You come to expect a little delay, when you’re at the airport. They’re inconvenient, but something of a fact of life, to which we’ve grown accustomed.
What you don’t expect is that the eateries at the airport will refuse to take your order for food, while you wait, which is the situation I found myself in, on my latest visit.
Fringe, a pub style placed, offering a traditional range of breakfast options, was the first to declare “anyone wanting breakfast, there’ll be a 25 minute wait”. Understandably, half the patrons, including me, got up and left.
I headed towards The Gathering. After being told I couldn’t order anything but drinks at the bar, as they operated table service for food (why such pointless separation?), I was then told I couldn’t even place an order. Not “I’ll take your order, but there’ll be a wait”; just “I’m not taking any food orders for the next ten minutes.”
The problem with this picture was that the large kitchen area was open for all to see. It had only two guys working. There was no “we’re snowed under” craziness; there wasn’t much of anything other than guys going about their business of preparing dishes in a reasonably orderly fashion. Maybe the issue was that there were only two people working, when to turn round orders quickly it takes more folk, perhaps?
All of this implies the place was packed to the gunwales, which it wasn’t. It was around half filled, mainly with people, like me, with completely bemused expressions.
I get that places have bad days, but airport catering needs to be run on a much more robust model than this, to ensure this type of nonsense just doesn’t happen.
When it does, as it did on this occasion, it doesn’t just make the establishment look foolish, it creates a really bad impression in the mind of visitors to our country, and adds undue hassle to what can be a stressful enough time for travellers. I wish those in charge of this place took a bit more care with how they’re choosing to run their business, as what I experienced on my visit was beyond appalling.
I ended up at Eat, which was as good as ever. If you’re flying home through Edinburgh airport, this festive season, go there. Don’t for a second give the folks at The Gathering or Fringe a penny of your business.