image I don’t do restaurant reviews.  That isn’t the purpose of this blog, but I have to share an experience that I had tonight.  Looking for a unique place to eat while I am in DC for a conference I went on over to The Dubliner.  They had some Irish cuisine which I typically can’t get in Des Moines.  It was close to my hotel so why not give it a go?

I found the place, it was busy, crowded… I thought this was a good sign.

I went to the server and said that I was a party of one who was here to eat (it’s a pub as well).  She looked around and asked if the table next to the kitchen was ok.  I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I was hungry and didn’t want to wait.  And the I proceeded to have the worst customer service I have ever experienced.  I am not exaggerating.  The worst.

  • My server, Dan (I only found out his name after he ran my credit card), took over seven minutes before even acknowledging my existence.
  • Asked if I was ready to order and seemed to be in a rush.  I asked one question about the Irish Bangers, as I didn’t know what that was.  He said sausages and gave no other explanation of the dish.  I ordered the Guiness Burger which is described as, “Ground sirloin marinated in Guinness and cooked to order, served on top of a potato pancake with Welsh cheese sauce, topped with onion straws.” and then I asked for a water with a beer (I know, I need to repent), Kilkerry Irish Cream Ale to go along with it (no I’m not turning in a receipt for that).
  • I drink my water.  I get half-way through my beer, and Dan brings my plate out… which was supposed to come with a roll and butter, but did not.
  • Oh, I didn’t mention that he just slid the plate in front of me and said not one word in the process and promptly left.  I needed salt & pepper which I noticed wasn’t on the table.  I would have asked, but he was nowhere to be seen.  So I went over to an empty table and took theirs.
  • The dish was mediocre and for what I paid for it ($13.95) I could get a steak or seafood at some places in Des Moines.
  • He never came near enough for me to get his attention, but would walk quickly by… my water was empty.
  • A bus boy came by to get my empty plate, and still no Dan.
  • I waited eight minutes before Dan showed up again, I know this because I decided for amusement’s sake to time it on the stopwatch feature on my cell phone.
  • He then came up and asked, “are you all done buddy” (a pet peeve of mine, along with being called honey or sweetie by complete strangers).  I said yes and then went to settle the bill.  My change should have been $4.65, he brings me $4.00.  I took the $.65 out of the tip I gave (which was intentionally lousy, and I try to tip at least 20% normally).
  • A manager was nowhere to be seen, and I didn’t want to deal with it there.  There was no phone number on the receipt, I had to wait to look it up online at my hotel.  I talked with the manager on the phone and he said he would talk with him, but didn’t seem overly concerned.  Also he did nothing to try to make it right.

The only thing good I could say about The Dubliner was that the beer I had was good, and I was glad I could pirate the neighboring hotel’s wifi for my PDA to kill the time.  Otherwise, if you are visiting DC or live in DC I would recommend that you avoid The Dubliner.

If you are in the hospitality industry – here’s an example of what not to do.

So am I overreacting?  What’s your customer service nightmare?  Can you beat mine?

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