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Not The Biggest Restaurant But Personable Service
Member Name: hotrock4
Advantages: Good Service
Disadvantages: Small Restaurant - Salad Bar Running Low
Having promised my nephew and niece recently that I would take them both out for pizza as their birthdays are both close together at the beginning of August we were left with only a few choices in Bury St Edmunds as pizza was definitely the dish they had decided on having been promised it. Pizza Hut was by far the square favourite mainly due to the fact that they both knew they could have the ice-cream factory for dessert. Pizza Express just didn't seem relaxed enough to take two energetic 9 and 7 year old children to eat and there was no way I was putting up with the mess at home from take-away from Dominoes or the price of pizza from Dominoes for that matter. So thankfully for a pleasent change everybody, including my girlfriend, neice, nephew, brother and sister in-law all agreed with no arguments on which venue we should choose to supply us with our pizza.
Getting In And Seated:-
On arrival to the restaurant it is instantly obvious how small the restaurant is, with a tiny reception area with the smaller two to four person tables down the right hand side table and around 5 - 6 tables capable of taking 6 - 8 people with a few more tables for 2 dotted around where they will fit. There is also an area of seating along the wall near the counter for those waiting for takeaway or for a table to become free. The reception area near the door and the "holding area" near the bar can become very quickly crowded when it is busy, however when I have dined here when it has been busy the staff do a good job of stopping the hustle and bustle spilling over into the restaurant area, however it does get very loud which unfortunately is quite inevitable but not usually of great concern to me whilst dining on pizza.
Luckily we were eating here on a Wednesday evening and it wasn't at all busy so we were easily accomodated being greeted and seated straight away. In total there were 4 adults, 2 children and also our 8 week old who obviously didn't require a seat just a table shuffling out of the way. The staff kindly turned the air conditioning fan off that was blowing into the pram first time of asking with no grumbles at all. I know this is only a small thing but something like this can quite often lead to a grumble or moan from a teenage member of staff, but our waiter was most professional in both manner and appearence.
So getting in and seated wasn't a problem mid-week, however if visiting this particular branch of Pizza Hut on a busier day, I'd say Thursday to Saturday pre-booking would most definitely be advised due to the small size and limited seating available in the restaurant.
Ordering And Eating:-
As we were the biggest of only three or four groups of people in the restaurant we had both a young lad and the manageress waiting on us. As soon as the menus on the table were pointed out we were asked if we would like any drinks with the fact that we would get free refills on soft drinks being made clear from the start. As it goes we all had soft drinks (yes even the children) and they were bought to the table swiftly enough along with a colouring/puzzle book and a cup of crayons for each of the children.
When the time come to order both the waiter and manageress were polite and neither ignored the fact that the children were at the table and they were treated as small adults. There order was taken from them with a discreet look at the adults for a nod of approval, this makes for an important part of eating out with children as far as I'm concerned as it teaches them etiquette and manners. My partner and I both decided on garlic bread to start, whilst the in-laws and surprisingly the kids too decided on the all you could eat salad bar with no persuasion even of the gentle description. There were a couple of grumbles that there was a few bits running low or missing from the salad bar, it was near the end of the evenings service however as far as I'm concerned if offering this sort service it should be crammed full with fresh food until the place shuts.
Our order for our main courses was taken along with those for our starters and arrived around 25 minutes after our starters hit the table, I thought this was a little long as the kids had finished their starters and getting bored of both salad and colouring by this point but not too excessive. I would rather have a little bit of a wait than be served undercooked or poorly prepared food. The children ordered from the childrens menu and their pizzas come with the toppings arranged to resemble a face which both the adults and the kids thought was a good idea. The adults were also more than pleased with their main courses with both couples sharing a large pepperoni pizza between them.
The dessert menu was given to us as the table was cleared, although it was hardly worth giving one to the sprogs, as previously mentioned they were intent on and barely took their eyes off the ice-cream factory from the second they walked through the door. The adults again shared a dessert between each couple having half of a hot chocolate chip cookie dough each. We were going to supervise the little ones with the ice-cream factory however we were informed by our waiter that it was child-proof and to let them go for it. The ice-cream factory is basically an ice-cream dispensing machine with different types of sweets available for the children to top off their ice-cream with as they choose. By the looks of what they come back to the table with I was most pleased that we wouldn't be taking them home with us for the night as I could see them being most hyperactive after seeing the amount of sweets they managed to fit into the bowl.
Overall In My Opinion:-
Overall I was most pleased with the service we received from the staff at Pizza Hut they were most accomodating and treated the children as adults which led to them being more grown up and well behaved whilst eating and also whilst waiting for food at the table. The staff were willing to interact with the children whilst around the table and to help with keeping them entertained whilst we were waiting for the main courses.
Even more importantly the staff were courteous to the adults that would obviously be the ones parting with their hard earned cash to pay for the meal and ultimately pay their wages, so much so that we actually thought that we would be really rude to leave without paying a tip not something I feel inclined to do in restaurants very much these days, as I feel most places just want you in and out like a production line. No such feelings here which is quite surprising for a small restaurant, there was also no feeling that they were being overly nice just to acheive a tip, it just felt that although they may not necessarily have wanted to be there (in fairness who would), they could actually care about the experiance of the people that are parting with their cash.
Whilst touching on price, tips and service, the meal come to around £47 for all 6 of us to eat and I ended up leaving £55 which I was more than happy to do given the quality of service and how much I could afford. Everyone in our party left Pizza Hut full up and happy on this occassion, with the little one in the pram not being froze by the air-conditioning. Everything was in order whilst we were here except for the lack of a few items on the salad bar but this was soon forgotten about at least by my neice and nephew once they were let loose on the ice cream machine.
The food we were served was of good quality and hot when it reached the table, the only thing that lets this place down apart from the poorly stocked salad bar, is the actual size of the restaurant and the fact that it can easily get busy and crowded which is the only thing I can think of which is really worth knocking a full star off for as some parties, especially couples may find this annoying. If wanting to eat pizza as a couple for a similar price I would recommend Pizza Express just around the corner, but Pizza Hut is perfect in my eyes if you wish to take the children along for a meal out.
Summary: Good Overall