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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:39 am 
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Moon wrote:

I did have a young waitress at an omni restaurant who was so unhappy that her only tip was "try smiling sometime" written on the back of the check. I'm usually a pretty generous tippers, even when service is subpar, so that says something about her conduct.


I mean, some friendliness would be great, but... I really hope her mom/dog/cat/grandpa didn't die the day before or something. At my place of work, a server's dad died, and he has been really distraught about it. What are you going to do? It's not salary, if you don't work, you don't get paid. A customer wrote on his credit card receipt 'Never had such terrible service. Try laying off the drugs.' I cannot think of anything more rude than writing 'advice' like this on a receipt with no tip. If you're not going to tip (ugh, fine, it's your prerogative), do it silently. The non-tip is saying everything for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:33 am 
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allularpunk wrote:
Moon wrote:

I did have a young waitress at an omni restaurant who was so unhappy that her only tip was "try smiling sometime" written on the back of the check. I'm usually a pretty generous tippers, even when service is subpar, so that says something about her conduct.


I mean, some friendliness would be great, but... I really hope her mom/dog/cat/grandpa didn't die the day before or something. At my place of work, a server's dad died, and he has been really distraught about it. What are you going to do? It's not salary, if you don't work, you don't get paid. A customer wrote on his credit card receipt 'Never had such terrible service. Try laying off the drugs.' I cannot think of anything more rude than writing 'advice' like this on a receipt with no tip. If you're not going to tip (ugh, fine, it's your prerogative), do it silently. The non-tip is saying everything for you.


Oh, she was being perfectly happy when gossiping with the other waitresses behind the bar, and when she was talking on her cell being the hostess stand. The restaurant was otherwise dead and I think she was just pissed off that she was the only one of her friends who couldn't just goof off the whole time. We were absolutely inconveniencing her.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:34 am 
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I work in the service industry and as an introvert, I thought I could never handle it. It turns out, being super kind and accommodating to people is actually kind of invigorating. I mean, I live in my own head most of the time, and this is a neat challenge to try my hand at customer service. If I have a shitty client, I can bisque all I want at home/in my head, but it's actually kind of awesome to take the challenge to change their minds.

Anyway, I agree that it's saddening when purely veg places have crepe service. Like, my parents are happy to eat at vegan restaurants with me, but one time at a vegan buffet my mum found a snail in her salad and the staff didn't give a shiitake and basically chastised her for mentioning it. Another time my little sister found a thumb tack in her soup and met a same reaction. I just believe that everyone in the industry should strive for excellent service. It doesn't have to be fake smiles and embarrassingly over-the-top spiels, but it WILL help the business if you try to be on the more friendlier side of genuine. And generally you'll go home happier at the end of the day, because people will be less jerky to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Yeees this is the reason why I now avoid the only vegan place in Brussels: cold almost rude waitress making you feel horrible and giving looks like "I spit on you plate, ahah" :'(


vijita wrote:
I work in the service industry and as an introvert, I thought I could never handle it. It turns out, being super kind and accommodating to people is actually kind of invigorating.


I love that story :)

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:17 pm 
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I just realized that almost every veg place i've eaten at hasn't had waitstaff - they're the places where you order at the counter and they bring your food and that's it. There's a place in Carbondale that's sit-down and the only problem i've had with the waitstaff is one time I could see the waiter chatting with a friend in the back and we ended up having to go up to the counter to ask for the check because he wasn't paying attention to his section at all.

I'm pretty laid back about service I get, like you really have to be rude or leave me hanging before i'll even think about reducing your tip, but the shiitake like Vijita mentioned is just 'oh hell to the no'. Pre-vegan, Brian and I went on a dinner and movie date and it took over 25 minutes and me asking about it twice to bring me a simple Cannelloni, and when I got it the insides were completely frozen. We were already on the verge of being late for our movie. I told the waitress and she said something like, "So you want me to reheat it...?", so I asked to speak to a manager. I told him it was frozen and inedible and we didn't have time to wait for a new one. He forking BLINKED AT ME. No, "Oh, i'm sorry." or "We'll refund you since you can't eat it." Nothing. I can't remember if we paid for it or not but we definitely didn't tip.

I guess i'm lucky that that's the worst service i've ever gotten.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:37 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
I was a server for the better part of ten years. What I learned is that people are truly awful.



AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!! this is so true. i was never a server but i worked in retail for 7-8 years and people can just be terrible. i try so hard to be nice to everyone because people can just be dicks.

my "favorite" thing was when people used to just toss money at me like i was too much of a piece of shiitake to be handed money. it took everything in me not to stab them with a pen :-P (can you tell i was amazing at dealing wtih the public!)

this is why whenever i go out somewhere (restaurant or store) i try to be nice to the servers or cashiers or whatever cause i know they probably get treated like dirt.
sometimes you can just tell by peoples' demeanor they aren't having the best day at their job.

however i do draw the line when a server/cashier is rude for no apparent reason. it is part of the job to be friendly or at least polite. i dont need people kissing my asparagus or stupidly friendly but i do expect polite.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Oh man. the horror stories I have from working as a server for 5+ years. You don't wanna hear them. My whole outlook on life changed. People are terrible.

