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PEASANT - good food, RUDE CREW!

jlube Feb 21, 2008 09:28 PM

just had dinner at Peasant at Spring & Elizabeth. Traveled 2.5 hours from Philly to visit some restaurants. The food was good, not great. More important was the blatant rudeness of the staff. My friend and I arrived early around 5:00. We were informed at that point that they did not open until 6:00. Fine. We killed some time walking around and returned a few minutes early around 5:50. We were informed that we were a bit early and they'd be ready in a few minutes. We figured we'd just wait at the entrance for ten minutes. At that point, a second person told us we had they were not open yet. We acknowledged that and asked if we could just wait up front. After all, it was damn near 20 degrees outside and we had been walking around all day. The man told us we could not stay inside, made us leave and locked the door behind us. You would think they might offer us to have a seat at the bar until they were ready, but no, we had to wait in the cold while the staff stood around inside. Throughout this, there was another person drinking at the bar. Normally I would have left and never returned but considering the fact that we had traveled in particular to try this restaurant we decided to wait it out. I won't return.

This place needs a lesson in hospitality big time!

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  1. Quine RE: jlube Feb 21, 2008 09:56 PM

    Wait, I am confused as to what you think they did wrong. Why should they offer to let you in/seat you anyplace before hours? Because you thought you deserved it/drove/it was cold/hot/raining/walked all day? DId you ever think that maybe that person at the bar was the owner/chef/staff member having a quiet time before opening?

    How was your service after you tried to barge in?

    22 Replies
    1. re: Quine
      ilikefood RE: Quine Feb 22, 2008 11:21 AM

      Quine- "barge in" ?!?!?! When was the last time you walked in a restaurant and apologized for "barging in"?

      "Why should they offer to let you in/seat you anyplace before hours?" Because the door was unlocked and it was 10 MINUTES TO OPENING.

      "Because you thought you deserved it/drove/it was cold/hot/raining/walked all day? "
      The correct answer is yes to each of those, because jlube is the "customer". A customer is someone who is there to give them "business" (money) in exchange for product/service(s). Without customers the staff wouldn't have their jobs and the income it provides. That doesn't mean the customer is always right (tho that's a good general rule for a business to follow) or a business has to bend over backwards to provide unreasonable expectations to customers. In this case they most definitely should have honored jlube's very understandable/reasonable request to wait inside.

      1. re: ilikefood
        kimmer1850 RE: ilikefood Feb 22, 2008 04:19 PM

        Often times insurance will not allow a customer/guest inside the premises before opening. If, by chance, you fell (or something of that nature) while on the premisies their insurance would not be oblgated to reimburse the place because they were not yet officially open to the public.

        Thst being said...the staff has no excuse for being impolte. Were they really impolite? Or did you hear it that way because they told you "no" when you expected to be seated without question?

        1. re: kimmer1850
          fourunder RE: kimmer1850 Feb 22, 2008 04:41 PM


          Cha.......Ching. My original thoughts exactly.

          1. re: kimmer1850
            RCC RE: kimmer1850 Feb 22, 2008 04:48 PM

            With the OP's description of the event, I'm still unclear whether the staff were really "impolite" in telling them if they can wait outside, instead of inside, for the 10 minutes before the restaurant opening tiome.

        2. re: Quine
          Querencia RE: Quine Mar 3, 2008 02:10 PM

          Quine: Re "Because you thought you deserved it"---Yes, they deserved it. They were there as paying customers, as patrons planning to spend significant money, and they should not have been treated as pests. We had a similar experience at Frontera Grill in Chicago. I had phoned asking the best time to come with an elderly person who could not stand up for a long time and was told to arrive a few minutes before they opened. We joined a line of thirty or so people snaked along the outside of the building. Door was locked. Ten minutes to go. Staff inside not working, sitting around on other side of plate glass window laughing and fooling around. Sky opened: deluge of rain fell. We all got soaking wet. Soaking f****** wet. This is one of the "nicest" restaurants in town. Door-opening time was not compromised: we all waited in the rain, shivering, until Frontera chose to open the door. My last time there. Ever.

          As for the staff needing "a quiet time before opening" I have noted that the younger generation of restauranteurs often fail to distinguish between a personal and a professional situation. Another Chicago restaurant recently closed without notice because, later said the young owner, "I was having personal problems". Running a business isn't high school, kiddies.

          1. re: Querencia
            macca RE: Querencia Mar 4, 2008 08:28 AM

            I think your situation is a bit differetn that that of the OP. You called the restaurant, explained your situation, and aksed if there was anything they could do to accomodate you. They told you they could, told you what to do. You followed their instructions, and they did not keep their end of the deal They were wrong, and you were rightly aggravated. With the OP, however, the restaruant told them the opening time was 6 pm- the restaruant did not tell them they could come in early, and did not tell htem to come back at 5:50-m they told them 6: pm. Not sure what part of 6 pm the OP did not understand.

            1. re: macca
              jfood RE: macca Mar 4, 2008 09:48 AM

              Maybe jfood is reading the Frontera Grill data differently but it sounds exactly the same, although it is not spelled out whether FG said that it would (a) allow them into the restaurant early or (b) just giving guidance on opening time.

              If (a) then jfood would agree that FG was wrong in keeping them outside.
              If (b) (which jfood is assuming since not mentioned), then jfood has the same conclusion. It opens at 6, customer was told that and the customer decided to show up before opening time. If there is a situation where there is an elderly or handicapped person involved, either you ask when you call for early opening for that party with no "line cutting" or show up after the doors open and avoid standing in line.

              It is not the restauarnt's responsibility to open early for any reason if that is the opening time. People need to plan around the opening times as decided by restaurant, not the customer.

              Sorry but if the customer knows the opening time and unilaterally decides to show up early, customer waits outside.

              1. re: jfood
                macca RE: jfood Mar 4, 2008 09:55 AM

                I agree with you 100%. When I read the post of Frontera Grill, I assumed ( I know it is horrible to EVER assume) the poster was going to be allowed in early. Maybe he assumed, too, and the restaurant was simply letting him know if he arrived early he would not have to wait for a table AFTER the restaurant opened. But I agree- the opening time is when you should expect to be allowed in.

                1. re: macca
                  bibi rose RE: macca Mar 4, 2008 10:56 AM

                  I don't get how these two situations are similar at all. Frontera Grill is notorious for being hard to get a seat and I've heard a lot of people say they've given up on the restaurant for that. If the person on the phone suggested they would do something to accomodate you and didn't, then they really dropped the ball big time, especially with a handicapped person involved. If they thought you were just going to show up with a handicapped person and take your chances like everyone else, then I think they used poor judgement. They could have told you to make a reservation at Topolobampo instead. (Topolobampo does take reservations, no?) Now, given the (dumb IMO) seating policy at Frontera Grill, whether they open their doors early is another issue. If you go to a restaurant with that kind of cult following where people either don't mind lining up or even seem to think it's part of the experience, you're gambling on what it's going to be like standing outside. Again, with the proviso that their seating policy is dumb in the first place, opening the doors ahead of time because of rain would lead to people expecting that every time. After all, how often is the weather actually nice in Chicago?

                  Nothing like this went on at Peasant. The poster just kept showing up early.

                  1. re: bibi rose
                    macca RE: bibi rose Mar 4, 2008 11:26 AM

                    Actually, I am not the one who posted about Frontera Grill- as a matter of fact, I could not even tell you what state it is in!! I was merely replying to the post by Querencia, who realted the tale about calling the restaurant. My point is that IF the restaurant told Q that he would be able to come in with his handicapped guest, and then reneged on that promise, they are totally in the wrong. But then jfood posted that MAYBE the Frontera Grill was simply telling Q to arrive a few minutes early to avoid waiting for a table, and that they had no intention of opening before the stated time. Then he was out of luck, and has to wait like everyone else.
                    Personally, if a restaurant opens at 5:00 pm, I would never expect to get in prior to 5 pm- no matter the weather or anythihng else. But that is just my take on it!

                    1. re: macca
                      bibi rose RE: macca Mar 4, 2008 11:55 AM

                      Oh sure; I wasn't disagreeing with you. I just got to what looked like the end of the Frontera discussion and tacked my post on.

