As an award-winning hospitality and restaurant expert, I can assure you that I have seen my share of good service, great service, and just downright lousy service. Yet, never have I seen such a poor regard for the customer’s satisfaction as I incurred early this past Sunday afternoon.
On a typical Sunday I enjoy waking up late and spending a lazy afternoon going to brunch for drinks, laughs, food, and relaxation – or for some…recuperation. This Sunday was different. I woke up late, only to realize that I had much work to complete before the new week began. It had been a while since my last visit to the Cyclone Anaya’s on Durham; and according to my diet I was allowed to indulge at this time. However, I would need to call take out and pick up my food so as to eat while I worked.
I placed the order early in the afternoon and was told my order would be ready for pick up in 15 minutes. Having encountered this situation before with the Anaya’s Restaurants I knew it would be more like 30 minutes. I decided to run a few errands in the area and then go to pick up my food. I arrived approximately one hour later and to my surprise I was told that my food was not quite ready and to have a drink at the bar (at my cost) while I wait…the food would right out. In retrospect I see know that they were conniving enough to try to milk me for more money. I did not stay for the drink; instead I paid for my food in good faith that it was about ready, and left to run a quick errand. When I returned one-half hour later my food was still not ready! As a food professional, I can understand a considerable amount of wait time as a seated customer with an overly busy waiter. There is no excuse that could possible justify to any extent why it had been over 1.5 hours and my food was still not ready. I had only ordered 2 entrees for Christ sake.
So I asked the dimwitted hung-over hostess to speak with the Manager on Duty. She left and came back what felt like an eternity later, smiled, and ignored me. I said “well!” At which point she looked right at me and asked if I would still like to speak with a manager. At this point one can only imagine if the hostess’ parents were related. I replied with a yes and she set off again for the manager.
Eventually, the ethnically appropriate Manager arrived with a disturbed tone. I spoke with her and said that I was not wanting to complain, but rather to inform her of the situation that was going on under her nose. I wanted her to be aware of what was going on so that no other customers would be subjected to such an injustice. She said she would go to check on my food (possibly spit in it I suspect) and see what was going on. Ten punishing minutes later (for a total of over 1 hour and 45 minutes since placing my to-go order) she returns with a bag containing my food in hand. She handed me the bag, and with an extremely insulting and sarcastic tone makes a half-assed attempt to apologize and shows me the door.
Cyclone’s has typically been a great place to enjoy a relaxed brunch and mimosas, but under this management I can only suggest they get their act together before they drive away all their customers, bankrupt the company, and disgrace the Anaya family name. I have been it situations similar to this in restaurant of far less reputation and 99% of the time the manager is quick to make amends…offer comps from free drinks to free meals. My problem is not so much with the fact that nothing was offered for this terrible service, but the manner in which they continued. I am appalled at the service this past weekend from the Anaya’s Mexican Restaurant and strongly recommend against eating there anytime soon.
I do believe in second chances, and I might give one after sufficient time has passed for this restaurant to get back to quality service.