Monday, 13 August 2012

Franchise Folly- IHOP on Classen

I have always enjoyed the privately owned casual restaurant NOT tied to a corporate chain. There is something about their charm, food, and drive to keep their customers that draws me to these places. IHop, of course, is not one of these restaurants.  Their international franchise chain of “pancake” restaurants reach across the United States, Canada, and Central America. These restaurants are typically convenient because they are placed in prime locations. They also keep niche markets that are difficult to find in private, local restaurants. Ihop, for example, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day and into the wee hours of the morning- a definite plus if you crave a stack of pancakes at 3am. 

My husband and I, however, did not go to Ihop at 3am for pancakes (quite possibly where we went wrong), but rather went at 10am (frighteningly normal by any standards). Given the hour on a weekend, I was surprised to see no wait at the Classen location. We were taken to a table in the back, near the kitchen, and greeted by a bored and annoyed looking waiter (let’s call him Jake) ready to take our drink orders. His lackluster approach wasn’t surprising, as I don’t really expect peppy, friendly waiters at restaurants like this, but it didn’t award him any points either. After giving him our meal orders, he annoyingly checked back what felt like every three minutes, to interrupt our conversation and ask if we “needed anything,” which we clearly did not. 

Our food arrived, and my turkey sandwich (it was brunch time) lacked presentation and quality. It was quite literally a sub roll, Kraft mayo, processed turkey lunch mean, Kraft single sliced cheese, a slice of tomato, and a piece of wilted lettuce. It came with a side, something “Jake the waiter” didn’t bother to ask me about, which meant I got fries (not even enough to cover the plate, not that I would have ate that many). Up until this point, Jake had checked on us somewhere near 8 times since we arrived at our table. Once our food arrived, however, all trips to our table completely stopped. He delivered the food, saw that I did not have but a ¼ of a cup of drink left, but never returned with anything. At all. I ate my entire meal in peace, sure, but without the hydration I so desperately desired to quench the parchedness in my throat that can only come with a dry, processed sandwich and over-salted fries. At the end of our meal, when our plates were clear, and our glasses still empty, Jake the waiter returned with the check. I asked for a “large” to-go drink to take with me, but of course he returned with the smallest cup I have ever seen (go figure). To add insult to injury, as we went to the front to pay, we realized they charged my husband some 50 cents for a slice of toast (really?!)

My Recommendation: The moral of this story is that you should stick with individually owned and operated local restaurants. If you do go to Ihop, don’t expect amazing service or food…I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist there. 

Overall Rating: 1

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