                      Frontera is Rick Bayless's restaurant in Chicago and the seating situation there is pretty notorious; I wouldn't even try to go there with someone who had issues with standing for any period of time. It's a ground-breaking restaurant but if you want to experience Bayless's cuisine with less seating aggro you can go to Topolobampo.

                      1. re: bibi rose
                        macca RE: bibi rose Mar 4, 2008 12:01 PM

                        Surprised the poster on Frontera did not know their policy. I know there are weird polices in some restaurants. There is a town nearby where you have to order food if you want a second alcoholic beverage! And there is another town where the bartender who makes your cocktail cannot serve same cocktail. And this same town has another rule- you cannot stand up with a cocktail in your hand!! Gotta love the old Massachusetts Blue Laws!

                        1. re: macca
                          invinotheresverde RE: macca Mar 5, 2008 09:16 AM

                          Wow, I work in MA and have never heard of these crazy laws! Which towns are these? So weird...

                          1. re: invinotheresverde
                            macca RE: invinotheresverde Mar 5, 2008 09:43 AM

                            In Stoneham, you have to order food along with a second alcoholic beverage!! And Woburn had the rule about standing and the bartender making and serving the drinks. I know Stoneham still has the rule in place, but maybe Woburn has changed.

                            1. re: macca
                              invinotheresverde RE: macca Mar 5, 2008 09:58 AM

                              MA Blue Laws really are something else, huh?

                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                macca RE: invinotheresverde Mar 5, 2008 10:37 AM

                                Crazy. The city I live in (Melrose) did not allow liquor in restaurants until not too long ago. And there are still no liquor stores here. I went to a local restaurant not too long ago, and my table was wobbly, so I asked to be moved. I was told I would be seated at a two top. I asked if the two top was in the bar area. The waitress told me : WE don't have bars in Melrose. PUHLEESE. Then I aksed her if the two tops were in the area with a horsehoe shaped large table, lots of liquor bottles, and a man behind the large horsehoe table making cocktails for everyone.. That silenced her!

                              2. re: macca
                                LindaWhit RE: macca Mar 9, 2008 07:12 AM

                                I'm pretty sure Woburn has definitely changed re: the standing and drinking. It took a *long* time, and it was restaurant-by-restaurant as whichever inspector was giving the approval to allow standing at restaurant bars to drink was doing so for those restaurants he got "favors" from the corporate owners. If you were a family-owned place, you were overlooked until he got to you. (Learned this from a bartender who works in the area.)

                                Didn't realize that Stoneham has the same stupid law re: not being able to stand at a bar and drink.

                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                  macca RE: LindaWhit Mar 9, 2008 07:28 AM

                                  Thats good news about Woburn- and Stoneham does not have the no stand rule- it has the rule of one drink only- unless you order food before the second alcholic beverage is served to you. Crazy.

                                  1. re: macca
                                    LindaWhit RE: macca Mar 9, 2008 10:17 AM

                                    So macca, are you actually limited to a total of two drinks per person? (One drink before dinner, one drink with dinner.) And does *each* person have to order something to eat? Or would a large plate of french fries, say, be sufficient?

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      macca RE: LindaWhit Mar 9, 2008 11:02 AM

                                      No- it is a really weird rule. You can have more than two drinks, but cannot be served the second drink until you order food. I am pretty sure everyone has to order- so you could order two orders of fries, and then they will happily bring your second ( or third, or fourth!) cocktail. It is probably only an annoyance at a pub/bar type restaurant, as in a sit down restaurant you would ge ordering food anyway. There is a pub like place in Stoneham, not to far from my house. I really don't like the food there, but they have lots of tvs and really cold beer- so it is a good place to go and watch sports. I usually end up with a salad or fries - as I don't even like the baked potatoes at this place!

                                    2. re: macca
                                      miss_bennet RE: macca Mar 9, 2008 10:59 AM

                                      Where I live (BC), it all depends on your liquor licence. Licenced restaurants can serve liquor, but the customer cannot stand and drink. Also, if you're waiting at the bar with a drink til your table's ready, the server must carry your drinks.

                                      This is quite simple, actually. Standing leads to walking, and walking with your drink can result in you handing it off to a minor. You can only walk with your drink in BC if the establishment has a pub/bar licence. (i.e. no one under the legal drinking age is allowed in, and they ask for two pieces of ID at the door.)

                  2. re: macca
                    Al_Pal RE: macca Sep 27, 2008 01:21 PM

                    In my view, once a restaurant unlocks its doors, it's open to the public. They had the option of keeping the doors locked until opening, but they chose not to. Under those circumstances, there is absolutely no excuse for them telling patrons, with only ten minutes to go, that they have to wait outside in freezing temperatures.

                    If you're in the hospitality industry, there's no excuse for this kind of inhospitable, ungrateful behior.

              2. r
                RCC RE: jlube Feb 21, 2008 11:40 PM

                I'm sorry but I don't get how you feel that they should be obligated to have you wait inside when they clearly were not open for business at the time that you arrived.

                9 Replies
                1. re: RCC
                  COrrico RE: RCC Feb 22, 2008 12:39 AM

                  I'm sorry, but I disagree with both you. If it were my restaurant, it was 20 degrees outside, and we were opening in TEN minutes, I would offer them a chance to sit early (though not look at a menu and order), sit at the bar, or at least stand inside.

                  This is especially true because the door was not locked when they arrived. They entered, we told to leave, then had the door locked behind them. With ten minutes until opening time, this is nothing short of rude.

                  Last time I was in New York, I arrived at the spotted pig about 20 minutes before they opening. They politely told me, offered me a seat off to the side, offered me some water and let me hang out before they opened. No big deal.

                  I agree jlube, They need a lesson in hospitality. You should have left and not returned.

                  1. re: COrrico
                    princeofpork RE: COrrico Feb 22, 2008 08:31 AM

                    If you had an appointment with the cable guy at noon and he showed up at 11:50 and it was 20 degrees outside, would you make him stand on your front porch for 10 min. I think not. Now imagine the cable guy was going to give you $100 now how would you answer?

                  2. re: RCC
                    ilikefood RE: RCC Feb 22, 2008 11:33 AM

                    "clearly were not open for business at the time that you arrived."

                    Clearly the door was unlocked and so it was not clear they were not open for business.

                    Reminds me of the time I walked in a lauded barbq shack-joint just after 9 one night. I was told by the owner/cook that it was closed. I pointed to open door and unlocked screen door and replied "I thought you were open." he responded w/ a bad attitude of contempt- "Well you thought wrong!" In that case, I thought it was more funny than offensive.

                    1. re: ilikefood
                      fourunder RE: ilikefood Feb 22, 2008 11:47 AM


                      this argument would be valid if the OP wasn't already previously informed they did not open until 6:00 PM. If the OP arrived at 6:00, this scenario never would have occurred...........inclement and cold weather or not.

                      1. re: fourunder
                        ilikefood RE: fourunder Feb 22, 2008 01:34 PM

                        "this argument would be valid if the OP wasn't already previously informed they did not open until 6:00 PM."

                        Valid point in favor of the resto, but they still lose the argument- lose in the customer service department. As Rick pointed out in his spot on post below- "Sure they weren't obligated to let you in, but look where that landed them!"

                        1. re: ilikefood
                          RCC RE: ilikefood Feb 22, 2008 02:12 PM

                          It's hard to tell if they lost in the customer service department because the OP still returned for their dinner.

                          How was the service during your dinner, anyway?

                          1. re: RCC
                            ilikefood RE: RCC Feb 27, 2008 04:38 PM

                            Actually they won in the business department but lost in the customer service department, at least to jlube and those of us siding w/ him/her.

                            But, Heavens to Betsy, I certainly hope no one reading this topic decides to boycott Peasant based on the experience as relayed by jlube.

                            1. re: ilikefood
                              RCC RE: ilikefood Feb 27, 2008 05:09 PM

                              By my last count, they lost in the customer service department to 2 posters here in this thread - just jlube and you. Everybody else here understand and respect the words "Hours of Operation".

                              Your "door was unlocked" argument doesn't fly for many valid reasons that were already discussed all over this thread, plus it is clear that jlube and you don't get it when he/she was told, twice, "Please come back when we open at 6 PM".

