Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Buffalo Wings & Beer

First, let me start by saying that the combination of eating buffalo wings and drinking beer is solid. I have no issue with the combination of food and drink, and I like buffalo wings, and I enjoy the occasional beer.

My issue is with the Gaithersburg bar/restaurant that goes by the name, "Buffalo Wings & Beer." I say specifically the Gaithersburg one because I haven't been to any of the others, but my guess is they all suffer from the same weaknesses. The most amazing part is that their weakness is not food quality or service, the two most likely culprits when a meal is ruined. The weakness is in their policies, policies that make you feel like they're really out to get you. And it's not a stretch to think that they might actually be out to get you.

First off, they don't offer free refills on sodas. This has become such a convention in restaurants that it's literally shocking for a place to not have that feature. And the sodas are fountain sodas, not bottles, so it's even more puzzling. Normally this would be bad but not unbearable, as you can just get a water. But at BWB, they also don't offer water at no charge. The only water they make available to customers is bottled water, at a cool $1 apiece. Feel like you're getting screwed yet? Sit tight, we're just getting started.

Their menu says the following phrase word-for-word underneath the wing prices and flavors:
  • Wings are served with either Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing, Two Celery Sticks and Two Carrot Sticks
  • Extras.......................... .75
My brother and I went in on Tuesday and got FOUR orders of wings, and we each got 1 small cup of ranch dressing, and we were charged $0.75 apiece for those two small cups. And not by mistake. That's just how these guys do business.

Speaking of Tuesday, we went in because they have a "deal" (you'll understand the reason for the quotes in a second) where you buy one pound of wings and get a second pound free. The second pound has to be the same flavor, and I have no problem with that. You can't get them boxed up, and I suppose I understand that; I'm sure their hope is that the deal brings people in who will buy drinks. But here's the kicker: you can't share. So if you want to take advantage of the deal, you have to get two pounds of wings yourself, or not get any. They're kind enough to let you share if everyone at the table gets their own double-order; what a bunch of sweethearts.

One last issue that didn't affect me personally but I found laughable was their list of lunchtime specials. You can get an order of a number of appetizers for about half of the normal price. Of course, these orders only contain about half of the food as the regular orders (5 cheese sticks vs. 10, 2 chicken tenders vs. 5, 4 broccoli cheese balls vs. 7). Also, there's a two drink minimum. FOR LUNCH. I'm fully convinced that the only people who can go to this place and not get pissed off are alcoholics.

It's a shame they have such an awful sense of customer relations, because the food is good. The wings are large and flavorful, and despite all of my nay-saying, it's still a valid place to grab some carryout wings from. But don't let them suck you into their den of deceit. You'll walk away angry, or walk away with blood on your hands. Or both. Probably both.

However, in my magnanimity, I've decided to come up with a new marketing strategy for BWB. I like to help even the most villainous of restaurants. So here you go:

Buffalo Wings & Beer: A place that sucks.

Short, catchy, effective. Lock it up.

1 comment:

Chip said...

I didn't realize how deep these guys went to get their $$$. I quickly learned about the $1 water and only being able to get one flavor for each deal.

I, however, didn't realize the rest of it. Interestingly enough, I'm really not too surprised. To charge someone a $1 for water is an outrage.

I do enjoy their wings... maybe I'll check out the Frederick BWB to see if it drastically changes. For now, it'll remain a take-out only spot.

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