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Service: How Bad is Too Bad?

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I don't think anyone should ever try to get someone fired. This happend a few weeks ago during Tom's chat, when someone had issues with a server at Cafe Milano. The very next week one of the managers responded to say that the server had been fired....shameful

Do any of you restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments about their poor service? (Or - heh- online comments made by the waitstaff? Not that that ever happens.) Has it ever been the last straw?

Not all that long ago, a Sietsema review got one waitress fired at Charleston when he noted she had made an inappropriate remark.

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Do any of you restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments about their poor service? (Or - heh- online comments made by the waitstaff? Not that that ever happens.) Has it ever been the last straw?

Not all that long ago, a Sietsema review got one waitress fired at Charleston when he noted she had made an inappropriate remark.

I did not know she got fired of this. I would have a hard time sleeping if I were Tom knowing this. I just read the review again, and the remark could have been left out. I wonder how many other people have gotten fired because of Tom, or even this board.

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I wonder how many other people have gotten fired because of ... this board.
I can think of at least two. The Notti Bianchi issue referred to above and I think someone from Dino's got the boot for something posted here, wrangler guy I think.

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I can think of at least two. The Notti Bianchi issue referred to above and I think someone from Dino's got the boot for something posted here, wrangler guy I think.

Wranglerguy was asked to not participate on the board because he was not representing Dino well in that he was in violation of the rules of the board. Hell I didn't know wranglerguy was my GM until he had made several posts. He left Dino of his own free will and is now at Poste.

I would never fire someone from a single customer comment no matter how it was delivered. When we have terminated folk for service issues, the maor part of the issue was always behavior we witnessed. Customer comments are a part of it but unless we got a rash of htem in a row for very specific behavior, we would not take action on comments alone.

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I think the only thing that would cause some to get fired after a SINGLE INCIDENT would be something that would be quite obvious to the management at the time (think defecating on a table at 7 on a Saturday), and not something that they wouldn't find out about until reading it in a message board.

Any manager worth his/her salt would know the employees well enough to know whether a comment on a message board or even in person warrants a disciplinary action. I get complaints every once in a while about my employees, but I know that most of them are smart enough and such exemplary customer serivcepeople that it would be the customer, not the staffmember, who should be fired.

I would NEVER want someone's firing on my conscience, no matter how much they deserved it.

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Do any of you restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments about their poor service? (Or - heh- online comments made by the waitstaff? Not that that ever happens.) Has it ever been the last straw?

Not all that long ago, a Sietsema review got one waitress fired at Charleston when he noted she had made an inappropriate remark.

According to the owners, the hostess, (not a server), was fired because the Sietsema incident was merely the last in a long string of unprofessional acts.

Given the difficulty of finding good help in the restaurant business or any business, I suspect that almost anyone kicked curb-wise over a on-line complaint had it coming sooner or later.

But there's a larger issue. Should a manager or owner jeapardize the employment and welfare of the many other restaurant employees in order to protect one otherwise competent server who fucked up just once but in a very public way?

There was a much-publicized incident a few years back at an Annapolis power restaurant in which a host (as I recall) was accused of racism by a member of the Maryland Assembly. Politics being politics and the restaurant business being the restaurant business, the maitre d' was let go. I have no idea if the guy was a low-grade racist or just missed a beat that day -- I've been around enough to know that both are possibilities -- but was the owner obligated to hold onto this guy if it meant jeapardizing the incomes of the restaurants other 30 employees who have bills to pay and kids to feed, and the return of the investors who staked him? Or, is part of being in the public service industry an acceptance of the fact sometimes you just don't have a choice?

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I can think of at least two. The Notti Bianchi issue referred to above and I think someone from Dino's got the boot for something posted here, wrangler guy I think.

that notti bianche guy was not fired because of the breast feeding incident - there were other reasons why it was time for he and notti to part ways. in fact, the parting of ways did not occur until at least three months after that incident.

i would also like to mention that the gentleman that made the unfortunate reference to breast feeding has grown into a very good restaurant manager and one with whom i would be proud to work again.