Anyways...most vegan/veggie places I have been have SLOW service. You know why? Because the food is almost always made to order, which makes it take longer. Also, those places are generally HELLA crowded. Like waiting for a table every single time at Veggie Grill.

Slow, but not bad service I must add. Lots of places have disclaimers that say "food made to order, please pardon the wait for your order" or whatever. So it is all understandable. Also, unless it is a chain, they are usually tiny, family owned places where you should expect slower service if they are busy. Come on, not every place is Chipotle people.

At a former job, when we would go out to lunch as coworkers, I got a lot of people on board with Veggie Grill which was close to the office, but always so crowded that we had to go at like 11am. They were amazed at first that a VEGAN place was so crowded. Then they got their food and were like "oh..I see now why this place is so popular!" It was our favorite lunch spot! And I was the only veggie too.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:03 pm 
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I was always scared to serve because I figured it would send me on a killing rampage, but I take pleasure in turning the most crotchety people into happy people. I mean, not always, but most of the time. Slinging specifically vegan food will always open a whole can of worms in most of your guests (unless you live in Portland), so we do have to work harder to make the service experience really stellar so they can enjoy the food, and not go away all judge-y. It sucks, but it's taking one for the team for making veganism seem more accessible.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:21 pm 
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I don't expect cheery service. In restaurants, I mostly expect to not wait 20 minutes for checks, to have orders as they appear on the menu, and to have water refilled with reasonable regularity.

I don't expect the server to blatantly hit on the guy I'm with (you know because no guy would possibly be with me) or to tell me moldy muffins are fine or to tell me that carrots are the only vegetable they ever cook and serve.

I think a possible issue is that if a restaurant knows that their customers have nowhere else to go for their tofu scramble, they aren't too fussed about doing anything to fix screwups. This is just the vibe I've had from a few places.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:33 pm 
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Herbivore in the Mission is total crepe service. When we were still new to the bay we ate there a few times. Once a waitress picked up my sunglasses and slammed them on the check...They were Armani and I was rather pissed...

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:03 pm 
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The vegan meet-up in my city has been held at the same organic vegan cafe/anarchist bookstore/market collective on the same day of every month for the last 7 years; the organizers STILL have to call to reserve a table for 30 people a week before, remind them a day before, and remind them again the morning of. And every time, the staff are like "whoah, I can't believe we ran out of all three daily specials before 1230h AGAIN on this same day of every month when we knew a week in advance and were reminded twice more that there were thirty vegans coming for lunch today."

Ah well. You can't fix stupid.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Chicki wrote:
Oh man. the horror stories I have from working as a server for 5+ years. You don't wanna hear them. My whole outlook on life changed. People are terrible.

Anyways...most vegan/veggie places I have been have SLOW service. You know why? Because the food is almost always made to order, which makes it take longer.


How slow is slow, though? Even food made to order shouldn't take forever if the kitchen staff is competent. Anything over 20 or 30 minutes for any basic sort of meal implies that the chef or whoever is running the kitchen needs to examine their process. (There are exceptions of course, but still.) That kind of thing snowballs, too-- start getting behind and you'll be behind all night.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:07 pm 
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I worked retail for 8 years and by the time I was finally done with it hated people. I had people throw money at me, hand me money with blood on it, tell me to smile, complain about me (not that often but a few times enough to get me in trouble). I am not a happy go lucky smiley type but very polite, courteous and helpful. I can only imagine how waiting on people must be the hardest in customer service. I always ask the server how they are doing (same with cashiers if they first ask me how I am doing). I don't expect Veggie Grill kind of crazy happy service which only puts me off, but politeness, acknowledgement and saying thank you goes a long way. I must get really shitty service to only tip 10 %.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:13 pm 
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I have had the worst service in omni restaurants!

I was at one that was super-dark, and the waitress brought me my vegan tagine with a giant hunk of salmon in the middle. Which I discovered on taking a bite. Then they served me a glass of water with a roach in it. I discovered this by getting a mouthful of creepy cockroach legs, and gagging. The waitress was rude and both times said it wasn't her problem - though she did get me another tagine and another glass of water. But she didn't comp us anything.

So I tipped the waitress 10%, and then the manager came over to embarrass me because "this is how she makes her money! She is crying because of you." So I tipped 20% and never ever went back.

I've been vegetarian for nearly 9 years and vegan for 7 and I can't imagine a veg restaurant being worse than that :)

Are the omni restaurants near you better, j-dub?

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:22 pm 
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OMG how awful. The roach thing, so gross! I am sorry that happened to you. I once ordered veggie salad rolls (I had been vegan for years) and when I took a bite out of the first one there was shrimp in it. So gross. Now that I am a real adult I will ask to be comped. I can't believe they made YOU feel bad after what happened. You could have made the biggest stink of it especially with the roach. You could have called the health dept on them. You are too nice. I would have flipped the f out.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:44 pm 
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That's the thing-no matter how bad service is in a vegan restaurant, at least I know I'm getting food without a big hunk of meat or cheese in it. And that's good enough for me.