                      2. re: ilikefood
                        RCC RE: ilikefood Feb 22, 2008 12:08 PM

                        They open at 6 pm according to websites.

                        The door could be unlocked to let employees in, for deliveries, or prepping up for the night's business. To me it means that they're not ready to let you in.

                        I've been turned away for showing up 15 minutes early in restaurants that were still closed and in a couplenstances they pointed me to a nerby bar or coffee shop to wait.

                    2. h
                      Hungry Brooklyn Mike RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 09:44 AM

                      Can't really agree, what if your boss told you to show up for work ten minutes early, but you wouldn't get any additional money? You probably wouldn't like that. Plus, if you were told they opened at six, why return before...it's not like that neighborhood is boring. The service staff has to gear up for a long night of work, why should it start early? I agree with a previous post...how was the service after they "opened"?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Hungry Brooklyn Mike
                        fourunder RE: Hungry Brooklyn Mike Feb 22, 2008 10:02 AM

                        I can see both sides of the fence on this.

                        First, it was made clearly known they do not open until 6:00 PM, why arrive early....but then again. I always (or at least try to) arrive early for a reservation. The proper course was at the very least to allow the party to wait inside.......but then again, there is the whole security issue. This will bounce back and forth, and I can already see the ugliness resembling the reservation thread earlier.

                        All said and done.....I would recommend Peasant to anyone for a fine meal.

                        1. re: fourunder
                          ilikefood RE: fourunder Feb 22, 2008 11:49 AM

                          fourunder -"but then again, there is the whole security issue" Maybe I'm not understanding you but I don't see what security has to do with it. Do you think before 6 the staff is and should be in fear for their lives, limbs and the silverware, but magically at 6 each day they breath a sigh of relief that they're safe again for another night? Also, forgive me for using the "u" word again, if security is an issue why was the door unlocked?

                          On another note,re: your ID- Congratulations! I'm assuming "fourunder" refers to your golf handicap and not inches.

                          1. re: ilikefood
                            fourunder RE: ilikefood Feb 22, 2008 12:36 PM


                            and if it were for (four) inches.

                            Just like banks, the robbers usually like to strike before the official opening time and just before closing. Security is an issue, as recent events in NYC with a doctor's murder should prove point. There could be a number of reasons why the door was unlocked, but how about the door originally was locked, but someone decided to let themselves out and no one locked it behind them, because no on knew someone had left the building...........I know, I know, it was unlocked at 5:00 PM as well......maybe someone else was let in and they simply forgot to lock the door........after they entered.

                            In a society where someone is always looking to sue, safety precautions are the only explanation that have any weight for me as a reason.

                            1. re: fourunder
                              ilikefood RE: fourunder Feb 22, 2008 01:26 PM

                              "and if it were for (four) inches. " ohh nothing, never mind.

                              "Just like banks, the robbers usually like to strike before the official opening time and just before closing." OK, good point, only one so far on this topic as to why they were so firm about not letting jlube in, but they could have mentioned that to jlube to get his understanding and correct the perception that they were just being rude. But again -you've got that damned door that wasn't locked at 5, wasn't locked after jlube left at 5, and was still unlocked 10 minutes b4 opening. I feel a bit like Columbo here.

                      2. i
                        ilikefood RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 10:43 AM

                        If they're so extremely strict about the 6 PM opening time, why was the door unlocked ?

                        Why didn't you ask as to exactly why you couldn't wait inside?

                        and why on earth did you give them your business after they rudely threw you out in the cold???!!!

                        I hope to address Quine, RCC and maybe others for whom the basic concept of customer service is either completely unknown or abhorrent to them, but I have to take my blood pressure med 1st.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ilikefood
                          jfood RE: ilikefood Feb 23, 2008 10:07 AM

                          And why do they need to lock the door to keep people out pre-opening? "we open at 6" should have been enough after the first time.

                          Respect goes both ways. The OP was told the restaurant opens at 6. They took it upon themselves to once again show up early, then let themselves in and just "figured we'd just wait at the entrance for ten minutes". They were told a second time of the opening time.

                          1. re: ilikefood
                            cheesemonger RE: ilikefood Feb 23, 2008 08:17 PM

                            FYI- Sometimes the door is unlocked to accomodate delivery people, employees, etc.

                          2. l
                            Lucia RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 10:43 AM

                            If they weren't open, I don't think they had any obligation to let you in. The last few minutes before service are probably hectic with getting everything in order for customers to arrive. I've never had anything but good service at Peasant.

                            1. steeltowngrl RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 11:17 AM

                              That's ridiculous. If a restaurant let's say Babbo where reservations are difficult to come by and has a restaurant full of customers with 6pm reservations - you mean to tell me they all wait outside. Especially in NYC where people rely heavily on public transportaion/traffic. Would a restaurant prefer you to be late for a reservation?
                              I like to eat on the early side, especially when I don't have reservations and know popular restaurants fill up quick - I've never experieced this ever. Bad business.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: steeltowngrl
                                Miss Needle RE: steeltowngrl Feb 22, 2008 11:23 AM

                                I know Tomoe doesn't accept reservations, but the people are lined up outside the door up to 1/2 hour before opening regardless of the weather.

                                I do agree that it's bad business, but I understand why Peasant didn't want to have you guys hanging around before opening time. I think they should have phrased it differently. The other person drinking at the bar was probably either the owner, worked there or knew the staff.

                                Considering how you feel about this, I'm really surprised that you went back to eat there.

                                1. re: Miss Needle
                                  Rick RE: Miss Needle Feb 22, 2008 12:06 PM

                                  I own my own business and if I had a customer outside 10 minutes before opening and it was hot/cold/rainy/snowy etc. there is no way I would let them stay out there while I was inside nice and warm knowing they are out there. Sure they weren't obligated to let you in, but look where that landed them! They now have a customer on the internet saying how badly they were treated, not even mentioning how the food was. Now had the resto actually been cordial you may be reading a review about what a pleasant experience they had. Even if they didn't get a good review, no review is better than a bad review. I live by "a happy customer MAY tell someone they know, an unhappy customer WILL tell everyone they know."

                                  1. re: Rick
                                    Miss Needle RE: Rick Feb 22, 2008 05:35 PM

                                    Seriously, there are a lot of reasons why business owners do what they do. I don't think it's unreasonable at all that Peasant wouldn't let them in until 6P. What if they let them in and wasn't able to pay proper attention to them as staff still had stuff to take care of? Instead of a story about how Peasant wouldn't let them in, we may have heard a story about how they were ignored.

                                2. re: steeltowngrl
                                  RCC RE: steeltowngrl Feb 22, 2008 12:10 PM


                                  Go to Jean Georges 1 minute before they open for lunch and you'll see the crowd of customers with reservations milling outside until they unlock the glass doors to let them in at the opening time.

                                  1. re: RCC
                                    fourunder RE: RCC Feb 22, 2008 12:41 PM

                                    This is not exclusive to restaurants, but also to retail shopping. It's done every day at the Costco Stores I belong too......they even have two shifts of openings, one for business members at 10:00 AM and then again for regular members at 11:00 AM.

                                    Let's not for get the crazed and frenzied Christmas Shopping opening hours for deals. Security and Safety real or perceived, the onus is on the house.

                                  2. re: steeltowngrl
                                    streamwise RE: steeltowngrl Mar 4, 2008 09:43 PM

                                    Funny you mentioned that, I commented the same below. Babbo takes reservations starting a 6pm, but opens the bar up at 5:30pm, so there's no issue. Its common restaurant sense, which Peasant seems to lack.

                                    1. re: streamwise
                                      bibi rose RE: streamwise Mar 5, 2008 07:36 AM

                                      Does Peasant accept 6:00 reservations? Did the OP have one? (I saw no mention of the latter in his/her post.)

                                      1. re: bibi rose
                                        fourunder RE: bibi rose Mar 5, 2008 08:13 AM

                                        Peasant does indeed accept reservations and the OP did not have one by his account of arriving early at 5:00 PM. Any further details to what was or was not known by the OP is speculation at best, as he has chosen not to provide any further details to his experience, or become active in this discussion.

