I took a friend to lunch on 10/17/17 at 12:00 p.m. at the El Encanto restaurant at the beautiful Odysea Aquarium in Scottsdale, AZ. The restaurant had approximately four tables when we arrived. We were seated by our server Jaime. She immediately brought us chips & salsa. We then ordered our drinks and Jaime returned with our drinks in a short time.
The restaurant was getting busy and Jaime was the bartender, hostess, busser and server plus she was answering phones. We waited for quite some time and then finally motioned to her to take our order. We could see she was very busy and wondered why there wasn’t a manager on the floor to help. Our food arrived in a reasonably amount of time. I had a grilled chicken wrap and my guest had a bean tostada which were both delicious and prepared properly.
We didn’t receive our check or any drink refills, probably due to the fact that Jaime had 10 tables and people at the bar and front door throughout our visit. I motioned to Jaime after it had been quite some since we had finished that we needed our check as my guest was ready to leave. She brought the check and then picked up plates and took it a step further to see if I wanted a lemonade to take with me. Jaime did the best job she could considering the lack of staff on the floor.
A busser did arrive at 1:15 p.m. as the restaurant was clearing out. It’s unclear if the restaurant was understaffed or if perhaps other staff scheduled to help Jaime had called in sick. Regardless of the staffing situation, a manager should have been available to jump into help Jaime in this situation.
This was our first experience at this restaurant. Remember you rarely get a second chance to make a first impression and that first experience to your establishment is critical to your customer returning. Cost-efficiency is important but if you are losing business from poor customer experiences, does that make sense? I noticed at least 2-3 parties of 4 or more leave because no one was available to seat them. I would venture to say about $200 – $300 lost plus due to Jaime being so busy she had less time to upsell, more profit lost.
Running a restaurant is a difficult job and forecasting your business levels at specific times, is imperative to your success. This facility generates a lot of traffic from families and this particular week was fall break for many children, so ensuring that you are aware of these factors is crucial. This way you can be prepared with extra staff to accommodate the additional clientele.
When you visit a restaurant, do you return and/or refer a restaurant if you have a poor first experience? What factors from your initial experience with a restaurant help you decide if you should return?