We had a bit of a tiki tour yesterday - down the the West side of Lake Ferry and then finishing up at the Lake Ferry Hotel. Now the last time we were there was about 2 Christmases ago. We waited for an hour for service then. When the food arrived it was good - really good pub grub. Fish and Chips, burgers and flounders.
It was obvious 2 years ago that the place was quickly overwhelmed when there were too many people.
So fast forward 2 years. There was just two of us. The Restaurant was pretty full as was the bar. But as we arrived at 1pm , we could see that quite a few people were leaving.
So the Rock sat down at a vacated table and we did the ordering.
We asked for some garlic bread, just in case the service was a bit slow. And fish and chips and a beef pie. We orderd the "Lake Ferry Sauvignon" - the only wine they had by the glass and a ginger beer.
And we sat down and waited, and waited and waited. After about half an hour we asked if our food would be anytime soon an were told it would be 10 minutes- it was 20.
We never saw the garlic bread and we never saw a waitress to clean down the table. While we were not hugely grumpy - others in the restaurant were.
When the food arrived we had a giggle. the beef pies came out first.. to about 3 different tables then the fish and chips - five minutes later to the same three tables.
the fish, John Dory was very fresh. The green salad was over oiled and the chips a bit on the limp side.
The Rock liked his pie but said it was just a nice pie.
Now we asked for a refund on our garlic bread and as we explained we had never seen it a bloke from the next door table was also asking for a refund as well. And another table had not received the food it had ordered either.
So why should we worry about a popular end of the road restaurant? Simple - we have a Rugby World Cup coming - and those who visit our shores wont just stay in the cities - they will have a look see in all manner of places. Lake Ferry is well known. It is trading on the fact that it is the last place you can get a sit down feed after a good long car ride. Overseas visitors will head there.
Service of the woeful standard we experienced is not just bad for that establishment - its also bad for the rest of us. We are wanting the All Blacks to life their game after their last awful Rugby World Cup appearance but everyone else who offering a service to the tens of thousands of visitors will need to lift their game as well if we want them to go away with the best memories possible and a yearning to come again.