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Thread: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

  1. #1
    The Ranger Guest

    Default Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    A chowhounder offered this up for thought and it brought an
    immediate visceral reaction from me. (I know you're all
    thinking, "Ranger? Visceral? No way!")

    The poster wrote:
    "Over the years they were your 'go to' place for a good meal in
    the neighborhood, to pick up a pizza, get your bagel & coffee
    or to carry out your favorite ethnic food. The
    owner/chef/manager/staff knew you by sight if not by name. You
    were a loyal customer and used to sing their praises. They were
    independent and local, not part of a dreaded chain.

    "At some point, you had to break-up with them. Not for economic
    reasons, but because something else wasn't working for you
    anymore. It was a conscious decision, almost as hard as
    breaking it off with your hairdresser or a decent boyfriend or
    girlfriend. For your own good, the relationship had to end! You'll
    still miss the old favorite restaurant or at least you'll miss
    their glory days, the convenience, the comfortable feeling you
    got & finding their replacement won't be easy, but it has to be
    done.

    "[..] What was it that made you decide to break-up with an old
    favorite restaurant?"

    The restaurant that I will no longer visit was a pancake house.
    I frequented it daily (morning, lunch, sometimes both meals)
    for eight years. I loved spackling the 49er pancakes with
    butter, wolfing down the gi-normous! apple pancake solo,
    getting the jitters from two cups of coffee, and treating
    family and friends to this 3-diamond eatery.

    Then the day came when the owners came by my table and sat down
    with another fellow. They introduced him as the new owner and
    explained how they were leaving to spend more time with their
    families. I wished them well and hoped to see them open another
    restaurant; they were very good restaurateurs.

    The next day, two servers that had been there from the first
    day of operation were missing from the staff. The following day
    everyone from the front of house were gone. The service went
    from highly competent to comedically incompetent. I was willing
    to cut them some slack, though, because even monkeys can
    eventually be taught.

    I was wrong.

    I talked to the owner about the changes I'd noticed and found
    him uncaring. I reduced my visits from daily to monthly, to
    yearly, to almost nothing for years. I wrote A Letter after one
    particularly unsatisfactory visit, ccing the corporate
    headquarters. I received a nice form letter telling me how
    important my feedback was and how Mr. Soandso was glad to have
    me as a customer.

    I took Daughter-unit Beta in because she's a budding foodie and
    willing to try many different foods.

    We were terribly unimpressed. Remember those monkeys I
    mentioned earlier? They were still there and still untrained.

    In a virtually empty restaurant, we waited to be seated. I
    finally went in search of the hostess. She was in the "office"
    talking on her cell. She did at least hang up and seat us.

    We waited for our tea and coffee, promised by said hostess.
    Beta went in search of her at that point. Again she was on the
    phone in the office, only very put out that she was expected to
    do anything beyond yakking.

    We waited for our order to be taken -- the waitress was taking
    her break -- but did scramble to take our order.

    When our food did finally arrived, I knew at once that it'd set
    up under the heat lamps for a long time. The manager decided to
    walk around the room at that point, so I call him over and
    pointed at our dishes. At that point the two of us got up and
    walked out.

    That was the last chance for this place. The relationship is
    closed.

