We had lunch at the Chelsea Pub on Thanksgiving Monday. As we were a large group, we called a few days ahead to make a reservation, as suggested on their website. However, when we arrived at the appointed time, no table was ready. After a few confused minutes, we were informed that the staff member who took our reservation "shouldn't have done that" and therefore, they wouldn't honour the reservation!
We expressed our disappointment and were told if we waited around, they would try to find us some seats. The staff made it quite clear that they were doing us a favour, and offered no apologies for their error. So, at least 30 minutes after the time of our reservation, we were finally led to a table. Whereupon we began to wait...10-15 minutes for someone to take our drink orders...maybe another 10 minutes for water...another 10 or 15 for drinks....20 minutes more to order our food....and then I lost count, but it took a ridiculously long time. The food was hot and delicious (the Chelsea Burger was great), but the wait spoiled the experience.
It again took ages to get our bills. I paid with a tip of 5% to reflect my disappointment in the poor service. The waitress then pointed out, in front of the entire table, that 15% was expected. I replied that the service had been unacceptable. The waitress just left, without making any apologies. (For anyone unfamiliar with tipping practices in this area, tipping is at the discretion of the diner, but 15% is customary for acceptable service.)
I did, in the end, leave some more cash to make up a 15% tip, mostly because I was embarrassed. I felt a bit sorry for the overstretched staff but given that we were there for over THREE hours (for drinks and entrees - no appetizers, no dessert, no coffee), I think my complaints were justified.
The staff at this restaurant desperately need some training in customer service, as well as an increase in numbers. Some free desserts or a tray of nachos while we waited would have made a world of difference to our experience. Even a genuine apology would have improved things. But instead, no one apologized, and we were chastised for expressing our displeasure with our tip. We won't be back.
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