I had the pleasure of dining at Gloria’s Seafood Restaurant for the umpteenth time on my birthday. Their food is a bit pricey but oh so delicious, my favourite place to have seafood in Jamaica before the second of September 2018. Their service is notoriously slow but the bright smiling waiters and waitresses usually remind you that your food is done to order and good things take time. That’s what we call verbal anaesthesia in my field– a bright smile and cheery face does a lot to soothe tempers when things are beyond your control. After all, they’re not the ones in the kitchen. But not so today.
I arrived at 1:58pm with my family, took a seat and waited 10 minutes before a waitress appeared. She asked us if we had pre-ordered (we foolishly didn’t) then handed us menus and returned to take our orders at 2:15pm. We got the usual story, “food takes 30-45 minutes to arrive.” She brought us our drinks (nearly every single thing on the menu was out of stock.. how lucky were we to finally find a Coca Cola and one flavour of Tropical Rhythms) and thankfully we ordered them too, because it was a hot day and plain tap water was not complimentary today. After she left with our orders, waiters were now an endangered species. During the time we waited, one appeared only every 15 minutes to deliver the meals of the other customers and serve menus to the guests who had coincidentally arrived during their absence.
At the one hour mark, a waiter finally showed, I voiced my complaint and then miraculously the food came 2 minutes later (or less) at 3:20pm. That’s not before rudely telling me that the reason there were no waiters downstairs is that they were serving their customers who were upstairs. By then, all our drinks were finished so we boldly requested this not-so-complimentary water, after which the waitress arrived with 3 cups of VISIBLY DIRTY WATER and told me that Port Royal has been experiencing water lock-offs as her excuse. No apology. I asked to speak to the manager while we took a chance at eating our meals, since if brown water is given to paying customers to drink, God knows what was used to prepare the food. But we had driven a long distance to get here and out of faith, we ate. We were already in this mess and starving. BUT at least our honey jerk shrimp and escoveitched fish were very delicious.
At the end of the meal, lo and behold a rare species appeared. A waitress! I asked her for the bill and the manager AGAIN. She nodded but 10 minutes later no bill, no manager and we had to physically get up to find both. The manager was at the cash register and lo and behold, we found the habitat of the rare waitress species. Both flanked the manager like guard-dogs to listen to my complaints which I still managed to calmly voice. I got an apology but she reiterated one of her waitresses’ point. Their customers were upstairs. I apologized for being a lowly beggar at their kind establishment, left my chump change of JM$4,050 and allowed them to keep the $20.00 change which they were unable to find. This beggar was able to spare the small change.
This is the most disgusting shoddy NONEXISTENT customer service I have ever received in my lifetime and never again will I visit this place. The food was delicious but I have dignity and self-respect and as a PAYING customer, customer service isn’t ever complimentary, it is to be EXPECTED. This is the 21st century. Long gone are the days of tolerating shoddy customer service in Jamaica. Our eating-out options are countless and of the hundreds of restaurants in Kingston, Jamaica, there are 99 reasons why Gloria’s won’t be one.
I won’t say don’t visit because like I’ve stressed, the food is delicious and I’ve previously had OK service at this place from my childhood coming up. However, if a restaurant is capable of sinking this low, the choice is yours if it’s worth your money.
And oh, if you go, don’t sit downstairs. That’s for the beggars. Paying customers go upstairs.
-Signed, Empowered Customer
(P.S, I hate using this as a venting space but I think my voice needed to be heard and what better place to share it than where my voice is loudest. I’m still reeling).