Blue Orchid’s Abysmal Service

February 2, 2006 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m the head honcho here at Lincolnite. I could change history if I wanted to. I could go back and edit my review of Blue Orchid to try to erase my mistake. But I’m not going to. Doing so would be dishonest.

What am I talking about? The Missus and I went to Blue Orchid last night for our weekly Date Night. For me it was my third trip in as many weeks, inspired mainly by the excellent food, nice atmosphere, and very reasonable prices. And the service? Well, it was passable on my first two trips. I had heard it could be poor to awful, but that wasn’t my experience. Until last night.

If I could amend my review I would rate Blue Orchid’s service at 1.5 or 2 (out of 5). (I gave it 3.5 in my review.) Where should I begin?

  • There is no greeter or clear waiting area. Upon arriving customers have to just mill around until an over-worked server takes notice. If there’s a wait, customers stand in a mob, and the servers attempt to keep track of who is next by using make-shift lists rather than an organized system.
  • The Missus and I were seated at a table that was way too close to an adjoining table. I couldn’t squeeze into the seat with my place setting, so I had to move to sit next to The Missus. I like The Missus and all, but I hate having to look to the side through the entire meal to try to have a conversation.
  • Our waiter was too distracted to listen. She thought The Missus ordered a Pepsi (rather than the correct Diet Pepsi), and it took me three tries to get across that I wanted a Mountain Dew. (Yeah yeah, I’m not a liquid gourmand.)
  • We waited 20 minutes (well, 21, but who’s counting?) before our waiter returned to take our order. Again she didn’t listen. “Yellow curry” became “lemon curry”, for example, which isn’t even on the menu!
  • Eventually our waiter told us why she was acting like it was her first day—it was her first day! The poor woman obviously had not been sufficiently trained, and she was responsible for way too many tables.
  • Our appetizer never arrived.
  • Our food arrived 35 minutes after we ordered. Fortunately, the order was correct. That was about the only thing to go right all night. They only gave us one small bowl of rice for two people, though, so we had to send for another.
  • Our waiter did a decent job learning on the fly. She eventually figured out, for example, that empty drink glasses are a bad thing.
  • When our bill arrived, our absent appetizer was on it. I crossed it out and wrote “DID NOT RECEIVE” underneath. Our waiter apologized, but she did nothing to try to “make it better”, as any good restaurant would do. I wasn’t looking for freebies, but for a nice joint like Blue Orchid to not offer any sort of tangible apology is shameful.

Believe it or not, those are just the highlights. It wasn’t just a matter of our first-day waiter having a rough time. The service throughout the restaurant appeared to be poor. Watching one server attempt to deliver food to a neighboring table actually made me so embarrassed on her behalf that I had to look away. I looked around the restaurant and observed many knowing, uncomfortable glances from patron to patron. Everybody seemed to know that the service was awful. When The Missus came back from a quick visit to the ladies’ room—“It’s like a football stadium restroom”, she said—she noted “it’s not a good sign when the restaurant is full and yet nobody has any food on their plates”. Indeed.

I stand by my assertion that Blue Orchid could easily become Lincoln’s best restaurant. It could. But Lincolnites—yes, the very folks who voted Applebee’s as “Best of Lincoln”—will only tolerate institutionalized service incompetence for so long before they rebel.

I won’t be going back to Blue Orchid for a good long while. In part that’s because I’ve had my fill for a while. Three trips in three weeks is plenty. But more importantly, I need to stay away until I can look at Blue Orchid’s service with a fresh eye. In the mean time, I hope those of you who do go let me know about your experiences.

Reply to this post

The Comments

Steve February 2, 2006 at 7:53pm

Man, it’s unbelievable how consistently bad the reviews of the service there are.  On top of the comments I’ve gotten I’ve also gotten some emails that say the same thing.  I’ve not yet gone and may wait awhile longer now.

Witty and Malinee February 2, 2006 at 8:25pm

Brent,

Thank you for your direct comments and observations. Yes, we are aware of the problems with the dining room service, and we are working to resolve the issues as we speak. Initially, we planed for a soft opening so that we can slowly gather momentum and look for the right people to fill the key positions. Because the restaurant is so well received by the people of Lincoln so quickly (we are truly grateful for that), we have undergone a massive staff expansion over the past three weeks. We must also admit that the training has lagged behind as we are expanding in two major areas: the dining room and the kitchen. Even with the large expansion, we are also looking for more help in the dining room especially at the host/hostess position. Over the next week or so, several changes will be made to address some of these issues. Here are a few of them:

1.A new Point-Of-Sale system will be installed. This should allow our wait staff to better track orders and quickly generate receipts.

2.A full time host/hostess position (we are still looking two people to fill this void).

3.A new entrance: we will have to reroute our customers to the main entrance, which is inside the building. It is more spacious with a larger waiting area. This will start tonight (2/2/2006). Starting next week, our customers should be able to enter the restaurant from the building

Mr. Wilson February 2, 2006 at 8:46pm

As far as I am concerned, that is an excellent response. I expect no less from the owners of a restaurant with as much potential as Blue Orchid. I wish you the best of luck as you deal with the trials of success.

cvo February 6, 2006 at 11:03pm

My wife and I went to the Blue Orchid this weekend and loved it. 

we had great service,  the presentation was very nice.

I love the layout, and the color scheme.

and the price, 
I was shocked,  I almost thought I was ordering off the lunch menu the prices were so good.

I will deffinatly be back.

to those of you reading this.  remember, new places will have growing pains.  Be paitent.  and be constructive in your critizism.  I’m sure any bugs will get worked out over time and this will be another great downtown lincoln destination….

Jamie February 7, 2006 at 12:45am

I’ve also been to the Orchid three times and had a tough time with the service. Food coming out at different times, running out of certain beers, slow service, but the food and prices are so good, I can’t stay away.

Gary Dolan April 11, 2006 at 3:08pm

I think the place has improved dramatically. Our first trip there, the place was like a rugby scrimmage, and the food, though quite good, was cold by the time it arrived.  Our last trip was much better.  Once again the food was quite good, the service was greatly improved, and the new physical organization of the restaurant helped traffic flow.

Mr. Wilson April 11, 2006 at 3:22pm

I agree, Gary. Blue Orchid is maturing very well.

Jordan June 30, 2006 at 5:38pm

As of early June the serving problems seem to have cleared up. The seating process is no longer confusing, service was prompt as well as compentent and the food was great. My visits to Blue Orchid where doing the slow times however.

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