip should have been $1.45. I ended up leaving only $1.30, thanks to the change I had gotten. Had there actually been some service, I would have left $2. I usually overtip. Having worked in restaurants in the past, I know how important that is. But I also expect something in return.

All of that ranting having been said, I have had decent service at the Friendly's on 31F outside of East Rochester. But, usually when we go there, we are on a lunch break from work, and need to get the food to go. Even when the one guy was fumbling over himself on one trip, you could tell he was just having one of those days, and he was extremely apologetic. They were also busy and other servers were yelling at him to help them with all of their stuff as well. Perhaps I just need to quit going to this particular location?

I may also be spoiled based on the other restaurants I have been visiting lately. I hope to get back to sharing those experiences with you soon!

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