Today I had lunch at a restaurant I have never eaten at before – The Feed Store, in downtown Springfield. Was it good? Meh. The sandwhich I had wasn’t anything that I couldn’t make at home, I’ll leave it at that.
What did turn me off was their lack of adherance to what I’ll call Restaurant Protocol. I’ll explain. A friend and I got in line behind a few other customers and waited our turn. The first protocol deviation came with the orders being taken in the line and not up at a counter, register, or at the table. In fact, while the counter did exist, its only purposed seemed to be to barricade the workers into the kitchen. Poor workers.
Next, when it was our turn to order, what I did not realize was that “our turn” was supposed to entail knowing what we wanted to eat without having ever been there before, or having looked at a menu. The waitress looked and sounded confused when we asked for a menu and more time to figure out what to eat. It felt like we had screwed up some secret Feed Store Handshake. So she handed us a pair of menus and ackwardly tried to figure out where we should stand while she took the next customer’s order. It very much felt like this situation had never arisen and they just didn’t know what to do – I mean who goes to a restaurant and not know what they’re going to get!?
We later place our order, and then she explains how we get our food… get this – we each received a slip of paper with a serial number on it, were told where to sit, and were then instructed to listen for our number to be called, and upon hearing it, raise our hands. Raise our hands?! Since when are the little numbers that sit on your table insufficient? No, that would be too normal! Instead, don’t try to have a conversation while you’re waiting for your food lest you’ll never hear your sacred number being called by the woman at the front of the noisy restaurant. I failed, and missed my number being called. Damn you, Feed Store.
I think the only worse method for distributing the food would be to just pass the plates from table to table until it gets to the person that ordered it – a.la. beer at a baseball game.
So I give The Feed Store a failing mark. The food was ok, but you’ve got to stick with the protocol unless your food is amazing; otherwise it will just feel like you’re eating in the Twilight Zone. I’ll stick to Monty’s, Jimmie John’s, Head West, and even Subway.