Monday, September 6, 2010


So here's the response sent to my boss from the owners of the restaurant where we had the most unfortunate meal ever. As Sarah is a freakin' internet superstar, she posted about it on her blog and word spread.

Sarah also emailed the owners personally to express our dissatisfaction with...pretty much everything.

Word for word this is the response she received today.

The italics are them, the straight up letters are me.

Hello Sarah,
I have had a chance to chat with everyone who worked the evening of your party and thought I should give you a final wrap on the whole unfortunate experience.
Please remember that I am giving you an alternate perspective-one from the staff in hopes of reaching a mutual understanding of what happened and ,of course, for you to understand how truly sorry everyone involved is.
I will go through your issues one by one:
Service was slow.
Some members of your party arrived 15 minutes early for their reservation. It mentions on your site that you were told that we don't hold your table past 6:30 if everyone isn't there. That's not entirely true. I, in fact, took your reservation and I recall stating the following, " our policy on weekend large party reservations , yours was originally for 12, we hold your table for 20 to 30 minutes, at that time if we are needing the table space we will ask if we can break up the space. I joked that one person at a table for 12, 30 minutes later was not arriving for your party-clearly misunderstood and not too funny either.

The manager explained to the gentleman who announced himself for the party the table wasn't quite ready but would be momentarily. They were welcome to wait at the front door or on the patio (where there are seats and would perhaps be more comfortable). Less than 10 minutes later (and still before their reservation time) they were lead to their table, they were informed that their server was just arriving and would be there shortly. Granted, 5 full minutes went by before the server arrived , offered them waters and took their first orders. According to our pos system their first drink orders were in the system at exactly 6:30.
It is my understanding that you, yourself were not there for any of this-is it possible they exaggerated their wait times?
15 minutes for appetizers is not unusual on a busy evening , and I don't want to encourage the idea that fresh cooked foods should come any faster.
It's a mystery as to how it is possible that the johnny cakes were cold and stale. These are made fresh every hour and are held in a warming cabinet. If you arrived late and they sat on the table they may have been room temperature-hardly cold and certainly not stale. Is it possible they weren't perfect-of course. Our complimentary bread is something we normally do quite well but I won't rule out the possibility that this basket was not perfect.
Your friends's beer being stale.
This is unusual to say the least. That bottle of beer was opened at the time of being ordered and delivered promptly. If the product is sold to us flat there is nothing we can do about that until it is noticed. It was returned and a new one as its replacement and clearly not at an additional charge was brought out by the manager as soon as it was communicated to the server.
There were a number of patties sold at your table and one had a quarter of the crust left on the plate. I will assume it was yours that was left on the table.
Again these are made fresh in house and handled quite well. Is it possible that it wasn't heated enough-yes. Stale is difficult for me to see but perhaps...
The fish dish-all the fish and veg were eaten and a small amount of rice was left on the plate. It was the rice that the guest commented on. It is coconut flavour and the batch for the evening was double checked when this comment was made and found to be as it should. Personal preference? We have no problem with that-a discount to this meal was given.
Your salad being old and uninspired.
The greens came in that afternoon-organic and fresh. If you don't like the dressing-fair enough. We can certainly look at revamping the dressing. Again, no problem-a discount was applied to this meal.
The bolt in the salad.
This is clearly the issue of the evening for all involved. It's something that never should have happened and is the first time in almost 8 years here that it has happened.
The line cook responsible has been reprimanded and will now be seriously disciplined. I can only extend my fullest apologies. The Chef feels terrible and wants to somehow make it up to you. I let him know your opinion of the Reef so he isn't holding much hope for that but wants you to know it at the very least.
To be clear-your party wasn't charged for this salad.
The manager, Tamara, came over when alerted to this and offered a round of shots in the meantime to lighten the mood. A gentlemen suggested 2 rounds would make it better. She laughed and said alright-any preferences? Your party was clear in its needs of vegan, etc and she had two rounds of rum based fruity shots. For you to call them weak is unfortunate. We make fruity rum drinks, that's what we do. If you wanted tequila, you could have specified that as we clearly only wanted to make you happier than you were with your experience.
The busser and not the Chef came over to clear your table. He does not normally interact with guest, his duties are simply to clear, reset, etc. I have spoken with him about his curtness and he apologizes. He will no longer be bussing tables for us.
Half of our staff are "crazy tattoo" people so you should have fit right in.
To summarize for you,
We failed on some service points, we failed on some food service but we absolutely tried our best during a very busy evening to make up for our failings.
Your party was comped 2 rounds of shots, the salad was discounted fully, your fish dish and salad plates were given a discount as well.
We are neighbours and both business people-you must understand the negative impact you are having on my business by posting all over the internet your very negative Reef opinion. I appreciate that the internet now allows many forums for voicing our opinions but they should be accurate even though they will always be biased as they are subjective experiences. If there are falsehoods advertised that affect others it becomes slanderous.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you in person how we can move forward.
I would ask that you alter your web posting to reflect that you were not charged for the salad, frankly, I'd encourage you to reconsider the tone of your blog but I can only ask. If you want to post this response that is fine too.
We take your opinion seriously and rest assured that staff are being reprimanded and different procedures are being put into place to see to it that this experience (any part of it) never repeats itself.
The manager, Tamara, feels terrible and walked over to see you yesterday. She was told you wouldn't be in until Tuesday so she will pop in to hopefully chat with you then.
I can appreciate that you very simply may have no interest in revisiting our little store but I do encourage you to reconsider.

You know what?

JUST FUCKING SAY YOU'RE SORRY. Even if this whole list of things is one hundred percent accurate (which, as I was there, I made the reservation, I was one of the first to arrive, etc I know it's NOT), they're making it so much worse by getting all defensive.

Ugh, I'm sick of this battle royale already.


  1. you are so right; i've worked in and around food service, customer service, basic *people* service long enough to know that this little diatribe is just a passive-aggressive act, not a real apology.

    the point is, you guys didn't have fun. your meal wasn't great. you found a giant fucking bolt in your salad! a simple "thank you" could have done so much more than this weird manifesto.

    i don't live in the area, but if i did? the reef wouldn't be my first choice for dinner.


Digame entonces.

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