He didn’t do that Wednesday after a customer posted a one-star review on the Elements at 8th Facebook page. Instead, Derheim typed a hasty defense of his manager and in doing so ignited a summer blizzard of controversy that could take months to thaw out social media users.
It started when Todd Gannon posted his review on Facebook, mere minutes after finishing his meal. But there was more to it than just a night out for four adults and a toddler.
Gannon, who did not respond to a paid Facebook message asking him to contact me, wrote, “Food was lousy, and the manager followed us out in the parking lot to tell us to bring a toy for our son next time so he doesn’t bang on the table. Thanks for ruining my wife’s birthday.”
His son had done a little pounding on the table, Gannon acknowledged, estimating it lasted 60 to 90 seconds.
In an early response to Gannon’s review, Derheim wrote that Gannon’s 2-year-old had caused $300 damage to the table and invited Gannon to come back and see it. Another response asked Gannon to contact the restaurant with “any offer of restitution.”
First off, let’s get the little things out of the way. I wouldn’t say the food is lousy at Elements, I would classify it as ‘unmemorable’ and not worth the trip. Which is disappointing, because I like the atmosphere and enjoy having drinks there, just eat before or after you leave. It also surprises me, because Pinnacle, who manages Elements, also owns TRE Lounge, which is hands down one of my favorite fine dining establishments, always good service and the food is fantastic, every time. I think some of the issues Elements has is that they are being micro-managed by the Hilton franchise, but that is only an assumption.
As for the kid pounding on the table, there is a simple solution; LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT HOME WHEN DINING OUT! It’s okay to take kids to places that have play lands etc, but it is not the duty of a server to babysit your child, or to get on our hands and knees to pick up little pieces of torn up mac and cheese and cheerios off the floor. When are people going to realize that when your kids are old enough to behave in a public setting, that is the time you take them out to eat with you, not before. Oh, and I have heard all the excuses, my favorite BS line, “We can’t find or afford a babysitter.” Then guess what STAY HOME! There is so many expectations of restaurant employees these days, especially from young parents (who typically are crappy tippers on top of it.) How would you like it if you invited me over for a dinner party to your house, I puked on your table and threw my food on the floor, screamed at everyone, then left. You wouldn’t be happy – THINK ABOUT THAT the next time you dine out with your little Angel. I hope Elements makes the man pay for the broken table, double.
Many people complain that JL Beers is a 21 and older establishment, mostly parents of young children. I think it is pure genius.
Someone sent me this the other day. They want to propose legislation next year in SD to end ‘involuntary’ tip-outs to support staff. Many people don’t realize that servers only get paid $2.13 an hour in SD, they depend on their tips. Many restaurants require (especially national franchises) that the servers tip out support staff (so the restaurants can avoid paying them). It can be upwards of 20% of your tips. When I worked full-time as a server a couple of years ago I figured I tipped out (my tips) about $4,500 a year. This is money I earned. The fact of it is, when you tell customers about it, it infuriates them that not only that we are paid a low wage, but we have to give our tips away. Support the movement END tip share in SD!
If a bill comes forward next year in Pierre, I plan to testify.
In preparation for the night I most dred waiting tables (I actually had the night off but was asked to assist) Here is a little something to remember when leaving the tip, a classic from my folk hero, Jack Logan.
Okay, been awhile since I have had an ‘Ugly Table’ one of the main reasons is I haven’t experienced a lot of ‘NEW’ things, until last night. Ironically, these people were sitting at the ‘Ugly Table’. They also ‘reserved’ food the night before (yup, made sure we had a certain entree a day before they showed up, so annoying).
So I am having a conversation with my table as I am leaving them their check, something that MOST good servers do, and as I am walking away, I hear a condescending voice from another table,
“Ah, waiter, Ah waiter!”
I turn around and acknowledge them.
“Could you keep your decibel level down a bit, you were quite loud while talking to your table, we are trying to enjoy a conversation with our dinner companions and your voice is overpowering our conversation.”
While I will admit, my voice travels, I thought she was joking, and I chuckled at her. Then she gave me the stink eye, and when I was walking away she was bitching to the rest of the table about how she wanted a quiet night out and I was ruining it.
Yup, Saturday night at a popular downtown restaurant that has live music (she complained about that also) and she wanted to have almost complete silence so ‘she’ could be heard (that’s really what it was all about). Not sure what the wife of a retired doctor has to talk about, but I am sure it was intriguing . . . ahem.
Next time, eat at home with ear plugs in, and for extra measure, a bag over your head, so your husband wouldn’t be tempted to speak with you either, his decibel level may be to high.
First you pull the PC out of your purse (promoting your new business) and lay it next to you on the table.
When I come back, I notice it is laying in the middle of the table.
When I come back a 3rd time, it is laying at the end in the corner (I still have said nothing about the PC, and neither has Ms. Passive).
I come back to give you your bill and the PC is now propped up against the salt & pepper shakers. You still say nothing about the PC or the business you are opening just a few doors down from our restaurant.
When I return you give me your credit card with your business name prominently on the card.
After you leave, still not saying anything about your business, the PC is in the check book with your CC slip and a $4 tip (dinner for two).