Thoughts about Palo… insights from inside.

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by johnwalksfree, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. johnwalksfree

    johnwalksfree Earning My Ears

    Aug 17, 2014
    I just came back from a cruise in one of the Disney ships (no names so not to compromise anyone onboard) and I’ve got some good insights about how Palo restaurant works. I convinced one of the Crew members to talk as friends and tell me more than what a normal Guest will hear about the operation, managers, gratuities, Guests, etc.
    So far, they are extremely happy about how the management runs the operation, take care of them and the Guests, and are happy to see so much growth within the company. They are also proud of the product that the offer and the company they work for, but when it comes to the service itself, there are few things that we, as Guests, don’t normally think of and are not made aware due to many factors…
    Dress Code: there have been so many talks and rumors about this and luckily nothing has changed… but the worst part is taken by the hostesses at the doors and the managers when Guests do not want to understand that the dress code is so simple and the no shorts, no jeans, no sandals or tennis shoes it is as normal as in any good quality restaurant in the world, so sometimes Guests get really upset and offended when the members at the doors try to explain that without proper dress code, there is no way to get into Palo, and the insults and offenses taken by them sometimes makes you think if there is any respect from these people towards hard working Crew that all the want is to provide the best of they can offer and in the other hand, all they do is to follow the standards set by the company.
    Extra food: in a good restaurant, everything is planned down to a fine art. They can tell when someone is going to be trouble from the minute they greet them. The worst Guests are those who arrive telling all his/her table mates or the server that they have been there before, they know how it works and they can order as much as they want. Big mistake! The servers will smile and agree with you if you are one of them, but they will be a lot of talk about you back stages.
    We went in internet (quite slow at sea but we made it) and check one good quality restaurant in NYC, Broadway and just for a cold antipasto $36.95, a fried calamari $31.95, a ravioli w/cheese $30.95, a porterhouse steak $79.95 and a tiramisu 23.95 the total bill was $203.75. Then we went to a cheap restaurant's website in Miami Beach and just for a cold antipasto $25, a caprese salad $12, a gnocchi $12, a sirloin steak e parmigiano $24 and a pannacotta $15 the total bill was $88.00….
    So, for the price of the cover charge, $25, you will be just barely covering the antipasto plate presented in the beginning due to the cost of the ingredients. So when you decide to have 2 or 3 appetizers, a couple of half pastas to “try” and two main courses, not counting the coming chocolate soufflé and the extra desserts just to “try”, you will be far more delicate on land when it comes to ordering ($$$$$) and “trying” to eat all the buffet in front of you, and once again, Palo is a fine dining restaurant… not a buffet and not an “all you can eat” place!!!
    In this section, also goes the “special food” requests, such a shrimp cocktail, Cesar salads or a cheesecake… the question is… why will you go to Palo, pay the cover charge and order food from the main dining kitchens when you can get them for free? It takes not much effort to send someone down and bring the food up, but Palo has its standards and a product reputation to take care of, so it makes no sense for the staff to serve you, but you will never know their thoughts…
    Many of the repeater Guests ask for pizzas, even when it was removed from the menu almost 2 years ago, enhancing the antipasto and striving to make a difference from brunch and a pizzeria. When you ask for the pizza, it changes the entire flow of service inside the kitchen to make you special request… keep that in mind and think about others in the restaurant.
    Gratuities: did it ever happen to you that you asked the server about the tipping and he/she called their manager, the manager came and explain you that a very small part of the cover charge goes to the server team? Ok, this is the true… tipping has always been a touchy subject as DCL is very careful not to disturb more than the necessary their Guests, but out of the $25 cover charge that you pay per person, only around $0.40 - $0.45 will go to the particular server taking care of you. So, if you go back to the point before and think how much will you pay for a nice dinner in any normal restaurant, leaving a big fat zero in the line of gratuity is offensive, ridiculous and very depressing for the servers. The problem on the check is that the line says “Additional Gratuity”, so many Guests consider the cover charge as the actual gratuity… and that line a plus...but it is not! Servers expect a reasonable amount, considering that they offered and gave you an amazing experience and service, and also an 18% of the total bill, when the check has only 2 cover charges, doesn’t make it either. There is, if you consumed any drinks not included with the meal, a 15% auto gratuity… well, this amount does not go to the server but to many different people as well, so don’t think that this will cover the gratuity either.
    Tables’ requests: for most of this, windows tables are popular and can make the experience much better enjoying the view along a great dinner… but there are limited amount of these and are given upon arrival, first come first served basis, so if you really want to enjoy a window table, book your dinner or brunch at opening hours for each meal to secure a window table. And it makes no sense, unless you love yourself too much, to inquire for a window table once the sun has set and it is dark outside… all you will enjoy is a blurry view of you and company in the mirror created by the lights in the windows. And if there are not more of these tables available please don’t argue, because it is a ship and the staff cannot come up with a new table from their pocket to please you, without going to the point that there is a limited space in the restaurant and they cannot fit another table without disturbing other Guests who came earlier than you.
    If you’ve made reservations, and you make a request for a certain table in due time, that’s fair enough, they will do all they can to accommodate your request.
    Talking: one thing that makes a difference with DCL is that the Crew will do everything for you; they will engage in conversations and will make you feel like royalty… but please decide on time what you’re ordering and do not keep the servers talking for too long, remember that they are under the pressure of the seating timing, kitchen timing, soufflé timing, bar timing and everything that makes your and other’s experience fantastic… you are not the only one being served and you need to allow them to move freely so they can take care of others as well. And please… if you have time pressures, let them know at the start and they will accommodate you. Don’t mention it 15 minutes before you have to be in line with the characters…
    * Guests think they’re helping the staff by stacking the plates… please just leave them and they will take care of it.
    * If you ask for the check to be split, please allow some time to get this done… it is not easy to split checks, especially in big tables and mistakes can happen.
    * At the end of the cruise we all get a survey card, also known as a comment card… please do not give it to your kids to fill them up, as DCL takes these surveys very seriously and the staff is held accountable for their results… if your children wants a piece of paper to play with, give them a kids menu.

    I hope these insights give you a better idea how Palo works perfectly to ensure they give us an unforgettable experience… and if you have ideas or want to contribute to these insights, please feel free to write…

    Have a Disney day everyone!

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