OPINION: Pilot House lacks the efficiency of Ike's

The line at Pilot House is really, really long. It is not that I am frustrated simply with the size of the line, but I am frustrated with the number of staff working the registers—it is never more than one. The line can literally be wrapped around to the point that the ends touch and Pilot House will still have one person working.

That one person always seems polite and does a great job, but I really wish there were more of them working the register and fewer carrying trays or losing orders. It would be more understandable if having to wait in line for over half an hour could be balanced by a short wait time for food, but it is not. Usually I walk up to the counter and listen to them yell back and forth about the orders they have lost or not started. It just becomes frustrating because people expect to get reasonably good service when they are buying food that often costs more than one meal plan.

When a student shows up at Pilot House at 1:00am, it is not because they crave the exacerbated sleep deprivation that comes as a result of having to wait an hour for their food, but rather because they are hungry, and nothing other than Ike’s is open. If there were an option which was centrally located and had the same quality of service of Ike’s, I can guarantee that restaurant would be the most prosperous. Considering that the two diners are similar in their hours and function, I wonder if it is a love hate relationship between Ike’s and Pilot House. In my experience, I have never waited in line more than 15 minutes at Ike’s and, if there is a line which is unusually long, one person works each of the two registers and the line moves much more quickly. At Ike’s, customers can sit down at the bar after ordering and talk with friends as they wait for their food to be slid to them across the table on their right. The waiting process at Ike’s is quick and, as a result of “Akoo” allowing people to text the televisions song requests, sometimes not all that unenjoyable.

Pilot House, however, is a different story. You show up at Pilot House and lean against that weird carpeted wall for 40 minutes, wondering why no one is helping run the registers, order your overpriced food, pay for your overpriced water and sit down on one of those wiggly chairs and wait another 20 minutes for your tiny fries and uninspiring chicken sandwich to arrive.

And so, between Ike’s and Pilot House, we must have a love-hate relationship. Maybe on one hand, Ike’s wishes it had more upperclassmen as visitors and, on the other hand, it is quietly laughing at how much better managed it is than Pilot House. For Pilot House, I can only imagine it wishes that it made better food and could handle the surely staggering pressures of two people working the registers instead of one.

It makes me wonder if there is simply a lack of staff working Pilot House or if there may be a fundamental difference between the management or the equipment of the two restaurants. I have never explicitly complained about the service simply because I do not want to place the blame on the wrong person, but, after hearing the concerns of many others whom I know have complained, I have to wonder if Pilot House is taking these frustrations to heart and is willing to work to fix their broken service. You would think that, when dining charges its students an almost 200% increase in price for the basic food items in convenience stores, $.30 for water and $9.00 for a BLT, they would be able to afford the costs of efficiently running their dining establishments. 

Opinions expressed in this column are solely the beliefs of the writer. 

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