The first time A&W Restaurant opened in Inver Grove Heights it was a disaster. Local residents all know what led to that being a failed and costly experience for all involved. Fast forward to 2015 and the restaurant is back open. New ownership, new management and a new 40-foot sign visible from the road has led to optimism that the restaurant will succeed.
The reviews for the Inver Grove Heights A&W have been mixed so far. Readers have expressed enthusiasm over A&W’s return, and enjoy the frosty mug sensation of a glass of A&W Root Beer. But the food, mainly cost of the food, has played to mix reviews. We at EatIGH.com are like everyone else and want A&W to succeed. We need all the food and restaurant options we can get and want nothing but success for the restaurant.
But there have been grumblings of late and one reader sent an email that he sent to the corporate office after he said on Twitter that his trip to A&W Restaurant “was the single worst restaurant I ever experienced.”
Below, we are publishing what the reader sent to A&W corporate and what he sent to us via email, which was the same as what he sent to corporate.
Note: These opinions are that of the reader. We at EatIGH.com have been to the new A&W three times. One for root beer (very good), one for a burger and onion rings (agree on the bit overpriced part, but the onion rings are good) and another time for a cheeseburger and root beer (agree on the root beer being good but the cheeseburger being mediocre for the price). We love the patio and being able to sit outside. Although, sitting outside downing the Papa Burger while staring at the Anytime Fitness is kind of a downer and makes you feel already worse about the caloric consumption taking place.
Until then, our first reader rant is below, published exactly the way it was sent to the corporate office and to us (send future reader rants to email@example.com and we will consider for publishing).
To whom it may concern,
I’ll just start off by saying our visit to your recently re-opened A&W restaurant on Saturday, September 5th all started out by our family trying to think of a place for dinner, and I remembered that I had heard that the Inver Grove Heights store, MN had (much to my confusion) recently re-opened. As this news was fantastic, since I had taken my 3 kids their during it’s 1st opening without my wife and we had told her how happy we were we had another restaurant to go to. Unfortunately, it had closed down before we had a chance to take her there.
So with the re-opening, that was the plan. We arrived to the restaurant and there were about 6 or so cars in the lot. Upon getting out of the car, I had noticed how dirty all the large glass windows were, I kept this to myself, not to big of a deal, and certainly not enough to make us turn around.
We walked into the restaurant and stood along the rear wall to take in the seemingly high priced menu, but was still not offended, considering I would rate the quality of your food higher than McDonald’s and BK, up in the Culvers range, and your prices were fairly close to theirs, and having frequently attending the nearby Culvers, had no problem with the price for quality food.
As we stood debating what to order, 2 separate customers came up to the clerk with either wrong items, or some other complaint, and there was the 1st and 2nd “I’m very sorry about that” from the clerk that was taking orders. I know this happens everywhere, so still not a big deal.
I started ordering my papa burger combo meal, and decided to not do the onion ring substitution for .99 since my combo was already tapping the budget for my meal since we had 4 others to feed, still everything’s fine.
As my wife continued ordering I hear another customer tell the clerk they were out of straws, which were replaced before we filled our drinks. As I walked through the restaurant looking for a table, only to find every single table (not exactly sure, but around 15 I would say) all noticeably dirty, not just a couple crumbs, flat out filthy. The other 5 or so tables were being used. I then proceeded to tell the clerk as my wife was still ordering and he proceeded to get someone out to clean them, this still I know happens, so still not a deal breaker, but kind of alarming at so many dirty tables.
We proceeded to sit at a clean table now and waited for our food, wait times at Culvers are a little longer than normal, so no big deal for the wait. As we waited, our kids started filling their sodas, A&W’s famous root beer to be specific, which after kid #2 was out and needed to be changed, along with the napkins that were all gone.
So again, the front clerk was told and he dealt with the root beer problem, a little longer wait for that.
The clerk who took our order delivered our food and said “I hope the order’s right, I didn’t prep it. So once we finally got our food, my wife got her cheeseburger and immediately said it looked as big as a McDonald’s cheeseburger, but at a heavily inflated price. (Still no napkins at this point)
We proceeded to dig in, only to notice the fries in all the combo meals were extremely cold, except the onion rings my boy substituted in his happy meal were fine, and hot.
My wife proceeded to the clerk asking for new fries, he said he would bring them out, he did, about 5 minutes after my papa burger was gone, since I wasn’t going to let that get cold waiting for fries.
Anyways, (still no napkins) he brought out the fries, only to find that only 3 of the 4 he brought back had been replaced, the 4th pack he brought to us, still very old and cold, threw them away.
Feeling slightly defeated and not wanting to badger this poor clerk yet again, we said nothing and my wife and I shared one of the fries.
I proceeded to look at our receipt while eating my French fries and noticed that they had taken 4 separate $1 charges off the bill, not sure why at this point, was a little glad about that, but wish I’d known that from back when I had ordered, because then I would have upgraded to the onion rings. Now hearing other customers saying they need napkins and a few more “I’m sorry about that” from the clerk.
After my wife and I finished (our shared bag of warm fries), I decided to see what prize my little twerps got for their “special prize” in their happy meal, only to find absolutely nothing besides the food. Feeling a bit ripped off at this point and knowing something should have been in there, we got up to leave.
Upon exiting, I told my wife to ask if something should have been in the kids meals, the poor clerk said yes, there should have, but they were all out of toys or whatever goes in them, and then proceeded to offer my kids a small cup of ice cream, that’s ok, but we should have known this from the beginning, all this again while another customer was asking for some napkins.
We proceeded to leave, the napkin status still unknown, but we left.
I have told my wife we never shall return, no matter what.
Any restaurant from McDonald’s to Morton’s Steakhouse, should know the basics of food service, and from what I had witnessed at this newly re-opened A&W, there is absolutely no possible way this restaurant, with the management that’s trained these employees, will ever get this right. The basic training was completely not there for them, and there is simply no way we can chalk this up to all of the employees just being lazy, so this had to be training and lack of management.
I do have some knowledge about what happened between the restaurant and the city of Inver Grove Heights from some articles that I had found, it seemed an unfortunate situation, but am still glad they chose to re-open. Unfortunately, I won’t be returning, because I would never be willing to fork out another $30 bucks in hopes all these issues were fixed.
There you have it – feedback from a frustrated customer. Checking back in, this customer has yet to hear from A&W about this experience. Let’s hope it gets better and goes better for the new ownership group. What are your experiences at A&W, share in the comments section below or on the EatIGH.com Facebook page.