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Old 10-17-2012, 11:33 PM   #1
sam08223
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Cal Grill - Not Deluxe

This is bugging me...... My wife and I had diiner at Cal Grill tonight. It has been our favorite Disney restaurant for several years and we always make a point to eat there at least once each vacation. I love the filet, medium rare, with a salad and a bottle of wine. This evening, ordered my usual fav and it came out with a well done steak. I pointed this out to my server, who agreeded with me and promptly took my plate back for a replacement. In the mean time I asked my wife to enjoy her dinner while it was still hot. In a few minutes my replacement arrived. I cut my filet and this time it was barely rare. I called it to my server's attention and again my plate was returned to the kitchen. Again several minutes passed and a new filet was delivered to me. Thankfully, on the 3rd attempt, my steak was correctly cooked, although, by this time my wife had nearly completed her meal. I ate my dinner - tasted good - but the evening had been disrupted and my meal was not an enjoyable experience. After I had completed my meal I asked to speak with the Manager. She expressed her concern and said that she has a new person on the grill and that was the problem. This is where I have an issue - at a Deluxe restaurant like Cal Grill, I pay a premium price for quality food and service. There is a level of product that should be delivered to the customer and if the staff ( in this case a grill person ) cannot provide the quality expected they should not be on staff. Understanding how to cook a steak should not be part of the training at a Deluxe Restaurant. I felt that I received less than a Deluxe exprience tonight. After I expressed my concerns - I did receive a discount which was slightly over 10% of my bill. Unfortunately, I felt my concerns were not taken seriously.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:52 AM   #2
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Two things that jump out to me about this:

1. The grill person could be dealing with some nerves in being in what is considered by many guests "THE" Restaurant in all of Disney. If you're the new guy and surrounded by other chefs with years of experience (which can be said for many jobs) it can be daunting for the first couple of days.

2. I hate when a manager throws another member of staff under the bus to deflect blame off of themselves. As a manager it's your job to take responsibility for all aspects of the restaurant, no matter what it is. When you apologize don't deflect the issue onto another person, own it and do what you have to to correct the situation.

That being said I'm sorry your meal had some rough spots in it. When you're paying a premium price you expect premium service on all levels. It's not your fault that you had to wait until the third try for your steak to come out right, and a complimentary glass of wine/dessert should have accompanied the bill discount (in my opinion.)

I'd also put blame on the expediter for not noticing the temperature of the steak. If it's well done or barely rare those are easy things that can be spotted, especially by someone who you would presume has a lot of experience in working the pass. Sorry for the rant (and it's not directed at you at all), but as someone who has worked in the retail/service industry for ten years I hate when managers always try and blame someone else before trying to correct an issue. If one of my employees make a mistake I always apologize and do what I can to correct the situation, but I won't join the customer in criticizing them.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:13 AM   #3
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That sucks. I'd be upset as well. Esp since Cali Grill is one of my favourite restaurants! This sort of thing is unacceptable at a signature restaurant. And youre right, it looks as though they didnt take your situation seriously. 10%? I'd expect more.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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The manager blaming the grill person is unacceptable. Between the grill person and your table is the chef. If the grill person was new, the chef should be right next to him/her to make sure that the product being delivered is up to the standards of his kitchen.

In this particular case, the manager probably went back to the chef immediately after leaving your table and alerted him/her of the situation. That's not a situation the chef wants to be in, and I'm sure that steps were taken immediately to prevent re-occurance for any other patron.

Experienced grill men can tell a rare, med rare, med, med well, and well done steak by touching it. Inexperienced grill men use a thermometer or a small cut to see if it's done. Really inexperienced grill men do it by eye, and frequently get anything other than rare or well done correct.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
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Maybe it has something to do with the restaurant's upcoming lengthy refurbishment. Less than three months until they shut down. It might be hard to find an experienced chef for a short term assignment.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:09 PM   #6
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This sounds like my experience at Yachtsman Steakhouse a couple of weeks ago! I ordered a medium well filet, and it came out well done. Actually it was beyond well done. It was hard as a rock. They took the steak back and then brought out a rare steak. They tried again, but never got it right. They refunded me my 2 TS credits even though I didn't ask for any compensation. I was VERY disappointed in this signature experience. It was only the second signature we have ever tried, and I couldn't believe that one of the best steakhouses on Disney property couldn't even prepare a simple filet!

BTW, we ate at California Grille a couple of nights later, and it was the best meal of the week. I hate to hear you had a problem there because I'm already looking forward to my next trip so I can eat there. I hope I'm not disappointed!
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyStarWisher
This sounds like my experience at Yachtsman Steakhouse a couple of weeks ago! I ordered a medium well filet, and it came out well done. Actually it was beyond well done. It was hard as a rock. They took the steak back and then brought out a rare steak. They tried again, but never got it right. They refunded me my 2 TS credits even though I didn't ask for any compensation. I was VERY disappointed in this signature experience. It was only the second signature we have ever tried, and I couldn't believe that one of the best steakhouses on Disney property couldn't even prepare a simple filet!

