I don’t normally like to complain about small businesses, but tonight I was shocked by the treatment my friends and I received at Marie’s Cafe.
Marie’s Cafe is a Thai restaurant near Waterloo. It’s cheap and you can bring your own booze. It’s very popular with young people for this reason. I’ve long been a fan and have often recommended it to friends, as well as bringing various social groups here.
Tonight I visited with two girl pals. When we arrived, it was packed. Lots of people were waiting for seats. Even though I had booked a table, we still had to wait a while to get ours.
We sat down, and immediately the service wanted to know our order. This seemed like a good sign at the beginning, but I honestly felt harassed by the end of the evening, as if Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction had become my waiter – but with less charm. The staff here are so desperate to flog meals that they treat customers a bit like cattle that have to be rushed through.
We ordered starters and mains. A waiter and waitress brought these out quickly, and together. The waitress then cleared my starter plate away when I had not finished it.
The service was mad. We were constantly harassed to finish our food. At every opportunity, the waitress was there – encouraging us to hurry up. My friend ate the last spoonful of her main and she took her plate away. I told the waitress could she please let us be for a bit, but things continued. We must have been there about half an hour when they started trying to get rid of us.
We ordered a cup of tea in order to justify staying longer, but halfway through the waitress handed us the bill – which we did not ask for. I turned it upside down and we ignored it. Then the head chef came over and told us we had to pay as our table was needed.
I got annoyed by this and complained to another waiter, who had been equally bothersome for the half hour/ hour we’d been there. I asked him if they could all just leave us in peace, as we were midway through drinks.
But the head chef came over again. He told us we really had to go now. I told him how rude he was, and he said he didn’t care – it was the way they were. I said I would write about this experience and he said to go for it – so here I am! I told him I thought he was a bully. At one point he gave me a piece of paper and pen and told me to write down exactly how he should run his business.
I wish I could have filmed this bizarre experience. Sure, restaurants get busy and need customers to be aware of that, but practically chucking people out is not acceptable – especially as we were in there for an hour maximum. All we wanted was a leisurely curry! Should a restaurant that feel stressed enough that it must intimidate customers into leaving, they should probably buy more tables – or close down.
I’m all the more unhappy about our treatment because I’ve always promoted that restaurant. Its owners clearly think they are too good for manners. All of this is self-defeating; we would have spent more money had they let us sit in their premise for more than an hour. Marie’s Cafe is run by a bully. One that has no business sense, either.
Oh, and the food wasn’t even that good.