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Jul 25, 2011 09:10 AM

AOC Open table spotlight drama and rude service

I purchased the brunch spotlight deal last week and we had brunch there last sat. We were there at 10 AM and even though only three other tables were occupied, we were seated right next to another couple with maybe ten inches between us. As per instruction of the deal, we handed our certificate to the server and ordered our food. As we were eating our food, one of the staff came over and told us that they couldn't find our deal in their system and we should call open table and sort it out!!! I was shocked at the rude interruption and she really ruined our brunch. The couple next to us mentioned that was the only reason they were there and asked her to check into their deal. I finished my dish and called the open table and after a couple of tries I spoke to a guy and he told me to send an email to open table and they never had any problems with any deals before. As I was waiting to talk to him, I noticed the female staff told another couple she couldn't find their deal!!! We were ready to pay our bill and leave and the staff member came over with her list and said she printed a new list and found our number on the list. Well it was too late lady, you managed to ruin a few people's brunch. What ever happend to customer service and not interrupting people when they are eating their food. She should have double checked her info before confronting people. The food was good, coffee over priced and bad and that lady really put a bad taste in our mouth.

8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

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  1. AOC's room's getting tired, as is their finicky FOH. We had their brunch during the first weekend they offered the "new" menu, and would rather chill at Olio if we had to brunch on 3rd. The food's fine, but no longer the vanguard of LA cuisine.

    Sad about the opentable debacle. Don't offer it if you're not going to honour it. If honouring it, don't make it a freakin' hassle.

    8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    1. I bought an OpenTable coupon for dinner, to be used sometime soon. I'll make a point of saying so when I make the reservation

      1. We recently had a very bad experience at their sister restaurant Lucques. Tried to e-mail but their mailbox was full. After trying for several days I finally called and discussed the issue with "The Manager". He said that he would investigate and get back to me. I also let him know about the full mailbox situation. I waited a week or so and nothing happened. Tried to e-mail again but the mailbox was still full. Called again and got somebody who said that they were sorry and would comp us a dinner. Pretty pathetic followup and we won't be back. This is what kills restaurants. It is not always that the public gets tired of the same menu and wants to try the newest place. Sometimes established restaurants become apathetic and unprofessional with regards to professionalism and service. Maybe the owners need to pay more attention on a regular basis.

        8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

        5 Replies
        1. re: rnp0123

          Their *email* mailbox was *full*? I could understand voicemail being full, but email? If their email mailbox was full, god help us all ... anyone using an email system in the last ten+ years that gets "full" must be so technologically illiterate that they can't possibly be capable of running a business.

          1. re: rnp0123

            We've had bad service at Lucques several years ago & have never returned. Not surprised AOC's FOH is run the same way, with rude servers & incompetent managers.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              I have always had good to excellent service there.

              1. re: will47

                I have had excellent food and service at all of Suzanne Goin's restaurants. Carolyn Styne is S. Goin's partner and you better believe that she has her pulse on everything which goes on in those restaurants; FOH and BOH and everything in-between. I suggest contacting her when or if there is a problem. Carolyn is a class act.

              2. re: Phurstluv

                I've had great service on my 4-6 or so visits to AOC (admittedly last visit about 2 years ago) and one horrible experience at Lucques where they put as at that awkward seat in the hallway and refused to move us even though we requested. Go figure.

                8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

            2. Things always get lost in the translation, but I don't really see that the way they handled it was so bad. If I were in that situation, I would want the restaurant to let me know as soon as possible that there was an issue with the deal, so that if it took time to fix I could be sure that I could do it before I left and had to pay the full price. And so that if I couldn't fix it, I could adjust my ordering accordingly. Now I would want them to be discrete and polite about it all, and maybe they weren't.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Capybara

                So you like to be interrupted while you are in the middle of your meal? What is the use of that? You have alrady ordered the food and they should wait until you are finished and double check their info before bothering you. She was not discret and actualy very rude about it plus the place is so small that the whole restaurant knew what was going on. She interrupted the couple behind us before the lady took her first bite and the whole time we were there, she was on the phone with open table in the back and her partner was eating in a shame while all this was going on.

                1. re: mrsjoujou

                  There is never a good time to give bad news. But, waiting until after your meal and then being charged/paying more than you expected, you're not going to be happy in that situation either.

                  Though, there is no excuse for any restaurant to be rude.

                  1. re: mrsjoujou

                    Since you asked, yes, I prefer to be get the news sooner, so that I can choose whether to deal with it then when it might make a difference, or else wait and enjoy my meal first. In addition, AOC is a small plates place, and often the ordering is done in phases, so that even after food has been ordered, more often is ordered later.

                    I also wonder if the delay in getting ahold of the correct list of people who had purchsed the deal was AOC's, or Open Table's. No way to tell from the information you present. It sounds to me as if Open Table had not updated the list in sufficient time. (After all, AOC seemed to spend more time actually trying to deal with the problem than did the person at Open Table you finally got through to.)

                    I should say that I haven;t been to AOC in a long time, and hold them in no particular favor.

