(or is it theatre? either way.)
A friend signed up to be a mystery shopper. She’s assigned to a specific restaurant on a specific day, told that she must bring a guest, told where to sit and generally what to order. She also has a list of things she has to check out (i.e., check out the bathrooms; when you walk through the restaurant, do the servers step out of your way, etc.).
I agreed to be her guest. Hey, free dinner, right? And the food was good. (The beignets, for dessert, were excellent. My mouth is watering in fond memory of those little treats. Even though I know they weren’t, they tasted as good as the ones I remember having in New Orleans. But I digress.)
The restaurant we had to go to was in the Beverly Center, a big ole mall with tons of chain-y restaurants. Our designated restaurant is part of a chain, and seemed to me to simply be a more expensive version of a restaurant whose initials are C.F. and whose names rhymes with “eesecake actory.”
We were told to sit at the bar, which actually is where we typically sit when we go out. Don’t really know why, but there you go. So here’s my guilt. It was a pretty busy night, and there was only one bartender on duty most of the time. Towards the end of the meal, a second guy came on, but that meant that the first guy had to go refill this and that from the back. So, bottom line, our server was the bartender, who was quite busy.
He messed up on several things that were on my friend’s list of “things to test.” And I feel guilty. They’re such small, minor things, but he’s now going to get in trouble because when he refilled my drink, he didn’t ask me what I wanted – he just refilled it with the same drink I’d had before. He didn’t refold my friend’s napkin when she left to go to the restroom. And a gazillion other tiny things that didn’t affect the quality of the meal or the experience. (Did I mention that the beignets were good?) But now he’s likely going to get in trouble for those little things, when it seems to me to be more of the restaurant’s fault for requiring the bartender to do all those things, instead of assigning a server to the bar.
Ah, well. If I ever go back, I’ll just get the beignets to go. Did I mention . . ? Oh, yeah. I did. Well, they were.