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Servers fired over Washington Post chat posting

n
newhavener07 Jan 27, 2010 09:57 AM

Did anyone follow this issue in Tom Seitsma's chats in the past few weeks? Basically a poster reported that a waitress at a D.C. restaurant called PS 7 had fumbled a few things, then sampled a drink after a diner said it wasn't very good. The restaurant's owner read the post, made an attempt to verify it with no luck, and then summoned all the female waitstaff at the restaurant and told them if no one confessed, they would all be fired. They were all fired.
Wow, does that bring back my waitressing days--being completely at the mercy of managers who can range from tolerable to raving psycho. No due process, no fairness, no recourse. Who says this posting was even true?
Luckily, two of the women had already found new jobs at last report.
It stirred up quite a bit of outrage in the chat--what do D.C. chowhounders think?

  1. k
    KosherHound Jan 28, 2010 05:59 PM

    That seems awfully crazy to me. How did that manager manage to have enough waitstaff if he fired (presumably a large portion of) his staff?

    1. a
      AAQjr Jan 28, 2010 11:38 PM

      Trying to kill a fly with a bazooka.

      It's best to just remove the drink and offer a replacement or to take it off the bill. Who cares if the drink was made properly or not. It's not relevant to the guests experience.

      You also need to make sure the staff is properly trained on how to handle that stuff. But to fire the entire FOH staff is way excessive and says more about your management and training skills. I would vote to take my dollars else ware.

      1. MandalayVA Jan 29, 2010 08:13 AM

        It couldn't have been that upsetting if the patron didn't report the incident to the management at the time. Supposedly one of the four that was fired confessed after the firing that it might have been her per the owner's post and another did get her job back at PS7 but a lot of people are calling for a boycott. Another pretentious DC restaurant that I won't go to...

        1. m
          MakingSense Jan 29, 2010 08:53 AM

          My opinion: the manager is a nut, and should not be in the hospitality business.
          Every restaurant gets some bad reviews. Some justified, some not.
          The bad ones may be a single instance, or they could point out real problems that need correction - immediately. For those, a manager should actually be grateful. It gives him a chance to improve operations.

          The single unjustified complaint requires a thick skin. Every place gets them at some time or another.
          Owners that I know can sometimes even recognize the particular customer who had given them trouble and refused to be satisfied, even when they bent over backwards.
          Some of those people are often the most likely to post scathing comments on Yelp!, Tom Seitsma's chats, or elsewhere. Readers should be able to read between the lines.

          How bad was this problem at PS7 anyway? A few fumbles that might have been explained by a new staffer? Why the waitress sipped the drink is anybody's guess but it's not as if she expected them to drink it after her, or that she argued with them over their judgment. She still should not have done it.

          A simple discussion of the incident with staff should have sufficed. No need for this manager to go nuclear. He's the one who should be canned.
          The manager did more harm to the restaurant than the original posting.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense
            MandalayVA Jan 29, 2010 11:10 AM

            IIRC it was the owner who did the firing.

            1. re: MakingSense
              s
              Steve Jan 30, 2010 07:55 AM

              I agree wholeheartedly.

            2. Bob W Jan 29, 2010 09:53 AM

              Long and thoughtful discussion on www.donrockwell.com, an excellent DC-centric message board:

              http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bob W
                n
                newhavener07 Jan 29, 2010 11:50 AM

                I'm outraged, and can't believe the owner's paranoid, paternalistic, sexist attitude. The poster on WP said they still had a good time at the meal! The original posting was ANONYMOUS, so it the complaint could have been made up out of whole cloth. From now on, I'm going to be more careful with my online observations about service, knowing there are idiot owners out there like this guy.

                1. re: newhavener07
                  o
                  ospreycove Oct 11, 2010 11:20 AM

                  sounds similiar to the reprisals during wwII" o.k. you won't give up the partisan then the whole village gets executed.'

              2. m
                mselectra Jan 30, 2010 10:24 AM

                FYI, there was already a CH thread about this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683622

                For those outside the DC area, PS7 has the reputation for perhaps the best cocktails in the area and is recommended very frequently on our local board. I love(d) going to the bar, although the food never seemed as interesting to me as to other DC CH posters.

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