Friday, July 4, 2008

Seeing Red....

I had a business colleague in town this evening from Ontario so my wife and I offered to take him out to a lobster supper so we headed up to St. Ann's Lobster Suppers as my wife was there last fall and had a good meal. Unfortunately that was not the case this evening as I didn't have a good experience. We were hungry so my wife and colleague each ordered a 1 1/2 lb lobster while I decided to go for the big 2 pounder. Our "pay before you eat" bill came to staggering $137.41 and before we could get to our seat the cashier asked if we wanted to "add a tip on" before we got our meal. I had always thought a "tip" was something that was earned after you delivered above average service not something you "toni" up before you sit down. We were surprised to learn that the mussels and chowder (just fair) was limited to one each but I was more than annoyed when the waiter showed up with two 1 pound lobster instead of the "2 pound fresh in the shell" lobster that I had paid for. The others didn't get a 1 1/2 lobster as they were presented with a 1 pounder and a couple of extra claws. (I had the very same experience at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers last year) The young waiter politly tried to explain that this was all they had as they only served 1 pound lobsters, yet their menu clearly states other options which the consumers expects to get. Call me stupid but how do we Islanders ever expect to sustain a viable tourism industry if we are going to hoodwink people like this. This is clearly false advertising but if you want to see what a big 2 pounder looks like visit their web site to see a picture of some but don't expect to see one on your plate. I was so annoyed that I told them to keep their lobsters while my wife and colleague poked fun at me for being so stubborn and they laughed at me all the way home. I can't help it as I can't stand it when we try and dupe our Island guests. I may as well fill my boots... the rolls were just fair (not fresh) and if you have room for another piece of pie...expect to pay. The young waiter was great (I left a $10 tip) and the lady managing the dining room was very nice and she offered to refund my meal but I think the owners have to give their staff some new latitude to make improvements. If they don't do something soon then St. Ann's will have to change their slogan to "World Famous One Pound Lobsters" and every thing extra. As I previously said I had a similar experience at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers last year so maybe you should try Fisherman's Wharf for a much better meal deal...
The following is from St. Ann's website;
St. Ann's Parish has successfully received guests since 1964. We are designated as one of the "World's Famous Lobster Suppers". Lobster is king, but we also feature a choice of entrees and a children's menu. We serve meals that have made us world renowned. Our excellent quality home cooked food and friendly service makes dining at St. Ann's an enjoyable experience!
St. Ann's Church, located in Hope River Prince Edward Island is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown. The present church was constructed in 1954 by Father E. Dalton; it is the seventh in less than 130 years! In 1963, Father Denis Gallant, the pastor at the time, decided to serve Lobster Dinners in the basement of the church to raise money to help pay off the existing $35,000 mortgage. Early the next year, the church basement was setup to serve approximately one hundred per sitting while only open one day per week. A full course Lobster Dinner in 1964 cost $1.50 (Lobster was $0.50 cents per pound cooked)!
Today, our food is still prepared fresh daily by the ladies of our community. During the peak of our season we employ approximately thirty local people, whose dedication makes St. Ann's Lobster Suppers a huge success.
Open Mid June till Late September
Fully Licensed
Air Conditioned Dining
Hours of Operation 4:00pm - 8:30pm daily, closed on Sunday
Interac, Visa and Master Card Accepted


Anonymous said...

This is one of the best restaurant 'rants' I have ever read!

It is amazing how so many businesses believe they are doing you a favour by taking YOUR money.

Who could possibly believe in tipping BEFORE being served? Laughable. (What if it was awful service, would you ask for the tip money to be refunded back?

As to the rip off of two one pounders...very sad for PEI and sadly the norm in the service industry these days.

Anonymous said...

My gut aches for the true PEi to shine through.

Not one dictated by a bean counter who tosses a couple of extra claws to 'upsize' a canner size lobster. Imagine the disappointment!

Or imagine dreaming of a succulent 2 lb. lobster with a large tail, mammoth claws and a big body to feast upon only to find two piddly 1 pounders waiting for you.

I would have asked for my gas money to be refunded for the wasted drive from Charlottetown.

Bigger lobster can be had at MacKinnon's on the Wharf and at Water Street Prince. Let tourists get ripped off, but don't be a stupid Islander.

Anonymous said...

i guess i will be heading back to the fisherman's wharf lobster supper. i was there twice last summer and it was excellent each time.

thanks for voicing your opinion tim.

Anonymous said...

casual observer:

My husband and I took our two kids to St. Ann's last year and we were VERY disappointed with the meal. I was so glad we didn't have any out of province visitors with us for that experience! We didn't bother saying anything to the staff. We just left, have told many others of our experience and will never be back.