Recently, the owners of the restaurant I work in decided to send out a few dinner invitations to various food bloggers (or “foodies” as they’re known nowadays) in order to create more buzz and bring in a little more business. They got a free 7-course special degustation meal in exchange for a review of the restaurant on their blogs. Preferably, a favorable one.
The first two food bloggers that came in were nice enough and a decent review followed suit. The third foodie that came in? She was a total monster.
She arrived an hour after her reservation. It wasn’t a busy night so even if it was rude and disrespectful, it wasn’t a big problem. Unfortunately, I drew the short straw and was tasked with waiting on her. As with the other foodie bloggers, we asked about any dietary restrictions or allergies beforehand and when I went to double check with her, she snapped, “What are you an idiot? You should already have that information. Didn’t you do any research? Do you even read my blog?” (I don’t)
I told her that I would tell tell the chef to begin her food and politely nodded, smiled and calmly walked away.
There was to be no satisfying this woman. The minute she saw the amuse bouche, with its cherry tomatoes on the plate, she immediately called for my manager. He remained alarmingly calm as she began laying into him. She started running her mouth about how she’s allergic to tomatoes and that we should have already known that. My manager pointed out that she didn’t inform us about her allergies.
“Well, you would have known if you had done any research!” she yelled.
As other customers began to notice, he countered by politely telling her that “…this is a free meal and as we initially discussed via email the onus was on you to alert us about any dietary restrictions.”
“You sir, are a liar. I never received such an email and any other establishment I have reviewed made it a point to do their due diligence before my arrival”, she stated loudly.
My manager stepped to one side and extended his right arm, palm up, towards the door and simply said, “I’m sorry you feel that way. The front door is right there should you choose to discontinue your review.”
She exhaled like a tire being slashed before standing up from her chair and storming out.
The parameters we had established with the other bloggers was for them to contact us to set up a time and to alert us to any dietary restrictions and food allergies. She only contacted us to set a time and didn’t inform us.
Sometimes in the industry, people simply don’t like an item so they try to say they are allergic to it. It’s been my experience that anyone with a real food allergy, is always sure to double and triple check to make sure the food is devoid of the ingredient. While, she said she was allergic I remain suspect simply because she didn’t feel it necessary to reiterate her allergy to tomatoes. Furthermore, we’re an Italian restaurant, so we’re not the type of place you go to if you have a tomato allergy.
I’m not entirely sure who this woman thought she was but even if you get millions of hits per month on your blog, given the size of the Internet, there’s a pretty good chance that not everyone has heard of you. It’s quite sad that she appears so nice and warm based on her posts, but a really a total pain in the ass in real life.
I want to see only the good in people so I’m trying to convince myself that she was just having a bad day. Sadly, we’ve had other people from other restaurants telling us that our experience is not really unique. She’s actually just kind of a bitch in general.
I’d have to say that the only thing I liked about this woman was her departure.