Jim, the GM of the bistro, replied to the guy with his best [my words here, not Jim's] "OK, this guy's a crank, but I'm still going to try and give him the benefit of the doubt and the best customer service possible"
I’m truly sorry that you had a bad experience on Saturday. I appreciate your valuable comments, good or bad; they will help us down the road of being amazing. I would like to get some more information from you so I can look into the matter. Did you check in with the hostess at the front desk? Do you remember her name or a description? With all the empty tables, I’m surprised that you were not seated right away.
I think you would be pleasantly surprised with our food and our beer as well. We take great pride in creating high quality food and top notch craft beers. I hope you reconsider a return visit to the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens; we would love to have you.
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
To which he got the reply:
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:50 PM
To: Jim Hurley
Subject: Re: Saturday's Visit
There were too many people and not enough staff. I do not remember what the hostess looked like. When I go to a brewery I do not expect great food. I expect to find food that is edible. I am looking for things like wings and onion rings. Maybe a good shrimp cocktail. I do not want extravagant food. I would like to find food that is good with beer.
When I go to Temecula, I eat at the restaurant at the South Coast Winery. The food is excellent and the service is great. That is all I look for in a restaurant. If you sat at your bar, people had to serve themselves. What respectable restaurant does not have waitresses or waiters in the bar. The whole experience was very disappointing. My son and his friend apologized for taking us there. We bought presents for people out of town, canceled our place on the list waiting for tables and left. We were looking for a good time and a place to build memories, we did not find that.
OK. This is how it appears to me. He came. Didn't like the fact that he had to wait for a table. Took a look at the menu. It was not what he wanted. Got mad at us for that.
What fails me is why someone who is wanting wings and "a good shrimp cocktail" would go to a restaurant that doesn't serve them. We have our menu posted online. Lots of reviews, glowing and hating, can be found with simple Google search. Why spin your wheels getting angry over your own misperception? Hell, you can limit yourself all you like, but don't ever try to limit us. I won't have it.
Also, the comment about sitting at the bar and having to "serve yourself" is confusing. He recognized that we were short on staff that day (OUR fault, to be certain). However, he meant "bar area" as we always have bartenders on the job. We rarely have roving service in the area where they decided to plop themselves and sit. This might be a mistake on our part sometimes, but it's nonetheless the case. Sitting and twiddling thumbs and getting frustrated serves no purpose. Asking someone "how do I get service here?" serves a big purpose.
His last line really hit home though. Indeed, 'building memories' is why we're here! It's a team effort however, and sometimes guests make the mistake in thinking that they're not part of that team. That they get what they get...if they're lucky they'll like it, and if they're unlucky they won't. But they can sometimes think that they have no influence. They do! I would suggest that a guest do what they would do in nearly any other situation when they want/need something. Ask!
From time to time we'll get an email from someone letting us know that there was a problem with their food the night before when they were here for dinner. I have emailed back with an apology and asked what the server / manager said to try and find out why it wasn't corrected on the spot. "I didn't want to make a scene" is the response. If you get nothing out of this missive of mine, please get that if you go to a respectable restaurant you should assume --- yes, assume --- that they want you to be happy. And if you are not happy with something, they would like to know about it so they can make it right! Hate to complain? No problem...don't! "Excuse me, my entreé is cold" is not a complaint. Unless it's delivered like one (which is your choice if you want to do it that way I suppose). However, I would simply suggest that you deliver the message to you server as if they WANT you to have the proper temperature food! It's an opportunity for the restaurant to make it better.
We want to make happy people happier. We want to help the not-so-happy people get happy, but we need their help. You are as much a part of the solution than the restaurant employees are.
The unhappy-and-want-to-stay-unhappy people should stay home. You know who you are. Chances are most of us have actually been that person before. Well, some of us.
Standing in the airport, hearing the news about flight delays, cancelled flights during a weather event, etc., we've all heard the angry guy in front of us in line yell at the airline representative behind the desk "I'm never flying this airline again!!!" Heh. Cool. Glad to hear that. I'd hate to have to sit next to a guy like that on the plane.
And I'd prefer they not come to our restaurant.