Last night, New Year’s Eve, we had reservations to have dinner at Over The Rainbow Restaurant, in Pittsfield, MA. We had not been to the restaurant since new owners took over, and it was my birthday, so we thought we’d give it a try. It was a disaster. Our reservations, for ten people, were for 7:00 pm. We arrived shortly after 7 and were told that there was another party going on in the room and that they were running a little behind schedule.

It was a very busy night, being New Year’s Eve, and there is very little waiting area available, so the hostess suggested we wait in the lounge. The lounge had a few high top tables and the bar in it, so we chose one of the tables. It took us several minutes to be waited on for beverages, as the bartender was also filling dining room table orders.

My cousin and her husband joined us, as well as their two teenagers. I didn’t think it was appropriate that we had to wait in the bar with the teens, as our table was still not ready. Soon all of our party had joined us in the bar, where drink prices were raised for the evening.

Time went on and still no word about our table being ready. I opened up my birthday presents (yay) and we continued to have drinks while waiting for the table, but were getting more hungry every minute. The hostess never came into the bar to update us on the status of our reservation. Three times someone in our party had to go and request an update, only to be told that the other party was still “lingering.”

As most of my readers know, I have been in the food-service business. I’ve worked a few New Year’s Eve dinner hours, and can tell you that it is generally a frantic pace to keep up with. But the management at the Rainbow restaurant was either inexperienced, or trying to keep up and failing, or simply just didn’t care about the customers. It was a fiasco as far as I was concerned.

When my sister called to make the reservations, the manager told her that they were going to take a few things off of the menu that took a long time to cook, but that the menu would basically be the same as their regular one. This was not the case. There was a one page printed menu which was very limited. After comparing the prices to the regular menu we discovered that the prices were raised an average of $ 10 per entree! (Veal parm, regularly $ 18, was listed as $ 28 on the limited menu). That’s a 55 % increase! Add the tax and tip to that increase and it makes it almost 58%!

Finally, after waiting almost one and a half hours, we were done. We had paid well over $ 120 in a bar bill while waiting for a table and still no one came to inform us as to what was going on!

Some of us walked outside and began calling 411 for numbers of other restaurants in the area, but of course by that time, they were filled to capacity. Ten hungry people were becoming angry now.

We decided to order Chinese take out and go back to my cousin’s home for the remainder of the night. The Over The Rainbow restaurant lost out on our potential $ 400 dinner bill because of their poor management and inexperienced hostess.

We ended up paying $ 125 for the Chinese food (well, not me since it was my birthday!). At my cousin’s we enjoyed our dinner, played a board game, had birthday cake, rang in the new year AND had leftovers to take home. A much better deal, I’d say, than waiting for a table for two hours, getting slammed with a 55 % increase and ordering from a limited menu.

The restaurant business is a tough one. You have to know how to treat your customers. The management at the Over the Rainbow restaurant took advantage of us. That’s poor service. It doesn’t matter to us how good the food is, we won’t be going back for a long while.