If you owned a restaurant and you spotted a popular food critic with a large following sitting at a table in your restaurant would you go out of your way to make certain their meal and overall experience was one worthy of the highest praise.
Back in May I showed up at Pisco with roughly 30 popular food critics, including an elected official, and a high ranking federal employee. But the manager on duty that day didn’t recognize any of them and the overall experience a Pisco that day left a bad taste in all our mouths. Here’s what happened.
Back in May my wife and I attended a family members graduation from University of Maryland. After the ceremony his parents decided to treat everyone that made the trek to lunch at Pesco located in Eldridge, MD. They had eaten there before and enjoyed the food and experience.
We arrived with a party of about 30. There’s a Costco in the shopping center so my wife’s cousin (the mother of the graduate) ordered a cake with Congratulations written on it to slice and serve after our meal. After being seated the manager informed her that they would charge $10 for her bringing the cake in and $10 per person to slice it.
Now, this policy was written no where. The hostess told us that she’d never seen them do this before, and someone from our party was there the week before for a birthday celebration and brought in a cake and was not charged anything. Clearly this was the manager on staff own personal policy.
I voted to get up and leave immediately and hit the Fat Burger next door (no charge there for bringing in a cake), but I was over ruled and we stayed. But none of us will ever visit Pisco again.
Here’s the important take away that I hope Pisco and every restaurant manager and owner understands and gets.
- That blogs and review sites like Yelp, and Trip Advisor have made us all popular food critics with large followings. Treat us as such.
- It takes a tremendous amount of cost and effort for any restaurant to acquire a customer. Why offend anyone but certainly not 30 people at a time with poor policy and rogue managers.
- Thoughtfulness and gratefulness cost you zero dollars to provide.
- Would have been better to to say something like…this is our policy but since you did not know and it’s not written as a thank you for visiting us ‘again’, and for bringing so many of your friends, it would be our pleasure to slice the cake and serve it as a courtesy.
- There was an opportunity for Pisco to win 30 new raving fans but instead they got a poor review, and managed to offended 30 patrons in a single shot.
By the way my wife and I had the roasted chicken with a side of plantains which I found to be quite marginal at best. But honestly I think the overall experience prevented me from enjoying the food.