Normally you, well I, go to places like TGIF's or other international chains because the 1/2 rack of rib's is the same in Atlanta as it is in Tokyo. In Merida, Mexico that could be true or false depending on when you go and who's your wait staff. I live in Merida, going on six years this Sept. and I've probably eaten at one of the several TGFI's 25-30 times in past five years. It's usually because someone else invites me or they have a lunch special going that seems reasonable. My most recent visit, last Thursday- 13 June, 2013 was a spur of the moment decision while out shopping. My friend and I wanted a quick lunch while out shopping and saw a sign with TGIF's lunch specials. They sounded good and the price seemed right so we stopped. We walked in and were seated right away. So far so good. Sadly that's the last thing the seemed to go right. After being seated our attention was quickly focused on the bar area where a group (7-10) of young girls, I'd guess in the jr. high to high school age range, had gathered. From all appearances they were fans of the young man bar tender though they looked too young to be ordering drinks. The were loud, I mean loud. I sat in the 3rd row of a Rolling Stones concert once and these girls could have drowned out Mick, Kieth and the boys easily. They were shrieking, yelling, laughing and carrying on like it was spring break. The bar tender seemed to enjoy the attention The lady I was with said something to the effect of "I hope he's having enough fun to make up for all the tips he's costing all the servers." I looked around and many customers seemed none to happy about the noise. One middle aged lady seemed to be trying to do some "Excell" work in her laptop (they do offer free wifi) and she finally closed it and left, don't think she even ordered or her food hadn't arrived. She was obviously not happy. After listening to "the show" for 5-10 minutes a manager stopped by to asked if everything was alright? Together we said "we've been here nearly ten minutes and haven't even seen our waiter." My friend asked if he could do something about the noise, we couldn't hear our selves well enough to have a conversation. He said he's get a waiter to our table right away and would see about the noise. A few more minutes passed and a waiter appeared and asked "what do you want?" In Spanish I told him "less noise and more food." We each ordered a lunch special- an app. to share, soup, an entree and after meal coffee. Just as our waiter left I noticed the manger walked into the dinning room and looked at the group near the bar. At this point the bar tender was spinning a tray on his finger and the young girls were screaming like Justin Berber (sp?) had just walked in. I made eye contact with him and thought "ok, he gets it now. Now he'll do something about this insanity." He did... he turned up the music so now the it was even louder. A group of businessmen immediately tossed some cash on their table and walked out. Another five mins. passed and we discussed leaving ourselves but just as we decided to go our drinks arrived. At that point I felt like I owed for the drinks, Mojitos, which were decent. Plus it looked like the school girls were leaving. By the time I'd finished half my drink they had in fact left, thank God! But now the music was so loud we still could not hear each other to have a conversation. I went up the the service area and stated "if you can't lower the volume of the music to where my friend and I can her each other please just bring me a check for the drinks so we can leave." Within moments the music was completely turned off. Fine, way better. I looked at my watch and realized we'd been in the restaurant for right at an hour and all we've been served was one drink. I told my friend "let's just go to my place and I'll fix you a salad." "Ok, get a check, pay for the drinks and let's get out of here." Of course once we made that decision our food arrived. My friend asked "where's our soup?" "Oh, did you want the soup?" "We ordered it, it comes with the lunch special... yes please." Now my friend is a Veg. and she specifically ordered a salad and asked they not include the chicken. Naturally once it arrived it was covered with chicken. I ordered a "Buffalo Chicken Burger." I'll bet I've had that sandwich in at least three countries and eight different TGIF's, it's usually no different. Not great but not awful either. This one was frankly horrible. The bun was so hard I simply could not eat it and I ended u removing the chicken breast and ate it alone. My guess would be it sat under a heat lamp waiting for our waiter to pick it up for so long the top just became hard toasted. The sandwich normally has cheese on it, not this one. At some point our soup arrived, cold and completely without flavor. It was suppose to be cheese broccoli but had the consistency of water and about the same favor.
We finished eating what we could but both left a lot of food that was simply too awful to eat on our plates. Neither of us ate the soup. We never received the "shared app." When our waiter started to remove our plates he asked why I ordered a "burger" but didn't eat the bun. I told him "the bun was so hard I couldn't eat it." He never said a word just took the dishes and left. As he walked away my friend asked about the "after meal coffee." "Oh did you want the coffee?" "No, just bring us a check so we can leave." By the time our check arrived we'd been in the place over two hours. The waiter came to our table with a machine to run my CC. I watched him input the meal amount and he started to look up, I knew he was going to tell me "the tip isn't included". He took one look at me face and never said a word.
I'll never return to that TGIF again. I'll likely walk into another TGIF somewhere on the planet someday but that location? Never. What kind of manager allows his bar area to be turned into a circus during the lunch hour? And not a paying circus either, none of those young girls ordered anything from what we saw. Now if I went into a TGIF at 10pm and the place was loud and rowdy I'd understand. But at lunch with business customers trying to get meetings and work done that's just not very smart. Plus the staff had seemingly no idea what the lunch special included, soup? coffee? Plus I don't think an hour is a reasonable time to put together and serve a chicken burger and salad.
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