    The Ranger



  2. #2
    George Shirley Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    The Ranger wrote:
    > A chowhounder offered this up for thought and it brought an
    > immediate visceral reaction from me. (I know you're all
    > thinking, "Ranger? Visceral? No way!")
    >
    > The poster wrote:
    > "Over the years they were your 'go to' place for a good meal in
    > the neighborhood, to pick up a pizza, get your bagel & coffee
    > or to carry out your favorite ethnic food. The
    > owner/chef/manager/staff knew you by sight if not by name. You
    > were a loyal customer and used to sing their praises. They were
    > independent and local, not part of a dreaded chain.
    >
    > "At some point, you had to break-up with them. Not for economic
    > reasons, but because something else wasn't working for you
    > anymore. It was a conscious decision, almost as hard as
    > breaking it off with your hairdresser or a decent boyfriend or
    > girlfriend. For your own good, the relationship had to end! You'll
    > still miss the old favorite restaurant or at least you'll miss
    > their glory days, the convenience, the comfortable feeling you
    > got & finding their replacement won't be easy, but it has to be
    > done.
    >
    > "[..] What was it that made you decide to break-up with an old
    > favorite restaurant?"
    >
    > The restaurant that I will no longer visit was a pancake house.
    > I frequented it daily (morning, lunch, sometimes both meals)
    > for eight years. I loved spackling the 49er pancakes with
    > butter, wolfing down the gi-normous! apple pancake solo,
    > getting the jitters from two cups of coffee, and treating
    > family and friends to this 3-diamond eatery.
    >
    > Then the day came when the owners came by my table and sat down
    > with another fellow. They introduced him as the new owner and
    > explained how they were leaving to spend more time with their
    > families. I wished them well and hoped to see them open another
    > restaurant; they were very good restaurateurs.
    >
    > The next day, two servers that had been there from the first
    > day of operation were missing from the staff. The following day
    > everyone from the front of house were gone. The service went
    > from highly competent to comedically incompetent. I was willing
    > to cut them some slack, though, because even monkeys can
    > eventually be taught.
    >
    > I was wrong.
    >
    > I talked to the owner about the changes I'd noticed and found
    > him uncaring. I reduced my visits from daily to monthly, to
    > yearly, to almost nothing for years. I wrote A Letter after one
    > particularly unsatisfactory visit, ccing the corporate
    > headquarters. I received a nice form letter telling me how
    > important my feedback was and how Mr. Soandso was glad to have
    > me as a customer.
    >
    > I took Daughter-unit Beta in because she's a budding foodie and
    > willing to try many different foods.
    >
    > We were terribly unimpressed. Remember those monkeys I
    > mentioned earlier? They were still there and still untrained.
    >
    > In a virtually empty restaurant, we waited to be seated. I
    > finally went in search of the hostess. She was in the "office"
    > talking on her cell. She did at least hang up and seat us.
    >
    > We waited for our tea and coffee, promised by said hostess.
    > Beta went in search of her at that point. Again she was on the
    > phone in the office, only very put out that she was expected to
    > do anything beyond yakking.
    >
    > We waited for our order to be taken -- the waitress was taking
    > her break -- but did scramble to take our order.
    >
    > When our food did finally arrived, I knew at once that it'd set
    > up under the heat lamps for a long time. The manager decided to
    > walk around the room at that point, so I call him over and
    > pointed at our dishes. At that point the two of us got up and
    > walked out.
    >
    > That was the last chance for this place. The relationship is
    > closed.
    >
    > The Ranger
    >
    >

    You just described every restaurant in our city that isn't run by
    Asians. The good old folks who ran the local restaurants for years
    either retired, sold out for lots of bucks, or just got tired. The
    recent emigres, mostly ethnic Chinese, are running clean, good food,
    restaurants with family servers, cooks, and grandpa/grandma greeter. One
    Cajun-style restaurant that went from good to bad has been bought by a
    Vietnamese family that kept the Cajun cooking and recipes and cleaned
    the place up. We still eat there at least weekly after scorning it for
    the two-years some round eye outfit had it.

    Alas, our favorite pizza joint is now owned by a chain and has gone to
    hell in a handbasket, we no longer go there. You're exactly right
    Ranger, sometimes a relationship must end.

  3. #3
    The Ranger Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    George Shirley <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:fX1Nk.54111$[email protected] ..
    [snip]
    > You just described every restaurant in our city
    > that isn't run by Asians. [..]


    There are a couple Asian-owned eateries that I won't step foot
    into because they lost their back of house staff. Sad days,
    those experiences.

    The Ranger



  4. #4
    George Shirley Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    The Ranger wrote:
    > George Shirley <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:fX1Nk.54111$[email protected] ..
    > [snip]
    >> You just described every restaurant in our city
    >> that isn't run by Asians. [..]

