Unbelievable. I have never been turned away from a restaurant. Until tonight. We went to try out the new Bent Burger across from the PCC and were shocked to be turned away at the door. No, "we don't have a table right now but you are free to wait if you like." Just a straight up we won't serve you. You better believe I will not be going back there!
Date: 06 Nov 2010 05:55
Number of posts: 11
RSS: New posts
These two sentences contradict one another so I'm confused.
"we don't have a table right now but you are free to wait if you like."
Just a straight up we won't serve you.
If I'm reading the original email correctly, I think the OP is saying they didn't get the first sentence as a response, rather they got the second response. Too bad. My guess is that the kitchen was either swamped or about to shut down and whoever answered at the door didn't do a good job conveying the situation.
We ate there last night and they definitely are still working out how to run a smooth business. But I wish them lots of luck and hope they make that space a success. (ps -toast those buns please! thx)
Did they give you a reason for saying they won't serve you? Was it close to closing time? (That is, did they expect that by the time there was an open table, they would be closed?) Were they out of fries/buns/something else? It seems there has to have been a REASON they turned you away.
To clarify given the questions others have asked: They DID NOT even say we could wait for a table, they went straight to telling us they wouldn't serve us. That is why I was so shocked and won't be going back. Being a new restaurant I could understand being overwhelmed and having ask people to wait for a table. We would have been happy to do that, and happy that they were doing well enough to have a crowd. But it was 6:30pm, not anywhere close to closing, so there was no reason we couldn't have been offered a chance to wait. But he literally told us to go. He did not offer any reason such as the ones suggested by others here (out of food, etc.) and the place was hopping so there was no indication there was any problem with the kitchen. I think it was just the worst service we have ever received and beyond explanation other than they didn't care about our business. FYI, the family of four behind us was also turned away.
We did pretty well there. The atmosphere is good, the place was packed, the burgers were tasty, and the price was right. It took almost forever and a couple reminders for the (also tasty) fries to finally show up, but I'll chalk that up to a new line staff getting their bearings. It's a great place to take the family.
Okay, here's the skinny. The folks running the joint are not restaurant people by trade from what I've gathered and a burger joint is a good fit for this location although I loved the heck out of saffron -so here's my suggestion and maybe you did this already: Talk to them. Call up the owner and tell em. I have definitely been turned away from restaurants even with empty tables because of staff capacity or lack thereof, meaning they could only reasonably serve who they had a not enough staff to serve over that number. But, that was a reasonable explanation. You didn't get one so i hope you told the owner that - and I'm sure an overwhelmed, non pro person gave you that answer and was figuring since the space doesn't have a waiting area to speak of or anything resembling a bar, what was the point. That's a non restauranty logic head person speaking - not what you or I would want in the situation.
But I would urge you if you have no intention of going back, to at least call or swing by and let them know and offer some suggestions. This is something my grandma used to talk about how in her small town all the people knew all the business owners and all businesses patronized each other and etc. and pretty much the service at every business was good because if not people told you and talked about you and then quit going - your business would fail.
So, do not go straight to "quit going." I'm amazed at how lackadasical most businesses really are, and how they miss little and big things, but the majority are made not born to it. So for a new restaurant, non pros, and hopefully they are reading and getting in person feedback, give them another try.
At la spiga for example, anytime i've ever had a bad experience (maybe twice) i tell Pietro, the owner, and every time I've had a good experience I also tell him. He also inquires, which makes a good for a good place. I've done the same thing at Lunchbox laboratory, which is nothing but burgers, by the way. Both are family run places and both seem to take feedback. let's give these guys an opportunity to get better.
This is a great suggestion. I wonder sometimes if our ability to project affects our willingness to talk. I really appreciate hearing neighbors' honest opinions, and I sure hope it encourages more face-to-face engagement around the neighborhood.
I'd like to see this calm reasonableness applied to everyone's first visits to Chelsea Deli. They'll be opening in a few weeks and invariably slammed their first day or two. Orders and customer service won't be perfect. It will take them time to get up to speed. So don't give them a terrible review on Yelp based on your first day experience. You may change your mind on future visits, but that review follows them forever.
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