Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Harvey's Hamburger by Committee

Visited Harvey's (1339 Bank Street, Ottawa) across Bank Street from the Billings Bridge Shopping Centre on Friday for lunch.

I entered at 11:30 A.M. to be second in line behind a gentleman just finishing up ordering.  Two more customers came immediately after me and a minute after them three more.  Seems like I lucked out in getting there when I did as this Harvey's was about to get busy.

I waited patiently with my Original Hamburger Combo meal for $4.99 coupon in hand.  I looked around at the quiet restaurant with only about a group of six people sitting at one table while the others were unoccupied.

I was next and handed my coupon to the cashier wearing a drive thru headset before ordering.

The Order: 1 Original Hamburger with fries and a Coke.

I was then shuffled off to left to wait my burger.  I looked at the waiting area where the food from the grill area normally resides ready to be topped or added to orders.  No burgers there and the gentleman ahead of me was still waiting for his.  In the kitchen area were two workers working on fries and one on the grill madly grilling burger paddies. They both looked up with a spacey like look on their faces to the heavens which I guess is where the order screen is.

The first burger came up and an Asian employee picked it up and inquired with the gentleman ahead of me what he would like on it.

Another employee arrived out of the back with bowls of toppings.  That would be the fifth employee with three at the front and two working the kitchen.  The employee schlepping the toppings headed back to the back again.

The next burger came up which I supposed to be for me.  Would I sit there until the Asian employee had finished with the gentleman before me?  Nope, the first employee with the headset came over, washed her hands, put on a pair of gloves, grabbed my burger and inquired what I would like on it.

"Everything but hot peppers" came my reply.

Midway through topping my burger someone at the drive thru wanted to order.  The employee stopped topping my burger and clicked a button to activate her headset to say she would be right with them. She was interrupted one more time from the drive thru thus preventing her from finishing topping the sandwich.   Fortunately one of the workers at the grill, took over the drive thru by saying there was a delivery truck in the way and the drive thru was closed but they would be more than willing to serve them if they came in the restaurant.

My burger was topped, added to my tray, fries retrieved and I was off to find a:

a) Napkins

b) Straw

c) Ketchup.

Scratch c) Ketchup as just before heading to the condiment stand, the lady with the funky headset asked if I wanted ketchup with my fries?  Right, apparently Harvey is a little stingy on the ketchup just like Mr. A&W.

After visiting the reasonably clean condiment station was a search for the table.  The restaurant opened at 10:30 a.m. so why, at 11:40ish did every table have a random selection of napkins and other gunk on them except for the one I chose?   Random question I know, but it shouldn't be at a properly run fast food place barely over an hour after opening.

The burger was the typical Harvey's Original burger you would expect.  Heavy and gooey on the toppings while tasting great.

The fries were the right temperature and I lucked out at not getting the bottom of the potato barrel with the little overcooked bits.

Halfway through eating my fries I noticed no customers were left to order or have their meal prepared.  With five employees behind the counter you would figure at least one of them would take notice of the dining area with random crap on the table and maybe even bust out a mop to neaten up the floor. Sadly this was not the case as all five employees stayed behind the counter rearanging the tomatoes, pickles and french fries.

Overall, the "Harvey's Restaurant by Comitee" format surprisingly worked.  No employees in the preparation of my meal stood around looking useless. They all pulled it together as several customers, including myself, arrived at the same time as they all pitched in.  However, a little cleaning around the edges when not busy would make the restaurant experience a little more improved.

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