I love trying new restaurants. There is something about experiencing a new atmosphere, new food, and enjoying this experience with a special person that I just love. My date and I recently spent an evening at the new Eugene restaurant, Rabbit. Rabbit is a French bistro and bar. It is a very small restaurant located next to the Market of Choice off of Willamette.
The food was definitely the highlight of this restaurant. We started off with Salads and Pate. The salads were delicious, I especially liked the dressing. The only down part of the appetizers was that we had to wait 50 minutes for them. I thought they forgot about them and were just going to bring our dinner, but the restaurant is just slow. The main course came 30 minutes after that. I had grilled chicken with green beans and potatoes. The chicken was delicious, but did not take away from the horrible service.
The Service and Atmosphere:
Both of these were terrible. The restaurant is in a horrible location. It is in a strip mall next to a grocery store; not the normal place for an upscale restaurant. The restaurant is also very small. Luckily we got there just in time to get the last available table. When there were only 2 parties waiting after us they had a 45 minute wait. I recognized one of the waitresses from a previous job in Portland many years back. She approached our table asking about my familiarity. It turns out she is one of three owners of this restaurant. I got the impression that the owners were either working on the floor or in the kitchen. This is a great way for them to make money, but not so great for service. It was obvious they needed more staff because my water glass stayed empty most of the time I was at the restaurant, and the floor staff was running around unable to accommodate everyone’s needs.
So what can this restaurant do better?
I am going to take a PR/social media standpoint on this. After doing a Google search on Rabbit I discovered that they lack a website. I think it is extremely important for new restaurants to have a website. People who are unfamiliar with the restaurant can go online to their website and browse the menu, and look at pictures of the restaurant. This particular restaurant has a strict policy about substituting dishes, and do not allow the customers to request dressing on the side. This would be great information to put on their website so customers are aware of this policy before going to the restaurant. I also think it would be beneficial for the owners to create a twitter account and a Facebook group. This would allow them to post updates about specials and events going on at the restaurant. It is important for new establishments to promote and market their product as much as possible. Various social media tools allows them to do this at little to no cost. Monitoring their status on yelp and other consumer review websites is also very important, that way they can work on what people are complaining about and continue to do well in what their audience is applauding them for.
David Finch gives great advice on how restaurants can use social media in this blog post: