Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Dine Out Vancouver - The Topic (2002-2007)


scout
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm a bit perplexed by your DL analogy.  If I went to DL during Spring Break, I would expect the same level of service that they provide (excellent) on a regular basis.  While I obviously would not expect them to do something about the long lines (duh), If they were at fault for something they did, or had control over, I guarantee that they would do something to rectifly the situation.
My fault for not being clear. My analogy had more to do with how busy things would be, than with the level of service. I agree 100% ... DOV (or Spring Break at DL) is no excuse for poor service. But personally, I'm not surprised when the level of service dips a little in either case.
I can assure you that if that if ElizR's situation at Pastis had happened at Joe's the LEAST that would have been done for her would have been a comped meal. It was the restaurants obligation to her after something happened that they were at fault for. It's also about going above and beyond a guests expectations.
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. I see no obligation. I see it as a smart business practice, and yes, were I the one in ElizR's chair, I would have liked a little something for my discomfort. I just wouldn't have expected it. Shit happens.

Sounds like she should have gone to Joe's :wink:

A.

Nice one Arne :biggrin: .

When I re-read my post I did realize that the word "obligation" was too strong. But like I said, above and beyond a gueats expectation

There is nothing that bothers me more than a guest "expecting" something to be done for every minor occurance. But in this case

all the water poured over the table, into my lap, onto my purse and over the leather jacket of the man at the next table
, I definately think it was warranted, even if not expected.

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Derek on this. When I made the original "seriously comped" comment I may have been a bit emphatic but DOV aside any modern restaurant that will not respond to situations (with an automatic policy in place so that a busy manager does not allow this to slip through the cracks) where customers are inconvenienced at the level of a couple of glasses of water being slopped in their laps and on their purse etc. will ultimately lose market share. Personally that would make for an uncomfortable evening (since the last time a wet lap in a restaurant didn't bother me, I believe, was when I was 4 years old).

Even the most token of gestures such as a little glass of dessert wine or in the case of a non drinker a small dessert sampler would be insurance against bad word of mouth.

I too am disgusted with people who expect to be compensated for the most trivial perceived "errors" in food or service (especially when they are not paying at that level) but the story Elizabeth R layed out seemed to put the responsibility squarely on the house for the way the tables were set up.

I purposely did not respond further to the original Pastis thread as I had no interest in fanning the flames of a "gang up" as has been felt around here before but for my two cents there is a point at which some form of diplomatic compensation, although perhaps not to be expected, should be forthcoming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As always - I think we are all pretty much on the same page on this issue even though the posts may not seem to be.

I agree - the smart thing for Pastis would have been to do something about it and make sure that ElizaR left feeling unreservedly good about her experience. I am sure any gesture would have been appreciated.

It seems like to me that she handled the situation well, did not excaberate a difficult moment and came away with a good dining experience. That's the best that any of us could do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just bummed there's a waiter out there who has stolen my patented move. In the purse, no less! Wow, now that's flourish, baby. :wink:

I once dropped a tray full of red wine glasses on a certain movie star's head because she ruined a perfectly good Woody Allen movie and asked for ice to go with her Penfold's Grange. We bought her a new wig, a pack of smokes, and a slice of lemon tart. It was bygones from there.

Bottom line: accidents happen. He may have really been aiming for the leather jacket fellow. :smile:

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just bummed there's a waiter out there who has stolen my patented move. In the purse, no less! Wow, now that's flourish, baby.  :wink:

I once dropped a tray full of red wine glasses on a certain movie star's head because she ruined a perfectly good Woody Allen movie and asked for ice to go with her Penfold's Grange. We bought her a new wig, a pack of smokes, and a slice of lemon tart. It was bygones from there.

Bottom line: accidents happen. He may have really been aiming for the leather jacket fellow.  :smile:

As always, you put things nicely in perspective Andrew!

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ElizR's mishap was unfortunate, to be sure.  But it had NOTHING to do with DOV, and as I see it, the restaurant was under no obligation whatsoever to comp anything to anyone.  Would a comp have been a smart business practice?  Perhaps.  Far too often however I'm reading about how a dining experience wasn't up to snuff, and how someone was "owed" something.  It seems these sentiments are amplified during DOV, and I'm completely baffled as to why. 

I don't know, maybe because they are told to order wine and drinks and tip extravagantly to be good customers. These are no more obligatory than comping someone that had water poured all over her. In both cases, they are probably good ideas. That's all I read into these posts.

But then I don't "do" DOV.

Cheers,

Anne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Deborah posted about the great meal we had Brix - and I really enjoyed myself. Service was great despite our server having to also keep a table of 40 happy.

Well - we get our bill, split it in our heads and pay what seems to make sense for each of us. Today - it starts dawning on us that we have may have undertipped. A phone call to Mooshmouse and recalc on excel (a great way to look busy at work btw) confirms that we have sullied the name of all egullet diners.

I went by after work today to make good and the server and the manager very very nice about it all. The server told me that he was worried that he had done something wrong. Ugh - more shame.

Moral is - during DOV we all dine out in large groups with alot of bill splitting. Double check the total paid out and it ensure there is a good tip for your extra hard working waitron. Better yet - ask for separate bills (just in case your server does'nt have enought to do) and don't do math in your head when your belly is full of plonk and food.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know, maybe because they are told to order wine and drinks and tip extravagantly to be good customers. These are no more obligatory than comping someone that had water poured all over her. In both cases, they are probably good ideas. That's all I read into these posts.

But then I don't "do" DOV.

Edited by wildebeest (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^

This is a common event in many major cities, New York, San Francisco, etc. It is an opportunity for those who cannot afford dinner of many high end restaurants to sample their wares. It is also an opportunity for restaurants to bring in customers at a notoriously slow time of year. It is a success, and everybody wins because of it. I assume you can see how it benefits many people on both ends of the industry...

k

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the one who introduced the " Goat Rodeo phrase, and at the risk of belabouring the points, here we go

It pays off in a number of ways.

Yes, Mr and Mrs Water do come for dinner. They stand out in a crowd as total non drinkers because appy and dessert are built in, leaving a minimum oppoutunity for the server to upsell. I think they are not present any more or less than non DOV times, they just stand out more. The time constraints make it that much more difficult for the servers to upsell. Do not be fooled by the $25.00 price tag : there are strong desires to get people to buy more : Wine, extra food, bottled water etc.

The restaurant is able to put on these meals because of volume, volume, volume. It is a contract that seems understood by most of the people involved. Come, Eat, enjoy and move along in a timely fashion as we may serve someody else as well. It is through these actions we can extend to many the experience of a discounted meal. You are correct in full is better than half full, even at lower prices. Hard costs that we have are not reduced in slow times so we better increase the top line, even though there might not be that much left at the bottom line. It is better than dipping into the cash reserves to make it through January. This business is no different than many others : Airline seat sales in off peak times, seasonally driven retail sales, 0 % finance offers at Auto dealers during slump times. It is a sale.

It introduced new people that sometimes come back. I can only speak from my standpoint but our prices are not too far away from DOV the rest of the year and people are able to see what they get.

Never mind all of the trickle down effect in the local economy : suppliers, valets, cabs, delivery guys, babysitters etc.

I will agree that there is a little griping and whining but softens it when you are able to share your experiences with your other restaurant industry friends. It is like a second Christmas rush, on the heels of the real one.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the one who introduced the " Goat Rodeo phrase, and at the risk of belabouring the points, here we go

It pays off in a number of ways.

I just had a flashback to last year. Behind the bar at the Hammy, been many years since I bartended and just getting hit with wave after wave of customers. Wondering why I promised to help out. I just shuddered at the thought of it, I am kidding, i had a good time and it was nice to make some cash. I did find that most people I talked to had never been to HSG before. It seemed like great exposure for the restaurant. Sure, some people had water but I recalled pouring alot of wine, beer martinis and highballs, and even some port and late Harvest.