    >
    > There are a couple Asian-owned eateries that I won't step foot
    > into because they lost their back of house staff. Sad days,
    > those experiences.
    >
    > The Ranger
    >
    >

    I imagine we will get to that stage one day as the latest immigrants
    assimilate and get greedy.

  5. #5
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    The Ranger <[email protected]> wrote:

    > A chowhounder offered this up for thought and it brought an
    > immediate visceral reaction from me. (I know you're all
    > thinking, "Ranger? Visceral? No way!")


    What goes on in Chowhound, should stay in Chowhound.

    Especially when it's this long and boring.

    -sw

  6. #6
    The Ranger Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Sqwertz <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Especially when it's this long and boring.


    Hope you choke on those soggy flour tortillas.

    Really.

    Love and kisses,

    The Ranger



  7. #7
    sf Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 12:45:02 -0500, George Shirley
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Alas, our favorite pizza joint is now owned by a chain and has gone to
    >hell in a handbasket, we no longer go there. You're exactly right
    >Ranger, sometimes a relationship must end.


    Views differ. I don't call that ending a relationship with a
    restaurant. The restaurant ended the relationship with you.

    On a happier note, our favorite pizza restaurant was bought by a long
    time customer over 25 years ago. The old owner mentored/trained the
    new owner for a year and visited the restaurant at least once a month
    up to his death. The new owner changed the name of the restaurant to
    his name, but didn't touch the decor or the menu for over a year.
    First thing to go was my favorite lasagne. I've never had one like it
    before or since. It was probably a cook's secret type of recipe that
    left with either the old owner or a long time cook. The new lasagna
    is fine, it's just different. Another big change was they took our
    favorite pizza off the menu, but they still have all the ingredients
    (which includes ground chicken) so we order off the menu now.

    We watched the new owner's kids grow up (they started off bussing
    tables, now one manages their second restaurant), he watched our kids
    grow up and now our grandson. He warmly greets us as long time
    customers whether we come in as an entire family or individual
    families now. Best of all, his business is very good.


    --
    I never worry about diets. The only carrots that
    interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.

    Mae West

  8. #8
    Andy Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    This morning I had an urge for chicken fried steak and eggs so (against my
    better judgment) I drove over to a Denny's in town, placed my order with a
    cup of coffee and went to the men's room to wash my hands and found that
    the hand soap dispenser was empty. Not just empty but there wasn't even a
    plastic bottle of empty soap inside it.

    Back at my seat a waitress from behind the counter across the room asked if
    I'd like a coffee refill. I said no thank you but there's no hand soap in
    the men's room. She then blurts to another employee "that guy says there's
    no hand soap in the men's room."

    I let that pass but a minute later the other employee stands next to my
    table and as if it was my fault, says "there's soap there now!"

    Rather than challenge the jerk, I just got up and walked out.

    I can imagine the cooks filthy hands. Where's the dept. of health when you
    need 'em?

    Denny's is, once again, proof positive why dining out is such a disgusting
    practice.

    YMMV.

    Andy

  9. #9
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    The Ranger <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Sqwertz <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]..
    >
    >> Especially when it's this long and boring.

    >
    > Hope you choke on those soggy flour tortillas.


    I love you too, Lone Ranger.

    Did you ever get resolve all those complaints brought on by Child
    Protective Services? You never told us how that turned out.

    -sw

  10. #10
    The Ranger Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Sqwertz <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    [snip]
    > Did you ever get resolve all those complaints [..]


    The same resolution you had regarding your wife-beating and
    child molestation charges...

    The Ranger



  11. #11
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Andy <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I let that pass but a minute later the other employee stands next to my
    > table and as if it was my fault, says "there's soap there now!"
    >
    > Rather than challenge the jerk, I just got up and walked out.


    Talk about thin-skinnned. Didn't want to let them see you cry in
    public, eh?

