Half-Way's response. I give him a lot of credit. He looked in to it, and gave a detailed response. While we're not planning on going back anytime soon, they get good marks for the thorough response...
"Eric, my name is Matt XXXX and I am General Manager of the Halfway Cafe in Marlboro. I wanted to apologize for the experience your family and friends had recently at our restaurant. We work very hard to make each experience a good one, understanding full well the breadth of options in MetroWest area. In order to keep you coming back, the service and food must be consistently top notch. On Saturday night, clearly neither were.
The number of "breakdowns" in your visit are vast and are being addressed by myself immediately.
Your server had just come out of training and clearly was not prepared to handle your needs. This explains her lack of warning regarding the pricing of the sides (substituting onion rings for one side should be $1.99. I looked and she substituted both sides for onion rings, resulting in the exorbitant charge) and why she forgot to modify the steak tips as plain, resulting in your tips being doused in cafe sauce. Ultimately, our training needs to be better.
The host failed you on a number of levels with the wait. Our host shouldn't quote specific times over the phone. For large parties, we should put your name on the wait list. When you arrive, your wait would be dictated by your place on the list (typically first), and the availability of tables coming up. We don't usually "hold" tables because of the size of the restaurant and the occasional party that calls ahead but never shows up. Additionally, your concession to split up the party into two groups was apparently never communicated to the manager, who could have certainly expedited your being sat had he known that. Ultimately, our communication needs to be better.
The kitchen failed you on a number of levels as well. The wings are portioned by number. The wings we order are brought to us based upon their size. They should be extremely large wings and a double order of them should never look skimpy. If the wings that come in are not of the usual size, they should compensate automatically with more wings or not serve them at all. The portioning of the steak tips I have spot checked and they are weighed to 10 oz. I have no doubt that the order was small on your plate, though I can only chalk this up to human error on some level, as they are typically spot on. The salad debacle seems two-fold. The manager should not have described it as grilled (it is cooked on the grill but we cook the chicken and vegetables separately in foil so that there is no chance for contamination) and the kitchen obviously didn't execute our allergy protocol properly. No doubt that your food was not cross-contaminated, but when done properly, the food is safe from allergens and delicious. Additionally, they forgot the hummus on the wrap your wife ordered. Ultimately, our execution needs to be better.
Finally, the management, including myself, failed you. We should have caught some of these mistakes and done a better job of rectifying the situation before you left. My intention is not to denigrate my staff. I believe in my staff and managers. Any one of these mistakes would probably not have constituted a "deal-breaker" for your visit. But the culmination of all these errors in one visit has removed us from your restaurant list. We are better than this, as your previous experiences would hopefully dictate. Please know that this is not typical of the Halfway. I am already using this not only as a training tool for our staff, but as personal motivation to ensure that our training, communication, and execution improves.
Whether you decide to give us another chance is ultimately up to you, but we would love to see you again and prove that the other night was an aberration. I would only need an address to send you dinner on us.
Halfway Cafe - Marlboro