Neil, loved your comments in the other thread re: DOV and the Entertainment card. Someone always pushing the limits and not realising great value when it is in front of them. Anyways, hope you have dusted off the spurs and are hanging on for the whole 8 seconds....yee haw.

Tim Keller

Rare Restaurant

tim@rarevancouver.com

Metro Restaurant

timkeller@metrodining.ca

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be disapointed if DOV was accurately portrayed from the comments I read here on this site. This event is promoted through Tourism Vancouver to the world and I would sure hope that if the world were to attend that they would get to experience the excellent food and service that this city has to offer all year round.

Actually I think most of the comments about DOV here (globally here, not just this thread) are positive. You're focussing on a small sub-set, I think. Personally I'm glad that the folks in the business feel comfortable enough here to let down their hair and do a little griping. There's a lot of value in seeing the world from each other's perspective.

Neil's given an extremely lucid explanation of why a restaurant would participate in DOV and I think in the vast majority of cases both the restaurateur and the customer feel they are better off for the experience. Just because it doesn't appeal to me as a dining experience doesn't mean that I think that others would feel the same way.

Cheers,

Anne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to add yet another shovel of dirt to the mole hill, but I'm just curious: When the waiter does drop water or beer on a customer is it his or her responsibility to deal with the incident alone and out of his or her pocket or does the restaurant absorb the cost? I would think in my experience it would be the waiter. When something off happens I don't expect to be comped, but often a waiter will gift a free dessert or drink and then I try to give a tip that puts most or all of that money back into his pocket for the gesture.

As for DOV--I think it's a wonderful opportunity for Vancouver restaurants to rise to a challenge on many levels. It creates a buzz and excitement, interesting conversation (even with non-foodie folks) and stimulates people's interest in our dining scene. It's a crapshoot (as to whether a restaurant will rise to the challenge), but so is trying out any new place.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to add yet another shovel of dirt to the mole hill, but I'm just curious: When the waiter does drop water or beer on a customer is it his or her responsibility to deal with the incident alone and out of his or her pocket or does the restaurant absorb the cost? I would think in my experience it would be the waiter. When something off happens I don't expect to be comped, but often a waiter will gift a free dessert or drink and then I try to give a tip that puts most or all of that money back into his pocket for the gesture.

As for DOV--I think it's a wonderful opportunity for Vancouver restaurants to rise to a challenge on many levels. It creates a buzz and excitement, interesting conversation (even with non-foodie folks) and stimulates people's interest in our dining scene. It's a crapshoot (as to whether a restaurant will rise to the challenge), but so is trying out any new place.

Zuke

Zuke,

It is actually not a legal practice for a restaurant to make a server pay for comps. Having said that, there have been instances over the years that I have comped something for whatever reason and paid for it from my pocket but that has been MY choice. If I make a blatant mistake that is entirely my own fault, I see no reason for the restaurant to pay. Most restaurants understand that comps (and server errors) are a part of the business and budget for them. Mistakes are made; it's a part of the business. Does a chef pay if he overcooks a steak (not that that ever happens :laugh: )?

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does a chef pay if he overcooks a steak

This one does !

It is also illegal for a restaurant to make a server pay for a " Dine and Dash " and having such funds in a restaurant where servers pay $1.00 per shift as a "quasi - insurance" against that is illegal.

