Bad Service in Salzburg, Austria

Jul 30th, 2011, 11:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Bad Service in Salzburg, Austria

On a rainy Saturday in Salzburg, me, my wife and seven year-old daughter were looking for a place to eat lunch to celebrate our last day in the city. We wandered around the Altstadt until we came across Café Mozartwinkel, Universitätsplatz 15 5020 Salzburg, what seemed to be a nice corner café that had reasonable prices. We found a seat and made our order. My daughter ordered the schnitzel burger, while my wife ordered lasagna al forno and I ordered kartoffelstrudel. Drinks came and all was well until the schnitzel burger was brought out, slathered in ketchup, mayo, mustard and onions. My wife told the waitress that my daughter didn’t realize it would have onions and all the condiments, can she have another? The waitress, an older Austrian lady, understood and brought the sandwich back to the kitchen. I was prepared to buy another schnitzel burger without all the extras and eat the one with them since my strudel looked pretty paltry. I was not given the chance, however. A moment or two later, a man (not the waiter who took our order) brought the sandwich back out, plonked it in front of my daughter and began to berate my wife in English. “This is how it comes, you should have asked for it different.” “We didn’t realize burger meant it came with all this” “Well, it’s not McDonalds here.” “I’m well aware of that.” As he continued to badger us, his voice became louder, until he whisked the sandwich away, at which point my daughter burst into tears. My wife goes into the restaurant to let this man know that he’s made a seven year old girl cry. He has the gall to blame my wife and tell her that a good mother would know these things. Well, as one can imagine her response. She comes back to the table, since we can’t just up and leave without paying. I’m figuring the bill in my head so I can leave the cash on the table, when the waiter comes and clears everything off the table and tells us to leave. We leave, not wanting to make a bad situation worse. My daughter is crying, my wife is white with anger and I'm seething. In 15 years of living in and travelling around Europe I have never had such a terrible experience.
Ek87 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Aah,gotta love those first time posters!
grrr is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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same M.O. . . . register, post a rant that few will read since he doesn't know how to use paragraphs, then move on to the next website -- never to be heard from again . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 30th, 2011, 12:22 PM
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And I'm not saying it didn't happen or that you didn't have a reason to be upset. But gee -- it would have been nice to hear about some of the wonderful parts of your trip --unless there weren't any . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 30th, 2011, 12:56 PM
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First post or not, that was a nasty experience. I suspect that the poster might have been in Salsburg in high season, when things can get very tense because of all those visitor from many different countries.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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EK - i do sympathise. our DS is VERY picky about some things, [though he's got better as he's got older] so i have lost track of the number of times that we have had to send back burgers with unwanted mayo, jugs of water with lemon in them, sandwiches with butter,...the list is almost endless.

I can't remember having a reaction as extreme as this, but perhaps because we've never been with him in Salzburg in the height of the season.
annhig is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Why would your wife go to Salzburg to get lasagna? Odd family.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 01:45 PM
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What is wrong with ordering lasagne or for that matter, what ever you want, when ever you want as long as it's on offer?

I like Austrian food but after awhile there's a limit to how much wurst and schitzel a person can eat, and yes, I know there are other regional Austrian dishes and have had many.

Such a condescending post. No wonder people are driven away from Fodor's.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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well i had an even worse experience once...
i was 19years studying in Munich ( i am half german) and took a Greek friend of mine to a nice bavarian restaurant at Viktuallienmarkt..
When the waitress came to take the order, i asked my friend in Greek what he would have...
When she heard that we weren't speaking german, she said we don't serve foreigners here and left away.

I kept waiting for her to come back, thinking that was some kind of joke, untill i realized that she was 100% serious.
When i asked her what the meaning of that was, she answered they had too much trouble with foreigners , that is why they don't welcome non germans as guests.

After that we left the restaurant, and i was very angry wanting to write a letter to a german newspaper, or even go to the police.

Nothing ever happened, i erased it from my memory untill today that i wrote about someone's bad experience in a restaurant.
clausar is offline  
Jul 30th, 2011, 11:34 PM
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This poster has made first time postings on various other travel forums with the same story.
This restaurant is a very small place with a garden. Serves limited menu.
Some reponsibility is needed by the diner to learn of the nature of the things ordered. It would be very easy to remove those items not wanted and then eat the burger.
Poster seems to want food his way only and not as presented by the local place- McDonalds is not far away and perhaps a better choice for their desires.

I witness happenings like this where visitors order local dishes only to find it not to their particular liking .
This part of traveling- some places now even have photos of partivular dishes to show visitors the nature of the particular entree.
molker is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 12:17 AM
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First poster or not, uninformed tourists or not, this family was treated very rudely. Sorry, but I don't think we should blame the victims.
walkabout is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 12:57 AM
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The poster says he was willing to pay for another burger, how much more reasonable could he have been?
tarquin is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 01:07 AM
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[dealing with two obnoxious tourists] Macdonalds is in Avignon, fish and chips in Marseille. Allez.
logos999 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 01:50 AM
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We have got one side of the story, and I don't expect that we will hear the restaurateur's side. It might be about ill-mannered customers who ordered a burger and complained because it was served as burgers are normally served.

