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 Post subject: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:25 pm 
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Hi All,

I'm trying to figure out if this is cuisine-specific or region-specific. In Vancouver almost all of the vegetarian restaurants have service somewhere between terrible and offensively terrible. I'm talking an hour and a half for simple food, forgetting orders, seemingly forgetting you exist, etc.

This isn't the scene in vegan-friendly omni restaurants, but even the higher-end vegetarian restaurants do this.

Does this happen in the veggie restaurants where you live? Is it a Thing? Or is Vancouver just full of too-cool-for-school servers?

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:29 pm 
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I've only really had consistently terrible service at The Foundation. Vegan restaurants in Edmonton are the same - hit or miss, but nothing stands out as particularly awful (Noorish can be quite slow at times).


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:36 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
Hi All,

I'm trying to figure out if this is cuisine-specific or region-specific. In Vancouver almost all of the vegetarian restaurants have service somewhere between terrible and offensively terrible. I'm talking an hour and a half for simple food, forgetting orders, seemingly forgetting you exist, etc.

This isn't the scene in vegan-friendly omni restaurants, but even the higher-end vegetarian restaurants do this.

Does this happen in the veggie restaurants where you live? Is it a Thing? Or is Vancouver just full of too-cool-for-school servers?


Service at the veg cafe in my college town could be pretty crappy. Usually when I brought an omni friend there. Like, once on a Saturday evening (after dinner rush, but still an hour or more before closing), I brought a skeptical but willing friend. They were out of the first two things, so I suggested the stir fry with seitan. They served her a plate of carrots. No other veggies. They insisted that was the way they always make it. Uh, no.

And then their dumb asparagus rules like no take out on weekends, no exceptions. So, if I wanted takeout, I had to go sit at a table, have a server take my order, then serve me the plate and a box. Ridiculous.

But, I mean, I don't go to that many restaurants anymore. Maybe everybody has crappy service.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:39 pm 
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There's a little vegetarian cafe near where my sister lives. The service and quality of food there is remarkably spotty. You never know if you're going to get the food you ordered, or if they'll even have it at all. One time we went there and they were out of vegan pancakes but they could make vegetarian pancakes. Their vegan pancakes are forking awesome. Their vegetarian pancakes were jammed full of oats. Last time we went, my sister got an iced thai red eye, which is her typical drink of choice there. They forgot the espresso shot. When I took it back to the counter to get it, she watched from our table as they simply added some syrup.

It's a cute little cafe in a college town, but it's pretty much run by college kids, and I dread going there because you can never tell beforehand whether it's going to be pretty good, or forking awful.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:43 pm 
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I haven't found Vancouver service particularly any different than the rest of North America - on the whole it's pretty lousy, with occasional bright spots. I found both Heirloom and the Acorn were pretty spot on though..did you mean either of them?

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Yeah, i've gotten the tofu scramble there four or five times and it's always different and each time it seems to have less tofu.

Two details Brian forgot is that the regular pancakes had uncooked, non-instant (so huge, crunchy pieces) oats. It was described to me as 'strapping on a feedbag', and the girl added MORE syrup to the drink, which made it undrinkable.

Also we could not figure out how they didn't have the stuff to make vegan pancakes, but to make pancakes with eggs. I assume the ingredients are almost the same besides the eggs. And they always bring the vegan pancakes with butter! Even when Brian's sister gets them, she sends back the butter out of principle (and they're really moist so they don't need it).

But I do like their vegan chocolate cake because it's not super-sweet and it's not dry and gross like some vegetarian cafes have their one vegan thing be.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:01 pm 
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haha, oh jeez. The majority of vegan places here have the worst service. Like, laughably so. To the extent that even getting the bloody bill is an effort. It's only my 'moral fibre' that has prevented me walking out without paying of late- i'm sure no one would notice if I did!

eta: most of the vegan places here are kinda hipster dive bars. So that... affects... countenance somewhat.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Lackluster service is kinda the norm here, maybe because waitstaff get paid a half-decent wage and don't rely on tips to pay the bills. We've had such bad service at some restaurants that we've all but refused to go back. There are a couple places that we didn't go back to for several years because the service was so bad.

We went to one place on Valentine's Day, which wasn't as busy as you'd expect (especially because it was also a Saturday). At one point, we asked for ketchup and a glass of water; after about 10 minutes of not getting served, we stole a bottle of ketchup from a table that hadn't been bussed and Mike went to the bar for the water (by which time my onion rings were cold). When we asked for the check, they never came round with it, so we paid at the bar and told them they could've made another £10-15 off of us if the service hadn't been so shitty. And the food wasn't even that good. I went back several years later, and the waitress had the hardest time trying to understand that I wanted tofu scramble with my full breakfast (it was offered as part of a separate menu item but not included with the breakfast).

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:06 pm 
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joshua wrote:
I haven't found Vancouver service particularly any different than the rest of North America - on the whole it's pretty lousy, with occasional bright spots. I found both Heirloom and the Acorn were pretty spot on though..did you mean either of them?

I've been to Heirloom four times so far. The first time the service was fine, the subsequent three times it's been pretty bad. I went with my family for brunch on Monday and the server a) didn't bring me sugar after requesting it and b) didn't visit our table for 30 minutes between bringing our appetizer and taking our order and c) put my brother and his girlfriend's order in wrong so their food arrived quite a bit after mine and my mom's. Which meant the meal took for-bloody-ever. Had the same server today and it was a little better but brunch still took about two hours because there seems to be a real timing issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:13 pm 
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I haven't had a ton of experience at veg only restaurants, I went to a veggie dim sum place a few years ago, and they were amazing, both the food and the service. It was my first experience with mock meat other than veggie dogs and burgers, and I couldn't believe we weren't eating chicken. The wait staff wasn't overly friendly but were efficient and fast. Sort of typical for an Asian restaurant, I think.

