As a adolescent and teen one of my favorite places to dine was the local Friendly's. The "Original Big Beef Burger" with cheese and grilled bread was to die for. Lately, the quality of their food is more like something that you'll die from.
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. With that in mind, I will point out that I've given this restaurant several chances and each time they seem to disappoint me even more.
I went into the venue this past Thursday with the intention of having a quick late lunch. This location is conveniently located off of Route 3 next to the Sagamore Bridge so one would expect this prime location to have good service and great food. Not so much.
The restaurant was nearly empty when I arrived and while there were two waitresses fliting about the dining area, neither looked up and acknowledged that I was there. A kitchen worker, hanging out behind the ice cream counter and apparently escaping from what sounding like a party in the kitchen did shout over a message that someone would be with me shortly.
Shortly is apparently a subjective term as, in this definition, it meant more than 10 minutes. When a server finally did grace me with her attention, it was limited to whisking me to a table and then disappearing, never to be seen again. Perhaps she was abducted by aliens.
I sat at the table with my menu neatly closed in front of me for another 10 minutes. Servers would enter the serving area occasionally with no particular urgency and maybe drop something off at a table only to quickly disappear back into the kitchen area. Clearly the good stuff was happening in the kitchen area.
When my frustration reached a climax, I went back to the hostess station and flagged down a server who, in retrospect, was likely clocking out. I expressed my dissatisfaction in having been in the restaurant for 20 minutes and not having received so much as a glass of water, let alone my food. To her credit, the server, MARIA, made it her responsibility to reseat me, take my order and check on my progress throughout the meal. She said that she had actually gone off duty but seeing my predicament, wanted to make sure that I was taken care of.
Partway through the meal another person, whom I thought was a manager but advised me that she wasn't, came over to further apologize. No manager showed their face.
I blame these issues on bad management from the top down. While I'm not sure if Friendly's is still in bankruptcy it's clear that upper management has stopped caring and trying. Standards have dropped and basic premises of how to handle guests have been forgotten.
Given what I saw in the serving area I can only imagine what the kitchen and their standards are like. A walk by the salad prep area on my way to the men's room did not make me feel warm and fuzzy, though some of the lettuce might have been.
Friendly's should either shutter their restaurants or sell them to another chain, such as Perkins (also recently in bankruptcy) that does at least know how to run a restaurant. It is sad to see how far their restaurants have fallen.
As a side note, when I left the restaurant I was motivated enough to try calling the corporate customer service line to relay my observations. It was 3:45 in the afternoon when I called but I got a recording saying that they were out of the office until 3:45. I got this message on multiple attempts to reach them until about 4:30 when I got a message that they were on another call but if I had a restaurant comment to call a different number. When I called the "restaurant comment" line I got an automated answer that only let me punch numbers into the phone to give responses to questions that really didn't address my concerns. Clearly corporate has given up and isn't even going through the motions of trying to run a welcoming family restaurant.
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