    -sw

  12. #12
    Janet Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Andy wrote:
    > This morning I had an urge for chicken fried steak and eggs so
    > (against my better judgment) I drove over to a Denny's in town,
    > placed my order with a cup of coffee and went to the men's room to
    > wash my hands and found that the hand soap dispenser was empty. Not
    > just empty but there wasn't even a plastic bottle of empty soap
    > inside it.
    >
    > Back at my seat a waitress from behind the counter across the room
    > asked if I'd like a coffee refill. I said no thank you but there's no
    > hand soap in the men's room. She then blurts to another employee
    > "that guy says there's no hand soap in the men's room."
    >
    > I let that pass but a minute later the other employee stands next to
    > my table and as if it was my fault, says "there's soap there now!"
    >Rather than challenge the jerk, I just got up and walked out.


    It sounds to me like what happened was that your complaint was promptly
    noted and dealt with. What's wrong with that?

    > > I can imagine the cooks filthy hands. Where's the dept. of health

    > when you need 'em?


    Well yeah. Unless the staff has a different bathroom.



  13. #13
    Ed Pawlowski Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?


    "Janet" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > It sounds to me like what happened was that your complaint was promptly
    > noted and dealt with. What's wrong with that?
    >
    >> > I can imagine the cooks filthy hands. Where's the dept. of health

    >> when you need 'em?

    >
    > Well yeah. Unless the staff has a different bathroom.
    >



    If the restaurant does not keep the restrooms clean, you can be pretty sure
    the kitchen and staff are about the same degree of filthy. I've walked from
    a couple of places for the same reason. Yes, it is possible the person just
    before you made a mess, but you can usually tell if it has not been cleaned
    for days.



  14. #14
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Janet <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Well yeah. Unless the staff has a different bathroom.


    All kitchens are required to have a dedicated hand-washing sink with
    110F+ water under pressure and hand soap in the kitchen.

    -sw

  15. #15
    elaich Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    "The Ranger" <[email protected]> wrote in news:EpudnX_
    [email protected]andwidth:

    > "[..] What was it that made you decide to break-up with an old
    > favorite restaurant?"


    This happened to a very popular restaurant in my town. Mornings, it was
    hard to get a seat in there. The owners were aging, and sold it to some
    Chinese guy. It only took him 6 months to run it into the ground.

    A group of former employees who had worked there for years got up the funds
    to buy it, and return it to it's former glory. Too late - the reputation
    had been ruined. Even though they went back to doing things exactly like
    they had been done there for decades, nobody would give it a chance. The
    restaurant is right next to a freeway exit, but can't compete for the
    travel business with the McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell that are
    right there as well. They depended on the local business, and that had been
    ruined.

  16. #16
    Dan Abel Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    In article <aA4Nk.4718$[email protected]>,
    "Ed Pawlowski" <[email protected]> wrote:


    > Yes, it is possible the person just
    > before you made a mess, but you can usually tell if it has not been cleaned
    > for days.


    Many years ago, I was a starving student. Jobs were hard to get, and
    although I don't like cleaning, I took a job as a custodian at the
    university I attended. It started out as a summer job. One of my first
    assignments was the architectural building. I walked in the first
    bathroom, and it obviously hadn't been cleaned in a week. The toilet
    seats were literally covered in ****. I got it all cleaned up, no small
    job when you don't like to clean. Well, as a student, I didn't get
    regular assignments, even though I was working full time for the summer.
    I filled in for people who had called in sick, were on vacation or
    sometimes I was a helper for special jobs. I was never told what was
    going on. So, for five days I was assigned to that same building, must
    have been somebody on vacation. The second day, I expected a clean
    bathroom. No, it obviously hadn't been cleaned for a week. Except, I
    left it spotless the night before! I suspect that people were living
    there, and had some problem (drugs?) so they didn't even realize they
    were ****ting all over the toilet seats. One whole week of this.

