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May 7, 2009 07:31 AM

Potenza's customer service

So, I've been going to Potenza several times a week now for coffee since they opened up across the street from my work.

And since I only drink maybe half a cup of coffee a day, my coworker usually tags along, and we share a cup. I buy, I pour him half my cup into a styrofoam cup he brings with him from work and he uses cream and sugar (I drink it black).

I didn't think anything of this practice: Sure, we could each buy a cup but we both end up throwing away half of even a Starbucks' "short" coffees and I hate waste.

This morning, we do the usual and were braced by someone I assume to be the general manager outside on the sidewalk. He accused me of paying for a cup of coffee and then basically "stealing" a second cup w/ refills.

When I explained myself to him, his sarcastic reply was: "well, then I guess my employee is lying." And when I told him I didn't even think refills were available, he said that well, they're not.


I just don't get it. Sure, I understand his motivation: I used to run a small business for fifteen years and I understand his concern over even minor things like this. But why be so obstinate when I explain myself to him? Especially when I am not taking anything that I did not pay for (as I said above, we even bring a cup).

As it turned out, my friend was less understanding and went in and gave them a dollar - needless to say, I will not be going back. With so many choices around, why give even a dollar to an establishment that offers an unpleasant demeanor to its customers?

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  1. I think this is a perfect example of restaurant managers and chefs, thinking that they are dealing with an “Issue” rather than someone who involves themselves in Foodie blogs.
    I hear about this all the time, where someone that works at a restaurant say something to a customer and they don’t realize, not only might have they lost a paying customer, they also activated a voice, that might speak out to several potential new customers.

    I would have told him where he could put his coffee and called Dan Mesches one of the owners and told him what an inferior piece of S#*t he has working for him!

    2 Replies
    1. re: themeatguy

      Well, I don't know but the "manager" type who came out to talk to us was a heavy set man with glasses. It's funny - when I got my coffee, I poured out half the cup into my friend's cup in front of everyone, and then went back to the rack to return the extra lid I'd grabbed by mistake!

      I don't know... as I mentioned, I owned a business for fifteen years before I changed careers and went to law school and if I was the owner or manager, I would have told the customer not to bother bringing a cup next time and that we will provide two cups for a small coffee to share.

      Where and how else are you going to buy good will from at least one person for the 0.5 cents a coffee cup costs?

      1. re: arlingtonstomache

        Just a FYI and update. Dan Mesches replied to my email and apologized for the incident. He also asked if we could meet, to which I responded that I didn't think it worth taking the time over what amounts to a half a cup of coffee (I was also going out of town).

        All in all, a professional response to a complaint.