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Little Chef - do they actually have a Chef?
Member Name: jeffjen
Date: 05/03/09, updated on 27/05/10 (467 review reads)
Disadvantages: Terrible service and inedible meals.
I am not a fan of Little Chef restaurants due to a couple of bad experiences which I will tell you about here.
The first was when visiting Little Chef at Doncaster, where myself and partner were staying overnight at the adjacent Travelodge.
We were hungry and thought we'd give the Little Chef a try. It was early evening when we visited and apart from ourselves there were only a couple of customers, so it was virtually empty. We ordered two meals and drinks from the menu which arrived not long after.
The meals themselves weren't too bad, although the chips were a bit bland and cardboard-like. However, as we began eating, one of the staff appeared and began hoovering around the tables, even asking us to lift our feet etc! I was a bit irritated by this - surely they should hoover etc after closing? Also eating a meal with a noisy hoover droaning away was hardly enjoyable.
After finishing hoovering the same staff member then re-appeared and came over to our table asking if we knew the lottery numbers which had been drawn ? I apologised, telling her that we didn't know. She then went on to ask if we were staying at the Travelodge, I replied that we were, to which she said "Oh you smell like you are, that's why I asked! I mean you both smell of shower gel!"
I was quite surprised at this and was feeling a little more irritated now as we were trying to eat our meals, and she was standing over us!
She disappeared again only to then return a minute later. She came back to our table and began reaching across to pick up the bowls which contained sugar, sauces etc and began re- filling them, even though they did not need re-filling. I was beginning to wonder by now if this was some sort of set-up and that we were being filmed secretly for some TV show!
We finished our meals and she came to collect our plates and asked "You don't want desserts do you, cos its really quiet so we thought we'd lock up early?" My partner said yes, he did want a dessert and thought the Little Chef was open late? She replied that it is, but seen as how it was so quiet they thought they would close.
She brought our desserts but was clearly not happy and we clearly heard her moaning about us to the 'chef'(I use the term 'Chef' loosely) and another staff member.
To our surprise, the staff then began locking up, turning off lights etc while we were still eating, and the staff member who had faffed around our table came over with our bill, asking us when we left could we leave by the fire exit as the front doors were locked!
My partner replied would they like us to clock them out too? To which she walked away and went to tell the other staff what he had said.
Some customers arrived by this time and were trying to get in, but the staff just ignored them. We left the money on the table and left by the fire exit - the staff stayed out the back of the restaurant till we left.
I was still annoyed about the whole experience on returning home, and wrote to Little Chef who did reply, stating that they would look into it and if I sent them by receipt they would refund me. However I had not kept the receipt so could not do this, and they were not prepared to refund without it.
Not long after this we were in Carlisle and stayed overnight at the Travelodge there. Again there was a Little Chef and we decided to take a chance on eating there as we were tired, and thought nothing like that could happen again!
Well, we sat down. The restaurant was quite full, and we ordered two meals. We waited around 10 mins before realising that a lot of people were also waiting for meals and beginning to complain.
Eventually after 45 mins our meals arrived, we reminded the waitress that we were still waiting for our drinks and she said she would see to it. They never arrived.
The meals ( fish and chips) were awful - overcooked and very dry. We decided we'd had enough and decided to leave. A few other customers had left also without paying.
The restaurant had a sign up offering a 'No quibble guarantee' which read that if you were unhappy with your meal, then you did not have to pay for it. We went to the till and told the woman there that we were not happy, the meals were terrible, we never got our drinks, and we weren't prepared to pay for it, to which she replied 'I don't blame you!'. She looked totally fed up herself.
We left and vowed never to visit a Little Chef again. I would say to anyone to try and find somewhere else to eat.
Summary: Give Little Chef a miss and eat elsewhere!