May 22, 2012 Butterfly Diary Team

Surviving Poor Service When You Travel

On a recent trip to the Catskills, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Robin from MyMelange. We decided to try a place she had heard lots about: the Village Tea Room, in New Paltz.

The parking wasn?t that bad even though the lot was full ? a significance of good things. If people don?t want to leave, then the restaurant must be good. And the name ?Village Tea Room?had me at hello. I?m a big tea buff, and I heard that they served high tea. Which meant scones and stuff.

The entrance was pretty, with a trellised arch, and the building itself is a Historic Landmark. Inside, a cosy tea room (with lunch items too), and pretty silver foil packets of tea My eye was immediately drawn to the cakes and pastries, notably the honey bee cake, which I was told was made of orange sponge cake, with a vanilla filling and a touch of chocolate, adorned with a ganache honey bee with almond sliver wings. I had the good fortune to try it and it was delicious!

But the service?much to my disappointment and to Robin?s?was painfully slow. It was the day before Mother?s Day, and after more than a half hour wait (there were empty tables), we were finally seated. And then we were told they were out of bread, because of the unanticipated demand for Mother?s Day. I ordered pasta (it was a delicious pesto?nothing to complain about).

After we finished our meal, we wanted to order macaroons but despite us waiting right in front of the cashier for a while, they didn?t even take our order! It?s sad when such a fine establishment (the food was delicious) gets to suffer because of poor service. And over the years, I can definitely remember when poor service impacted my judgement of a place: if it weren’t for the attitude and indifference of some of the wait staff, I’m sure I would have come out raving about the Village Tea Room.

And that’s not entirely the staff’s fault too: I think management is to blame, certainly. But then that experience got me thinking about service, and tipping, and how much we take good service for granted. Certainly, I’m a good tipper, but I tend to notice more when the service is poor than when it is genuinely great.

I’m sure that the much acclaimed Village Tea Room will continue to do well in its business?the food and wine selection is just too good for it not to do well. But if there’s a big day (like Mother’s Day), then little things like stocking up on extra ciabatta or seating people promptly?go a long way in making a good day into a great experience.

Village Tea Room New Paltz NY

The beautiful entrance and arch

Village Tea Room in New Paltz NY

Beautiful flowers were in bloom everywhere, and that really put spring in my step

Village Tea Room in New Paltz NY

Village Tea Room in New Paltz NY

Love at first sight and bite: the delicious Honey Bee Cake

Village Tea Room, New Paltz

My pesto was delicious and al dente

This is the chocolate ganache cake: another sweet temptation

We milled around the cashier but it was obvious they had their hands full: eventually, we gave up on ordering macaroons to go?

Village Tea Room New Paltz

Myself, Robin, Chris and Butterscotch (who seems more fascinated by Robin’s dress!)

Have you experienced poor service when you travel? How have you dealt with this?