It’s rare that I encounter such bad customer service at a restaurant, I feel like blogging about it.
And while I’ve been tempting to outline everything that happened to me at a particular establishment recently, I decided not to. And here’s why.
It wasn’t the wait staff or food was bad. In fact, I didn’t even sit down at a table. I got poor customer service right at the front door — and that prompted me to never book a reservation there in the several months the restaurant was open.
Oh, I wanted to blog about it. I’m a big believer in sharing accurate information, even bad experiences, because people should know what to expect.
But in this case, I didn’t. I felt it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else who worked there, particularly the chefs and owners, to let this one person influence my view of a restaurant at which I had never dined. It wouldn’t be right.
So I bit my tongue as I browsed photos of crab cakes and short ribs on Instagram, hoping my experience wasn’t shared by others — and cursing the fact that the food looked so ridiculously good.
And then I broke down.
I called one afternoon and booked a table for that evening. When I walked through the door, there was no sign of the worker who had left such a bad taste in my mouth about the place. And the restaurant, as anticipated, lived up to expectations, churning out well-crafted dishes from start to dessert.
It’s interesting how influential bad customer service can be. As someone who writes about food for a living, I’m supposed to try new restaurants, yet this one experience with a front-of-house staffer caused me to put it off for months.
I was reading a blog by New York Post restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo who bemoaned the poor service he received at several new restaurants in the city. And these restaurants knew who he was!
“That I encounter at least as much amateurish, clueless or downright hostile service as I did in my ‘anonymous’ days speaks to the current state of restaurant staffing. It makes it easier to write funny reviews, but it’s nothing to laugh about when regular customers are treated worse.
Service can make or break your business, restaurant or not. I eat at certain restaurants almost exclusively because the people who work there are nice and attentive. The food can hover above mediocre.
And poor service can start from the front door.
But what I’ve come to realize, though, is this: you can’t always judge a restaurant — or any business — by one person who might be having a bad day. Yes, I agree workers shouldn’t bring their personal issues to work. But we’re all human, too, and it happens.
That said, repeated bad service or a business that doesn’t care about the poor treatment you received — well, I’d close that door and never come back.
It may have taken awhile to finally book a table at this restaurant, but I’m glad I did. The food was stellar, the ambiance was perfect and, yeah, the service was up to par, too.