Sunday, September 07, 2008

Getting out of Dodge...

Dodge City is a small chain of diners/restaurants in Cape Town. They have spectacular hamburgers and this morning we decided to try them for Sunday breakfast. Herewith, the letter I send via email to the management of the chain later in the day:

What is the point of having a great menu and eye-catching d├ęcor if the service is so poor your patrons walk out without ordering?

My husband and I were at the Canal Walk Dodge City at 10 this morning. There was only one occupied table at the time we walked in, and there were five employees and a manager on the floor. You’d think with those odds…three employees per occupied table…our service would have been stellar, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong.

The waitress was pretty prompt when she came to our table to take our drinks order, and my husband, who is diabetic, was very specific when he asked for Canderel or sweetener with his coffee. How long does it take to make a cappuchino and pour a Coke? The kitchen could not have been busy…there was only one other occupied table in the place and we hadn’t placed our order yet. I was beginning to wonder if the girl was hand grinding the beans, one by one, when she finally arrived with our drinks.

We had studied the menu and as soon as the drinks were served my husband gave his breakfast order. The waitress immediately informed us that scrambled eggs were not available. What?? What kitchen cannot prepare scrambled eggs, particularly when the restaurant is deader than Bob Mugabe’s ethics and the kitchen staff are surely contemplating their navels for lack of orders to prepare?

My husband changed his order and, just as I was about to give mine to the waitress, he noticed that she had forgotten the sweetener. He asked again for sweetener and, without taking my order, she left the table. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally I asked my husband if he had seen where she had gone and he said she had left the restaurant!!

I approached the manager, who seemed absolutely clueless about the whole affair. Obviously, Dodge City was out of sweetener and the waitress had gone elsewhere (a neighbouring restaurant, perhaps?) to secure some. But she was gone so long that the conversation between me and my husband went something like this:

Hubby: What do you say that when she gets back, we just pay for our drinks and go someplace else for breakfast?

Me: You are reading my mind again…that’s exactly what I was thinking.

Hubby: So, when she gets back we just ask for the bill?

Me: if it takes this long just to get a cup of coffee and a coke, you’ll be in a diabetic coma before the food gets here.

When the waitress returned with the sweetener and delivered it to our table, we asked for our bill and she quickly delivered it to us. She did not, however, return to fetch the money/credit card and I finally got up and went to the register myself with cash. Nobody seemed to know how to make the register work to accept a cash payment. After two people fumbled with the machine (one of them the person I assumed to be the manager) the woman who had been fiddling with the ice cream display stepped up and put the transaction through.

All in all, this ridiculous experience took the better part of half an hour. Worst of all, it never should have happened.

Why on earth was the restaurant out of sweetener? Your menu includes slimmer’s meals…don’t you think those people will want sweetener with their coffee or tea instead of sugar? And no scrambled eggs? What kind of nonsense is that? How difficult is it to break two eggs into a cup and stir them around with a fork? Especially when the restaurant is empty and the kitchen staff is not under the pressure of multiple orders? And what is with the waitstaff standing around jabbering with each other while customers sit there waiting?

I’m sorry, but as much as I like Dodge City’s food, especially the burgers, I don’t think we are coming back. The service at this location has never been stellar, but quite frankly, today it just stank. I cook and serve a full breakfast to my husband every weekday morning and 30 minutes is enough time to prepare, serve, and eat the breakfast and that is without any staff at all to assist. There is just no acceptable excuse for this kind of shoddy service and lack of attention to inventory of such front-end staples as sweetener.

The only bright spot in the experience is that my husband, on my caution, decided not to inject his insulin before we placed our food order. Had he done so, he could very easily have passed out in the restaurant due to low blood sugar because the service was so unimaginably bad.


  1. wow! what dreadful service - tho' disappointingly common these days. p[lease let us know what - if any! - response you get.

  2. Dear Dawn. I am the owner of the Dodge City franchise. I received your email yesterday relating the same incident. I responded but the delivery failed due to an error of sorts with your mail address. Video footage of the event shows that you entered the store at 9.44am and left 15 minutes later at 9.59am - not 30 minutes as you suggest. I would like to make good any inconvenience that you suffered and would appreciate you mailing me once again with this goal in mind. Kind regards, Glenn Aquadro

  3. P A T H E T I C....
    wow, thanks for tip,will defiantely NOT go in there and will tell ALL my friends about the BAD service and ATTITUDE of staff and manager....


Your comments welcome! Anonymous comments are enabled as a courtesy for people who are not members of Blogger. They are not enabled to allow people to leave gratuitously rude comments, and such comments will not be published. Disagreement will not sink your comment, but disagreeable disagreement will.