                                        I can only assume his troubles began by looking up Peasant online and not making any attempt to contact the restaurant directly for information. The Peasant site does not indicate hours or opening times.


                                  3. sebetti RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 12:47 PM

                                    Just a little curious, other than the wait beforehand, how was the service?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sebetti
                                      RCC RE: sebetti Feb 22, 2008 01:14 PM

                                      Good question.

                                    2. Servorg RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 04:21 PM

                                      If this is how they treat potential customers just prior to their being "officially" open I can't even begin to imagine what happens when the clock strikes closing hour. Do they have a squad of burley guy's with truncheons run thought the restaurant giving customer who aren't moving towards the front door with sufficient speed love taps on their skulls perhaps?

                                      1. c
                                        cheesemonger RE: jlube Feb 22, 2008 05:04 PM

                                        There are other issues at play, to be sure. Perhaps jlube might try and look at it from the other side of the glass.

                                        As a small business owner, I (early on) made the mistake of letting people in before opening. I was still busy counting money or having staff meeting, reviewing new product, wiping down counters... any of the pre-opening checklist items.

                                        But once a customer is in the house, that all stops. Because a customer, once in the door, demands service immediately. If you kindly say "I can let you in, have a seat, but please know that I can't help you for another 10 minutes", they will say that's fine, but 30 seconds later, they will be asking questions, wanting to look at a menu, wanting to know the specials, wanting a glass of wine, tapping their feet, drumming their fingers, complaining how long they have to wait for service.

                                        You were told that the place opened at 6 pm. What's the problem?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cheesemonger
                                          ctscorp RE: cheesemonger Feb 22, 2008 05:08 PM

                                          You are so right, cheesemonger. Every time I let people in early, they get all huffy when I don't serve them -- even AFTER I've told them I need to finish setting up.

                                          1. re: cheesemonger
                                            corgette RE: cheesemonger Feb 25, 2008 01:54 PM

                                            This was my first thought immediately too. I've been on both sides of this issue as a waitress and as a customer, and I think you hit the nail on the head (aside from an earlier post about insurance liability, which is also huge).

                                            As a waitress, I've offered to seat people at empty tables even though the section was "closed" at the time with the clear warning that no one could come by for another 10-15 minutes. But they *just* want a glass of water. They *just* would like a menu while they wait. *Just* a cocktail since they're being so kind and agreeing to wait for you. Or they want something free later on, because of how you ignored them for 10 minutes, and dock your tip for not doing so (I had a table tell me this. Sigh).

                                            That being said, I completely understand the feeling because as a customer too, I've found myself annoyed when I've been let in early as well, and ignored just as I have been warned I would be. It's overwhelming once you sit to feel like you should be waited on, because you're accustomed to it happening every single time.

                                            So I've stopped going to places before they open. I know how important it is for staff to finish cleaning, setting tables, tasting specials, etc. but still, I feel ignored, even when I logically know I shouldn't. So I don't do it.

                                            The feeling of being ignored is natural, is what I'm trying to say, but it's still unfair to demand the restaurant serve you before they're officially open.

                                          2. b
                                            bibi rose RE: jlube Feb 23, 2008 05:30 AM

                                            If the people who spoke to you were staff members (as opposed to, say, the owner) they were probably only doing what they've been told by higher-ups or what they assume higher-ups will want them to do in that situation. Putting people who have no power under pressure to do something they may get in trouble for is not fair. Coming an hour early and then again ten minutes early was pushing it.

                                            1. jfood RE: jlube Feb 23, 2008 05:54 AM

                                              Why is it when people are told facts and they do not agree with them, the other party is rude? The OP was told the restaurant opened at 6 when they were there at 5 and then unilaterally decided that the manager's 6 was not what they wanted and returned at 550. Is this the best customer service jfood has seen, abviously not, but the restaurant opens at 6PM, not 530, not 545, not 550 (when you arrived #2), but it opens at 600, and the OP was told this. If the door was locked when the OP returned, would they have knocked? And just because someone was sipping a drink at the bar has nothing to do with it. As others have said, it could be the chef, or the owner or a supplier who just ran out in the cold to deliver some fresh fish so the customer could have a really good special.

                                              is that a reason for the entire staff to work more time? And if the OP was cold, there are plenty of places other than Peasant that were probably open, a retail store, a bar, etc.

                                              The bottom line is that the place opens at 6. Therefore customers should plan on arriving at 6 or slightly thereafter, and if they are early figure out a way to pass the time. It is not the restaurant's responsibility to change their schedule and staffing to meet the need of an early arriver.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: jfood
                                                smartie RE: jfood Feb 23, 2008 06:46 AM

                                                jfood good point, no different at any other store either, if Walgreens opens at 9 and you walked in because the door was open you would likely be told to wait, inclement weather or not.

                                                When I had my restaurant it was a pain when customers used to walk in prior to opening. I had 3 entrances, 2 were to the deck so whilst we kept the front door closed until we opened, customers used to walk in from the deckside whilst we were still setting up. At this point, servers were putting salts and peppers out, the chef was writing his specials or we were having a pre service meeting, we often had music up loud and it was better for customers to wait until we were ready or we would be hassled with questions, just a glass of water, what are the specials, we will be 10 and they would start moving tables around.
                                                Also sections were not necessarily organised yet for servers so we wouldnt have known where to seat the first table/

                                                1. re: jfood
                                                  HungryRubia RE: jfood Feb 26, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                  I agree with jfood. I worked in retail for 7 years and we had similar situations where cusomters would DEMAND to be let in the store before opening. Sometimes we were holding meetings with our staff or counting money or restocking the floor. I've never worked in the restaurant industry but I know that they have similar "operational" issues to get out of the way before they can open the doors.
                                                  Sometimes we even opened a little later (by 5 miuntes or so) because we had issues that would have prevented us from providing our customers with a good experience (last minute restocking or marking down las minute sale items).
                                                  I say get over it and arrive at the right time.

                                                  1. re: HungryRubia
                                                    xanadude RE: HungryRubia Feb 27, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                    "Sometimes we even opened a little later (by 5 miuntes or so) because we had issues that would have prevented us from providing our customers with a good experience (last minute restocking or marking down las minute sale items)."

                                                    Disagree; if the store is supposed to be open, it should be open. A less than optimal experience is still better than having to wait outside for 5 minutes after opening time.

                                                2. im_nomad RE: jlube Feb 24, 2008 03:23 PM

                                                  I'm starting to realize by reading these boards that there are WAY too many rules to dining out. Can't show up early as in this case...2 minutes late in another resto?....too bad...your reservation's gone. no sitting comfortably either. People seem to give an AWFUL lot of leeway to restaurants because the food happens to be good.

                                                  I've never experienced any of this stuff and perhaps it's not common where i come from (which i'm very glad of). While i don't expect someone to jump through hoops just for me, i agree this is a customer service issue. The OP did not indicate that they were expecting to be served, just to stand in the porch. I'd have a hard time warming up to staff after being booted back out into the cold.

                                                  I'm also wondering if i'm the only one who thinks a 6pm opening is a bit late anyway? no i do not frequent early bird specials, but i have been known to pop into a place after work with a friend.

                                                  15 Replies
                                                  1. re: im_nomad
                                                    Elvis Goldberg RE: im_nomad Feb 24, 2008 04:00 PM

                                                    I can't understand how some can't respect the fact that when they're told that 6 pm open time means 6 pm open time in New York city. Whether it's late or not, is not the point.

                                                    Plus, I've wallked by this restaurant and I don't remember of any porch to speak of. If I recall, it's either inside the doors and there's just the outside on the sidewalk.

                                                    This is one intriguing thread, by the way.


                                                    1. re: im_nomad
                                                      jfood RE: im_nomad Feb 24, 2008 04:29 PM

                                                      Eating in restaurants is a very pleasant event if everyone has a little respect for everyone else. Last night M&M jfood wanted a pre-movie dinner at a local spot. Jfood called for a deuce at 6, no problem.