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saying `that server is fired` online to Mr Sietsema may be poor excuse of the manager just to make the restaurant and management look good(innocent) again and giving the impression that they care.

I wouldnt believe without seeing actual papers.

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Do any of you restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments about their poor service? (Or - heh- online comments made by the waitstaff? Not that that ever happens.) Has it ever been the last straw?

Not all that long ago, a Sietsema review got one waitress fired at Charleston when he noted she had made an inappropriate remark.

"Do restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments?"

No.

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"Do restaurant owners and managers send waitstaff on their way because of online comments?"

No.

I truly believe that it's a flaw in management to look to a forum like this vs. taking inventory of what can be seen with one's own beady eyes to come to such harsh conclusions. In fact it's kinda yucky. The credibility of people is much greater in person, I find. THE END.

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According to the owners, the hostess, (not a server), was fired because the Sietsema incident was merely the last in a long string of unprofessional acts.

Given the difficulty of finding good help in the restaurant business or any business, I suspect that almost anyone kicked curb-wise over a on-line complaint had it coming sooner or later.

But there's a larger issue. Should a manager or owner jeapardize the employment and welfare of the many other restaurant employees in order to protect one otherwise competent server who fucked up just once but in a very public way?

There was a much-publicized incident a few years back at an Annapolis power restaurant in which a host (as I recall) was accused of racism by a member of the Maryland Assembly. Politics being politics and the restaurant business being the restaurant business, the maitre d' was let go. I have no idea if the guy was a low-grade racist or just missed a beat that day -- I've been around enough to know that both are possibilities -- but was the owner obligated to hold onto this guy if it meant jeapardizing the incomes of the restaurants other 30 employees who have bills to pay and kids to feed, and the return of the investors who staked him? Or, is part of being in the public service industry an acceptance of the fact sometimes you just don't have a choice?

With regards to the Charleston incident, that female was not even an employeee of the restaurant, she was a friend helping out the restaurant in a pinch.

With regards to the incident in Annapolis and the Maitre D' there are two sides to every story, and unless anyone here actually witnessed it, we will never know what truly happened. The guy could have been a total idiot, and the patron a total cheapskate: its a crapshoot and the whole issue could have been blown out of proportion. Bottom line I think those in the hospitality industry should be seen and less heard when performing on the clock, unless the guest invites the interaction. Remember, someone has to be the professional. When your off the clock, talk away about how cheap or rude a guest was, amongst your own, until one of them betrays your trust. If you believe his version, the restaurants actions reflects the sad state of our bullshit politically correct society and having to walk around on eggshells due to lawsuits and whatnot. If the restaurant had the balls to stand by its employee and support him, there would be no issue. They had every choice in the world and made theirs. Would a business have suffered financially like you suggested- probably not, unless the owners were total idiots, with a substandard product, the restaurant would have continued on.( I take that back since most chain restaurants are still in business and you open up one if you really want to make money in this business, rather than get by for a few years till the rent kills you business and drains you financially) :) This issuse was a race card issue that gets thrown around every day if you don't watch what and how you say things. With regards to firing people, especially in DC, do you know how ridiculously hard it can be? Race, gender, sexual-orientation- all off limits and will be thrown back in your face with any penny-ante attorney representing an employee who actually gets fired because they actually suck at their job. Ultimately, its getting so complicated to live in this country, watching what and how you say something to someone and being afraid of getting sued for looking at someone the wrong way or hurting their feelings. Did you hear the one about giving trophy's to all the little league teams, so their feelings would'nt be hurt? Or Not just giving RED stars in school, because little johnny would be traumatized if he did'nt get a colored star similar to our nations threat level color coded chart signifying a mediocre job. WE reward incompetence so that someone won't file a lawsuit or have their feelings hurt. As a result, we are slowing becoming a nation of pussies, where the freedom of speech is slowly becoming just the opposite. I now give my soapbox back to those brave individuals who actually express an opinion and aren't afraid of saying that their server was not that good. :) Godspeed and bless little SURI-HOLMES-CRUISE-

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I truly believe that it's a flaw in management to look to a forum like this vs. taking inventory of what can be seen with one's own beady eyes to come to such harsh conclusions. In fact it's kinda yucky. The credibility of people is much greater in person, I find. THE END.
Something tells me that, in the spectrum of Internet-aired issues that can keep customers away from restaurants, a story of mediocre service is much less of a mortal wound than management attacks on the folks who got the mediocre service.

