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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Live Oak, Texas Review

I was incredibly pleased that my family made the journey to visit us all the way from Florida. I knew ahead of time that I would have a short visit with them as they had other places to go in Texas and only a week for their vacation. We decided to keep plans simple. After all, they had just driven roughly 18-20 hours through 5 states to get here. They were not wanting to spend too much time in the van. In addition to this, we wanted to make memories. It is not often that we have this chance, so lets not waste it, right? A couple conversations with my Mom let me know that they wanted to go out to dinner once while here. So we started talking restaurants. 

The criteria were simple:
  • It had to have seating for all 15 of us. My parents brought 7 of my siblings with them. Plus with my husband and I, we had 4 kids. That alone limits our choices. 
  • No fast food. We wanted a decent meal. To not have to make or clean up ourselves. 
  • Family-friendly. This was very important to us. We are a big family. And a close one to boot. That is why Hooter's was off the menu. We didn't need a place filled with serving girls scantily clad and big breasted. 
  • Somewhere in the area that we live and have been to. We did not want to drive far and wanted to pick somewhere we had a good knowledge of. My husband and I had gone at the end of January, with the baby, for my birthday. Looking back, we had a great experience because it was so few people and that is what this place can handle. 
 I laid out some options. I told them to check online if they were not sure about a place on the list and let me know what they wanted. When they were finally here, I verbalized the list and asked what they were feeling. My brother and dad wanted Texas Roadhouse. I thought, "Cool! I can call ahead and reserve a table." It would be perfect as we had 15 people to seat. And they had good food the last time we went. At this time, it was 4:15 in the afternoon. They were still on Florida time, so it was close to when they would normally be having dinner. I called and listened to option 2 on their phone menu. It spoke about Call Ahead Seating, which is what I saw a sign for the last time we went. Now in my mind, I was thinking we could hold a table for our arrival. This is not what they mean. You call in, give them your name and the number of people in your group and they add you to the list of those waiting for a table. Alright, I can handle that. So I had to call them back to choose option 3 and talk to someone there. I told them I wanted the Call Ahead Seating for 15 people. "Oh no, we don't do that many. You can be put on the waiting list for no more than 7-10 people. And that wait is already 30-45 minutes." So what do we do with 15 people? "You have to be here in person to add your name to the list. Everyone in your group has to be present. And the wait for a table that size is an hour to hour and half. But that is only my guess. The manager has to tell you what the wait is for that many people really is when you are here." 

Okay... So I presented what I was told to my parents and asked what they wanted to do. My Dad said he wanted to still give it a chance. We all loaded into their 15 passenger rental van and drove to the Texas Roadhouse. My Dad managed to squeeze it into a spot like a pro. We tumbled out and headed in. At the door, there were waiting groups of people. The wait for the average group of 3-5 people was 30-45 minutes by this time (4:53). We put in my name, number of people, got a buzzer and a slip of paper. They told me it was 1 hour wait time. On the paper, she wrote 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. And we started the wait process. The kids were patient, but very verbal about being hungry. People came and went. At 6:03, we still had not been buzzed. My Mom and I went to the counter and asked the status, while showing that we had been waiting the quoted time already. The girls at the counter and the hostess's spent more time talking amongst themselves, than they did with us. They told us that they were cashing out the table that was to be ours and it would be soon. In an effort to speed things along, I asked for a menu so we could decide what everyone wanted. This way, when we got a table, we would be ready to rock and roll and get our food faster. Cooking for 15 people just might take them another hour after all! Another 10-15 minutes and we have our choices ready. Still no call for us to get our table. We go back to the front desk. This time, it is evident that the girl behind the desk doesn't want to deal with us. We asked for an update and asked if we can put in our order so that the food would arrive at the table shortly after we did or about the same time. Remember, we have been waiting a long time. We have a lot of hungry kids with us. Obviously, we are invested in eating at this place. "No, you can't order until you are seated at the table." Okay, well how long will that take? "I will call for an update." We stand at the counter, waiting. "Sure, you can stand there and wait while I get an update for you." Excuse me? Since when do you think I need your permission to stand and wait for you to tell me when I will get to sit at a table? Since when do you think that your responses are going to make this experience better for your customers? Just remember that we pay so that you have a job to come back to every day. 

*just breathe* 

My Mom and I start talking about the poor service, the wait time and the idea that we should probably ask for a manager. We don't care if they hear us. They are talking to each other still and addressing others around us anyhow. Finally, they come back and say that the people have paid, but have not gotten up to leave yet. And obviously, they can't kick out the people at our table. We just have to wait for them to leave. My husband had taken the boys to the bathroom. As she is telling us this, he says, "They are cleaning off the table now." We look at her. "Oh? Um, let me check." 

*mental head slap here*

"We are preparing your table now. Is everyone ready?" Well, duh! Would I have been bugging you about the table for the past 20 minutes otherwise? 

She picks out the hostess for us and tells us to follow the other girl. We do. About 5 minutes later, the waitress assigned to our table shows up. Mom has the menu with all our choices ready to go. We order drinks and she fires off the food choices. The waitress leaves and we dig into the bread rolls as though we haven't eaten in days. My baby girl ate about 3-4 by herself. My Mom doesn't want the kids having more than 1 each or they won't eat their dinner. About 10 minutes later, she comes back with drinks. My husband had ordered the peach sweet tea, she brought him a raspberry tea. In our frustration with everything so far, he decided to just drink it. Even though he doesn't like raspberry. Another 10 minutes or so, she comes back to say that they don't have bacon (which was part of what I had ordered). I look at the menu and struggle to decide on what other meal to pick. I settled for the first thing I thought would be good. A good waitress does what she did. A great one would have made suggestions on something else I might want to try. She takes my replacement order and goes away again. A few minutes later she stops by to offer refills. Another 10-15 minutes goes by and she comes back to say they did not have enough of the kids macaroni and cheese dishes available. So we have to decide which child is giving up their dinner choice and what are they willing to eat instead? Seriously people... This is where communication from kitchen to wait staff is critical. I had to step away to change the baby, twice, while the waitress stopped by the table. The second time was while she was delivering our plates. My son had ordered the kids' cheeseburgers by mistake. As I was not sitting near him, he complained about the cheese. Had I known what he had ordered, I would have reminded him that he liked hamburgers, not cheeseburgers. So his plate got sent back before I could respond and while I was gone. 

This whole time, we had not heard from the manager about any of the complaints we voiced in the ears of our waitress or the front staff. Which, to me, is another sign of how this place ranks ghetto in my book. Managers should know when they have unhappy people in their building when its in the food industry. Word of mouth and real people reviews can do a lot of damage to a restaurant business. It was only when my sons plate was sent back, that the manager came out to apologize for the wrong order and offer a discount on our total check. I was changing the baby while this happened. Otherwise, the manager would have heard a lot more. 

My husband looked over the silverware (as we always do). There were more sets than we needed on our table. Which turned out to be good for us as 3 out of the 5 we opened had food residue on them. See the below picture to know what I mean. 

The napkin on my set was ripping up all along the edges. Again, I took pictures. 
Texas Roadhouse is not cheap. Most of our plates ranged from $11-20 each. You do the math when you are buying for 15 people and only 5-6 are children's plates. It is a hefty bill. And after the long wait, after the rude front desk service and a waitress who didn't know what they had and what they didn't.... I was very disappointed. We got $25 off. So roughly 2 free dinners. And an experience that will keep me from ever wanting to go back. If you are going for date night and it is just you with 1-2 other people, you might have a good time. But I do not suggest this place for a family or large group.  

Texas Roadhouse
13830 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
Live Oak, TX 78233

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