BOOM!

WHO ELSE OUT THERE HAD A 100% INCREASE IN BUSINESS OVER LAST YEAR YESTERDAY?! BOOM!

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Beer, son.

A woman asked me to re-cap her beer the other day after she ate lunch because she was in a hurry and asked if she could take it with her. I responded that we don’t do beers to go. She then stated that her sister was on her way to the hospital. So she stood there watching the TV and drinking part of her beer.

Priorities are CLEARLY in order.

An open cover letter to that person possibly reading my job application

This is incredible!

Leftovers from Friday

To whom it may concern,

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter!

I assure you, at least in terms of breaking up the monotony that is hiring a new employee, it’s the best decision you’ve made today.

 I’m sure you’ve received dozens like it, promising exciting job-applicable traits like “Team-Player!” and “Hard-Working” and “Dedicated” and “Passionate!” I’m sure all of them have various examples of such traits like “That one time I saved a several hundred thousand dollar deal from falling through the cracks just because I spell-checked every word in a 200-page memo (showcasing their dedication, attention-to-detail, meticulousness, potential brilliance)” or “That other time I was involved in landing an account that you may know of by the name of HUGE TECH COMPANY (demonstrating their perseverance, persuasion, competitiveness).” I’m sure they are well-spoken individuals, promising longevity, increased revenue, innovative ground-breaking ideas, extensive connections and above all, a personality…

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Let It Go

My husband tells me to “let it go” when customers are nasty to us.

I can’t. I’m not wired that way.

I learned today that one person can singlehandedly knock down one’s self worth in a matter of seconds.

I am laying awake asking myself why someone would be as nasty as one was today and what mistake I or the others made that was so horrible that this person felt they had to make all of us feel this way.

There wasn’t any mistake. And, yet, this person’s anger…no – pure, unadulterated rage, was emanating from him like he was the Devil himself.

Don’t people think before they act anymore? Example: my best friend had a croissant hurled at her from a man who didn’t realize that Starbucks new policy was to heat the La Boulange items. He full on threw it at her. Airborne. I know of another girl who had a hot coffee thrown back at her at the drive through because something was “wrong” with it. We all know that Starbucks is happy to comp drinks and food to make it right.

Both instances are ridiculous, right? Wrong. They are incredibly common. Please, read on.

Today, this man was on vacation with his family. Clothes on his back. Food on the table and great weather to boot. Still we were treated like we were responsible for all of his life problems. We did everything to make it right within policy reason. (Refer to previous posting.)

I hear increasing stories just like this from restaurants all over. Customers treating staff (that resolve issues respectfully and reasonably) like they are below the refuse of the earth.

When your meal is corrected AND you now receive it for free, even though you asked for mayo and wanted mustard, but it’s our fault now because you made a mistake and your civically enterprising father told you as a boy or girl that “the customer is always right,” and yet we are still treated like scum who are out to get you, we are told to write you off and let it go.

But we can’t.

Why?

Because some of us don’t go home at night and watch Glee until we fall asleep with a bottle of Merlot in our laps. Some of us continue to mull over the issue and try to figure out how we could have made you happy, even though there was no possible way to do so because you made the choice not to be.

I have literally watched people walk into our restaurant who clearly wanted us to fail. I have also watched people walk in to our restaurant who I knew we were going to have issues with because they had already resolved to have them. To these I am extra kind and attentive.

I spoke to a veteran bartender at Applebee’s not too long ago about corporate comping. He explained bluntly that, if you know how, you can eat for free at every chain in the country because of policy. He told me he has seen people clean their plates before and say that they didn’t like it. If they want it for free, the manager is corporately obligated to give it to them.

This is not a new concept, but think about it: some people eat out for free all the time while you have to pay. Why? Because this culture of dining negativity has the chains scared to death. It’s policy so that they don’t have to argue on a constant basis, and these people have figured out the system.

Now this unhappy person turns to Tripadvisor or Yelp to give that one or two star review that will clearly “show us” by alerting other people not to go to this establishment that’s “out to get people.” They think they will join the other passive aggressive protesters on the internet and put us right out of business.

Read those websites. The reviews are full of passive aggressive negative reviews that mean absolutely nothing when you read them closely. They are backstabbings. More often than not, you will find that the issue was corrected. Still, it is the opinion of the reviewer that the establishment deserves to be leveled and never heard from again. Tomorrow they will go drink at the bar of a corporate chain and talk to their drinking buddies about how corporations are killing ‘Murica and that family owned and operated is the way to go.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a consumer, too. I ALWAYS put myself in the customer’s shoes first before my own pride. I’ve been there, but I ALWAYS treat the staff with kindness and respect because I know what they have to deal with day in and day out.

Believe me, when you receive moldy potato and corn chowder that tastes as bad as it was that time I had to send it back, it’s easy to get angry. However, it wasn’t her fault.

