Batte-Lay Tearoom, Minories Gallery, Colchester

My email to the Operations Manager of Wilkins & Son Tearooms:

FAO the Manager

As a Tiptree resident, I frequently visit several of the tea rooms, and in my capacity as a restaurant reviewer have given positive feedback each time. To give negative feedback therefore is disappointing but necessary.

My mother and I visited the new tea room at the Minories gallery today. The room itself was no more than a third full, while a few tables outside were occupied – but your staff struggled from the start and looked very stressed. Goodness knows how they would have coped with a full house.

No doubt about it, you were very understaffed. The lady in charge was clearly doing her level best but even so we waited close on 10 minutes to get menus and as long to have our orders taken. I didn’t count how long it took for the order to arrive but when my mother asked where our food was, the lady in question plonked down before us entirely the wrong order. By that stage she was apologising to every table for mistakes and delays – I don’t blame her but I do think you should have organised and managed staffing so she was not put in that position.

When the food arrived, the “toasted BLT” was a huge disappointment for two reasons: flabby underdone bacon and the fact that the lettuce had been through the grill and come out nastily wilted. Had it occurred to the kitchen that the salad ingredients should be added after the sandwich has been grilled, not before?

To finish on a high, at least the coffee was good and strong. I feel sure this was just a blip but I hope you take this criticism constructively. It will go into the next review on my website.

Kind regards

Andy Millward

The reply:

Good Morning,

Thank you for contacting us here at Tiptree. Customer feedback is crucial to our continued success as a respected business and is always welcomed.

It is encouraging to read that you are familiar with our brand and specifically the Tiptree Tea Room estate. It is of course very disappointing to read your comments in regards to your recent visit to The Batte Lay.

I have taken time to discuss this matter with the management team directly. There is very little I have to add to your assessment of the proceedings; the team did not have the bodies to offer the service usually expected inside our Tea Room. There is no excuse for the lacking service that you and a number of other customers received yesterday.

The overall feeling from myself and the management team at The Batte Lay is one of embarrassment. I understand fully the reasons why you have emailed with your concerns and I do appreciate you bringing this to my attention. Without input from valued customers, our job of maintaining and surpassing this companies great standards becomes a much greater challenge. I am confident that this was an isolated and unfortunate day for the Batte Lay team.

As a small token of apology I would like to extend to you a complimentary gift voucher. This gift voucher would be redeemable at any of the Tea Rooms operated by Wilkin & Sons, though I sincerely hope that you would be willing to visit the Batte Lay in the very near future. Please pass my sincere apologies to your mother also, I understand that this incident would have affected the two of you and not just yourself.

I simply need an appropriate address and I will personally see to the posting of your voucher. I reiterate that feedback from our local and loyal customers is always welcomed. Thank you for your comments, they have been gratefully received.

Kind Regards,

Manuel Martinez

Tea Rooms Operations Manager
Tiptree Tea Rooms
Tel: 01621 815407

The result: a £20 voucher to spend at a Wilkins & son tea room or shop 🙂

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