My family and I have attended the Birkebeiner for the last three years and I have to say, this year was our most enjoyable experience. Compared to the last times we were here, the hotel was almost unrecognizable. As a person that once managed a hotel and restaurant, I can say that there is still a great deal that needs to be done, but the renovations that took place from last year to this year were indeed impressive. Having said that, Saturday was an incredible disappointment. We arrived at the restaurant at 6:00 and sat down at the only table that was open. We were acknowleged right away and soon thereafter given menus and beverages. We were located at a table that faced the bar and it was obvious to me that the staff was working very hard in order to accomodate everyone. We were told by our server that there would be a wait, which we certainly understood given the circumstances. The staff was working very hard and very well together. Then something strange happened that, in my twenty five plus years in the business, I've never seen before. A man in a blue, button-up shirt came behind the bar and asked two women that were seated there to help him. From that point on it was a complete disaster. It was readily apparent to me that, even though the bartenders and waitresses were very busy, they were not confused. After this man and his help attempted to assist, it made a busy stituation into a chaotic one. I could see that four, sometimes five people were gathered around the register, that no one knew what food went where, that the waitresses were all of a sudden thrown off their rhythm, that where before there was simply a group of people doing their best to do their jobs, there was now complete and utter confusion. I saw a man circling the dining room with a tray of food trying desperately to find its table. It was sad, in a way, to see a place doing so well all of a sudden losing its way. I have been in this business for a long time and understand what happens when things get busy--what I don't understand is why someone would come along and, with all due respect, just get in the way. When my family sat down for dinner we were very happy, not only to see the restaurant thriving, but also, at least for me personally, to see the organization and competence of its staff. That all changed and so did my evaluation. I'm not sure who this man was, but if he is an Executive/Board Member, he should be ashamed of himself to make a great staff look so badly due to his actions. After our dinner I went to the front desk in order to speak to the owner, but was told he was busy. I hope he reads this and takes it seriously. This resort has an incredible amount of potential; sometimes, however, that potential can only be realized by allowing the staff to do their job--in other words, for the resort's benefit, let them do it.
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