When LittleStuff went to Frankie & Benny’s. Twice.

Having been asked by Frankie & Benny’s to go along and review their new menu, we were only too happy to oblige – with four children and a teeny tiny bank balance, its not often we take them out en masse for a meal ;)

The nearest F&B’s to us is Yeovil (20 miles away), so we duly booked a table during the holidays, and turned up 20 minutes before the allotted 6.30 time… only to find the restaurant was shut. The kitchen had no cookers apparently, hadn’t had since lunch time, they were waiting for an engineer… but no one had called to let us know.

So we trailed home with grumpy (hungry) children, and re-booked for a few days later. This time we called again on the day ‘just to check’ and when we arrived our table was waiting for us. Hoorah!

The restaurant was busy – there were a couple of large parties in, along with the usual evening business, and the noise was high. It seems the plan is that if the restaurant is filled with noisy people chatting, then we’ll just whizz the music up louder to make absolutely sure  everyone can hear it. Now I love the music F&B play… but having to almost shout to make myself heard above it isn’t my idea of the perfect restaurant ambience…

Service to take our order was pretty prompt, and the drinks arrived quickly. There was a bit of a wait for the appetisers – 25 minutes  – but when they arrived they were good (dough balls, chicken strips, prawn cocktail, bruschetta), and everyone was famished by then so they disappeared fast. We sat and played with the children’s activity packs whilst we waited for the mains to arrive. And we waited, and we waited. I tweeted a little. We waited some more. Eventually, 50 minutes after the appetisers were cleared the mains arrived. By this time it was gone 8p.m. and the 5yr old was frankly becoming too tired to eat.

Her meal arrived first – she had fancied ‘Frankie’s Hotdog’ from the junior menu…

frankie and bennys hotdog junior menu

When it turned up she got this (sorry, I didn’t catch the photograph until she’d snaffled up most of the fries…)

One hotdog sausage in one cold hotdog bun, with a small portion of fries. No salad, no sauce, no ‘fried onions and mustard’. Being 5, she was more than happy… but at an eye-watering £8, I really was NOT.

The rest of the food was excellent (to be honest, buy the time it finally arrived with us we were so hungry it didn’t matter how good it was!), and the portions were good too. But the whole thing had lost it’s shine thanks to that almost-hour-long wait.
We really weren’t going to stay for dessert as we were now so late, but crushed faces who had scanned the ice-cream menu when they were supposed to be picking their mains ruined that ideaso we stayed and ordered…

Again, there was a lo-o-ong wait. Another 25 minutes in fact – and there was no sign of drink top ups or even of our dirty glasses being cleared. The younger children were now tired and grumpy and restless. But when the desserts did arrive, they were delicious, and smiles were restored by the power that is the East Coast Sundae. *sighs happily*. The sundae’s were HUGE – and following a huge main meal – and yet every dish was scraped enthusiastically clean. Honestly, WHERE do they put it all?

Once we were finally done, we got chatting to the waiter who was going to bring us the bill. The husband took up the issue of the very long waits – for which there was a very nice apology, and an explanation that the kitchen had simply been flat out as there were two large parties going on at the same time. Sorry, but that’s not our fault – if you can’t cope with extra diners, then shut the restaurant. Don’t make them suffer from poor service.

When he saw our ‘press visit’ voucher, Nick (I know his name was Nick because he carefully ringed the receipt to be sure we wouldn’t forget) became VERY chatty, telling us how great Frankie & Benny’s are to work for, and what a huge effort they make with their customer service. Too late now, I’m afraid – the effort needs to be made with the poor diners waiting two hours for their meal…

Frankie & Bennys meal for 6 cost receipt

Our bill (two adults, 4 children, but 2 children ate from the adult menu) came to £136.95. We had a £75 press voucher, and Nick very kindly discounted our meal by a further 20% as an apology for the inconvenience of the long wait.

In the end, though the food was mostly good, the service let the restaurant down, and the children have asked to go back “just for the ice cream, because that was the best bit and we wouldn’t have to wait too long”.


Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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