                                                      - They were running late and called and told MOD, no problem. The right thing to do on jfood's part
                                                      - Jfood was wearing a white shirt and wanted the seafood with spicey red sauce. asked the server for penne instead of linguine so he did not wear the meal. No problem, the right answer from the resto
                                                      - pasta delivered with cappelini, jfood mentioned to runner he ordered penne. he took it back. Server came over to apologize. jfood told him no problem. correct on both sides
                                                      - bill delivered and when jfood paid, wrong amount charged ($10 too low). jfood mentioned to server, he apologized and told jfood to pay the "too-low" bill. both sides correct
                                                      - jfood left $20 on a $78 bill. it was the right tip for the service

                                                      lots of different minor issues, none of them mattered. food great, service great and then the movie (Juno) was outstanding.

                                                      Jfood gives the evening a 10, even with the issues. But in each speed bump it was handled with respect without emotions and did not even nudge the jfood meter.

                                                      Problems normally arise when the "how dare you" or "I'm the customer" card gets played.

                                                      Just speak to the other side with respect and the dinner will be fine and enjoyable, not a test of wills and power.

                                                      1. re: im_nomad
                                                        cheesemonger RE: im_nomad Feb 24, 2008 07:19 PM

                                                        im nomad states that there are: "way to many rules to dining out"... I'm sure that you are free to start a new thread on this, but this is about one rule- opening time.

                                                        Where's the beef, really? I'm baffled as to why the OP feels entitled to single handedly change the protocol of someone's business based on whim/bad timing on the part of the OP.

                                                        And then feel they so feel aggrevied as to slam the restaurant on a very public forum for what? Doing what the sign says?

                                                        julbe- you owe an apology to the horrible restraunt that enforced an opening time! The horror!

                                                        1. re: im_nomad
                                                          bibi rose RE: im_nomad Feb 25, 2008 08:32 AM

                                                          >>I'm starting to realize by reading these boards that there are WAY too many rules to dining out. Can't show up early as in this case...2 minutes late in another resto?....too bad...your reservation's gone.>>

                                                          Not the same thing at all. If a restaurant cancels when you are two minutes late, I say screw 'em.

                                                          Letting a business be open when they say they are open? Not some draconian rule, just common sense. That people are visible does not mean they are at your service. People come to the workplace early and leave late in order to get ready and then close down.

                                                          I totally agree with jfood that this "I'm the customer" business leads to some pretty disrespectful behavior. So does the phrase "customer service" which people fling around. You are not *the* customer, you are *a* customer. The business has to serve you and a lot of other people. Yeah, giving you what you want the instant you want it may make it nice for you, but if it interrupts the setup for the night it can interfere with service for everyone else.

                                                          Also agree with whoever said that people who say they just want to come inside don't really end up wanting that when they come in. I used to let people into my retail business when I was still setting up for the day because they said they would just browse and wait until I was ready. Um, not so much. Five seconds later a question comes out of someone's mouth while I'm on the phone to a distributor or something. Maybe you are sure you won't be that person, but the business owner doesn't know that.

                                                          1. re: bibi rose
                                                            Janet from Richmond RE: bibi rose Feb 25, 2008 08:38 AM

                                                            You are not *the* customer, you are *a* customer.
                                                            I love this. So true.

                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                              Servorg RE: Janet from Richmond Feb 25, 2008 09:08 AM

                                                              Just as this place is not *the* restaurant, just *a* restaurant.

                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                Janet from Richmond RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2008 09:11 AM

                                                                I don't disagree.....at all. And not every business/customer is a good fit. In this case I believe the customer was completely unreasonable and their definition of "rude" is very different from mine.

                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                  Servorg RE: Janet from Richmond Feb 25, 2008 09:39 AM

                                                                  A customer is not going to go "belly up" (perhaps in danger of going "belly down" if they end up dining too frequently at some of these Calorie Kings of the Realm), however if they don't end up dining at a particular restaurant.

                                                                  On the other hand, restaurants live and die on their reputations for food and service. The direction of erring on the side of good service must flow from the restaurant towards the customer, not the other way around.

                                                                  Where allowances can be made in order to placate customers it is typically a good idea to make them, even if it means bending a "rule or two" in the process. In the old day's "bad service" tales wouldn't travel too far or fast. Now they fly around the world in mere seconds.

                                                                  Whatever your personal feelings on who was in the right (the restaurant in your case) or the customer (in other's eyes) it can't be of benefit to any restaurants bottom line to have these types of stories make their way into the general public domain. So if you can head it off at the pass I say, try and do so.

                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                    Janet from Richmond RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2008 09:44 AM

                                                                    I don't disagree but not every business is looking for every person as a customer (I am in a service business...not restaurant) and when a customer makes an unreasonable request or demand, I am not going to react out of fear that the customer will take their business elsewhere. In this case, the business lost nothing...the customer ate there. And IMO the complaint says much more about the customer than it does the business...from the fact they traveled 2.5 hours to a place without checking their hours, to the fact they expected special treatment for no other reason than their own poor planning.

                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                      Servorg RE: Janet from Richmond Feb 25, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                                      I don't disagree with you either, Janet. It's one of those "judgment calls" in which you think, "What's this going to cost me to make a friend vs. a foe in this situation?" and then erring on the friend side if it isn't going to turn your world upside down to do so.

                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                        bibi rose RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2008 09:54 AM

                                                                        >>I don't disagree with you either, Janet. It's one of those "judgment calls" in which you think, "What's this going to cost me to make a friend vs. a foe in this situation?" and then erring on the friend side if it isn't going to turn your world upside down to do so.>>

                                                                        Agreed, if it's really true that it's not going to be too disruptive. Thing is, that people who expect a special favor always think it's not going to be disruptive.

                                                                        1. re: bibi rose
                                                                          Servorg RE: bibi rose Feb 25, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                                          It's like the parent who seems to be hardwired to say "no" - even if what's being requested is not going to rain chaos, fire and brimstone down upon their world.

                                                                          You can always say no. It's easy to say no. It's usually harder to say yes, but it can really make a bad situation into one that leaves all concerned feeling up.

                                                                          Upon further review I have to wonder how disruptive it would have been for the restaurant to let these folks wait in their foyer? Maybe not at all. Maybe somewhat. Maybe they would have been real PITA's. What would the customer service ROI have been if they had let them come inside and wait? It's all a series of trade offs. But saying "No soup for you" can ultimately backfire on a business that is so very dependent on positive customer feedback, as those in the restaurant world.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                            bibi rose RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2008 10:28 AM

                                                                            Yes, erring on the side of flexibility can work out for the best and you are probably a nicer (and happier) person if you tend to err on that side. However, is it really a strict dichotomy between rolling out the red carpet for anyone with a special request and "No soup for you"? At a certain point, inefficiency is in no one's best interest. (If someone ahead of me in line at a deli is hemming and hawing, I'm relieved if the counter person eventually makes with the "No soup for you!")

                                                                            In any case, this thread was started by a customer. The customer, like the restaurant staff, is responsible for his or her own behavior. They are acting a certain way, and then deciding the restaurant has a problem. Would it have killed the restaurant to comply with this request? Probably not this time. I have a feeling that if the original post had been from restaurant staff getting all huffy about people showing up early, people would have told them to get over themselves. However, it wasn't the restaurant posting; it was a customer asking for a favor without even seeming to realize they were doing so, and then ripping the restaurant a new one on the internet.

                                                                            Whether you are a customer or restaurant staff, for me the question is, what if everyone (or a lot of people) did what I am doing?

                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                              jfood RE: Servorg Feb 25, 2008 10:37 AM

                                                                              Very good points by all on the discussion. But the customer stayed, and ate, so how disruptive could it have been? If this was the fire and brimstone, how dare thee treat me this way sorta event, then the custo would have let his feet do the talking. Did the OP not have a reservation at a restaurant before drivng 2.5 hours? Jfood would not take that chance.

                                                                              In this case saying yes would probably have been easier than asking the OP to leave, yet the resto did, the OP did, OP arrived a third time (three's the charm) and ate.

                                                                              Now that Jfood has heard of this resto and looked at it's website, he may give it a try. Looks pretty good. and the other CH reviews may place this high on the list.

                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                ilikefood RE: jfood Feb 27, 2008 05:03 PM

                                                                                jfood - Tell jfood this is a post i can agree w/. No one should avoid Peasant based on jlube's story, and others learning about Peasant may be inclined to check it out rather than not.

