Four of us attended an Easter Brunch buffet at a downtown hotel. We have eaten there on previous holidays and have always had great food and as well as great service.
This year, we were looking forward to having another wonderful time. Price was $50 per person. We were one of the first people there when they opened and the room was only about 1/8 of the way filled.
After about 10 minutes, our server comes over. So far fine. We request 3 mimosas and 1 coffee. We were informed that our server would not get drinks and that we should go to the service bar set up in the corner. We asked for orange juice thinking that it's only the alcoholic drinks that he can't get and were told no on that as well - He states that he can however get coffee only. We say yes please to coffee and two of us head up to the bar to get the rest of our drinks.
Bartender was suprised that we were getting our own drinks as he had been instructed that servers only were to get drinks. However, he happily makes us our drinks and we return to the table. When we get back to the table, no coffee has been poured.
We do our first run thru the buffet and arrive back at the table. Still no coffee. We flag down our waiter and again request coffee. He does not respond verbally , but does take the coffee cup from the table and disappears into the back room. He comes out and starts waiting on another table. When he passes by us about 10 minutes later, we again request coffee and now maple syrup. It takes another 10 minutes to get the coffee and another 15 minutes after that to get the syrup. In the meantime he's got 2 other tables and has been bringing them mimosas, juice, coffee, etc.
I go to the hostess and ask to speak w. the manager and am assured that he will be by to speak w. us. Manager never comes over. We continue to enjoy our brunch food wise, but each request to the waiter is met w. a blank stare and must be followed up on at least twice with at least a 15 minute interval in between before the item is received - i.e. fresh coffee, clean silverware.
Room was half full by this time and we again asked to speak w. the manager to request a new waiter. At that time, we were told that they were slammed and could not accomodate our request to speak w. manager or to provide a new waiter.
To make a long story short, we were there for about 3 hrs, made 3 seperate requests to speak w. manager with no response except for a round of mimosas sent to table at the end of the meal ( by a different server!) .
On our way out, a manager ( and here i thought they didn't exist!) asks us how we enjoyed our meal? We responded w. great food but bad service. We were asked why we didn't bring it to their attention and responded that we did 3 times with no response. They took our name and phone number and promised to look into it - No response as of today.
My expectation for a buffet server are:
1. Take drink orders & bring them within a half hour's time
2. Clear dirty plates between trips to buffet within a reasonable amount of time
3. Bring fresh silverware if needed.
I know everyone on Chowhound will give me an honest opinion - Do you think we were unreasonable in our expectations for service and what should we have tipped ??