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Per Se Fire, Reopening, Rescheduling


ellenesk
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I finally decided to pick up the latest number-unavailable call that came in today, figuring it had to be Per Se. My rescheduling call, which took 1 minute and 40 seconds according to my cell-phone's call log, was very pleasant. "Jill" reassigned me to the same day-of-week and time-of-day as my previous reservation.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I received two previous number-unavailable calls this week. As is my standard practice, I ignored them and waited for messages. When no messages were left, it slowly dawned upon me that this was Per Se's modus operandi: no caller ID, no messsage. So I resolved to pick up on the next one. And indeed it was Per Se.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Weird. When they called to cancel my reservation they came up on caller id.

Same here, come to think of it. They must be operating out of a different office.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Even better, if they only call me at home (I also gave them my work number, I think) they will never be able to reach me and I won't know whether or not they called.

Honestly I am still really looking forward to eating there (eventually) but the rather idiotic air of mystery throughout this process has left me strangely irritated. :hmmm:

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As a person who works in the food industry, it really bothers me to read the sometimes total disregard that is prevalent among these forums...especially the 11 pages of this one

I know first-hand that these people at Per Se are first-rate and are absolutely itching to get back to the restaurant, open, and work hard for people like all of you...I know that as far as leaving messages, were they to leave you a message, you would be totally unable to speak to a person upon yourreturn call...They have been constantly on the phone...so they have been making repeated attempts to reach people first hand, rather than leaving messages...

Please understand that you are the diners, this is a restaurant, and they want to impress you...I am certain that they want to impress you above and beyond your expectations...These chefs, cooks, dishwashers, servers and such are PEOPLE who have been inspired by something, the owners, the atmosphere, whatever ... to exceed your previous experiences... Give them a break, there are approximately 20,000 restaurants in New York City. Enjoy those in the mean time and when your reservation is fulfilled, and I am certain that it will, then have your experience, and then write in and make your observations...

P.S. Imagine life before caller I.D.

Thank you...

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I know that as far as leaving messages, were they to leave you a message, you would be totally unable to speak to a person upon yourreturn call...They have been constantly on the phone...so they have been making repeated attempts to reach people first hand, rather than leaving messages...

the reality of the situation is that many many people do not pick up calls from numbers they don't know, or numbers that don't come through on caller ID. perhaps a better approach was/is in order. big hearts, small brains. which is better than the other way around i suppose.

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Oooooh, I'll bet if you met most (if not all) of the upper management at Per Se you'd take back the "small brains" comment. But, then again, assuming that people in the restaurant trade are barely-functioning morons is pretty normal practice for foodies (read: amateurs).

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Actually, since many of the folks at Per Se are friends, I'm going to beat this horse a bit more. It's THEIR fault that people won't pick up their phone because they don't recognize a number? I'm trying to get my hands around this one, sorry. They call, you choose not to answer (what in the Hell did you do before caller id?), then you go on-line and bitch that they didn't call? Oh, I forgot...they have "small minds" so they're incapable of doing the telepathic brain merge with their clients to inform them of the reservation time. Fools! Let me speak slowly: they tried to re-schedule, you chose not to answer your phone. That's your fault. Talk about no-win for them.

Edited by jbraynolds (log)
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No, JB. They should leave a message saying they'll call back. Not doing so is a bizarre practice that doesn't square with common and common-sense business procedures. I get answering machine messages all the time from the best restaurants in New York regarding reservation confirmations. Before Caller ID, it was (and still is) common practice for busy people to screen their calls by waiting to hear who was speaking on the answering machine. It's very simple: if Per Se left messages, it would get many pickups during those messages, and in non-pickup situations it would let people know that the restaurant was trying to reach them and would be calling back.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Oooooh, I'll bet if you met most (if not all) of the upper management at Per Se you'd take back the "small brains" comment. But, then again, assuming that people in the restaurant trade are barely-functioning morons is pretty normal practice for foodies (read: amateurs).

well, it was in gest. however, they didn't seem to think it through. i'm sure there were other ways of handling it better.

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When a chef-restaurateur is a control freak in the kitchen and with his staff, it benefits the customer. When he's a control freak with his customers, it's just annoying.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I fail to see any evidence of Keller or anyone at the restaurant being a control freak with his customers. I'm glad to see this thread is no longer full of complaints that Per Se is not issuing daily updates to the press. The funny thing is that when Per Se had no idea when they could or would reopen, everyone was clambering for press releases. Now that they actually could issue a release saying something new, no one seems to care, everyone is bitching that Per Se didn't leave a message when they last called and they didn't answer their phone. I will however agree that everyone has the right not to answer their phone unless they recognize the caller number, unless the caller shows a number or just because they want to monitor their phone calls. However, I also respect the right of any caller not to leave a message. Electronic communication is a two way street.

