Let me just begin by saying I usually only share the good thing but I wanted to share this with you because of my consistently bad experiences at Outback Steakhouse. I have also had several bad experiences at other restaurants including Chilis, Steak N Shake, and Texas Roadhouse. We have 3 kids so we don’t eat out very much. They are well behaved, so it’s always a nice treat for me to go out to eat and not have to worry about cooking and cleaning. We only have a small budget to eat out each month so it is very disappointing when we spend out time and money and have a bad experience.
For Christmas, we received a gift card to Outback Steakhouse. It has always been my favorite restaurant for dinner and celebrations. Before we had kids we would have a date night every Thursday night at Outback.
There was a coupon available on Sunday for $10 off $50 or more when you did curbside pick up. This was perfect because we didn’t have time to eat at a restaurant but we love to pick up lunch after church. Plus after the gift card and coupon lunch would be almost nothing.
We left church and I ordered lunch online from my phone. The pickup time was 12:05 pm. We got to Outback a little before noon and hung out waiting for someone to at least come and bring us the bill so we could have that done.
At 12:10 I called the store and they said they just sent back the order and it would be a few more minutes.
At 12:25pm I called back and spoke with a manager. He came outside and explained that the carryout person was the hostess and there wasn’t someone monitoring the online orders. (He said it wasn’t an excuse, he apologized and took several items off the bill.)
It was about 12:35 by the time we got the food…almost 50 minutes after we placed the order. When I got home I was even more disappointed. All our baked potatoes were hard and my steak, that was supposed to be a warm PINK, was practically raw. (The Bloomin’ Onion was delicious.) The restaurant is about 15 minutes from our house, so it wasn’t worth my time to return it.
So after a long wait, I didn’t even get a delicious meal. The last several times I went to Outback, it wasn’t great. At a different location after church, we waited over 50 minutes for our food. It’s not like the restaurant was slammed. There were maybe 3 other families at the restaurant.
In Florida, we ate at 2 different restaurants and we had a bad experience. At one location we did call ahead seating and we were seated about an hour after the original time we had planned on being seated.
It’s not just about the food – it’s about the time. My time is precious. I want to get home and hang out with my family. I ordered food to-go so I didn’t have to spend time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Instead, I spent an extra 30 minutes in my van listening to them ask how much longer because they were hungry. You can’t expect kids to sit in a parked car for 40 minutes.
In all these instances, the management took some items off the bill. But that doesn’t replace my time. So I think I may be done wasting my time at restaurants that can’t serve me a meal in a decent amount of time. Honestly, I hate to complain. I know it’s not always going to be perfect but at least it needs to be an acceptable experience.
Sometimes we like to go to Steak N Shake after church. Kids eat free – so it’s cheaper to eat out than make a meal. But the last few times we have visited a Steak N Shake we have waited over an hour to get our meal. It’s like fast food – so that’s crazy! Once we left the Steak N Shake and went to Texas Roadhouse because it had been over 20 minutes and no one even acknowledged us. It was just as bad at Texas Roadhouse.
I don’t know why but it feels like no one cares about the customer anymore. When I worked in a public setting, I worked hard. I wanted to make sure the customer got the best experience possible. I had a reputation to uphold for the company. It’s just something my parents instilled in me from an early age.
If you are an employee – just do your best. Work as hard as you can because you are representing a company. If there is a problem, keep the customer informed. It feels better than being ignored.
So I will close this by saying I hope to find a place I can take my family and spend my hard earned money on a meal that is delicious and is served in a timely manner.
I still have some money left on my gift card – but I am not sure if it’s worth my time.
Have you had a (consistently) really good or really bad experience at a restaurant?