There is something I dislike about people signing up to a number of boards simply to rant about some experience that they did not like. It costs the poster nothing; it might cause the target of the rant his or her livelihood.
Padraig is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 01:55 AM
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Did the menu say that a schnitzel burger comes with all these condiments? (and a) I didn't know burgers were a Salzburg specialty and b) condinments or no, this doesn't sound like an appealing choice) If no, how were the customers expected to know what came on this (ugh) schnitzel burger? The OP's family was willing to take AND pay for the original order and asked to have a second order (the phrase "gluttons for punishment" comes to mind...) without the pile of toppings laden with fat, sugar and salt.
The restaurant owners and staff seem remarkably thin-skinned if they can't handle this kind of request. And rude as well.
FoFoBT is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 02:16 AM
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We don't know if the OP was rude first as we're only hearing his side of the story.

I really hate these first time posters who have nothing good to say. As I've posted before, I don't understand how someone could come back from vacation and only have bad things to say, especially as the OP has traveled in Europe for 15 years.

It's too sad that someone focuses only on the negative.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 31st, 2011, 05:07 AM
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Here's the Lonely Planet thread where both the OP and spouse do respond to skepticism similar to what's posted here:

It's true, the OP could be giving a biased version of events to paint themselves as innocent victims. OTOH, his description might be accurate. Many years ago, a PR/marketing professional taught me the 4/9 rule - for a good experience, people on average told four others about it; for a bad experience, they told nine. This was pre-internet, but the general principle still holds.

I've never been to this cafe and have no interest in eating a schnitzel burger, but I have witnessed a few surprisingly nasty and spiteful examples of "customer service" in Austria. Fortunately (for us anyway), the good have far outweighed the bad.
FoFoBT is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 04:10 AM
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Actually, my husband was posting only a few hours after this incident on a very tiny page, so he really couldn't go into details on the positives of our sojurn in Salzburg & page setup was extremely difficult, so he overlooked paragraphs.

The incident was so outrageous and over the top behavior, he could not just remain silent and ignore it without comment to those locations he thought would be interested.

Sure we had positive experiences and food encounters in Salzburg. Unfortunately, in my daughter's memory, they are far overshadowed by the traumatic experience she had at this cafe.

Neither my daughter nor I had said anything to this man, a complete stranger, before he dumped the plate back down in front of her and started yelling at the both of us.

If you've read through the forum thread at Lonely planet, then there's more details involved that I wrote about. In fact, it was their link to here that led me to read this thread. Some are just as unsympathetic and doubtful as members on here. Most times it takes some single catalyst to alter adult behavior -- many times it's joining a group. So to fault someone for joining to air grievances and not encourage him to remain to share the positives -- doesn't that defeat some point of going about gaining members? I don't know for sure, it just seems that way though. Or are you full up and don't want any new people? If that's the case, fine too.

I suppose it doesn't matter whether you believe this happened the way he said or not, or complaining about those who show up to complain about a single situation... really. Nonsensical, actually.

No matter, it's on the internet and documented that an employee/owner of Cafe Mozartwinkel next to the Mozart's Geburtshaus museum screamed at a 7 year old girl terrifying her into tears and giving her nightmares for the next 3 nights.

Strange as it seems, it really did happen without any provocation, except for assuming that it would arrive as just a schnitzel & bread as it has before in other locations. She made the order in perfect German to another man who took it without asking how she'd like this order or if there were options she might not like or prefer... nothing. No guidance at all.

Neither my 7 year old daughter, nor I deserved to be screamed at in the manner that happened after we asked if we could work out something else. She finally had her first full night of sleep without nightmares on Tuesday. She's a really good kid, an excellent traveller, at the very beginning of requesting services on her behalf. So this really shook her up.

As for me ordering lasagna in Salzburg? LOL, I've lived in Germany over two years on this stretch. I like a bit of change on occasion from sauerbraten, haenchen, & wursts. Faced with a limited cafe menu on a cold rainy day, I wanted some hot food. Lasagna sounded good because it's a common offering and I hadn't had any for a while. Their offering was pathetic, but it was edible. I would not have complained, neither would my husband. Chalk it up to busy day in high season. It was the actions towards our daughter and her resulting distress that is most agregious.

*sigh* take it as you will. The one saving grace is that it propelled us to find another another restaurant cafe -- ended up at the one located at the Salzburg Museum complex. The service extremely nice & friendly, the food & prices excellent... and when a mistake was made with my daughter's order, it was solved quickly and without any stress on anyone's part. Nothing but gentle smiles and kindness there.
Comfy dry seating too. My daughter stopped shaking with fear there while she was giving her order and received nothing but patience and helpful suggestions from the waitstaff. Very affordable too. So kudos for them unknowingly salvaging a terrible afternoon.
roamingwanderer is offline  
Aug 5th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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And if you can´t get enough of this story, here it is in German:
grrr is offline  
Aug 5th, 2011, 07:25 AM
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Or somethin that´s supposed to be German.

Or not.
grrr is offline  

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