I love dining out, but if there’s one thing that always frustrates me and guarantees I won’t leave a tip, it’s poor service, and sadly that’s exactly what I got when I stopped in at Frankie and Benny’s in Milton Keynes’s Xscape the other evening.
I was travelling from Glasgow to London for an early morning exam, and by the time hunger struck I was on the approach to MK where I knew there was an Xscape housing some of my favourite restaurant chains. A quick detour, and ten minutes later I was sitting in a familiar red booth checking out Frankie and Benny’s mouthwatering menu.
After nearly fifteen long minutes I realised I couldn’t remember what my server’s face looked like any more, he’d been away that long. I could have forgiven them for being busy if the place had been packed, but only seven other tables were occupied. And when I did look to see where he was, I realised that all the servers were gathered around one of the tills, leaning on the counter tops and having a jolly good gossip.
When he did return and take my order, the wait was extended, and by the time my garlic mushrooms in cheese sauce starter arrived, congealed and stuck to the outside of the dish, it was lukewarm at best. He even had the cheek to tell me to watch the hot plate! Yes, perhaps, if you’d brought it fresh, was my passing thought.
The steak, which was more sinew and fat than edible meat, should have been done rare but arrived without having even been sealed on one side, so it was just as well I don’t mind raw meat. But by the time he’d taken it away to have the fries changed for the jacket potato that I’d actually ordered, the hot lamps of the serving counter had kindly dried the entire meal out. The salad it was served with had wilted and adhered to the bottom of the plate, while the peppercorn sauce I’d asked for had been generously poured over the entire dish (including the salad, and I definitely hadn’t asked for that to happen!).
When I complained about the entire service in general, I was politely informed that there wasn’t anyone available to take my complaint. Apparently the conversation around the till was too engaging to leave. It’s a shame really, because one of the comforts of eating in a chain restaurant is the familiarity of the food, consistent service and ease of dining, but this Frankie and Benny’s really wasn’t good at all. Disgusted, I left without dessert or coffee, something I never normally do!
And definitely no tip!
candidtraveller says this is one restaurant to stay away from until the service improves.