                                                          2. tatertotsrock RE: jlube Feb 24, 2008 04:08 PM

                                                            Ya know, this is funny...I do not own a rest. but I had a bit of an issue when a friend of mine insisted on always coming early for quick lunches I was preparing between appointments.
                                                            I love the fact that she is always punctual, but the last two times before the LAST time, I asked her "can you do me a favor, do not get to lunch till at least 12pm or 12:15...I will be rushing and I have to deal with putting the dogs out..."
                                                            sure enough, that day, she showed up at 11:45am...I was pissed...I was still in sweaty work out clothes, I hadn't eaten since 5am, I had to pee, and I still had to get the dogs in the back yard so they wouldn't jump on the guests...3 others were on the way.
                                                            Whenever she showed up early, I'd wind up 30 minutes behind schedule because she'd always be in my way in the kitchen needing something, getting something, asking about this and that, and doing the "can you show me how you did that" crap.
                                                            Ugg...this made everyone else late to their next appointments too.
                                                            I prefer to be in the kitchen ALONE and if someone else is in there with me, it isn't pretty...I had mentioned this many times before this last lunch...I had asked her many times over the year to come a little later next time, so we can both avoid my "snappy when people are in the kitchen with me attitude."
                                                            Well, the last time she showed up 1/2 an hour early, I shut the door on her and said come back when I am expecting you.
                                                            Whatever...call me a bitch, but when someone does not honor another person's request over and over again, it's rude!!!
                                                            if a rest says they open at 6pm...they open at 6pm!
                                                            If you went to the opera would you expect them to start performing just because you were there 30 minutes before curtain? He!! no!
                                                            Why should the palce have to start "serving" before they are obligated to do so?

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: tatertotsrock
                                                              smartie RE: tatertotsrock Feb 24, 2008 06:31 PM

                                                              tater it sounds like you need to tell your friend to come half an hour later than the appointed time in future

                                                              1. re: smartie
                                                                tatertotsrock RE: smartie Feb 25, 2008 01:43 PM

                                                                Hello smartie,
                                                                I no longer invite that person to any functions.
                                                                Since then, it's amazing how much more smoothly all of our lives run without this wrench in the spokes.
                                                                Sad to say goodbye, bad hardly missed.

                                                              2. re: tatertotsrock
                                                                charlottecooks RE: tatertotsrock Feb 24, 2008 09:21 PM

                                                                I'm with you there, cannot tell you how many times I get people showing up anywhere from 15 min to 45 min early. To say the least, I am not prepared! I do not want or need their help, or I would have asked in the first place. For some folks I can cut slack, but from others it is just plain disrespectful.

                                                                1. re: charlottecooks
                                                                  tatertotsrock RE: charlottecooks Feb 25, 2008 01:43 PM

                                                                  "For some folks I can cut slack, but from others it is just plain disrespectful"


                                                              3. j
                                                                Janet from Richmond RE: jlube Feb 25, 2008 05:40 AM

                                                                They told you they opened at 6. You drove 2.5 hours without checking what time they open. You expect them to accommodate you because of your poor judgement. I am amazed at your lack of ownership in the fact that you "had" to wait.

                                                                There is a place that serves brunch here (Rich, VA) and the line starts outside 30 minutes or so before opening because it gets so crowded. People wait in heat, cold, snow, rain, etc. Some people actually bring coffee in thermoses and chairs and essentially 'tailgate' while waiting for Millie's Diner to open.

                                                                1. c
                                                                  charlesbois RE: jlube Feb 25, 2008 08:53 AM

                                                                  Are there imperious customers? Yes. Do restaurant workers abuse the tiny amount of power they have for some unknown reason? Yes (I've been guilty of it myself).

                                                                  yawn, what a snooze these arguments are, the old "rules are rules" versus "you're in the SERVICE industry."

                                                                  1. themaddiner RE: jlube Feb 26, 2008 02:43 PM

                                                                    I had an excellent experience at Peasant on my last visit to NYC. Made a res via OpenTable which was honored on the dot and I was seated at the small table for two in the back of the restaurant where I could watch the Chef/Owner in the kitchen. Service was professional and all dishes were well prepared, flavorful and plated with care. I was surprised by the excellent attitude of the staff all the way around. I've worked in restaurants in both the front of the house and kitchen and was very pleased with my Peasant experience.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: themaddiner
                                                                      egit RE: themaddiner Feb 27, 2008 11:33 AM

                                                                      I'm also surprised to hear that they treated the OP rather... brusquely. Sure, the place opens at 6, but I'm not sure whey they unceremoniously kicked them out, either. Then again the OP could have pretty easily gone anywhere else for a quick glass of wine or coffee and timed it more precisely.

                                                                      My only REAL problem with Peasant is their stupid Italian-Only menu. Dude, you're in NYC. At least put a tiny english translation in italics. Very few Americans are fluent in Italian.

                                                                      1. re: egit
                                                                        KTinNYC RE: egit Feb 27, 2008 03:06 PM

                                                                        The Op wasn't kicked out. S/he and their party invited themselves into the restaurant before it was opened.

                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                          ilikefood RE: KTinNYC Feb 27, 2008 03:45 PM

                                                                          KTinNYC - Webster's Dictionary defines "kick out" as "to dismiss or eject forcefully or summarily (done without delay or formality : quickly executed)". Going by jlube's account, that's exactly what the Peasant staffer did.

                                                                          Nearly all of us commenting here, whether we're taking jlube's or Peasants side, are accepting jlube's account of what happened. The reality of what happened may disprove jlube. Unfortunately, we haven't heard fr" a Peasant witness to the incident and we haven't heard any more fr: jlube-Did Someone at Peasant explain and /or apologize to jlube re: the incident? They would have plenty of time because jlube came back and ate.

                                                                          I side with jlube based on his recollection that the door was unlocked, he walked in twice, and there was no explanation fr: Peasant as to why jlube couldn't wait inside. Peasant was at fault for those 2 things combined.

                                                                          1. re: ilikefood
                                                                            fourunder RE: ilikefood Feb 28, 2008 04:57 AM

                                                                            ilike....(to argue)....food,

                                                                            The explanation was given and was very simple both times.......they were closed. No further explanation is needed for reasonable minds.

                                                                            Closed is closed and no service is available.

                                                                            1. re: ilikefood
                                                                              jfood RE: ilikefood Feb 28, 2008 05:46 AM


                                                                              Jfood is one of the people who believe his Bubbi's comment that "there are two sides to every story and then what happened". Jfood is not toally accepting OP version because:

                                                                              - at 5pm OP states "Fine" as to leaving and understanding the 6pm opening time, no mention of rude
                                                                              - "told us we could not stay inside, made us leave" can range from "I'm terribly sorry but we open in 10 minutes and unfortunately we can not allow people inside until that time" to "get your butts out of here like you were told 50 minutes ago." Jfood thinks if it was the latter, OP would have quoted someone. So it was probably somewhere in between.
                                                                              - "we had been walking around all day" and "Traveled 2.5 hours from Philly to visit some restaurants". Now jfood will assume the travelling was done by car or train. OP arrived at 5 after travelling for 2.5 hours, how then were they walking all day?

                                                                              But all of that is noise to the analysis and conclusion. As others and jfood have posited, a restaurant or any business can establish hours of operation. There was a barrier to entry, the door, and just because the lock was not engaged, the bottom line is they were closed.

                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                bibi rose RE: jfood Feb 28, 2008 07:23 AM

                                                                                You know, if someone had posted here that they arrived somewhere 10 minutes early on a cold day, asked to come inside and were denied, I would have thought their reaction was understandable. (Not necessarily right, since businesses have posted hours which people normally honor, but understandable.) But they came early, were told what time the restaurant opened and came back again 10 minutes early. That second time (I love how it was described as a few minutes early) was the icing on the cake. Even before the place was open they'd wasted how much of these employees' time?

                                                                                What is so hard about stepping aside and giving people the time and space to do their jobs? Apparently the food was good so on some level the people at this restaurant know what they're doing.

