IHOP Restaurants — store 4405, gastonia, nc - particularly the manager of store
We visited the IHOP in Gastonia, NC (#4405) yesterday, June 16th - check # 3493. We arrived at 1058 a.m. and were told it would be a 20-minute wait to be seated; no problem. We were seated at about 11:23 and our orders taken at 11:28 (Please note, I only kept track of time because we had already purchased tickets for the theater for a 12:30 p..m. show). Our drinks were brought promptly, however the Siera Mist was rotten, tasted like a dirty drinking fountain. It tasted like the fountain had not been cleaned for awhile; a LONG WHILE.
The restaurant was busy, but not like a normal Sunday busy, surprisingly there were many empty tables throughout. Our section had 4 servers alone (and we were in the back of the store).
At 12:03 our server Christy returns and apologizes for the wait and says our order should be up momentarily, it's next in queue; says she doesn't understand what's going on, she placed the order over 20 minutes ago and we kindly correct her to state more than 30 minutes ago. We're still not completely worried because we are 5 minutes from the theater.
My husband begins to get antsy and my son now is quite hungry as overall we've been in the restaurant more than an hour. At 12:20 (Now we're going to miss our movie at the theater) - My husband gets up and notices the line of food (a later picture taken and can show what he means) is piled up under heat lamps. My husband sees our order and sees his gravy getting congealed under the lights. Speaks to our server and and asks why our food isn't being served. She responds with it's not ready - He corrects her and points to our order - she explains that while it's up there under the heat lamp, orders have to be taken / served in the order they are received and ONLY the table server can deliver the order. Please note at this point there are a minimum of 5 servers waiting to take their orders to their tables but can't because the Manager WILL NOT release them because they are NOT "ready" - My husband frustrated and returns to our table and tells us this story. I tell him that's BS... WHY, because the table that was seated just 5 minutes before ours (and they were the ONLY table seated directly before us) got their food at this point, 45 minutes ago. And the table next to us seated 20 minutes after us, got their food 10 minutes ago - we're still waiting...
At exactly 12:29 (now at our showtime) - The manager and our server bring us our food. My husband asks why there was so much food sitting under a lamp - The manager has no response other than to apologize and say, "I kept watching the food and sorry, but you see I watched and as the food gets cold I get the cooks to make a fresh batch" - WHAT?!?!?!?! So you purposely allow the food to sit in the window and get old and then get your cooks to make again, isn't that a complete waste of money versus allowing your servers who are just standing around waiting for their "turn" to serve their customers? She did not respond and walked away.
Our server kindly apologized and thanked us for speaking up, because she and the other servers do not understand the policy of not being able to serve the customers until it's their turn.
Needless to say our food was cold, but we were SO HUNGRY - we did eat it - my son who would've eaten just a child's portion under "normal" circumstances ate his serving plus my husband's side pancakes - why because we were literally served 1hr and 7 minutes after our arrival. Oh and the two tables behind us that arrived 30 minutes after us, got their food at the same time we did.
You manager gave us a whopping $5 discount on our meal - comping ONLY our drinks (3 coffees and a sierra mist, which was rotten anyway) and we never got refills anyway, because your carafe's hold less than 3 cups of coffee - so we didn't even get a full cup to begin with.
We still paid $30 and lost $50 because the theater would not honor our tickets for the next show and had to repurchase tickets. I don't know your Manager's name because she had no desire to share it, or ever come back to talk to us. She did stay hidden in the back of the restaurant.
As we were leaving at 1:00 p.m. - (2 hours in a restaurant that maybe should've been at most 1 hour) - My husband's back sore from sitting 2 hours in a booth with a hole in the bench; my elderly mother who also got stuck in a hole in the bench of the booth also very sore. In all the years of visiting this store, in all my years of going out to eat and we go to high end restaurants this is absolutely the worst we've ever experienced. We've never waited over an hour to get our meals and have always been treated with the utmost respect. Your Manager was horrible and obviously does not know how to handle a mediocre crowd. If leaving food under heat lamps is the "new way" of iHOP - then please know we have no desire to be loyal patrons any longer.
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