After a very LONG and drawn out transition, moving Waffles INCaffeinated from New Brighton to Beaver, I was very much looking forward to the opening of the new Waffles, Inc. location in Beaver. I had the chance to go there today, and my take-away is that it’s not yet ready for prime time. Very disappointing, because the New Brighton location had something special.
The first strike in this visit was partially beyond their control. Waffles, Inc. uses a seating app called NoWait where you can get into line via the app. Unfortunately, the app was having an off day and was crashing intermittently. That happens, but how you handle it makes the difference. The hostess was rather short and unapologetic to those having issues with the app and those unfamiliar with using it–all the while, holding a long line with open tables while she tried to work through. But, as I said, that does happen and you can’t entirely blame the restaurant for that.
But, what you CAN and SHOULD hold a restaurant responsible for is service and attention to detail, and that’s why I’m saying that this facility isn’t quite ready for prime time. After being seated, it took longer than eight minutes for a waitress to acknowledge the table even to say, I’ll be right with you. And, on top of that, the silverware was DIRTY. I’m not talking water spots, I’m talking hunk-of-food that if anybody was paying remote attention when wrapping the silverware would have sent back to the dishwasher urgently. When we pointed this out to the waitress, no acknowledgement or apology, we had to ask her to bring us a new set. (note: this wasn’t a new staff member, it was one of the staff members brought from the previous location).
In addition, it took nearly another six minutes to bring the drinks. So, the indication would be poorly staffed or understaffed at this point. On the topic of drinks, oddly, this breakfast establishment has no iced tea. The waitress said that they did not yet have a brewer–keeping in mind that the restaurant was previously established and had a LONG transition to the new open. But, OK, that’s just my personal preference for a morning beverage. Again, can’t fault them, completely, for that.
In that same vein, I found out that they’ve also changed from their original awesome home blend of coffee that made the New Brighton location famous to some generic commercial blend. So, it’s obvious they’re shedding their “craft” philosophy for one of margins with craft pricing. Including the exclusion of the branded vanilla bean in their own vanilla syrup. But, in their defense, it was still good. As was the waffle. So, it wasn’t a total loss, but what jumped out at me was the lack of attention to detail that made it OK to pay a little more to support the craft. In asking about some of the changes, I was informed that there were some changes in the ownership. So, maybe that’s why there were so many delays, and maybe that explains some of the lack of attention to detail.
That lack of detail has downgraded Waffles, Inc. from my regular breakfast rotation to a maybe, sometimes. I’m not ruling it out. I will give it another chance. But, if I were looking for one image/sentence to summarize my feeling on this visit it would be summarized in this image of their June special — their current special is ‘working on next month’s special.’ Not yet ready.