More recently I was at Sadie's Diner in TO with a friend. Our wait was about average, we were hungry but not dying when the food came. The guy who owns Sadie's is really nice and very active in the community. I also took a soup to go at Rawlicious on Bloor W. I couldn't believe how long it took him to spoon soup in a to go cup but saw him doing freshly cut garnish so I didn't complain. Can't say what the service is like eating in but the staff at the counter was nice enough.

So I might not be the best gauge for service, especially as I don't go out to eat very often. But I think that non-chain restaurants don't have the emphasis on service that larger chains usually do because of corporate gobbledygook. Then again, I've had pretty abysmal service at a couple of larger chains also.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:16 pm 
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I've been to a handful of vegan restaurants (all in Florida- Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee) and we've actually only had amazing, above and beyond type of service. We always joke about it, that omni places should learn from them. Maybe we've just had really good luck? Or, uh, it's that good ole southern hospitality?

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:16 pm 
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The places I've been to generally have really good service. Once we had slow service at one but that hasn't been an issue since.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:17 pm 
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yes, i've noticed it. i don't know why it is, except that more vegetarian restaurants seem to be run by young hippy/hipster types. and i'm guessing people go to vegetarian restaurants out of principle, but people go to omni restaurants because the food and service are good?

however, aux vivres in montreal seems to have consistent service, and consistent food quality. sometimes the service isn't AMAZING, and the food does occasionally dip below stellar into acceptable, but it's always decent. i've never gotten mad about being there, anyway. it's always packed too, and it's just about the only vegan restaurant in town. in the three years we've lived here, they've retained almost the same staff too.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:20 pm 
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rachell37 wrote:
I went back several years later, and the waitress had the hardest time trying to understand that I wanted tofu scramble with my full breakfast (it was offered as part of a separate menu item but not included with the breakfast).

HA, was that the time went to the 'Note?!

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Wow, I'd say I've had the opposite experience. We have an exclusively vegan and a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in the city I live in (London, Ontario) and the staff are ridiculously polite. Like, smiley, bubbly, remember us and our previous orders, just overall great. I mean, the all-vegan place (Veg Out) has some of the best service I've had. It could be because London is a smaller city (400,000 people) and so you kind of get to know people, especially in the vegan scene?

All the restaurants I've been to in Toronto, Montreal and NYC were all great, too. The only place I can think of that does have pretty crappy service is Hot Beans in Toronto, an all-vegan burrito/taco place - the main guy that works there is pretty grumpy and not especially nice, but even still, he always says, "Have a nice day." it's a takeout place though.

I dunno!

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:42 pm 
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PP, what's the name of the place in London? I don't go out that way too often but wouldn't mind a really good excuse.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:47 pm 
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Moon, it's this place!
http://vegoutrestaurant.com/

I live a 5 minute walk from there.
And I live a 2 minute walk from:
http://www.zen-garden.ca/

We also have a vegan bakery. It's all gluten-free too, which I'm not crazy about, but nothing tastes gluten-free.
http://www.sweetlemonbakery.com/Home.html

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:52 pm 
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I've not gotten terrible service. I was lectured to about the miracle of eating raw once. My inability to keep a poker face saved the day.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:58 pm 
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Bad service is kind of a thing in Santa Cruz, maybe because it's a tourist town. We haven't noticed _worse_ service at the vegetarian restaurants. I did once order something specifically vegan at one veg restaurant and they sent out a side salad with dairy-based dressing and then didn't want to replace it for me because "you didn't say you wanted vegan _dressing_!" That's literally the only service faux pas I can recall with a veg restaurant here though, so service might actually be a little better.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:06 pm 
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I can only think of one veg restaurant in the world I have been to that didn't have decent service.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:09 pm 
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The only place in Seattle I can think of with consistently remarkably bad service was the Globe, which closed years ago. It was all-vegan. Service at all other places I'm familiar with is either good or, you know, regular.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:13 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
I can only think of one veg restaurant in the world I have been to that didn't have decent service.

A tour! A tour is needed! Git yer wee pandabum over here and we will crack-team investigate. 'Snoopthefuckout2013'.

No! Tips! Till Brooklyn!*

*('cept we'll still tip anyhoo cus we're not wankers like that)

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:22 pm 
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Oh paprikapapaya, i love those two places! I'm so happy they're still open. I miss zen garden something fierce.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:28 pm 
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I actually just had a really great experience in a non-veg restaurant that caters to vegans and vegetarians. My husband and I were both home from work this past Monday which is super rare so we slept in and then went our for brunch. I ordered the tofu scramble and he ordered an omelette with grilled veggies, tofu eggs and soy cheese. But when his omelette came they actually made him real eggs with tofu on top of them! We said something to our server who was confused as to why the kitchen would do that and right away the owner came over to apologize. She was horrified and apologetic and honestly felt terrible. They made him a new meal in minutes and gave us a discount.

This is a place we frequent and we would have gone back without a question anyway, but the extra attention and service was nice and verified why we love this place so much.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Service in Vegetarian Restaurants?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:42 pm 
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I don't have a lot of experience at all veg restaurants, but I've had normal to good service at all the ones I've been to (mostly in Albuquerque and Chicago). Mint Tulip in ABQ is really exceptional, they know my name and what I normally order and are just all around great.

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