I just want to be treated with the same respect I give. When did society reach this point of taking out pent-up life rage on a total stranger?

So here’s to you, sir. I am lying awake in bed trying to find that little piece of my soul that you burned with your unnecessary anger.

Not an easy story.

This isn’t an easy one. It hurts while I type it.

Sometimes I wonder why we do this. This restaurant thing. The amount of hateful people in the world astounds me.

We had a party of four today – mother, father, two very young adorable little girls dress in pink. They sat and had table service outside on our patio. They were served drinks and food. The young woman who served them was excellent. She checked on them and they were happy.

Not too long after beginning to eat, the man came inside and fairly calmly inquired: “who is in charge?”

I responded with a smile “I am!”

He handed me a glass with lemonade which had a smudge on it. He proceeded, with shaking limbs and red, red face, to raise his voice at me telling me it was a “lipstick smudge” and that he could contract “herpes” and get very sick.

I proceeded to apologize. He loudly and with expletives explained that he expected the ENTIRE bill comped since he could get very sick. He told us he would walk out and that he didn’t care if we called the police. He proceeded to literally shake a wad of money and credit cards in my face explaining it wasn’t because he didn’t have a lot of money. And he made sure to tell me he had adequate money. Mind you and mark my words: this man was so angry, we were lightly concerned he was going to grab my throat.

I turned to my husband as he is the brains of the operation financially and asked him to speak to the man. My husband explained that we would be happy to comp their drinks and that it was a honest mistake. He proceeded to argue that the glass that could have herpes and that it was in no way an honest mistake, again demanding that we comp the entire check. Mind you, he is yelling obscenities at us and the entire customer base present is staring in astonishment, watching our reactions.

My husband looked at him and responded brilliantly and politely: “Will you be healthy if we comp the entire check?”

The man retorted that this was not the point. He continued to yell obscenities as his (no more than) five year old little daughters dressed in pink listened and his wife tried to remain calm for them.

My husband told him to watch his language. I proceeded to apologize to the man sincerely as I understood someone being upset (granted, not this incredibly angry) at this mistake. He tried to throw money at me sarcastically and then walked out…and proceeded to eat his meal.

He did come back in once and argued with us again. Again, returning to…what’s that, you ask? Yes. Finish his meal. FINISH.

The waitress went outside to check on them because we are an honorable family business AND WE HIRE PEOPLE WHO DO THE RIGHT THING. He stood up and spoke to her. I’m not sure all of what was said, but she took responsibility for the glass (not something we told her to do, she simply acted in maturity). She is a very clean worker and takes pride in clean, shining glasses. She also INSPECTS glasses when she takes them out, which is why she was mortified. Serious neat freak – and we love this about her. She explained to him that this type of issue has never come up since she has worked for us – and that is true. Please, keep this in mind.

He paid and tipped her, minus the two drinks they got for free. He ended by taking an expletive filled dig at my husband.

We examined the glass further after they left. IT WAS A GREASY FINGERPRINT FROM FRENCH FRIES. There was ABSOLUTELY NO trace of lipstick and it was not residue left over after being washed greasy residue has spots and drag marks from the washing mechanism we use. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCES was it a dirty glass. Clean glasses have a very specific place on a specific shelf away from the dirty glasses. If this was our fault, we would be happy to say so, but a greasy fingerprint is hard to miss, especially when you have someone working who is so anal about glasses.

There are people on this earth that are, by nature, extremely angry. I feel as though they take a piece of my soul whenever this happens. We built this restaurant from the ground up and strive for excellence. We aren’t perfect, but we learn from our mistakes.

I have been wondering lately if there is a general attitude about family and small businesses in this country. If there is a percentage of people who don’t like what we are doing? Are they resentful? Why do they hate us so much?

I don’t know what to think.

What?

I just had an angry man from
Quebec order Lobster roll, which is our most popular item and we were out of it. I politely told him that we no longer had the item and he understood me. He walked away frustrated and left his wife to order for herself alone, stating in French: “That is all I wanted.” The woman rolled her eyes and threw her hands up. My first clue.

He then came and ordered fish and chips instead, apologizing for his question, stating that he was “sorry if he bothered me with his question.” I happily told him “oh no!” and smiled at him. He then gave me further attitude saying “well, it was just the way you said it.” I was surprised and apologized, even though I know this wasn’t true. While i tried to rectify this little situation, he wouldn’t let me speak and kept interrupting me. He then walked away.

Shocked, I asked the waitress beside me if I was in any way rude. She said I wasn’t. I answered him in my usual friendly way. He was trying to blame his terrible attitude on me and was terribly manipulative in the process.

I KNOW when I am assertive with someone. I certainly was not with him. There was no reason to be. I was taught always to be friendly, and I am.

I grew up with a manipulative parent and I can’t stand when someone manipulates just for the fun of it. I hope your vacation is pleasant, Monsieur.