I submitted this to Bob Evans’ contact form:
Last night we had a ridiculous visit to what is normally a decent restaurant.
We arrived shortly after 5:00pm, were seated quite quickly, and were alone in our section (the farthest away from the entrance). The waitress came to us right away, seemed a little frazzled, and brought us drinks. By this time another table had been seated in our section. Our order was taken, a Rise & Shine breakfast for me, BBQ chicken for the wife.
We had actually just dined at this location on Friday evening and had discussed how despite otherwise excellent service & great food, generally my wife has to ask 3 times for jelly. The standard procedure is that when we order and she gets biscuits, she asks for jelly. When the biscuits come, with honey and butter but no jelly… she again asks for jelly. When the meal comes, it’s the 3rd time that she asks for jelly… and usually we get jelly with the check. It’s like you have it under lock & key or there’s only 1 magical jelly carrier. I actually suggested that perhaps it’s like the movie Beetlejuice. One must say “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!” to get the title character to appear. Perhaps one must break the Bob Evans jelly code and ask for jelly three times at once.
No matter how much I wanted her to, she wouldn’t try it last night. She asked for jelly just one time, and surprisingly, it came with the biscuits.
At this point, the manager walked by and asked if all was OK. Truthfully, at this point, it was! We nodded in satisfaction as we said “yes”.
Eventually, shortly before 6:00pm (yes, an hour later) after several other customers had been seated, had ordered, and been served, our waitress apologized for the wait and offered us more biscuits and a free dessert. We told her the wait wasn’t her fault as she seemed to indicate it was due to a problem in the kitchen.
About the time where I was ready to get up, pay for our drinks, biscuits, jelly, and then leave to go to the nearby Sonic… our food arrived. I understand that breakfast foods are greasy but my eggs & home fries were sitting in a pool of some oily or buttery liquid, and one of my over-easy yolks was already broken. The bacon was fantastic. The potatoes had so much grease on the outside, that when I dipped them into a pool of delicious Heinz ketchup they came out absolutely clean & ketchup free. I managed to get the yolk out of one of the eggs with the biscuit that had sat there daring me to eat it for an hour. I left the second egg and most of my potatoes out of disgust for the food and the service. It had been a particularly trying couple of days and we chose Bob Evans because of the general consistency of the quality & service. My wife indicated that other than the chicken being slightly over-done, her meal was excellent. It’s crazy to believe that Bob Evans (the breakfast-food people) messed up such an incredibly simple breakfast.
The waitress had indicated some problems in the kitchen without any specifics, but we could hear arguments in & around the kitchen area for our entire visit. I have no idea why we didn’t just get up & leave after the first 2 tables seated after us had received their food. Perhaps we were in awe at the chaos.
I declined my free dessert, and my wife decided to get an apple pie to go just because it had been offered as compensation for our wait. I was too disheartened for dessert, my friends… free or not. Our waitress offered to refill my iced tea. I said “no, thanks.” She came back 10 minutes later & filled my iced tea anyway. Still no pie. I just wanted to go. I was on the verge of just freaking out at the ridiculousness of it all. We sat for another few minutes as the waitress took care of others around our section, before standing up to just finally go. My wife just asked for the check as I was exasperated. The other customers couldn’t wait for 2 minutes while she put a pie in the to-go container, since we had waited over an hour for a simple simple meal?
The waitress had apparently just placed my wife’s apple pie on a plate as we stood to make our escape… my wife said, “Never mind, we just need to get out of here.” The waitress insisted on sliding the now decimated piece of pie into the Styrofoam box. We went to pay, and for the first time ever were not asked something to the effect of “how was everything tonight?” I believe there was small talk about my wife & I coincidentally wearing the same color green. I think I remained silent for fear of just snapping. We left a 15% tip, & took home a comment card. (As a person with a severe allergy to shellfish, I have a small circle of places where I feel safe… Bob Evans currently has no deathfish on the menu, so we frequent there and I generally tip 20% or more as I’m confident we’ll be returning soon & often. I have even received excellent communication from your corporate level regarding food allergies & where things are prepared in the kitchen.)
This rant is obviously too long for a comment card. I may blog it. I may just leave it in the contact form at the Bob Evans site. I may print & mail it.
Something was going on last night at Bob Evans in Bridgeville that was not good. It was a comedy of errors. The kitchen apparently had trouble producing eggs & home fries in a timely manner, keeping yolks whole, and draining grease/oil/butter from the fried meal. The waitress was visibly and audibly frazzled as she complained to the customers that she was excessively busy even as most of the section was empty… at dinner time. Perhaps she was covering two sections? I’m not sure. We saw her quite often… just not with our food. How many others were seated after us & served before us that we couldn’t see? We heard her arguing with a mysterious voice yelling out from the kitchen. The manager did not appear to intervene or even suggest that perhaps they not argue so loudly within earshot of the guests… or even to step in, assert her role as a manager and solve the problem. There was a waiter who appeared to be training a new waitress, happily ignoring all the chaos around them.
We did, however, receive jelly after asking only once.
[Funny note… upon posting this & grabbing a link to UrbanSpoon, I saw an old somewhat bad review that I posted… but we’ve had perfectly reasonable service there since that visit in ’08.]