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With regards to the Charleston incident, that female was not even an employeee of the restaurant, she was a friend helping out the restaurant in a pinch.

With regards to the incident in Annapolis and the Maitre D' there are two sides to every story, and unless anyone here actually witnessed it, we will never know what truly happened. The guy could have been a total idiot, and the patron a total cheapskate: its a crapshoot and the whole issue could have been blown out of proportion. Bottom line I think those in the hospitality industry should be seen and less heard when performing on the clock, unless the guest invites the interaction. Remember, someone has to be the professional. When your off the clock, talk away about how cheap or rude a guest was, amongst your own, until one of them betrays your trust. If you believe his version, the restaurants actions reflects the sad state of our bullshit politically correct society and having to walk around on eggshells due to lawsuits and whatnot. If the restaurant had the balls to stand by its employee and support him, there would be no issue. They had every choice in the world and made theirs. Would a business have suffered financially like you suggested- probably not, unless the owners were total idiots, with a substandard product, the restaurant would have continued on.( I take that back since most chain restaurants are still in business and you open up one if you really want to make money in this business, rather than get by for a few years till the rent kills you business and drains you financially) :) This issuse was a race card issue that gets thrown around every day if you don't watch what and how you say things. With regards to firing people, especially in DC, do you know how ridiculously hard it can be? Race, gender, sexual-orientation- all off limits and will be thrown back in your face with any penny-ante attorney representing an employee who actually gets fired because they actually suck at their job. Ultimately, its getting so complicated to live in this country, watching what and how you say something to someone and being afraid of getting sued for looking at someone the wrong way or hurting their feelings. Did you hear the one about giving trophy's to all the little league teams, so their feelings would'nt be hurt? Or Not just giving RED stars in school, because little johnny would be traumatized if he did'nt get a colored star similar to our nations threat level color coded chart signifying a mediocre job. WE reward incompetence so that someone won't file a lawsuit or have their feelings hurt. As a result, we are slowing becoming a nation of pussies, where the freedom of speech is slowly becoming just the opposite. I now give my soapbox back to those brave individuals who actually express an opinion and aren't afraid of saying that their server was not that good. :) Godspeed and bless little SURI-HOLMES-CRUISE-

I assume "happyguy" handle is ironic.

Given that the owner of Charleston responded to a thread on "the incident" in part by saying (on a DR thread): "I can only hope that people might understand that the thoughtless (and offensive, without a doubt) comment from one young hostess that was not remotely based in fact or policy is exactly the kind of thing that forced me to remove her from her employ at Charleston," I'm guessing she was indeed an employee.

Regarding the Annapolis incident, I looked at that rather closely because I had a friend who wrote about it for the Post. The restaurant owner did indeed fear significant financial damage as Annapolis during session is an incestuous whirl of dinners, lunches, banquets etc. among legislators, lobbyists and various hangers-on. Had the incident morphed into a boycotte by the Black Caucus and -- almost certainly -- various Democrats he would have lost a great deal of money, as would his employees.

It would appear from the bulk of your talk radio script that you sympathize with the employee (though the Assemblywoman who complained was not un-credible, either) and are skeptical of discrimination complaints (and youth league soccer, attorneys, liberals and quite possibly those who would floridate the water supply), but my question still stands: at what point does loyalty to other employees who might be harmed equal loyalty to the employee whose actions have (inadvertantly or not) harmed the establishment?

[This is not to say that I favor wholesale firings for perceived slights, that I don't respect managers in every profession who stand by their people or that I think the Annapolis affair was well-handled.]

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If you believe his version, the restaurants actions reflects the sad state of our bullshit politically correct society and having to walk around on eggshells due to lawsuits and whatnot. If the restaurant had the balls to stand by its employee and support him, there would be no issue. They had every choice in the world and made theirs.
I disagree. Avoiding thoughtless, derogetory comments is essential to customer service. If you can't control what comes out of your mouth then perhaps you should choose a different line of work. Management can, and should, fire employees that may hurt their business. I am talking specifically about words, not impressions that some customer might have had that they were being slighted.

