geno722 on Trip Advisor
3 months ago
06/09/2021, 16:11 PM
Still great food, but the staffing issues...
This is truly a mixed review - 5 stars for the food, but somewhere between 2 and 3 stars for the service. I'm not accustomed to having to make a reservation for a chain restaurant, but post-Covid, I'd recommend reserving, be it P. F. Chang's or anywhere else. We arrived at 6:45 on a Monday and found it a bit odd that the restaurant was fairly empty - maybe four tables. We quickly found out why...when we were told there would be a 45- to 50- minute wait. I gestured to the empty tables and said "you're kidding!" "No, we only have two servers working tonight." Guess P. F. Chang's is a victim of the same staffing problems every other hospitality business is experiencing. The restaurant isn't particularly near home, so having driven a ways, we elected to wait. I started surfing my phone on OpenTable to see who else nearby might have openings. Chang's isn't on OpenTable, but my Google browser indicated that they reserve via Google...and that the next opening was 7:00...by this time 10 minutes later. So, I sat in the waiting area, made a reservation for 10 minutes later, indicated I was already there, and - like magic - the hostess had a table for us at 7:00. Next issue? The server had slightly less personality than a fence post, and seemed grossly undertrained...maybe a bit confused. First, my partner made a special request for sauce on the side, and the server looked at us like she was speaking in tongues...but, before he turned the order in, he seemed to be enlightened..."ma'am, did you want that sauce on the side?" It took way longer than necessary to get drinks - maybe because there was no bartender and each server seemed to have to make their own drinks. So far...big concerns.
But...things actually got better! The food actually arrived in a very reasonable amount of time, fresh and hot. The special request had been honored. I was a bit disappointed to get Kung Pao Chicken with no peanuts (which are on the menu and a staple of that dish...is there a peanut shortage due to the pandemic?) but both that dish and my partner's (salt and pepper prawns) were simply delicious. It was almost as if our server had a "late blooming-" he did check on us and give us the opportunity to order another beverage. Good meal, even though the service, and the situation, felt a bit odd. Perhaps this is the indication that the whole restaurant business needs to look at how it is paying people, since every single restaurant here in the Memphis metro seems to be "now hiring" - or closed at odd times due to no staff. As far as Chang's goes, I worry about their ability to stay in business...we watched no less than 10 parties be turned away who didn't want to wait. The experience made me a little hesitant to do much more dining out - not due to Covid, (we're fully vaxxed), due to understaffing. Would I go back to P.F. Chang's? Absolutely....but probably not until somehow the staffing issues get worked out.