I went to Queens Theatre (formerly Queens Theatre in the Park) last night to see Cocktails With Larry Miller. The show was quite funny and Larry is quite talented.
Afterwards my friends and I went to Applebees. It wasn't that we necessarily wanted to eat there, but one of a few restaurants located in a new shopping mall in downtown Flushing that is celebrating the Lunar New Year...year of the dragon.
I will begin with the specially priced meals of either "2 for $20" or "2 for $26". You get an appetizer to share and two entrees. Sounds like a bargain? The difference on the price has to do with the entrees, which are NOT the same portion as if you ordered the same entree separately. I ordered a regular entree of rib ends that came with a baked potato and cole slaw. My friend, who went in with the other person, got a smaller portion of ribs and no cole slaw. Mine was a bit more than $10 but the portion size was enough for me to bring home leftovers for another meal as I only ate half.
Drinks. Now here is where they get you. Both the alcoholic and soft drinks have a full page listing on the first page of the menu. You'll get the description and caloric content, but NOT the price. What's with this? It's not as if the waiter will let you know beforehand unless you ask. I requested to have the manager come over and explain. She told me that due to the cost of alcohol fluctuating they can't keep changing the menus. What a hunk of bull!! Wait, it gets better. I asked if the soft drinks with no price fluctuate. She told me that they are all $2.99. So why can't they list that? Soda, iced tea, etc. A flavored iced tea is ordered. There is an extra 80 cent charge on the check for the flavor. Did the waiter reveal this information when the drink was ordered?
A separate menu is given that contains drinks and desserts. Same as listed on the first page and still no price. Desserts do have a price. So, is there some ruling that says that restaurants must list the price for food but not for beverages?
We're not looking at fine dining here and I would describe the food as being no more than "okay". Think of a family coming in and the first thing that the waiter asks is "what would you like to drink?" You go around the table for requests without thinking about or even knowing the price and have already spent $3 per kid without even realizing. Oh yeah, ask for a soft drink with no ice and then ask for a glass of ice. I'll bet that soft drink will be enough for two kids.
UPDATE: The District Manager, Sharon V. called. She was apologetic. She defended all. Even said that the waitstaff is instructed to tell you the there is an additional charge for a flavor. I told her that the waiter didn't even know the one price of $2.99 for all soft drinks and insisted that this was a ploy to raise the bill amount and get a higher tip. She defended her length of time working for Applebees and getting the position she has as well as the integrity of the company.
The first thing she said was that the waiter can't be expected to know the price of the all of the drinks, since there are so many. I had to stop her to talk about the soft drinks. She went back to the alcohol saying that the prices were different depending upon for instance the brand of vodka used.
Hey, I just wanted the server to do his job and be open about the lousy soft drinks!!! I told her that based upon my experience this server represented all servers. She didn't think it was fair. I asked, "So why is it that when I talked the manager at this location, she didn't say that the servers are instructed on the price of soft drinks and the added 80 cents for a flavor." Another apology.
They all want to get back to the company "and make suggestions". I suggest you don't eat at Applebees.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE BUT
10 months ago