                    In any case, the way they handled it obviously put you off, so, for you at least, it was badly handled. I still would prefer getting the news sooner rather than later, myself.

                    8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                    1. re: Capybara

                      there is no reason for rude. Aside from ordering and paying, when else should they have told you? Middle of the meal is most of the visit.

                    2. re: mrsjoujou

                      Sorry, but this just sounds crazy and petty to me. One is often interrupted in the middle of meal for all kinds of reasons and it has never spoiled any meal for me.

                      Rude is in the eyes of the beholder. I have witnessed a patron be incredibly rude to a server, demeaning and downright nasty and then have the temerity to complain to her friend how rude the server was

                      1. re: scottca075

                        I am with Scott, and in fact, where my wallet is concerned, I want restaurants to be open and transparent. If there is a possibility that my meal will cost more than I think it is costing, I want to know, so that I can make whatever choices necessary--either order less or pay more. And, where my time is concerned, I am similarly appreciative about knowing if there is a problem sooner rather than later. So much better that it would be worked out while I was eating, instead of being forced to wait around after the meal is done to resolve it. Sometimes there are issues that are either out of the restaurant's hands, or take time to resolve. I wouldn't fault a restaurant for trying to keep you apprised while solving the problem.

                    3. re: Capybara

                      i'm with you on this issue, Capybara.
                      if something is going wrong, i want as much time as possible to correct it.
                      tell me SOONER rather than later.

                    4. OK people come down. I was there and experienced the whole thing, not you. If she would have told us about the problem nicely and in a low voice, I would have been fine with it. It is just the way she talked to us was very demeaning.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: mrsjoujou

                        Yeah, I am shocked at the apologists in the room here. Your description of the situation makes it blindingly obvious that *AOC* and not *you* should have noticed a problem and gone completely out of their way to check the deals with Open Table before they even talked to you. Think about it ... if you're the manager at a restaurant, and a customer hands you or one of your waiters a deal, and the deal doesn't appear to be in your system, you better be damned sure that you know what you are talking about if you are going to accuse the customer of making a mistake.

                        Ugh, I see this time and time again, restaurant staff that begrudgingly accepts pre-arranged deals. It's very, very simple: restaurants, if you don't like honoring deals, then DON'T OFFER THEM. How is that so hard to get? And restaurant staff: if you are in any position other than one that decides if your place makes deals, then you should *always* accept the deals with a *smile*. And if you're the manager who decided to offer the deal, then it's your own doing in the first place.

                        1. re: QualityMart

                          I am shocked you accept mrs joujou's version as gospel.

                          1. re: scottca075

                            Yeah. Rude is, to some extent, a matter of personal tolerance, and we have no idea what mrsjoujou's tolerance level is. I do believe AOC dropped the ball when it came to being aware of, and honoring, the OpenTable deal.

                            I'm sorry mrsjoujou had an unpleasant experience. I have no frame of reference by which to challenge her interperetation of events - I wasn't there, and I don't know her, so there is no way to determine whether she's trustworthy in her interpretation, or if she's just too thin-skinned. What I can say is, challenging someone else's personal preference of being told about a snafu as soon as possible ("What is the use of that?"), and the tone of her posts (especially the last one, with its condescending "come [sic] down" and all, despite her own posts being the least "calm"), make her come across to me as a little unreasonable, and don't really make me want to take her side.

                            Besides, the restaurant staff has no way to know that is her (or anyone's) preference. It's a no-win situation for them. Either they try to sort it out ASAP, in which case people like mrsjoujou are unhappy, or they wait until the end, in which case people who would rather deal with it sooner are unhappy. They're basically rolling the dice either way.

                            Again, they didn't handle the deal well, but I'm not going to write AOC off based on this. I've always been treated extremely well when I've gone. I haven't seen anything close to a history of consistently poor service.

                            People who complain the loudest also tend to be the least reasonable.

                            1. re: mrhooks

                              Well said.

                              I am in the camp that would rather know sooner.

                          2. re: QualityMart

                            Yes. I've been embarrassed by a couple restaurants either "missing my information" or treating me poorly because I used a certificate. One proprietor went so far as to tell me that he made a poor decision offering the discount and wanted to back out of it. I had to haggle him in to honoring it. Restaurants do these deals because they make economic sense. If they didn't, they wouldn't do them, so stop shaming your customers. And if for some reason you feel the deal doesn't make sense, you made a bad business decision -- your bad, not the customers'. Any restaurant that humiliates me loses my business forever. And that doesn't make economic sense -- I spend a lot of money on food.

                            1. re: kdraggy86

                              Whenever I use a special coupon or certificate or what have you my wife invariably pipes up to say "Oh, no. The stigma card!"'ll get you every damn time... ;-D>

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Haha. What a hilarious background image that would be for these certificates.

                          3. re: mrsjoujou

                            I agree with mrsjoujou - big time. Not counting fast food, I go to a restaurant not just for the food, but for the service - for the experience of being waited on and served. I like to be uninterrupted. AOC is off my list for places to try. It is also embarrassing to have to confront the staff over the bill or the "deal." I am cautious over these so called "deals." They are often more a hassle than they are worth.