The service industry is so awful. In addition to working as a server (where my asparagus was patted, where I had to serve patrons who took off their shoes and socks and put them on the opposite chair), I've worked as a food coop cashier (I did this while in grad. school, and was talked to as if I were mentally defiicient, if I was talked to at all) and retail (snapshot: man comes in to the store, goes to dressing room, tries on women's clothes and wanks off on the wall, and leaves).

I'm not sure that the gross bugs thing is unique to any type of food service, omni or vegan. The sad thing about working in any kind of restaurant--café to four star--is that once you see what happens in the kitchen, it kind of makes you never want to dine out again.

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Last edited by molasses jane on Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:46 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Are the omni restaurants near you better, j-dub?

The omni restaurants that explicitly cater to vegans are much, much better.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:59 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I have had the worst service in omni restaurants!

I was at one that was super-dark, and the waitress brought me my vegan tagine with a giant hunk of salmon in the middle. Which I discovered on taking a bite. Then they served me a glass of water with a roach in it. I discovered this by getting a mouthful of creepy cockroach legs, and gagging. The waitress was rude and both times said it wasn't her problem - though she did get me another tagine and another glass of water. But she didn't comp us anything.

So I tipped the waitress 10%, and then the manager came over to embarrass me because "this is how she makes her money! She is crying because of you." So I tipped 20% and never ever went back.

I've been vegetarian for nearly 9 years and vegan for 7 and I can't imagine a veg restaurant being worse than that :)

Are the omni restaurants near you better, j-dub?

Dear god, this is the worst thing I've heard in awhile. I am now afraid to drink from a glass. When I resort to sippy cups, we will all know who to blame.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:16 am 
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Roaches! Jaymoh and I experienced roaches in another vegan restaurant in the Mission (Cha-Ya). I get that there are a lot of roachies in the Mission, but the staff weren't very enthusiastic or apologetic about letting us move tables.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:46 pm 
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Not at a restaurant (I've found service to me more or less the same as anywhere else), but there's a vegetarian clothing store somewhere in this country that I will never go to again because I've twice been put off buying anything by "why are you in my shop?" attitudes from staff. I did buy a pair of beautiful shoes from there, and they are fantastic shoes that I still wear daily three years on, but I wouldn't go back there. A little smile goes a long way!

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Gulliver wrote:
Not at a restaurant (I've found service to me more or less the same as anywhere else), but there's a vegetarian clothing store somewhere in this country that I will never go to again because I've twice been put off buying anything by "why are you in my shop?" attitudes from staff. I did buy a pair of beautiful shoes from there, and they are fantastic shoes that I still wear daily three years on, but I wouldn't go back there. A little smile goes a long way!

I've had a similar experience at a certain vegan shoe store in the US. When I was there in person they were pretty unfriendly, and once my dad bought me a gift card for my birthday from there, and he even commented to me on their "blase" behavior to him over the phone!

It's funny, I've often thought this about vegan/veg restaurants too so I was interested to see this thread. I feel like I've had not so much shitty/rude service, as just sort of incompetent/clueless. I agree with what some others have said though- there's not as much competition for veg places so they might feel like they don't have to try as hard. Also, there's sometimes the attitude that, since we're ethical and vegan, that should be enough, don't hold us accountable to piddling things like good service.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Quarantined, did you have poor service in NY? I can't think of any really bad places, besides Lan, which is unpredictably open, but the food and service, besides that, are good. I thought service in NY is generally good because there is so much competition. The only place I can think of with mediocre service is Kaya's in South NJ, which I chalk up to the fact that it is on the shore, generally packed in the summer, was the only veg option for the area for a long time, the food is good and it does have a hippy vibe. I think its interesting about the smile thing. If the wait person smiles at me and is pleasant, it takes a lot to get me fussed (I remember getting food at Tabla, where they forgot our table of 9 for over an hour between appetizers and main course).

Sorry about the roach trauma Vantine! Tommee Tippee makes excellent sippy cups :)

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:48 pm 
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I feel like my issue is that the strictly veg restaurants I've been to (which isn't actually that many different ones) are really popular and therefore super busy most of the time and servers don't think they have to be really great, because they're popular and busy. That being said, I haven't ever had absolutely terrible service.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:34 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Quarantined, did you have poor service in NY? I can't think of any really bad places, besides Lan, which is unpredictably open, but the food and service, besides that, are good. I thought service in NY is generally good because there is so much competition.


Actually, no, I think service in NYC was generally pretty good too! I can't think of any bad experiences I had there. As you say I think that competition in NYC is so fierce that they usually are on their game. I've noticed weird service at veg places in Baltimore and Boston mostly, I think. I'm trying to think if I've been to veg places anywhere else- in Europe, I've had really good experiences at veg restaurants, which is noteworthy because in general the service ethic is not so overpowering as in the US, as Lepelaar pointed out.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:20 am 
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It's kind of weird to me that so many people judge service by the waiter/waitresses attitude. I could care less if they smile and are nice. As long as they don't take too long to do anything, get my order right and the food comes out in a reasonable time period I'm happy. Oh and constantly refill my water too. That's all that matters to me!


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