    --
    Dan Abel
    Petaluma, California USA
    [email protected]

  17. #17
    Mark Thorson Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    elaich wrote:
    >
    > A group of former employees who had worked there for years got up the funds
    > to buy it, and return it to it's former glory. Too late - the reputation
    > had been ruined. Even though they went back to doing things exactly like
    > they had been done there for decades, nobody would give it a chance. The
    > restaurant is right next to a freeway exit, but can't compete for the
    > travel business with the McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell that are
    > right there as well. They depended on the local business, and that had been
    > ruined.


    Sort of the reverse happened near me. An unbelievably
    bad Chinese restaurant -- I think the proprietors must
    have been from rural China or someplace where it is
    considered perfectly normal to serve a chicken dish
    in which the chicken has been hacked up with a cleaver,
    no attempt has been made at deboning, and it's left to
    the customer to pick out the meat -- went out of business
    and was replaced by another Chinese restaurant which
    was actually quite good. They also completely remodeled
    the place so it looked great. They went out of business
    in less than a year, I guess because he couldn't overcome
    the bad reputation of their predecessor.

    Just goes to show that planning a restaurant business
    requires considerable thought and research. And even
    then, you might fail. The new Chinese restaurant had
    great food at reasonable prices. The remodeled
    restaurant was lovely. But all of that wasn't enough.

  18. #18
    Andy Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Mark Thorson said...

    > Just goes to show that planning a restaurant business
    > requires considerable thought and research. And even
    > then, you might fail. The new Chinese restaurant had
    > great food at reasonable prices. The remodeled
    > restaurant was lovely. But all of that wasn't enough.



    There's a great Mom & Pop restaurant that's been in town for years and they
    decided to branch out to the neighboring town. Well their new restaurant was
    a mere shadow of the original in quality and ambience.

    The sad thing is that any customers who first dine at the new place, should
    they ever see the original in town would probably not give it a second
    chance. And if the original's diners dine at the new establishment they'd
    probably wonder if both places are headed downhill.

    Andy

  19. #19
    Pennyaline Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    Sqwertz wrote:
    > Janet <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Well yeah. Unless the staff has a different bathroom.

    >
    > All kitchens are required to have a dedicated hand-washing sink with
    > 110F+ water under pressure and hand soap in the kitchen.


    Correct, but all employees are also expected to wash their hands before
    leaving the bathroom. The handwashing area in a kitchen is predominantly
    for washing up after handling raw food, after cleaning the work area,
    before starting work and before leaving work.

  20. #20
    Dan Abel Guest

    Default Re: Restaurant Relationships and Ending It?

    In article <[email protected]>, Andy <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    > This morning I had an urge for chicken fried steak and eggs so (against my
    > better judgment) I drove over to a Denny's in town, placed my order with a
    > cup of coffee and went to the men's room to wash my hands and found that
    > the hand soap dispenser was empty. Not just empty but there wasn't even a
    > plastic bottle of empty soap inside it.
    >
    > Back at my seat a waitress from behind the counter across the room asked if
    > I'd like a coffee refill. I said no thank you but there's no hand soap in
    > the men's room. She then blurts to another employee "that guy says there's
    > no hand soap in the men's room."
    >
    > I let that pass but a minute later the other employee stands next to my
    > table and as if it was my fault, says "there's soap there now!"
    >
    > Rather than challenge the jerk, I just got up and walked out.
    >
    > I can imagine the cooks filthy hands. Where's the dept. of health when you
    > need 'em?


    Must have been how they said it, because the words themselves don't
    sound that bad.

    I've read boasts from RV owners that they never buy toilet paper. First
    place they hit at the campground is the bathroom, not to use it but to
    score refills on toilet paper. Maybe people do that at Denny's? Why
    would the bottle be gone? I can understand empty, but gone? I wonder
    if somebody needed hand soap at their house. Could be it was a full
    bottle a few minutes ago?

    --
    Dan Abel
    Petaluma, California USA
    [email protected]

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