(signed Heather, 9-year customer service veteran)

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I assume "happyguy" handle is ironic.

Given that the owner of Charleston responded to a thread on "the incident" in part by saying (on a DR thread): "I can only hope that people might understand that the thoughtless (and offensive, without a doubt) comment from one young hostess that was not remotely based in fact or policy is exactly the kind of thing that forced me to remove her from her employ at Charleston," I'm guessing she was indeed an employee.

Regarding the Annapolis incident, I looked at that rather closely because I had a friend who wrote about it for the Post. The restaurant owner did indeed fear significant financial damage as Annapolis during session is an incestuous whirl of dinners, lunches, banquets etc. among legislators, lobbyists and various hangers-on. Had the incident morphed into a boycotte by the Black Caucus and -- almost certainly -- various Democrats he would have lost a great deal of money, as would his employees.

It would appear from the bulk of your talk radio script that you sympathize with the employee (though the Assemblywoman who complained was not un-credible, either) and are skeptical of discrimination complaints (and youth league soccer, attorneys, liberals and quite possibly those who would floridate the water supply), but my question still stands: at what point does loyalty to other employees who might be harmed equal loyalty to the employee whose actions have (inadvertantly or not) harmed the establishment?

[This is not to say that I favor wholesale firings for perceived slights, that I don't respect managers in every profession who stand by their people or that I think the Annapolis affair was well-handled.]

Where can I find information on this Annaplois incident. I want to read it before I respond to happyguy's claim that this was a "race card" issue, which I think is off base

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Where can I find information on this Annaplois incident. I want to read it before I respond to happyguy's claim that this was a "race card" issue, which I think is off base

Glad Crackers found it, I was having trouble searching.

However, I did not bring it up to re-argue a case that is now several (many?) years old, and will not be resolved in this forum. I brought it up as an example of how an employee's actions might (advertantly or inadvertantly) put management into a difficult spot.

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I do agree that words and insulting remarks should be cause for dismissal, but inferances from actions can be tainted towards the position you are coming from and should be disregarded. (Hint, Hint) In this case, I hope Bello won his lawsuit, but I doubt it.

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Wow, a real life search engine.

This was old, however I understand both sides.

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This was old, however I understand both sides.

I think it's an eloquent and sad demonstration of happyguy's original point. Not only was the race card played, it was flashed about with abandon. I would be curious to learn how the lawsuit turned out.

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Crackers or Jacques or any of you fine litigators on board, what was the outcome of the Annapolis case?

I do agree that words and insulting remarks should be cause for dismissal, but inferances from actions can be tainted towards the position you are coming from and should be disregarded. (Hint, Hint)

In this case, I hope Bello won his lawsuit, but I doubt it.

The sort of people who would metaphorically make a federal case out of and literally make a state case out of encountering someone on a bad day in a restaurant are exactly the sort of self-righteous and selfishly-entitled people who deserve, not poor customer service, but NO customer service.

I have ten years experience in some form of customer service industry (I consider ANY job where you actually talk to other people to be customer service!), and I have never "lost it" with a client or given them a hard time because they were an asshole. I will, however, give better service to people who treat me like a human being - I'll help them faster, spend more time on the phone with them, etc.

The fact that Griffith would, not cease being upset, but rather take things further after Bello apologized and leapt through hoops to bury the hatchet makes me want to become a hermit.

The reason jerks exist is because they will sue you if you ever try to do anything about the fact that they're jerks.

Firing Bello was a big decision for the restaurant. Had they not, I don't think their business would have been hurt significantly, but the whole issue would have escalated and turned even uglier, because Griffith certainly wasn't backing down, and Bello already had. That's what happens with conflicts... it takes one person to be the BIGGER person and do the right thing to stop said conflict. The restaurant had no choice.

PS - This issue really strikes a major anger nerve and sets off some deep feelings I have about assholes. I can see this discussion rapidly turning ugly. I think we may want to curtail discussion of this article for the time being.

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