Visitors to Casa Loma don’t normally get to wander around with drinks and food. As a museum and historic site, food is generally restricted to the basement cafe area. Yes, there have always been weddings and special events in a few of the larger rooms where it’s safe to have food in a seated environment, but food stations and samples throughout the castle? Unheard of.
You might have heard the name Pegasus Group before. They run a number of restaurants in the GTA, but their hospitality division, under Executive Chef Steffan Howard, also runs the food service at the Palais Royale and Casa Loma. This normally encompasses things like weddings and special events, but as part of Winterlicious, they turned the castle into a Medieval market place.
Staff wore Medieval costumes as they greeted guests at the door. From there we were handed maps and encouraged to explore.
A few days ago, someone over on a LiveJournal community posted about a server they knew who got stiffed on a tip during Summerlicious.
Summerlicious, for those of you not familiar with it, is a two-week long event where participating Toronto restaurants offer a three-course prix-fixe menu at a significantly reduced price. It’s typically a loss-leader, where the restaurant makes money off of beverages, and hopes that their food is so good it will encourage the cheap-ass Summerlicious diners to come back at full price.
Now because Summerlicious diners have a reputation for being cheap-asses, they tend to get poor to bad service, especially when the restaurant is still offering their regular full menu. And as many people pointed out to the poster on the Toronto community… a lot of Summerlicious diners leave crappy tips not because they’re cheap, but because the server anticipated they would be cheap and gave them crappy service.
Greg and I are not normally cheap-ass diners. Nor are we poor tippers. Today, however, we left an 81 cent tip on a $41 bill, because we suffered through one of the crappiest meals we have ever experienced.
I’m not going to give a play-by-play, but rather some basic commonsense tips for both restaurants and diners.