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Am I overreacting about a birthday dinner slipup?

I made a reservation at a nice restaurant here in Chicago to celebrate my husband's birthday and our anniversary (they happen to be on the same day). We eat here on special occassions and have always had a wonderful night. I talked to the manager when I called to make the reservation and he assured me that we would have a great table in the upstairs cozy room, a candle in the birthday dessert and two glasses of champagne. I told him to just add the extras to our bill. He led me to believe that everything was taken care of. I called two days before the reservation to confirm all of the details and was again told that everything would be ready and we would have a lovely night. We showed up to the restaurant and were led to a cramped tabled right next to the kitchen. I kindly told the hostess that we had requested a special table and she said that the restaurant was too crowded to accomodate our request. I offered to get a drink at the bar and wait for our chosen table to become available. After 30 minutes, we were seated again, but still not at the requested table. I decided to let it go and just enjoy our night. When it was time for dessert, they brought it out and didn't include the candle and forgot the glasses of champagne. The waitress didn't know anything about it so I didn't want to cause a scene and ruin our otherwise pleasant evening. As we were leaving, I spoke to the manger and told him about my disappointment in the evening as all of my special requests were ignored. I was very nice and told him that we had a very nice dinner and a great server, but it did not go as I had planned. He pretty much dismissed me with a condescending "I'm very sorry" and walked away from me. I was furious! I now wish that I would have been more forceful, but is it really worth it when you are trying to have a special night out with your husband? What would you have done?

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  1. Was the manager you spoke to night of the event the same one who took your requests? If so, I'd be furious too.

    1. Given your initial call with the manager, the follow up conversation and the assurances that your wishes would be carried out, I think you have the right to be pissed. I think you handled it the right way but my answer is to stop patronizing them. There's plenty of other special spots in Chicago.

      1. I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm surprised that the manager, who seemed so accomodating on the phone, acted like a cold fish when you told him about your night. I guess if I were in the same situation, I would've put more pressure on the manager to set things right. He was the one in the beginning who led you to believe that you would be accomodated. And nothing can excuse his abrupt and condescending attitude toward you and your husband. Maybe you can diplomatically speak to the owner or another manager in charge (preferably the owner though!) and explain the situation. Usually, if you put the evening in the hands of a more competent and willing host (like the owners), you'll be pleased with the results. They may offer to make it up to you. Maybe you could return on a less busy night and recreate the cozy and romantic moment you had in mind. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sra. Swanky

          I wouldn't bother returning to give th place a scond chance unless they comp it. They blew it. In Chicago there are plenty of other choices. Enjoy them!

        2. I don't think you overreacted, especially since it seems that you were very polite the whole time. I would write a letter to the manager, and follow up with a phone call, saying how disappointed you were that the night did not go as the two of you had planned, especially given his assurances ahead of time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JasmineG

            To further your point, I would also write a letter to the owner. If it is truly a good restaurant, the owner will read every letter addressed to him/her and reply. At the restaurant I used to work at we took every complaint very seriously. People with legitimate complaints would always be offered a substantial gift certificate or some other sort of desirable compensation.

          2. First, Happy Anniversary and a good birthday to your husband.

            Similar incidents have happened to jfood twice this year. First Mrs jfood ordered chocalate dipped strawberries and sparkling water in my hotel room because i neede to be out of town for my birthday and then for her birthday the resto ruined every dish.

            Jfood thinks you should call the resto if for nothing else, closure. Should you have been more forceful, jfood thinks you did very well. You should have asked for and received manager's name (or at least be able to describe to the owner) and take it up another day when cooler heads would prevail. Likewise, you had what you described as a nice evening and why put a damper at the end of the evening.