Tonight I met a friend at Applebee's for happy hour. We sat down in the largely uncrowded bar and proceeded to look over the happy hour menu. Almost immediately our waiter came over and said "Hi." I noticed he was wearing a rather large button that said "Happy Father's Day" with a picture of an adorable little girl on it. Nice way to get some extra tips, I thought! I complimented him on the button and he asked us what we would like to drink.
He was heavy on the upsell, and while my dining companion, Jenny, held her ground, I was a sucker for the "top shelf" margarita so I agreed to the $8 concoction, but only after "John" waxed poetic about it for five minutes. I then asked him if he could also take our appetizer order and he said yes, so we ordered mozzarella sticks and chicken taco won-tons. John said "Instead of cole slaw would you like chopped lettuce and pico de gallo? That's how I like them! I call them John-tons instead of won-tons." Uh. No. Just the drinks, the food and some water, please.
After a while, John arrived and set a martini glass in front of me, sporting an olive on a toothpick. In his other hand he held a shaker and said "You are going to love this!" I noted that I had ordered a blended margarita and so how could it be blended in a shaker? Also, what's with the martini glass and the olive? John looked thoroughly confused and said he would "be right back."
A bit later, he arrived with a Long Island Iced Tea (Jenny's drink) and my margarita - this time properly blended and in a margarita glass with a salted rim, but still sporting that damn olive. What the HELL? Why would anyone want an olive in a margarita? I did note that he had added (almost as an afterthought since it immediately slipped off the toothpick and sank in my drink) a tiny slice of lime. Also, no water. Except in my glass because that "top shelf" margarita tasted just like water. And not much else.
A few minutes later, a different server arrived with our food. She set it down and walked away so fast she must not have heard our "Can we please have some plates?" And napkins. We waited a while for someone to come by who could provide us with plates, but although four servers had a lively conversation a few feet away, and John talked to the couple at the table behind us, no one came. Finally I got John's attention, let him know we needed plates, napkins and the water we'd ordered and he said "No problem" and was gone again.
More time passed and another server arrived with plates. No John. No water. No napkins. John did finally bring both water and napkins, but not before a cheerful server arrived and tried to put two large Ceasar salads down in front of us. We told her she had the wrong table and she stood there and said "Really?" Well, yes, really. She delivered them to the table next to us and went on her way.
Not long after that, another server brought us two large glasses of beer - that we didn't order. We sent her packing to another table and then another server brought out two meals and began to ask us which one of us had ordered the steak. Guess what? It was neither of us!
In the meantime John came by and said "I have your ticket here, but, um, what did you order?" We asked him to check the ticket he wrote our order down on. He said "I know but I guess I wrote it all on the same one so I will have to go print yours out on the computer - hang on" and he was off. When he returned, he said "Oh yeah, I guess I put everyone's food on your order." EVERYONE'S food? I snuck a look at the ticket and there were at least ten items on it! He then said "If you just tell me what you ordered, then I can get your food going while we figure it out." We actually had to tell him that we already HAD ordered, and, in fact, eaten our food and were just waiting for our check. Which we would please take from the manager.
About this time Marisol entered the picture. Marisol the Manager. We explained the night's debaucle and Marisol said "You must think you're on Candid Camera!" Actually, that would have at least made it a little bit funny. But, no, the whole mess was simply the result of John just doing a really bad job. We tried to be nice - we joked and laughed at first, but when we saw John apologizing to the table behind us for the VERY same thing, it was hard to imagine exactly what was going on in his head. Way too many screw-ups in one night.
The manager comped us our appetizers and gave us $5 off coupons for our next visit (which said "Happy Father's Day" at the top, so we were probably going to get them anyway). I'm not sure there WILL be a next visit, at least not to the bar. Applebee's Happy Hour? Two thumbs down!