BTW, we ate at California Grille a couple of nights later, and it was the best meal of the week. I hate to hear you had a problem there because I'm already looking forward to my next trip so I can eat there. I hope I'm not disappointed!
I'm wondering now if it is going to be worth our 2 trips to Cal Grill in November? Felt so lucky to get our ADR's and now I'm confused. We are doing signatures for seven nights and I could easily cancel one of them and substitute something else but just unsure at this point......
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:25 AM   #8
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I'm sorry you had a bad experince there. We went twice last August and loved it. Too bad the manager had to blame someone else for the problem. I too wonder if maybe he was trying to hard to send it back quickly the second time and that's why he came out rare but it's still not excusable.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:42 AM   #9
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I've been finding more and more that my concerns and problems are not taken seriously when I bring them up. Maybe it's some leadership decision at the resort but I wrote a letter to the president of DVC about horrible conditions at the Beach Club this summer and I gor a phne call from someone in customer service that was clearly just yes-ing me and fake sympathizing with me so they could say they responded. I hung up thinking nothing would come of it.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #10
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I don't understand why you feel your, very valid, complaint was not taken seriously? Was it because the manager didn't drag the grill man out in front of you and publicly berate or flog him? Was it because you didn't get a more generous comp (I think comping you the steak would have been a proper response BTW)?

I would have assumed, based on what you presented to us here, that the manager then went back to the kitchen and informed the chef, the expediter and the grill man of the issues. What am I missing?

The steak you eventually ate was good. The server did their job and brought you new food as requested. So while you had a disruption of your evening, that in and of itself, doesn't disqualify the restaurant as a Deluxe experience...necessarily. A pattern of such instances might. Just MHO. I am really sorry your experience wasn't as great as your previous experiences. Hopefully they got whatever the issue was sorted out right then.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:07 PM   #11
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I am so sorry that diminished your experience. Similar thing happened at Artist Point to me a few years ago and I have not been back. I agree I would expect way more out of all of the staff at Cali Grill. We ate there 3 weeks ago for the first time and had an amazing experience. I would have been very dissappointed if I ever get to return and it happened to me. I think it also sounds like the server dropped the ball ( unless the server told the manager much earlier and she ignored you). I worked at restaurants not nearly as nice( Applebee's and Steak and Ale). Really casual but they took great pride in getting your steak cooked right. After it was sent back the first time, I would let the manager know and the manager would have personally stopped by to apologize. As a server I was supposed to let the manager know if any guest needed special attention due to a kitchen problem. For a steak coming out wrong twice, You probably would have gotten the steak comped and offered free desert. At Steak and Ale, you would have also gotten a card to come back for a meal on them (might be the reason why the one's around here are out of business now). But the manager should have been alerted especially by the second steak to take adequate steps in the kitchen and come speak with you WHILE you waited on the third steak. They waited far too long to address the issue and 10% off the bill seems inadequate for the time you waited, your wife ate alone, and you were left wondering if they would ever get it right. We had a manager check on us the night we were at CAli Grill Maybe there was something going on behind the scenes that she did not share with you that contributed to it. That restaurant is far to expensive to be making those kinds of mistakes.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennasis View Post
I don't understand why you feel your, very valid, complaint was not taken seriously? Was it because the manager didn't drag the grill man out in front of you and publicly berate or flog him? Was it because you didn't get a more generous comp (I think comping you the steak would have been a proper response BTW)?
I'm no Disney apologist but I was thinking this too.

I've never sent food back just because I honestly don't want people spitting in my food. I worked as a waitress when I was younger---I've never done that but there is plenty of opportunity to do so.

You sent the steak back 3 times--at some point you just have to conclude that this particular restaurant is no good any more. You can vent your frustration on Yelp or on the Dis and its ratings and reputation will go down.

If they eventually got it right, what else is there to do? Comp your food? They gave you a steak until you liked it...and gave you a discount.

This is a real question, no sarcasm at all....but: What would you have wanted as a resolution since you say you weren't taken seriously?
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #13
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Why........

i'm reading some of these replies.... Would it improve the restaurant had I said nothing and accept poorly prepared food? Is it right to accept a " Yes-ing" the customer response to a complaint? No, I'm not looking for blood - But I would have liked to see a more urgent response - instead of feeling like a nusiance - Questioning if this is the norm rather than an exception for what is considered one of Disnsey's best restaurants.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam08223 View Post
i'm reading some of these replies.... Would it improve the restaurant had I said nothing and accept poorly prepared food? Is it right to accept a " Yes-ing" the customer response to a complaint? No, I'm not looking for blood - But I would have liked to see a more urgent response - instead of feeling like a nusiance - Questioning if this is the norm rather than an exception for what is considered one of Disnsey's best restaurants.
But what specifically makes you feel they weren't taking you seriously? Of course saying nothing wouldn't have been helpful. Why did you feel like a nuisance? Was the manager not apologetic enough? Did she roll her eyes at you or speak to you flippantly? Just based on what YOU posted in your OP, there was nothing that suggested you weren't taken seriously or that the staff felt you were a nuisance. What would have been a "more urgent response"?? What the heck does that even mean?
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I don't understand why you feel your, very valid, complaint was not taken seriously? Was it because the manager didn't drag the grill man out in front of you and publicly berate or flog him?
LOL, typical DIS response.

Maybe they just 'felt' they weren't being taken seriously. Maybe the Managers 'tone' just felt to the OP that they weren't serious about their problem.

Maybe because the OP felt a 10% discount wasn't enough to remedy the unacceptable circumstance of first him watching his wife eat, and then her watching him eat. I wouldn't have felt I was being taken seriously if their solution was a 10% discount.

Maybe they treated the OP like they were giving him the world by giving him 10%.

I, for one think there's a vast chasm between "I didn't feel I was being taken seriously", and "Was it because the manager didn't drag the grill man out in front of you and publicly berate or flog him?"

Who knows. But at least you managed to get your shot in, that's all that counts.
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