Class act at Via Allegro
A friend from overseas, his partner and I went out for a special evening at VA about a month ago. The food was very good, and the wine service, by the famed sommellier Wendy herself, was out of this world - as reputed and as true !
However, we had several service issues: a somewhat unsophisticated waiter necessitating repeated requests for water or ice in a drink; a request to move tables....none of which spoiled our evening but at the same they did not contribute to a 5-star experience.
On reaching home, and sleeping on it for a day, I wrote the proprietor, who it turns out is also the chef. He telephoned me in response to my letter (nb, mailed, not emailed - think it shows more seriousness and reflection when complaining), asked to hear several details of the issues from my own lips, apologized without making excuses, asked that I make reservations for my next visit through him and said he would be sending me a letter. I should stress that in both my letter and the subsequent conversation, I made clear we had enjoyed our evening, and thought the food and wine first-rate.
Today in the mail I found a very gracious letter, reiterating Chef's request I make the next reservation through him, and enclosing a $100 gift certificate ! This sort of prompt, concerned and beyond-necessary response, both by phone and followed up by letter, is a principal reason I shall keep going back to Via Allegro, and recommending it to my friends. Class act !
You know, I think that's great. Not that you got the gift certificate, but just the whole attitude that they showed: genuine concern, putting the customer first.
It's too bad that, more often than not, staff at restaurants will argue with the complainer or make lame excuses that have nothing to do with the customer (the kitchen is really backed up, etc.). Of course, there are probably a lot of unjustified complaints made daily.
But, I think that it's really nice when a restaurant goes the extra mile. It's also good business. They turned a mild negative into a huge positive, and Bigtigger will probably be returning long after his gift certificate is used.
I've also been impressed by the unpretentious service and friendliness at VA. As well, the sommalier (Wendy, I guess) is spot on for her recommendations.