Brunch reservations become a real chore

It’s usually a given that when you try to offer goods or services, you want to provide them with a minimum of fuss or waiting. Most of the time, that holds true for businesses. However, 2019 is going to go down as the year when getting a reservation for Mother’s Day brunch went from being a simple task to being a process of elimination.

Since I’ve moved to Wisconsin, I’ve made it a tradition to take my mother to brunch, letting her enjoy some of the nice food that Shawano County has to offer. After the first year of not thinking about getting a reservation and finding my morning plans of whisking my mother away from the farm for a couple of hours now becoming a more lengthy affair as we waited in the foyer of The Woodland in Gresham, I quickly learned that it was much easier on everyone else if I called ahead and made plans.

Until now, I usually had my reservation finished in two minutes or less. This week, my efforts to cement plans turned into a restaurant-hopping headache.

On my first choice for brunch, I called the number and was given a bunch of automated options, with “0” for the operator. Since none of the options said “restaurant,” I chose to speak with the operator to be pushed in the right direction. I waited about five minutes as elevator music worked its way in my left ear and I was informed repeatedly that someone would eventually care enough to answer.

The operator finally answered, and I asked to be connected to the restaurant. After a couple of moments of hesitation, she informed me that she’d connect me, but I might have to leave a number to call back if nobody answered. Sure enough, I wound up getting the voicemail and informed the computer on the other end that I’d like to make a reservation for Mother’s Day brunch.

I found it odd that no one would answer the phone at the restaurant. For one thing, it was during the regular business hours, and I remember from my long gone days in food service that you never left the phone unanswered, especially when you’re offering a big holiday buffet or some other special that brings people out in droves.

Opting not to wait for a reply, I made a call to another eating establishment. I got automated options again, but one of them mentioned the restaurant, so I punched the number, and to my relief, a live person answered the phone. I informed her I’d like to make a reservation for Mother’s Day, at which point I was told to hold for a moment.

I heard people talking in the background, so I figured that maybe the reservation book or tablet had just been misplaced, and they were frantically looking for it. After a couple of minutes, the woman picked up and said, “I’m sorry. We will have to call you back later.” Then click. There was no explanation why — and no request for my phone number.

At this point, I’d been trying to make a reservation for about 30 minutes and began wondering if it’d be less of a headache to cook breakfast myself, put it into a heating bag and take it over to my mother. Then I remembered she had multiple Australian Shepherds, all eager to pounce on anyone with delicious smelling food, and decided to make one more attempt.

Fortunately, this restaurant had a direct extension on its website, so I dialed and was immediately greeted by a live person. In less than two minutes, I had my reservation in place, and I could finally focus on the issues of the day. The third time was the charm.

I’ll be driving a little further with my mother this holiday, but at least Menominee Casino Resort seems to have it together when it comes to customer service. If the food is quality, I’ll consider it a successful day indeed.

To the businesses that couldn’t be bothered to take a reservation or let me know what the problem is, maybe your bosses should call the Menominee. It’s a good way to stay in business.

Lee Pulaski is the city editor of the Shawano Leader. Readers can contact him at lpulaski@newmedia-wi.com.