Friday, January 19, 2007

Someone from Corporate Must be Paying Attention

A short while ago I wrote about what I consider to be the worst Old Country Buffet. The location is Levittown, New York. Well, someone from OCB must be reading and paying attention as recently there has been a dramatic change in the Levittown OCB, and it is a change for the better.

About three weeks ago we went in and saw a gentleman walking around the restaurant very attentively and dressed in a shirt that said "Buffets Inc.". Now all of the store manager shirts may say this but this was the first one shirt like this that I noticed. I immediately said to my wife that something is up. Looking around things looked better. His arrival coincided with the change in the restaurant - and I should add an increase in price of a dollar per meal. This past week we were there again and the same gentleman in the same shirt now had an ID tag on and it said "Food Bar Manager". Well, this OCB never had one of those before.

There were several points that I made in the article that have been addressed. Food is now refilled regularly and even at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night new carvings were coming out and food trays were kept full. And things were not just coming out for the employees to eat while the diners looked at empty trays for an hour before. The chicken noodle soup now has noodles in it. It had been chicken soup with carrots and celery and nothing else before (I guess a generic chicken soup). The cleanliness has improved also (not great, but better). They also seem to be able to anticipate the crowds now. As I had noted previously, nights that the restaurant should expect a larger than normal number of diners - for example, the night before a school holiday - they would run out of everything early and not replace food items. One of the nights that we just went was the night before a school holiday, and everything was out that should be.

This is good. I would like to think that someone read my article and made some noise at corporate headquarters -maybe not, but remarkably the problems that I noted are starting to be addressed and corrected. Hopefully, this will continue. Hopefully, the "Food Bar Manager" will remain and keep this restaurant on track.

I do wonder if the dollar increase is chain wide. Overhearing regular customers, they are not happy at paying $11.49 for dinner now. Many people seem to eat here regularly; some every night. They apparently budgeted these meals out for themselves and now the increase is pinching some. The better conditions should not warrant an increase in price. Though I am not sure there is any relation between the two. There is nothing on the website about price. It will be interesting to see if they lose the frequent business of the regulars.

Another observation, just from the website (as I do not recall seeing a change on the door), is that the hours of this restaurant used to be until 9:00 pm Sunday to Thursday and until 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday. Now the hours are until 8:30 pm Sunday to Thursday and until 9:00 on Friday and Saturday. Hmm... Increased price and shorter hours. For the average family who eats between 5 and 6, it makes no difference. But for those of us night owls who eat after 7:30, sometimes 8:00 depending on how the day goes, this is not so good.

They have just started the "Three from the Sea" special feature. Let's hope this one is better than "Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp". This offers several seafoods and, of course, shrimp. I have not tried it yet. I will let you know when I do. This is offered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only.

There was also a sign with featured carvings every night - and these seem to have changed from what they had been. Some looked for the better. There was no indication that there still is steak every night except Sundays. There was one sign still remaining in a window that mentioned steak, but no where on the website does it now mention steak. Not much of a loss considering the steak that they serve (served? - Maybe, at Corporate, it went "Robert doesn't like the steak. Let's get rid of it! - Maybe not?)

But I should not be negative in an article about the improvements that have been made - at least in Old Country Buffet, Levittown, New York. Corporate, if you are reading this, "thank you!" Also Corporate, let us know that you are out there and post a comment - let us know what you are thinking. That goes for everyone else! And if you have seen improvements at your OCB (or things that have gotten worse) let us know.


Robert A said...

Hours Correction

Despite what the website says about the hours of this OCB in Levittown, NY, the hours have not been changed and remain as they were. Closing at 9:00 on weeknights and 10:00 on Friday and Saturday nights.

-- Robert

Anonymous said...

There appears to be new Managerial Staff at the OCB in Levittown, with the lead Manager named Robert ( 99% sure ) during the past year.

This new managerial staff has really turned things around. Furthermore, the wait staff are quite courteous and clean the tables in a rather timely manner. I have never seen the place dirty, even on a weekend night.

Note: I beleive the hours of operation are for the last "seating time", not when OCB actually closes..

As far as the regulars and pricing... At $11.50, the price is still a great deal. Many of these regulars ( especially on the weekends ) monopolize tables from breakfast into dinner... In many other establishments, they would most likely get the heave-ho.. Instead, they seem to be treated more like family ( even a better reason to toss them -- LOL )..

So is it gourmet food, or home-cooking? No, but is is good tasting, and plenty of variety..

For selfish-reasons, I wish people would stay away... But.... that isn't going to happen. This place is a bargain..

Robert A said...

I wish the new manager had turned things around. There are some improvements, but this still is the worst OCB in he country.

If you come in at the posted closing hour, you may be seated, but don't expect to find anything left to eat - because refilling food trays at this location is something that does not happen later at night - or expect to find three trays of bread rolls where food was earlier.

The service staff vary. Some are extremely good and very nice! Jose should be made a manager he is so good.

As for cleanliness - this location still misses the mark. Look at the floors in the dining room at dinner time and later into the evening. Yes, the tables are cleaned. Look down!

Food quality is on par with most other OCB's and is not bad - except the steak - which is terrible.