Sunday, 17 August 2008


The Troy family have recently experienced very contrasting levels of service whilst eating out in English pubs.

Two weeks ago (Friday 1st) we were enjoying a week’s break down on the south coast and had just driven down that day from Suffolk to our rented holiday home in Rye Harbour, East Sussex. Having settled into our cosy and comfortable cottage we went out for an early evening walk and to have supper in the local hostelry. The pub sign said “Meals 7pm to 9.30pm” so as it was about 6.45pm we had an enjoyable walk by the harbour in the fresh air to build up our appetites. We then entered the WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR pub, chose one of several empty tables, picked up the menus, read through the many Specials written in chalk on a blackboard and made our choice. Mrs Troy went to the bar to order. “The food will be about half an hour, is that alright?” asked the barman. Mrs Troy looked at me and I nodded – we were in no rush, we were on holiday. The handwritten receipt had 7.20[pm] written in the bottom right hand corner. We had chosen simple fare – fish & chips; gammon ham, egg and chips; and for Troy Junior, chicken nuggets and chips. About 8pm the first sight of food arrived, but for another table – we’ll assume ours is next. At 8.10pm (after 50 minutes of waiting) I went to the bar for “a progress report on our order”. The barman checked in the kitchen then mouthed to me “about 5 minutes”. Good, we were getting peckish and Troy Junior normally goes to bed about 8pm. By 8.25pm with Troy Junior visibly wilting, Mrs Troy was getting annoyed when more food appeared which wasn’t ours. Meanwhile we had seen someone sitting at the bar smoking, with the smoke drifting our way – completely against the law! She went to the bar. “It’s been over an hour – where’s our food!”. The barman called the chef. Mrs Troy complained about the wait. “Have you ever worked in a kitchen?” asked the chef. “You can have it now but it will be raw” he kindly offered. If we hadn’t paid upfront we would have left. At 8.32pm (72 minutes after ordering) the food arrived. It tasted excellent and I wolfed mine down leaving a completely clean plate. Mrs Troy picked at hers because she was by then “passed the hunger stage”. Troy Junior was very sleepy but ate most of his.

And here is the contrast. This Saturday (16th) we went to our local village pub – THE CROWN at Claydon, Suffolk. It’s a very busy pub, especially on a weekend evening with 20+ tables of which 2 were vacant. At the bar I ordered – Lasagne, Mini Grill (chops, liver, sausage, chips and peas) and for Troy Junior a hot dog, mash and beans. The Troy family eat simply when out! The order was timed on the Visa receipt as 19.04 (7.04pm). At 7.19pm all three dishes arrived. This, in a crowded pub with many, many families eating at the same time. Delicious food – we eat there once or twice a month and know we’ll get good food, served quickly and very reasonably priced [see August 1st posting for significance of the last criteria].

In summary – WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR pub at Rye Harbour took 72 minutes to serve three simple main courses. Very rude service, price £22+ including drinks. THE CROWN at Claydon took 15 minutes to serve three simple main courses. Polite prompt service, price £18.62 including drinks. WHAT A CONTRAST!

Have you had any similar experiences in contrasting service levels?


Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hello "E.A.T."...your post perhaps tallies with your short moniker. (Hope I'm not offending..just quietly joking...) Nice to have found you. My husband and I actually got married in/around Dedham. Not because we any connection with the area purely because of wonderful food and scenery. I'm sure we will go back purely to show the kiddy winks where we tied the knot. Will keep the name of your deviant pub in mind...for obvious reasons!

Anonymous said...

72 minutes is absolutely terrible service, I would have definitely asked for a refund and walked out. I hate bad service in restaurants - of any kind to be honest but when they expect you to pay upfront they should deliver the goods prompt.

We had bad service in a restaurant a few years ago when we waited for an hour and a half for our meal. We asked a couple of times but I think as we were chatting time just got away with us. My mum is so impatient and won't wait for more than 5 minutes! She's so embarrassing when we go out!!

CJ xx