The following is an email I sent to the corporate office of Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex chain that recently opened in Lexington. To be clear, I’m not an impatient diner. I’m friends with several servers, many of whom became friends because they enoyed waiting on our group. We’re reasonable, tip well and never treat them as “help.” That said, there’s such things as first impressions.
Subject: Questionable service in Lexington
For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing all kinds of excitement about the grand opening of Chuy’s in Lexington. There have been news stories, Facebook posts from fans and even a team of excited crew members passing out information at a nearby mall.
When I visited the restaurant on Friday, I expected to be overwhelmed with the awesomeness of an establishment that could generate such excitement.
I never got that chance.
After being seated by an enthusiastic (perhaps a tad over-enthusiastic, but maybe that’s the Chuy’s way) host (one note: I’m not sure anybody anywhere actually cares that all your drawings on the wall are handdrawn), we were seated near the drink area/fountain machine/kitchen entrance.
Side note: I found it somewhat baffling, perhaps even offensive, that the only Hispanics working in this Tex-Mex restaurant were three ladies sectioned off in a glass partition to make tortillas. Had our host not been so sincere when giving the information about the three women, I would have assumed it was some sort of parody – “Step right up and see our tortillas being made by REAL LIVE HISPANIC WOMEN!”
Once seated, my friend and I expected to have our drink order taken and perhaps even a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa, as is traditionally the case in Tex-Mex restaurants (I’m referring, of course to the chips and salsa being the tradition for such establishments, as getting a drink order taken is pretty standard for eateries of all types).
Any type of service would have been preferable.
Despite being mere feet from the beverage area, which was populated by no less than 10 employees, one of whom was playing with a child 3-5 years in age, we sat for about five minutes without so much as a courtesy hello from anyone. No drinks. No chips. No salsa. Just five minutes of watching your employees doing anything and everything but actually visit our table. In fairness, I think the child was happy being swung around by the server, but children are notoriously bad tippers.
We reached our breaking point when someone yelled “yeaaaaaahhhhh boooooooyyyyyyyy” in style reminiscent of early-1990s rap on MTV. We put down our menus (no word on if the artwork on them was handdrawn) and walked out. I told our enthusiastic host the reason we left just before exiting, in hopes that future diners wouldn’t be subjected to such a lengthy wait.
I wish you all the best.
P.S. The handmade tortillas, which were made in-house by real live Hispanic women, looked delicious.