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How is Restaurant Staffing?

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just wondered if things have improved since June. On a weekday then, I counted approx 30+ people in line for nearly every kiosk that sold any kind of food or beverage. There was usually one employee working in a booth that should have had 3-4. Actual restaurants were worse....We asked about a table at Margaritaville at 2:00 pm and were told the next available table was at 10:00 pm that night. Ended up with a 45 minute wait for a crummy burger on near the Marvel area. Needless to say, getting something to eat was painful, time-consuming, and we had to pretty much take what we could get. I am hoping things are better for my Nov trip, but I would rather go in prepared if it is going to be a similar experience. BTW, the people I felt worse for than me were the employees...there was no downtime or room to take a breather. It was a frenzy of hungry, frustrated guests for hours on end.
 
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macefamily

Well-Known Member
I'm praying with you. We go down next week, and we currently only have one brunch and one dinner scheduled. Now that Casey's is back open at MK, I'll wait in line for two hours for a foot long chili cheese !
 

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm praying with you. We go down next week, and we currently only have one brunch and one dinner scheduled. Now that Casey's is back open at MK, I'll wait in line for two hours for a foot long chili cheese !
I assume you are doing Disney and Universal? My sense is that Disney is a little better, but I have not seen it firsthand since December. In this case I was talking specifically about Universal in June when we last visited.

I am with you on Casey's. It doesn't get great reviews (I know there are some real hotdog critics on this forum), but I think it is a pretty reliable chili dog. Not that the food bar is very high at MK.

For anyone with recent experience, I am still interested in any first hand reports from Universal/IoA on the restaurant staffing.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
FWIW, we were at Universal AND Disney last month. We observed staffing shortages both places: I can't say it looked worse at one vs. the other. When I say we "observed shortages," I mean we noticed that the TS restaurants were only using a fraction of their tables or had entire sections closed off during peak meal times (e.g., 12pm, 6pm), even though they were "booked solid" with reservations. These included (but weren't limited to) Cowfish, the Kitchen, and Toothsome at Universal, and Biergarten, Yak & Yeti, and Skipper Canteen at WDW. The reduction in tables seemed appropriately proportional to the smaller staff, as we didn't experience slower or less attentive service than usual.

I should note that we were not trying to get any day-of reservations anywhere: we'd made ADRs ahead for all of our TS meals. A couple of times when we did cast about for a last-minute idea, the pickings were very slim and there were few tables available except at weird times, even though we were there during the slowest (least crowded) week of the entire summer.

As far as Disney CS (we did avoid CS at Universal because we'd read about terribly long lines -- although that warning seemed out of date by the time of our visit, as we saw no long CS lines at all -- even for butterbeer!), whatever short-staffing they might have going on did not seem to impact the effectiveness or wait times. At WDW, we mobile-ordered meals at Casey's and Columbia Harbor House (as well as snacks like stuffed pretzels from the Lunching Pad and Dole Whips from Aloha Isle), and our orders were all ready promptly at the scheduled time.
 
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DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
FWIW, we were at Universal AND Disney last month. We observed staffing shortages both places: I can't say it looked worse at one vs. the other. When I say we "observed shortages," I mean we noticed that the TS restaurants were only using a fraction of their tables or had entire sections closed off during peak meal times (e.g., 12pm, 6pm), even though they were "booked solid" with reservations. These included (but weren't limited to) Cowfish, the Kitchen, and Toothsome at Universal, and Biergarten, Yak & Yeti, and Skipper Canteen at WDW. The reduction in tables seemed appropriately proportional to the smaller staff, as we didn't experience slower or less attentive service than usual.

I should note that we were not trying to get any day-of reservations anywhere: we'd made ADRs ahead for all of our TS meals. A couple of times when we did cast about for a last-minute idea, the pickings were very slim and there were few tables available except at weird times, even though we were there during the slowest (least crowded) week of the entire summer.

As far as Disney CS (we did avoid CS at Universal because we'd read about terribly long lines -- although that warning seemed out of date by the time of our visit, as we saw no long CS lines at all -- even for butterbeer!), whatever short-staffing they might have going on did not seem to impact the effectiveness or wait times. At WDW, we mobile-ordered meals at Casey's and Columbia Harbor House (as well as snacks like stuffed pretzels from the Lunching Pad and Dole Whips from Aloha Isle), and our orders were all ready promptly at the scheduled time.
Thanks! That is helpful. At this point I am not too picky about what we we eat and drink on a short trip. I just hate to be caught up in a situation where it is hard to find anything without a 40 minute time committment. I have ADRs for Cowfish and Toothsome. That will cover the relaxed meals. If counter-service is reasonable, that takes some of the stress away for the other meals.
 

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
To answer my own question, staffing seemed better. On Thurs and Friday, service was no issue at all. Saturday was much more crowded, but we still walked right in for a Krusty Burger. The sit-down restaurants (Cowfish and Toothsome) appeared to be open at full, or nearly full, capacity. I would emphasize again that Universal is becoming more like Disney with the requirement for ADRs...at least for certain places. During check in a Toothsome, another guest inquired about seating...he was told there were no reservations available at any time for at least the next week. It appears they do reserve some number of tables for walk-up guest though (1.5 hour wait).

The service at every sit-down place we experienced in Orlando (including off site) was poor. Slow food delivery, no drink refills, etc. Maybe this is the result of restaurants being largely staffed with new employees and the training is still catching up. They are probably stretching the employees they do have to cover more tables. Be prepared for a little bit of patience eating out.
 

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