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 Post subject: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:34 am
Posts: 418
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Here is the letter I sent to http://www.restaurantcotton.com on Saturday night.

Chef Cory, I've been supporting your endeavors since I took my then 8 year old daughter to Canards 6 years ago for her birthday. I liked having a restaurant in town that I felt was actually worth going to. I've been to Cotton several times in the last couple of years. That may not seem like a lot, but it is when you consider how often I choose to spend my money at a restaurant.

When you posted the contest on Facebook, and my reply got the most agreement I was very excited! A free dinner out was a huge thing to me. I was looking forward to going, and being able to try out cocktails/wines/beers that we don't usually splurge on, since our meal was already covered. We probably would have spent just as much money, just enjoying wine pairings.

You sent me a Facebook message saying to send you a message when we wanted to book our meal. I sent you three messages. Each got no response. I was really astonished that it was being handled so poorly. After two weeks with no response, I chose to book a reservation myself to celebrate my birthday. I made sure to mention the free dinner, and leave my number. That way if there was any chance of confusion on my part it could be corrected in time.

We arrived at your restaurant tonight. We got seated. No one mentioned the meal was covered, which required me to bring it up. That of course made my husband and I cringe. The waiter said he did see it listed and that he would go check. He came back and said it was supposed to be a lunch. I informed him that you listed it quite clearly as a dinner, and that surely if I had misunderstood that part, you would have corrected me in our Facebook message exchange. He checked again.... he came back and said that they were going to "go ahead and honor it." I immediately was horribly embarrassed for my husband, myself, and your poor waiter. I mentioned that we probably would have bought enough off the wine list to make it good for ya'll. He responded that alcohol was NOT covered. Umm yes, we had just said that.

It was absolutely awful. We were put into a terrible situation. The only recourse was to leave. I don't feel like I could ever walk back into one of your restaurants, and that is a shame. You have a lovely staff. You need to let go who ever handles your Facebook page, though I can only assume it is you.

We went down the road and spent our money at Tonores. I can longer recommend your restaurant either, but that does not make me happy.


This is a message I received just now on Facebook:
Restaurant Cotton
We understand there was a miscommunication with your reservation. Lance, our service manager has made several attempts to contact you on this matter. We donate lunches, dinners & parties to many people and local organizations for many different reasons. We made a mistake in coding yours, in no way were treating you like a charity case. We do everything we can to prevent mistakes but sometimes they do happen.
We do apologize and would like to speak with you.


What would you do?

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-Becca


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:37 pm
Posts: 3404
Location: Telluride, CO
As a member of the profession I have a few thoughts.

First, your note to him was very polite, and trust me, when customers are upset and want to make management know it, they are rarely that polite.

Managing social media, websites and the such is very rarely the expertise of anyone in a restaurant, and is usually a low priority. Sad really...lots of missed opportunities there. So, it frankly doesn't surprise me you didn't get a response. Doesn't excuse it, but doesn't surprise me.

I question the honesty of "Lance, our service manager has made several attempts to contact you on this matter." But, unless you have reason to disagree with this statement, I give the benefit of the doubt.

I've certainly been in the position of needing to tell servers I've got "such and such a deal" whether it be a comped meal, I'm a friend of the chef's and he wanted me to let you know that, etc.

I know it's the NYer in me that says I have no problem with letting people know what I'm due, and that isn't necessarily the way things are done in the South.

The "charity case" comment is odd, unless they felt that's what you were implying.

In all, if it's a good restaurant, I'd give them another chance.

My $.02.

Amy


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 1403
Location: Six Shooter Junction, Texas
There is seldom if ever a loss realized in communicating and giving them the opportunity to right a wrong. You have no way of knowing what may have been going on that you were unaware of.

That said...I still think CI, CC, and ATC is run by a bunch of boneheads! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 939
I'm not sure I would have been embarrassed or felt that I had to leave. After all, you were not doing anything wrong that would make you need to feel embarrassed. I'm also not sure I would have even been worried about buying enough alcohol to cover the cost of my food bill...after all, you did win this as a legitimate prize, and it was intended as something to be purely excited about without any strings attached. I also suspect that the server was probably not the most socially skilled in that situation and didn't know what to do. But after checking in on it, the restaurant did offer to honor your prize. I also suspect that the server felt obligated to make sure that you knew what was/was not covered before you ordered so as to avoid any awkward moments at the end of the night if you had thought that alcohol was covered. It's not an issue of whether or not you CAN pay, but making sure that you know in advance what you will be expected to pay for, so that you can make choices that are within your comfort zone. As someone who has had the opposite experience (being hit-after-the-fact with a huge bill for things that I thought were part of a complimentary service that no-one disclosed to me were not), I can say that I lean towards appreciating being warned in advance about what is/is not part of the deal. But I can totally empathize with that being how you felt.

It also seems that they are reaching out to try to make it right. I would let them do that by honouring your free dinner. I'd hate for you to change your feelings about a favourite restaurant just because there was a mix-up in terms of the terms of your reservation. Maybe you can ask them to throw in a complimentary bottle of wine for your trouble.

Edit: I feel compelled to add though that I have become a true Winnipegger, in that it is not unusual to use two for one coupons from the Entertainment Guide at all of the top fancy places in town. It's not an issue of whether or not you CAN pay, it's just that it's a good deal, the restaurants have offered it, and why not make the most of it? If it gets you out more, everybody wins.

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Carey


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:52 am
Posts: 1140
Location: Kansas City
If it's a place you really like, I'd give them a second chance.
fitzie


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:37 pm
Posts: 3404
Location: Telluride, CO
Let me provide a couple of examples where I've spoken up for what I am either promised or paid for, and how I handled lackluster service.

This year I bought a new king-sized bed and custom headboard (from two different companies). The shipping for the headboard was about $150, but included "white glove service." When it was delivered (via common carrier and over eight hours late), the drivers refused to assemble it with the frame I bought from the mattress company. I called the company I bought the headboard from and told them they screwed up...it was supposed to be white glove service. They credited me the $150.00 shipping charge.

Ditto a 2-day shipping up-charge I paid for a bookshelf from Crate & Barrel that arrived five days later. They credited me back the entire shipping charge.

Only pay for what you get, but allow for honest mistakes.

Amy


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:03 pm
Posts: 1089
I don't see why you felt you had to leave. They had agreed to honor your free meal, and made sure you knew that booze wasn't covered. That they failed to communicate well over facebook is a minor quibble, since they were ready to make good in person.


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 1403
Location: Six Shooter Junction, Texas
Amy wrote:
Let me provide a couple of examples where I've spoken up for what I am either promised or paid for, and how I handled lackluster service.

This year I bought a new king-sized bed and custom headboard (from two different companies). The shipping for the headboard was about $150, but included "white glove service." When it was delivered (via common carrier and over eight hours late), the drivers refused to assemble it with the frame I bought from the mattress company. I called the company I bought the headboard from and told them they screwed up...it was supposed to be white glove service. They credited me the $150.00 shipping charge.


Amy



Amy,

Understand that "Southerners" typically don't make a ruckus, we tend to quietly bow out taking our wallet with us. You New yorkers on the other hand... :lol:

Just a cultural difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:37 pm
Posts: 3404
Location: Telluride, CO
Frank,

I think you may have missed my point in my initial reply, as that was exactly my point. Or, perhaps I explained my point poorly.

Go back to my original reply. I agree with you.

Amy


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 Post subject: Re: Restaurant Situation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:21 am
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Location: Six Shooter Junction, Texas
Amy wrote:
Frank,

I agree with you.

Amy


Who wouldn't :mrgreen:

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