I went to a Little Chef at the weekend, which in retrospect probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but when you’re staying at a Travelodge and have a 16-month-old and need breakfast, there aren’t many options.
I’ll give them one thing – their marketing is fantastic. The breakfasts looked genuinely appealing and their prices have come down a lot.
Sadly, from the moment we walked through the door, things went wrong.
1) No member of staff greeted us and took us to a table. So, we took it upon ourselves to find a high chair and find a table.
2) We had to find our own menus – none were forthcoming from the “staff” – I use that word sparingly.
3) After having been at our table for 10 minutes, one of the boys on duty came over to tell us we were blocking the aisle with the high chair and we had to move. He took us to the other side of the “restaurant” and promptly blocked another aisle with the high chair. Good old ‘health and safety’, eh?
4) Once the orders were taken, it took roughly 20 minutes to cook four breakfasts. However, in the meantime, another table sent their food back, because it wasn’t cooked. It’s sausage and bacon, for goodness sake, how can you not cook it properly?
5) Every time someone paid, the staff had to get the ticket from the chef and then decipher what each person had ordered. It took five blokes 10 minutes to pay for breakfast!
6) Their staffing policy is abominable: no-one seemed to be in charge, in fact I’m not sure there was a manager. Those on duty looked as if they’d just left nursery and couldn’t have looked less happy if they were standing in front of a firing squad. I know it can’t be much fun to be working at a Little Chef at 8am on a Sunday morning, but at least try to look as if you’re enthused.
7) Did we consider complaining? We did, but realised it wouldn’t have got us anywhere. The food, which was actually fairly OK, wouldn’t have reached us any quicker. The staff wouldn’t have magically cheered up and the service wouldn’t have been any quicker. We might have got a fiver off our meal, but that’s hardly recompense for a dismal experience.
All in all, very depressing. I know Little Chef have had problems recently and almost shut down for good. Well, on the evidence of this, perhaps they should do just that. I certainly won’t be going back for a long time.