                                                                      2. streamwise RE: jlube Mar 2, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                                        This doesn't make any sense. Peasant starts accepting reservations for 6pm. If you accept reservations for 6pm, that means the entire staff needs to be essentially ready to go by 5:30, and at least be ready to have reservations showing up at 5:45pm. Granted its NYC, and very few people eat that early, but from what you described it seems as if the manager was either absent or not doing his job, because no customer should be turned away 10 minutes before the restaurant accepts reservations. That's flat out absurd.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: streamwise
                                                                          ccbweb RE: streamwise Mar 2, 2008 07:36 PM

                                                                          Or, the manager's job is to keep customers out until the restaurant is, you know, open. Perhaps they didn't have a 6pm table reserved that night. I'm also not clear why a restaurant needs to be open before they're open to seat diners. If they have to be open X minutes before their first reservation....then there'd be a whole set of people who'd claim "but they're already open, so why couldn't they just seat a walk-in?" And it doesn't end. Businesses have opening times.

                                                                          Also, the OP showed up at 5:50 the _second_ time. There's no reason the OP needed to be back before they opened.

                                                                          1. re: streamwise
                                                                            smartie RE: streamwise Mar 3, 2008 07:40 AM

                                                                            sorry streamwise I do not agree with you. Are you saying that all service industries need to be present and ready half an hour before opening? Does your bank let you in at 8.50am when they open at 9? Of course not. Also, what restaurant or any business for that matter wants to pay their staff for half an hour more than they need to?

                                                                            When you run a restaurant, you schedule your staff to be ready for opening time. Some will be in early such as cooks, dishwashers etc, and others come in at various times, so some servers will be in earlier to do sidework, others will be brought in later, just before opening to be ready to hear specials, quick staff meeting, ready for opening. These later staff will be closers and the openers will go early and not do closing work.

                                                                            Restaurants will work to precision time to open on time. Customers who try to enter too early will just be in the way. You want your staff to have their service head and smile on ready for opening, not running round doing last minute touches with customers already waiting to be seated/

                                                                            1. re: smartie
                                                                              streamwise RE: smartie Mar 4, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                                              If you accept reservations for 6pm, how in the world could one not open the doors till 6pm? You're telling me that restaurants are on such a rigid schedule that they follow time to the minute?? That's totally ridiculous! I bet fully half of reservations show up +/- 15 minutes. In addition, its irrelevant whether they had a 6pm reservation or not.

                                                                              If I show up 10 minutes before they accept reservations, I don't expect to stand out in the cold and have the door locked behind me, especially as it seems that they were turned away solely because someone in FOH were annoyed that they came early twice and decided to flex their insecure ego. Holding infantile grudges against customers is extraordinarily poor restaurant behavior, and whoever was managing that night should have been called out on it. I certainly DON'T expect my table any minute before 6pm and I never was arguing that, but there is little reason why they should not have been allowed to sit at the bar FOR 10 MINUTES, even if they could only drink water. This is neither rocket science nor a new concept, e.g., look at Babbo's hours....their bar opens up 30 minutes before they take reservations every day they are open.

                                                                              So you're telling me that if I show up at 5:20 for my 5:30 reservation at say, Eleven Madison Park, I should expect to wait out in the cold rather than sit at the bar?? I surely hope not!

                                                                              1. re: streamwise
                                                                                ccbweb RE: streamwise Mar 5, 2008 02:49 AM

                                                                                There are, in fact, many possible reasons they shouldn't have been allowed in nor allowed to sit at the bar before the restaurant officially opened for dinner, as have been enumerated in posts above.

                                                                                That Babbo opens their bar at 5:30 sounds brilliant....if this timeline is in place. Fact is, the OP still would have been turned away when they showed up at 5:00pm the first time and if they'd come back at 5:20 instead of 5:50, someone at Babbo may well also have told them that they had to come back in 10 minutes when the restaurant (bar) opened. And this is the point, a business has to have an opening time or it will creep ever earlier on the whim of whoever may happen by, customer or not.

                                                                                1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                  smartie RE: ccbweb Mar 5, 2008 06:24 AM

                                                                                  ccb you make a very good point which streamwise has failed to see. Opening times are opening times. If I make an appointment to see my bank manager at 9am when the bank opens and show up at 8.50am why on earth would they be ready to see me 10 minutes early? The airline check in does not open early to suit earlybirds, Publix doesn't open earlier to suit early arrivals. Not ready is not ready.
                                                                                  When I had my restaurant we opened at noon on Sundays. There were often lines of customers waiting to be seated. Well they just had to wait until noon. Servers were doing sidework, busboys were putting salts and peppers out and making sure tables were clean and set up and maybe last minute vacuuming of the floor. We certainly had a servers meeting a few minutes before opening, hostesses were working out stations and assigning servers to stations. Servers were tasting sauces and soups, we went over desserts. There was plenty to do in the last 20 minutes before opening.

                                                                                2. re: streamwise
                                                                                  cheesemonger RE: streamwise Mar 5, 2008 05:34 AM

                                                                                  The OP states nowhere that they had a reservation. From the account, they were a walk-in.

                                                                                  1. re: streamwise
                                                                                    jes RE: streamwise Mar 5, 2008 12:35 PM

                                                                                    What if the restaurants insurance regs don't allow costumers in early and not that someone was just being nasty? I used to work in the insurance industry and i know that plenty of businesses have different policies that cover their "hours of operations" so if they let some in 10 minutes early that person trips and falls or sometihng like that, the restaurant may not be covered. i dont know anything about the particular restaurn being discussed here and i dont know if the person at the door explained it nicely or rudely or what since i wasnt there jsut pointing out a legitimate reason why a restaurant might not let people in 10 minutes early.

                                                                              2. b
                                                                                Barbecue Joe RE: jlube Mar 3, 2008 01:27 PM

                                                                                There are a number of good arguments here. Sometimes unique situations occur and need to be dealt with on an individual basis. Should they have been let in at 5:00? Not a chance.
                                                                                As a few posters said, they would be in the way and demanding service. Should they have let them in at 5:50? Well maybe they might have been let in, but they already demonstrated a level of entitlement previously at 5:00. So my feeling, is they can wait until the official opening time.
                                                                                I have let people in early. Sometimes they are a PITA, sometimes not. Other times I just don't want to take the gamble, and they have to wait.

                                                                                Something that has not been discussed here in this thread, is liquor law. I don't know about other states, but in AZ. if anyone in the building is consuming alcohol, the front door must be unlocked. It doesn't matter who is drinking. Owner, customer, or employee. So I'm not sure who they saw drinking (at the bar?) or even if it was alcohol, just a possible scenario of why the door was unlocked.
                                                                                But closed is closed.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Barbecue Joe
                                                                                  bi11me RE: Barbecue Joe Mar 5, 2008 06:40 AM

                                                                                  As a GM, I can see two sides to this debate, but only the people who make decisions at Peasant are really qualified to comment on this. Perhaps the last steps prior to opening require an inspection of the premises, or a description to the staff of a proprietary technique or recipe, or someone being disciplined. The OP had no right to enter the restaurant prior to opening, and no justification for writing such a damaging post simply because they were considering their own desires and disregarding and disrespecting the wishes of the proprietor. As the sign on my mechanics' wall states, "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part." I have been involved in fine service for decades, and will do whatever I can to make a customer feel welcome and repeatedly come back, but that doesn't mean I'll do so at the expense of my other customers, or of the employees on whom I rely.

                                                                                2. j
                                                                                  Juliepie RE: jlube Mar 5, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                                                  No does not equal rude.

                                                                                  The temperature outside isn't going to hold any bearing when the establishment loses their insurance or liquor license because they let you in/let you stay in the building outside of the posted business hours.

                                                                                  The person you saw drinking at the bar was more than likely a manager or other staff member peparing for the day.

                                                                                  1. QueenPeach RE: jlube Mar 5, 2008 09:06 AM

                                                                                    What's the big deal? Just wait 10 minutes. I'm an extremely early riser and practically every store I go to in the morning does not open their doors before their opening time. Why does a restaurant have to be tend specifically to your lack in restaurant research? Shopping malls, airlines, movie theatres all follow these same rules and people wait until they open the doors - these businesses also have service people and make a profit off of the customer. They don't open their doors earlier just because you decided to get there early. Why do restaurants have to be bend over backwards for you more than anyone else?

