A tip? Don’t be rude!: Wahaca, Cardiff

Tipping is a contentious issue, and attitudes about it vary. My own attitude is that if the service is very good I’ll tip. I think that’s the best way for it to work, with the customer deciding what to give and when.
Adding a service charge to a bill is a no-no for me. It feels presumptuous, and means that the staff, regardless of their performance get the same thing. A tip is like a bonus, and should be earned by doing your job well, or at least that’s my opinion.
It’s even worse if the service hasn’t been that great.
Which brings us to Wahaca in Cardiff.


Yesterday MWF and I went there with some mates as an engagement celebration. It being a Bank Holiday Sunday, town was rather busy and the drive from Barry to Cardiff took the best part of an hour (it normally takes around 25 minutes).
Add onto this trying to find a spot in St David’s and MWF and I were running late. My friends, coming from Swansea were also late. The only one of us to make it on time was my friend Rhodri.
MWF and I arrived for our 1PM reservation at just after quarter past, it was here that we encountered an incredibly rude manager.
I’d barely given my name before she started in, giving us grief about the fact we’d booked for one. I explained that traffic was terrible at which point, I’d have considered the matter closed.
But instead she started going on about the fact they’d tried calling me and that “normally we give away the reservation if you’re not here within 15 minutes”.
Hang on, wasn’t one of us already here anyway?
“Yes, but he only just arrived.”
First of all, this wasn’t the case as he’d been there a while. And even if he had “just arrived” it would have been before the fifteen minute mark. So what was the woman’s problem?
It was a pretty hostile response to walk into and her whole manner was rude, abrasive and acting as if we were causing a major inconvenience.
I get we were late, which might have been annoying but it was a booking for 8 people, so surely they stood more to gain by waiting for us than cancelling our table. Especially as the place was only about half full.
Now, part of me wishes right there that I’d just said “You know what, we are late. I’m sorry and we’ll take our business elsewhere.”
I mean, sure we were late but there was no need to give us grief for it, especially as we’d been apologetic. I had been to the restaurant before, but for MWF this woman was the first impression she got of the place. And it wasn’t a good one.
It left a nasty taste in the mouth (unlike the food, which I dug) and although our waitress, Magda, and the other servers were quick, polite and friendly, the manager’s rudeness is what I’ll remember most about the trip.
So, at the end of the meal when around £14 was added as a service charge we crossed it off and tipped about a fiver. This felt fair, the service was alright but the manager lady was part of the staff and service and that made us unwilling to cough up the service charge.
While I enjoyed both my visits to Wahaca in terms of the food and the service, I don’t think I’ll be making a third trip.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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