Sunday, October 05, 2008

Chiquito's Cardiff Bay

I'm umming and ahhing over whether to write a complaint letter, but while I consider it, here are a couple of comments about our dining experience Friday night.

Firstly, it took us an hour and a half to be served our main course. When I commented on this to the waitress she said it was because they were "busy" and "many people have turned up to eat". Hello? It's a restaurant. It's a Friday night. What were they expecting? I mean surely it's not a huge step of logical thought to assume people might turn up at a restaurant expecting to eat?

Plus when we got there the place was virtually deserted. Fortunately we'd had our starters before the place filled up. But the only reason the place was so full was because after our starters had come out, no one had been served with any food. Here's a tip for anyone from Chiquito's reading this - this is how restaurants work: you serve people food, they eat, pay for it and leave. If you don't serve any food, people tend to stay.

Around us were table after table of very hungry looking potential diners. And we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Some people left having just had drinks, to be replaced by more waiting hungry customers. It got so bad I began to wonder if Bob Geldof was about to release a charity single on our behalf.

Eventually, as we crossed into a new geological epoch, our food came. Given the huge wait, my chili and rice had obviously been sitting under a hot plate for too long. The rice had burned underneath into an inedible clump. The chili was tasty but had that lukewarm temperature of chili that's sat around for a while. My friend Bryan's "Chilli fries" were just oven chips with ordinary table pepper sprinkled on them.

I asked to see the duty manager, having warned my table that there might well be a scene. The waitress went off to find said manager, and returned to say she was in the kitchen helping with getting all the orders out and she was very busy. I found that staggering in terms of customer service. You've got an annoyed customer who asks to see the manager, and the manager is "too busy" to see them. How to not win repeat business in one short lesson!

It's not as if Chiquito's has no competition. New restaurants are springing up every other day in Cardiff Bay. It's not cheap either. You'd have thought that in the current climate, as people's going out funds are reduced, restaurant managers would be switched on to the need to keep customers happy and hopefully loyal.

Like I said, I think I'll be writing a letter to the Head Office.


  1. Anonymous5/10/08 13:22

    Definitely write in Jon!
    We had a shocking Chiquitos experience in Leicester Sq London last year... waiting an absolute age to be seated, and even longer for our food which like yours came out dry and horrible. My sister had to ask for her paella to be replaced as it was so dried out... won't be going there again!

  2. Anonymous5/10/08 13:38

    chiquitos and nandos - best avoided at all costs

  3. It's a shame because the starter was actually quite nice. Expensive though - £11.95 for a Fiesta Platter.

  4. Anonymous6/10/08 12:48

    This is clearly unacceptable! Put pen to paper and give them a timely boot up the bum. If they weren't a chain restaurant and they carried on with service like that, they'd sink without trace.

  5. I reckon you don't need to write a complaint letter, wasting more energy and time on them. You should just send them a link to your blog, it says it like it is. They'd have to take it seriously!!