                                                                                    I think the best argument so far though is that it is for insurance purposes.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: QueenPeach
                                                                                      fourunder RE: QueenPeach Mar 5, 2008 09:21 AM


                                                                                      I agree with everything you have said, except the last paragraph. I do not believe insurance is a valid argument and the suggestion businesses use it is a guise to deflect the actual issues at hand in many instances. It's always easier to blame or make reason for decisions on something impersonal. Truth be told, if there were an accident, the insurance factor would kick in at some point, whether open or not, if litigation were initiated..

                                                                                      The issue at hand is the place was closed until 6:00 PM. No one is welcome and service is not available to the public until then.

                                                                                      Any exceptions are at the discretion of ownership and or management and clearly none was given.

                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                      jlube RE: jlube Sep 27, 2008 09:26 AM

                                                                                      Wow....its been a while. I actually forgot about this post and have not checked it until now by chance. I am amazed at what a response it has had...

                                                                                      So to revive it and answer the unanswered, here are a few clarifications:

                                                                                      -We did not have a reservation. nor were we aware of the opening time prior to arrival, perhaps we should have researched more thoroughly. we were just planning on sitting/eating at the bar.
                                                                                      -We arrived in NY earlier in the day to visit a few places, peasant was last on our list.
                                                                                      -We did not want to be seated early, we did not want to be served early.
                                                                                      -We simply wanted to stand by the entrance out of the cold.
                                                                                      -First time we arrived, staff was hanging out by the bar, as if already set up.
                                                                                      -Second time, staff was doing the same.
                                                                                      -working in the business, i am well aware of what pre-service work entails. It was clear that the room was set up and that the staff was ready to go.
                                                                                      -I am not unaware to the fact that we chose to return early...we were cold, tired and just wanted to get indoors.
                                                                                      -The person at the bar was a friend of the bartender. or an off duty employee...learned later when we sat at the bar and hear their interactions with the staff. The owner was not present.
                                                                                      -The MOD appeared to be a server/manager/supervisor
                                                                                      -food was good, not memorable
                                                                                      -service after sitting was mediocre at best. we sat and ate at the bar. staff was lingering at bar, gossiping, talking about their crazy weekend of srinking and hanging out with the person that was at the bar prior to our arrival.
                                                                                      -the same j/o that turned us away both times was apparantly so "busy" hanging out that he did not have time to remove his jacket from the top of the bar prior to opening. It was only after another customer asked if someone was sitting there that he realized and took his coat to the coat room.
                                                                                      -the only reason we returned was because this visit was part of our plans from the beginning.
                                                                                      -I am in the restaurant business. We were visiting NY to research a few places for a new concept that was being developed.
                                                                                      -in my restaurant, never would I turn someone away who arrived early.
                                                                                      -people arrive early all the time, and we allow them to wait in the bar area.
                                                                                      -i am well aware of the "rules" of dining, just thought this particular situation was a bit ridiculous and offensive given the circumstance.

                                                                                      -to those opposed, i understand the arguments. it woud however have done the restaurant no harm to let my friend and I stand by the door for a few minutes instead of watching us stand in the cold while they hung out.


                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jlube
                                                                                        adamshoe RE: jlube Sep 27, 2008 05:08 PM

                                                                                        As a former owner/bartender .... I'd occasionally let people in before our "official" opening time and I'd always regret doing so. As previous posters have stated, people ALWAYS want something even tho I said "no-one is here to take care of you yet" Just a glass of water or maybe some bread and a glass of wine. Did you not hear me when I said "no-one is here etc.?? " Yes, the door may be un-locked (to allow staff and delivery peeps access), but the sign is still flipped to read "CLOSED"!! Closed is closed just like no means NO!! It would always put me in a snit just when I was trying to go to my "Happy Place" before a nite of hard work. Don't show up early and just feel ENTITLED to be let into a place of business.
                                                                                        P.S. 6:00 is NOT a little late for a NY resto to be opening. What the hell time do you eat at, anyway??

                                                                                        1. re: adamshoe
                                                                                          jlube RE: adamshoe Sep 27, 2008 07:35 PM

                                                                                          who said it was late...? not I. this was our last stop of a long day of resto going...we needed to get back to philly early, so we figured we'd eat early...meh

                                                                                          1. re: jlube
                                                                                            queencru RE: jlube Sep 28, 2008 05:08 AM

                                                                                            I'll admit I am used to the practices in an warmer area, but I can't say I've ever been let in early if I arrive before the stated opening time. If the doors happen to be open, the staff usually tells me to wait outside until they're ready for us. Even if they look ready in the front, they may not be ready in the parts you cannot see from the door.

                                                                                            1. re: queencru
                                                                                              fourunder RE: queencru Sep 28, 2008 10:42 AM

                                                                                              The fact that the OP states he was researching Peasant and is in the industry really makes me wonder why he was not more understanding of the situation. The following comments also makes me wonder if he even realizes his assumptions and actions were selfish on his part and without regard to what was already explained to him regarding the opening time of 6 PM. If he truly felt he was wronged and the lack of hospitality shown him was offensive, why would he further his research anything about Peasant to incorporate into a future endeavor of his. This recent follow-up really does not clear any issues he had, but instead proves he has an ax to grind. From the original post my take is he was insulted with the treatment from not being allowed to wait inside and instead asked to wait outside in the cold. The follow up attacks much more and questions the following much more critically......incredibly seven months later:

                                                                                              1. the staff and their actions
                                                                                              2. a patron or off duty employee at the bar
                                                                                              3. food is described as good....not memorable
                                                                                              4. service was mediocre

                                                                                              -working in the business, i am well aware of what pre-service work entails. It was clear that the room was set up and that the staff was ready to go.
                                                                                              -I am not unaware to the fact that we chose to return early...we were cold, tired and just wanted to get indoors.
                                                                                              i am well aware of the "rules" of dining, just thought this particular situation was a bit ridiculous and offensive given the circumstance.

                                                                                              The only thing I can surmise from this is the OP was not happy with the way he was treated back in February and in turn has decided to lambaste Peasant. He has clearly stated he did not agree with the way he asked to wait outside in the cold and instead would never treat anyone of his customers in the same situation. With the exception of the "food was good..." comment, all other commentary was negative, he admits to eavesdropping and thus, the research he originally intended instead became his mission to look for miscues.

                                                                                              I for one do not believe this is a fair account of the events back in February and question the motive for the original post and follow up response. There is more to this story than simply being asked to wait outside until the restaurant officially opened at 6 PM, and not agreeing with that policy.

                                                                                              1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                jfood RE: fourunder Sep 28, 2008 11:26 AM

                                                                                                jfood agrees.

                                                                                                A fly-by trashing in February that many of us thought back then was an incorrect post. Then the OP returns and does it again with additional data that convinces jfood more that there is an axe to grind.

                                                                                                After nine months he still writes "the same j/o that turned us away both times was apparantly so "busy" hanging out that he did not have time to remove his jacket from the top of the bar prior to opening". Notice he spelled "apparantly" with "rant" not rent - thank you Dr. Freud

                                                                                                Unfortunately this will only cause many people on CH to take the OP's future posts with a grain of salt.

                                                                                      2. TrishUntrapped RE: jlube Sep 28, 2008 10:05 AM


                                                                                        The next time you are in town, try Scarpetta (although you will likely need a rezzie if you want the dining room)...

                                                                                        We arrived early for our 5:30 reservation. Yes, some places DO open that early... We were allowed to sit at the bar, even though they weren't officially open. (Some FOH staff was sitting at a table in the dining room when we arrived, having either a bite to eat or meeting, so the dining room was off limits).

                                                                                        The bartender was very pleasant and ready to prepare drinks for us. We also watched as a server brought out fresh, homemade potato chips for the bar.

                                                                                        So Scarpetta wasn't ready...but they were willing and able. Just decent manners.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                          invinotheresverde RE: TrishUntrapped Sep 28, 2008 01:20 PM

                                                                                          Those are two totally different situations. The bar at Scarpetta opens at 4:00, so obviously they served you.

                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                            jfood RE: invinotheresverde Sep 28, 2008 01:33 PM

                                                                                            Confirmation from their site


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