I am breaking up with Grand Central Bakery

I once dated this guy who loved art and literature, had a wicked sense of humor and was passionate about social justice issues. These are all great qualities. Too bad he was a total dick to me. It took me awhile, but I finally learned that someone who is interesting, smart and funny isn’t necessarily good boyfriend material.

This lesson applies to restaurants as well. Restaurants that have good food aren’t necessarily good restaurants. And it’s not good for you to keep going back to them. Case in point: Grand Central Bakery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

I work by Pioneer Square and often visit Grand Central for lunch. It has great baked goods and yummy soups, salads and sandwiches. You can sit inside in a charming historic building that was once a train station or outside in Occidental Park. It can be a lovely place to go for lunch.

I say it “can be” because nine times out of 10, something goes wrong with my order. Food will be missing, the wrong salad will show up, I order with a group and everyone gets their food but me, and when it does come, it’s 30 minutes later and everyone else is already done eating. The Grand Central staff are always very apologetic and eventually fix it, but why can’t they just get it right?

I went to Grand Central yesterday, and I ordered a whole Italian grinder, a mixed greens side salad and a chocolate chip cookie. I specifically ordered the grinder because I was in a hurry and that sandwich is pre-made. The cashier took my order, I paid and then I waited to pick up my food. The sandwich and salad came up right away, but I noticed that the sandwich was a half and not a whole. I politely informed the counter person that I had ordered a whole sandwich and not a half. She insisted that the order was for someone else and that mine would be coming up shortly. That sounded plausible so I hung around for another 10 minutes. But after countless calls of “Italian grinder and side salad?” to the crowd, soon it became aparent that it was indeed my order, and that they had gotten it wrong. Again.

It was not a huge deal, but I can’t overlook the frequency of botched orders anymore. There are many other restaurants where I can spend my time and money and not leave frustrated.

So goodbye, Grand Central Bakery. It was nice while it lasted.

UPDATE: Gillian Allen-White, general manager and co-owner of Grand Central Bakery, read my blog the day after I posted and sent me a very sincere apology. (Read it in the comments section.) I asked my Facebook community if I should take Grand Central back. Several people–including myself–were impressed at the prompt response to my post. Way to get your Google alerts and actually take action on them. Some thought I had already given Grand Central too many chances.

My decision is stick to my guns and not return to Grand Central, BUT I will not badmouth the cafe. Our breakup can be a healthy one with no bad feelings on either side.

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1 Comment

Filed under Reviews, So wrong

One response to “I am breaking up with Grand Central Bakery

  1. We’re embarrassed. Really. When offered a really, truly great customer, what do we do? Abuse them with foolish mistakes and weak apologies. But I absolutely believe that we can better and I hope that you’ll let us prove it to you. Yes, our accuracy and customer service should be as good as our yummy Jammers and (whole) Italian Grinders. We completely agree. Won’t you please give us another chance to prove to you that we can be your bakery? We promise to love, honor and get your order right.
    Sincerely and sheepishly,
    Gillian Allen-White, General Manager and co-owner

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