I was super excited and really looking forward to a trip to the newly reopened and iconic Bewleys Cafe on Grafton Street after being closed for a major refurbishment. However, my excitement was short lived as it was an unimpressive and uninspiring lunch experience.
As expected the place was very busy and on entering there were maybe 10 people queuing at which point they started to refuse people. The interior had been beautifully refurbished retaining some old world charm with key features like the stunning lighting and the stained glass windows. I can completely understand that it would be extremely busy as it had been open less than a week so I wasn’t in a major rush and didn’t mind waiting. There was quite the buzz and the place was heaving.
I ordered a flat white and sausage roll with coleslaw. The flat white arrived first but I had to return it as it was lukewarm. Eventually the sausage roll came with no coleslaw (as I ordered) and a little garnish of leaves. When I asked about the coleslaw I was informed that they didn’t do it. It’s probably better to advise customers upfront if something isn’t available. That surprised me slightly as I thought coleslaw would be a staple on the menu. I was extremely disappointed with my lunch for several reasons. First, I thought it would have been nice if the salad leaves had a little dressing as opposed to some dry leaves on a plate although there was a little serving of relish for the sausage rolls. Three times I had to ask for dressing before it arrived. The sausage rolls were fairly cold and I asked if they could be heated. They were taken away and it was obvious when they came back they just hadn’t been reheated and I just couldn’t face asking for it to be reheated a third time. Cutting through the sausage roll I felt absolutely cheated when I realised it was not a nice home baked sausage roll made with what I feel a sausage roll should be made of – sausage meat but instead it simply contained a dried out sausage. Go to any self respecting cafe or the many deli’s in the city and more often than not you will certainly NOT find a sausage wrapped in pastry being sold as a sausage roll. I have to say I felt completely cheated by this.
When the bill arrived the flat white charge was 3.50 but I thought on the menu it was 3. I questioned this with the waitress (who I might add was extremely friendly) who went to speak with a manager about it. When she showed me the menu I could see that there was a line down the side that indicated it was in fact 3.50 – although I felt it was not very clear on the menu it was my mistake. I asked if she had informed the manager of the other issues I had and she said yes she had. Now it is absolutely unforgivable that a manager who is aware of a customer who was not at all satisfied did not want to spend 2 minutes of his time to come and take the opportunity to speak with me to find out what was wrong, apologise and learn from it. I see first hand customer feedback as a golden opportunity to learn how things can be improved but he was apparently too busy!
On my way out the door I could hear the lady at the door who was managing the queue say to someone ‘you have to wait’ in a not so friendly tone. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In my opinion a friendly, gentle ‘I’m so sorry there’s a little bit of a wait and we’ll have you seated shortly’ would have been way more appropriate. Again customer service training would not go astray here.
If it’s one thing I feel strongly about its good customer service and it was definitely hit and miss here at the newly re-opened Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street. I did meet two lovely, friendly staff – the jolly gentleman who ushered me to a table in the main ground floor area and the lovely, friendly waitress I had so they were really pleasant. Apart from that some of the other staff could certainly do with basic customer service training.
It pains me to write a review like this but it was one big unimpressive lunch trip to the newly re-opened Bewley’s. I appreciate they have only just opened and naturally there are going to be hiccups along the way but some things that were unforgivable – a sausage in a roll classed as a ‘Sausage Roll’ – I think times and tastes have evolved over the last 10 years, along with a manager who couldn’t spend 2 minutes to speak to a dissatisfied customer. I hope that if I ever was to return my experience would be very different.