Servers do not have to pay for mistakes. It is a cost of doing business. It is illegal to make them do so. Some unscrupulous owner might make them pay in order for them to keep their job, but that is highly illegal. A server might choose to buy a guest something as they are highly valued regulars etc. but usually the restaurant will cover that as well as they are highly valued to the restaurautn as well as the server.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience the restaurant pays- I can't think of another business where an employee be expected to pay for an error-however I never worked in a place where they covered D&D's, in spite of the law. They discontinued the "fund" because of the law, and then we had to run our own fund. Speaking of such things (and off topic, I know), my boss just came back from Mexico and he took a tour of the kitchen at his resort; there was a shelf covered wall with every piece of tableware, and each piece had a price tag; the host proudly explained that it was so the waitstaff could reference exactly how much would be taken off their paychecks if they broke anything :angry:

Anyway- I am going to Bistro Pastis tonight and hopefully will not get the unsteady table. :smile:

And I promise not to order hot water with lemon, bring four coupons, stay for four hours asking for refills on the teapot I am sharing with a table of four, ask for four seperate checks at the end of the meal and tip 10% on the food only, steal the napkins ....

As a side note, I was at the Naam once, and a friend I was with had a pitcher of water DELIBERATELY poured in his lap by the server. But he deserved it. :laugh:

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother called yesterday and asked me to come to Pastis with him and his girlfriend tonight- they had a reso for three but her mom is sick. Woohoo!

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hah! Funny you should mention the Naam. I have to say that of all the family-owned restaurants I have worked at, the Naam is the only one that had a liberal (fair?) comping policy. Servers couldn't comp customers on their own, but unless it was obvious a server was just giving a bf or friend a freebie, floor managers comped for problems, spills, bad service, mix-ups etc no questions asked. When I was a FM (and this was back in 1989), I comped about $50 worth of food per shift. Which is good, considering - was it even Mr Maw who said this? - the Naam was a place where the servers meditated while serving. :laugh:

Other than that, I've found family-owned restos often refuse to pay for servers' mistakes. I actually paid a drycleaning bill for a customer to cover a server who'd compounded a messy error with rudeness, not realising when I offered to pay that the owners (and the server at fault, as it turns out) adamantly refused to pay for such things even when it was imminently called-for.

Sorry for being OT, if this post needs to be removed I'm sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother called yesterday and asked me to come to Pastis with him and his girlfriend tonight- they had a reso for three but her mom is sick. Woohoo!

I would think you'd be feeling sympathetic for your mother !! :laugh:

I'm going to DIVA tonight, and a relative is treating. Score !

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off to Samba tonight with the girlfriend. I've heard that the buffet is not bad but it'll be interesting to hear about this DOV menu. If anyone has been there (DOV or not), share!

Disclosure - I work with this account - I've only eaten there once, which is not so much a non-endorsement of the quality as opposed to my tastes in dining. The salad bar is large and quite extensive in terms of selection. I understand that depending on the night the meat quality varies, as they slow roast it all and then pass around large chunks of it, slicing pieces off at each table for each patron. On a slow night, the meat might be sitting for a while . . .

On a Friday Dine Out night, tho', should be pretty brisk. The entertainment is said to be fairly, um, carnivalesque - not that that's a bad thing, on certain nights, I guess! Would love to hear your feedback - please post.

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She's being sneaky and manipulative. That right there tells me it's going to be a difficult and demanding table. Not worth it, in my opinion.

Done. I will scatter them to the four winds.

What was their reaction?

We have found a LOT of these requests, and the most obvious challenge is that the one server gets two tables at once, and then because things are so tightly booked, they flip together, and get seated at the same time again for the 2nd seating. Nothing like being slammed for the whole night.....

Any suggestions as to how to tactfully communicate to people that we are not at all interested in trying to cram them and every friend they have in to our restaurant on a sold-out night during the biggest dining promo of the year?

We choose to use our tables "as is", deuces on deuces, fours on fours etc. My logic is that when it is this busy, the hosts, servers and manager's time is best utilized serving the guests, not constructing and deconstructing tables.

In a hotel, we also run the challenge of having hotel guests (who have no clue of what DOV is) being less than understanding when they must wait for a table on a Tuesday.

Why do we love this business again?

Ian McTavish

General Manager / Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...