Tuesday, October 11, 2011

am I wearing service-repellent bat spray?

I do my best to spread my dining dollar around to the different restaurants in Stratford, but admittedly, I have a few favourites, don't we all?  I'm beginning to think that it will be necessary to seek out some different places to get some decent service until the old stand-bys give their heads a shake and perhaps fire the less-than-stellar staff they are currently employing.

Two of my most favourite joints: Pazzo Pizzeria and Foster's Inn, seem to have lost sight this summer of the whole 'offering their guests good service' thing.  I know this has been a tough year and servers and disheartened and unfocused but it's not going to help the bottom line to be slow and discourteous toward guests.  The core staff have maintained a level of service that would have, in the past, brought me back time and again but there are servers cropping up in these restaurants that are giving them a bad name.  Thus the service is bad as often as it is good and my dollars are going elsewhere.

Now, I'm not talking about a busy night, run off their feet, can't keep up, bad service.  I'm talking, only table in the place (or one of two), lazy, uncaring, bad service.

Here's a little pat on the back for two other places in town where I can't help but get better than good service  every time (you may find me here more often than I'd like to admit):

1. Down the Street offers great service consistently.  Whether you're grabbing a quick lunch on the patio or being indulgent late night for too many cocktails and shots of whatever; I have yet to experience a miss from Susan Dunfield's team!  (Awesome aside to the girls working the bar who gently-but-firmly prevent guests from driving after having a few too many!)

2. The Boar's Head also has continuing great service.  The long-time staff (like DTS they seem to last) are quick, appropriately surly and incredibly capable.  I never sit without a drink in my hand, the food is prompt and I am always 'quality checked' for excellence.

I guess for me it is about consistency.  I want to be able to return to a venue that gives me the same level of product, both in food and service, every time I go.  The trouble seems to be in the variety of service staff at some of these locations.  There are some very capable servers, but there are some serious weak links as well.

Bravo to those maintaining a high level of service, and I hope my old favourites will pull themselves together so I can return to delicious comfort.


  1. I was recently at the newly opened Backstage and having never been there before, was pleasantly surprised at the amazing service and awesome food experience that our table of 4 was given.

  2. I disagree about the service at DTS. I had an awful experience a few weeks ago ... actually one of the worst I've had in nearly a decade of living and playing in Stratford. I won't be back anytime soon, not that they care.

  3. I've dined at Foster's twice.
    I tend to eat at restaurants a few times a week, and there are definitely favourites that I keep going back to(the Boar's is deffo high on the list).
    Both times that I ate at Foster's the service was horrible. The food was mediocre to bad--I could tell you stories, but perhaps that's for another day.
    Other than to enjoy a beer with friends who might be performing there, I will never eat there again.

  4. Repellent. Not Repellant.


  5. It is even spelled that way in the picture you have chosen for this post.

  6. And: unfocused has one s, not two.

  7. I have to agree with Anonymous about DTS. I have found the staff rude and not attentive. Their policy about not splitting bills is ridiculous. Talk about a lack of customer service! The excuse we received was that they don't have a fancy till to be able to split things up and they told us to look at the fine type on their menu. Where did the ability to add and subtract get lost? Our total bill was over $300 and we certainly won't be back. The sad thing is that the food and atmosphere is great. They really fall down on basic expectations of service.