3/13/2010

我不喜歡沒有辦法的餐館, See Outback, Taiwan

I eat at the Outback Steakhouse, Taipei Asia World, on the corner of Dunhua and Nanking in Taipei, three or four times a month. I normally order a lunch set. Sometimes, I change the offered beverage (which is coffee, tea or a cola) for a beer. I pay a little more money for that, but figure it's worth it, especially on a long and tiring Friday. In the past, the waiter or waitress has said I could proceed in such a manner. I say: "Give me a cold Foster's draft to get me home" and they bring it round, adding NT$40 to my bill. Today, when I ordered Outback's fish and chips set, I asked the waitress if I could get a beer instead of a soda, and pay the difference.

To my surprise, my waitress told me "It's impossible" or "I won't help you." Actually, she was speaking Chinese and she said: 沒有辦法. This means what I have just said. Then she made an excuse that Outback Taiwan has a new menu, so it's strictly 沒有辦法 on requests for service.

I don't agree that if you're a waiter or waitress, you should say 沒有辦法 because, frankly speaking, it's very bad service. So, I simply got up and said to the waitress: 我不喜歡沒有辦法的餐館 or "I don't like restaurants that affirm providing a normal dose of service is quite impossible." Then I went next door and ate lunch at IKEA. I ordered roast beef and mashed potatoes, with mushroom gravy. I also had a bottle of Swedish beer.

I have decided to start outing companies providing 沒有辦法 service. Here's my first out. 

11 comments:

Jonathan Benda said...

That's certainly one way of dealing with the situation--another approach I've taken before is to ask to talk to the manager. Sometimes the servers are just afraid to do something that they think might be breaking the rules.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Sometimes the servers are just afraid to do something that they think might be breaking the rules." That's right (about it).

Talking to the manager isn't a bad idea. I did tell the waitress that I sometimes switch to beer for plus NT$40. That's when she told me "but we have a new menu."

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, "Walk out from Outback and go to IKEA next door." in Taipei sounds like any city in the States, isn’t it?
Cho-San

Anonymous said...

Even though what the waitress said might have its own reasons, I still back you up. Economically, every consumer has their own right to make decision if deal could be done. If you think the deal transaction is unfair, just refuse and go find other chance. This is your right, and enjoy.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Actually, the manager phoned me and said they were going to treat me to a beer. But one of my colleagues figures that if they do, it'll come out of the waitress' salary.

Anonymous said...

One of the new restaurants just opened up and we went to try it out. We have waited for a long time on line and get in finally. The food is so-so but the service is terrible. We put down 10% tip instead of our regular 15%, to our surprise the waiter asked for more and the manager asked why not 15%? They won’t let us go until I had explained that the service was terrible and the tip is based on the service not fixed. I saw lots of happenings like this while working at the restaurants in New York City while attending the graduate school. As I expected, the waiting line shrink day by day and finally they closed the door.
It is said that one unhappy customer will pass the bad news to five potential customers; by listing on your blog page, I think you have done more damages than by mouth to month for five friends.
Cho-San

Patrick Cowsill said...

Chosan, I wonder if you were facing some kind of racist stereotype. The stereotype against people who look Asian is they don't tip. It's disgusting. My suggestion to you when the service is bad is to leave a penny. Pay with your credit card because they can't hide it from the manager. And everyone knows you didn't forget.

I don't know what I would've done in your shoes. It would have been ironic, that is for sure.

Anonymous said...

It is a new Chinese restaurant employing bunch of undocumented illegal immigrants from mainland China, how much can we expect?
The one-penny tip game can be played in two ways, either with credit card as suggested by Patrick or by real penny. Fill a cup of ice water to brim then drop a penny in the cup, cover the cup with a coffee dish then turn the cup of water upside down while holding the dish tight. Now a penny is sitting on the top of dish but inside the cup, which is full of water. When the waiter you disliked tries to remove the cup to get the penny, the water will splash all over.
BTW it is the St. Patrick’s Day today and I am wearing Green. Have a good day, Patrick.
ChoSan

andre said...

i'm kinda surprised you go there that often and it took so long for you to experience bad service there. one of our worst dining experiences ever in taiwan was at that particular outback. slow and bad service and when the food arrived it was cold. it's not just us either. we know a few people who don't think very highly of that outback because unfortunately they experienced the same crap we did.

Patrick Cowsill said...

'i'm kinda surprised you go there that often and it took so long for you to experience bad service there.'

I usually sit at the bar and order the lunch special. It's close to my office and so I go in for 50 something minutes during lunch break. I'm not focused on the what the waitress is doing because I'm either reading or watching sports on the TV. The waitress' 沒有辦法 really made me sit up and have a look at what's going on in this place.

Iago de Otto said...

Pauline and I were at Ikea a week ago or so to pick up a new coffee table. While leaving after said task was completed to my satisfaction if not P's (although now that the coffee table has found its home, so to speak, she totally loves it), I noticed that beer and thought, "Huh, the Swedes make beer? Who'd thunk?"

Going to Paul's next Sunday or whenever his daughter's birthday party is? I gotta go find that email and take another look to confirm the date.

Doug