The final meal at Café Rouge

What is it that Café Rouge does not understand about service?

Last Friday I visited their Manchester branch (next to the National Football Museum) for breakfast with my family. They had all travelled up from Hampshire to support Team GB in their first Olympic football game – me and my wife had come all the way from São Paulo in Brazil for this game.

We entered the restaurant and waited, and waited, and waited. I eventually went to fetch menus, but found they were the wrong menus – only featuring lunch items. Us having the menus finally meant the staff gave us a correct menu, and the waitress apologised and said she was running the entire café this morning all alone.

We finally placed our order and waited. And waited. And waited. Our coffee and juice had been served, but was all finished because we had been still waiting half an hour when I decided to ask where our food is.

I asked the waitress, who just brushed me off with a ‘it’s on the way’ – I said in the mildest possible way (given that I was now fed up with this café) that if they do not serve us in the next few minutes I’m leaving and I don’t expect a bill for the coffee.

Soon the food was being served and all was well. I asked for the bill and paid in cash immediately. It came to £48.10 and I left £48.20 – really not interested in giving a tip for such poor waiting service, then the change came back all in coppers.

So the manager decided that because I was a difficult customer, she would be difficult when giving change.

Well I can see that Dana was my server. Now let’s see if Café Rouge has anything to say about the way their manager behaved? I’m hoping they can tell me how this reflects great British customer service and what visitors to the country should expect.

Then again, whatever they say I know I’m never going back. Or my family, or my friends, or anyone else who reads this.

Team GB - Game 1

8 responses to “The final meal at Café Rouge

  1. What are gratuities?

  2. I would definitely complain to the cafe itself and then to their head office. Customer complaints are more likely to be taken seriously there. I know it won’t change your bad experience, but it does mean the person who’s mess you around won’t have got off scot-free.

  3. I think this isa general problem with Cafe Rouge. I had an almost identical experience in Sheffield. A bad reflection on them generally in my view.

  4. I recently had a terrible customer service experience at the same Manchester Printworks restaurant. Ruined my engagement meal.

  5. Did the restaurant was busy?

  6. Like you we will never be going back to the Bristol Cafe Rouge. My 13 year old son’s birthday celebration meal was not only inedible and it was really embarrassing to have asked his grandparents to drive 200 miles to join us for food which was so black and charred it wouldn’t bend let alone chew! At least they had the good grace not to waive the £120.00 bill but rather bizarrely, the restaurant manager asked us to write to head office to complain about their chef!!!


    I had an unhappy visit to the Tenderden branch of Café Rouge today. Firstly I will say we have been coming to this restaurant for at least 10 years and have always had a good meal – today was a big let down. My starter of pate and bread, was not the best I have ever had there, the pate was grey on the outside as well as the inside. My husbands main course was nearly cold (a beef casserole sort of thing) the vegetables with it were hardly cooked. The service was not too bad, but they lacked the staff. We did
    complain about the food, they let us off the price of 3 halves of larger we had,
    big deal. This branch is seriously under manned, they should get a “grown”
    up chef who knows what he is doing!!!! This use to be a very good place to
    eat – I noticed today that over half the usual menu was missing, there must be a good reason for this lack of interested service, there always is.

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