Is 20 minutes between courses top long to wait? Recently at 555 in Portland ME It was 2 ours from when we first sat down before we were served our entrees.We complained to our waiter who was apologetic, but not very helpful. He did explain that the kitchen was backed up as it was a busy night. This is fine and understandable. If he had checked in with us and shared this information before we complained, we would have been a lot more patient. Still no entrees. We asked to speak with the manager, twice. When she did show up she was barely apologetic. Her only explanation was that with large tables such as ours it was the restaurant’s policy to serve slowly. Ok, there are many reasons I can think of as to why this would be appropriate and necessary, but 20 minutes between courses!?. When asked to explain the logic of this, she couldn’t. I have worked in customer service. When someone complains, you sympathize, empathize and ask “what can I do to make this better?” The manager was nothing but defensive. My sense of her attitude was “our food is so good here, you are lucky to dine here, that should be enough”. I suggested that she might want to make an adjustment in the bill. I suggested she might want to comp one of the bottles of wine. She said she would need the owner’s permission to do that. I felt a little sorry for her, being put in such a responsible position with no real power or authority.
Finally, we were served our entrees. Entrees were very good, Nicely presented. One of my companions commented that her sword fish was not warm.
Settling up, adding insult to injury: The check included an 18% gratuity—standard policy for tables of 6 or more. No problem. Until we realized that the 18% was based on the total that included the bar bill, which included a rather expensive bottle of red wine. Once again a chat with the manager who adjusted the bill. When she returned I asked if she had comped one of the bottles of wine (assuming that if any, it would the $33 white). No, but she did have something for us. $100 gift certificate!!