I'm not sure they're doing the right thing now, but I'm also not sure anyone has made a good case they aren't. The thing I really admire is that they're not handling this via a team of press agents issuing releases designed to make friends, influence people or keep their name in the papers. They're contacting the people who held reservations and they're doing it one by one and directly with a phone call from someone in a position to make the reservation right then and there. I fully understand why they don't leave a message with a phone number. The sad fact of life is that neither the French Laundry or a number of other rather small destination restaurants just can't handle the numbers of people who want to make a reservation. When he can't get through or is always told the restaurant is solidly booked when he gets through, what can be done to please that unrequited diner?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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They have a special number for guests who hold reservations and they ask guests to call them to confirm 2 days in advance of a reservation. Clearly they have the ability to answer a phone if they want to. But who has suggested they leave a callback number anyway? They should simply be leaving a message saying they tried to call and will call again.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a question that has nothing to do with reservations, phone messages, or service...:wacko:

It is my understanding that Keller has agreements with local farmers and purveyors, such as Jacobsen Farms, that exclusively grow and provide him with many of his ingredients for French Laundry. I also believe that Keller tells the farmers exactly what he wants them to grow. This kind of control over his purveyor enables him to get produce that is near perfection (just as Keller likes it).

My question is, does anyone know if he has similar arrangements with growers on the east coast?

I doubt that the small farms nearby Yountville can easily double their production and ship to NY.

Just curious...

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Received my call on Saturday afternoon and unfortunately was at the Greenmarket instead of in front of my calendar. The reservationist offered to call me back at a time that I named and did so, promptly. Rescheduled my March 19th reservation for June 5th. I was very pleased to see that they followed up with the second call and fairly easily accommodated our party of 6 for a Saturday night. Am once again eagerly anticipating my visit to Per Se.

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No, JB. They should leave a message saying they'll call back. Not doing so is a bizarre practice that doesn't square with common and common-sense business procedures. I get answering machine messages all the time from the best restaurants in New York regarding reservation confirmations. Before Caller ID, it was (and still is) common practice for busy people to screen their calls by waiting to hear who was speaking on the answering machine. It's very simple: if Per Se left messages, it would get many pickups during those messages, and in non-pickup situations it would let people know that the restaurant was trying to reach them and would be calling back.

As a salesman who lives and dies by the phone, I never leave messages saying I'll call back. My clientele is nothing but busy people ( i sell clothing to my clients in their offices), and to a man, they hate getting the "I'll call you back" message.

If you need to get a hold of someone, tell them who you are, and what you need.

Short and sweet.

Hard to believe with all this techno-crap, we still don't know how to comminucate with each other.

Back to the regularly scheduled Per Se argument.

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Just saw a reply on the Calif. board that FL is/will be accepting reservations beginning April 15th for a mid-May reopening....

Does this mean no Keller at Per Se ever??? I wouldn't think so, but the dates seem to overlap too much.

Insight anyone?

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Just saw a reply on the Calif. board that FL is/will be accepting reservations beginning April 15th for a mid-May reopening....

Does this mean no Keller at Per Se ever??? I wouldn't think so, but the dates seem to overlap too much.

Insight anyone?

Easy - catch the redeye out of San Francisco - sleep on the plane. Arrive in Newark at 5:30am, go to the restaurant, prepare the night's menu, catch the 3:00pm out of Newark, arrive back in SF at 5:00pm - just in time for dinner hour.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Just saw a reply on the Calif. board that FL is/will be accepting reservations beginning April 15th for a mid-May reopening....

Does this mean no Keller at Per Se ever???  I wouldn't think so, but the dates seem to overlap too much.

Insight anyone?

Easy - catch the redeye out of San Francisco - sleep on the plane. Arrive in Newark at 5:30am, go to the restaurant, prepare the night's menu, catch the 3:00pm out of Newark, arrive back in SF at 5:00pm - just in time for dinner hour.

That schedule wouldn't kill Keller too much... :wacko:

2317/5000

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Just saw a reply on the Calif. board that FL is/will be accepting reservations beginning April 15th for a mid-May reopening....

Does this mean no Keller at Per Se ever???  I wouldn't think so, but the dates seem to overlap too much.

Insight anyone?

Easy - catch the redeye out of San Francisco - sleep on the plane. Arrive in Newark at 5:30am, go to the restaurant, prepare the night's menu, catch the 3:00pm out of Newark, arrive back in SF at 5:00pm - just in time for dinner hour.

That schedule wouldn't kill Keller too much... :wacko:

But he's had so much time to rest the last few months. :laugh::cool:

Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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