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Sigh. Boston restaurants, PLEASE learn some common sense when it comes to social media


I don't work in Public Relations any more but I know there are lots of PR people in this city who would love to take your money to teach you how NOT to engage with people on social media. Please, do it. For everyone's sake. But most of all for yours.

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  1. Comedy gold! Thanks for sharing.

    Amazing how this kind of cluelessness persists in industry PR. I mean, when the (now ex-)chef from Union starts sniping back at his amateur critics, that's one thing: his job is to cook, not worry about the customer engagement side of things, and he was quickly muzzled by his bosses. But when alleged PR pros engage in it, telling a customer "GFY"? Jaw-dropping.

    (At least I hope this was a PR flack, and not Orfaly himself.)

    Any bets on the "Our account was hacked" excuse being floated in the wake of this fiasco?


    18 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Hmm, I read it as coming from Marc, and I get it. When someone is criticizing your livelihood and your best efforts, it's hard to not react viscerally. But great chefs aren't necessarily great communicators and people who are passionate about their calling don't always understand that it's not always smart to let that passion get directed outside of the kitchen. I wouldn't want a PR person in the kitchen and vice versa.

      1. re: Chris VR

        Yep, on closer inspection, it does look like it's coming directly from Orfaly. And yes, while the emotion is understandable, acting on it online is really counterproductive, potentially far worse for the business than the original complaint.

        The lesson here might be, "Don't drink and Facebook, kids."


        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Well that's exactly it! With the way Facebook is set up these days, probably nobody would have seen the complaint, or their response to it. But by putting a new post in their feed, from them, they guaranteed visibility for both the complaint and their awful responses to it. Bad bad bad and a side of bad. With some bad sauce.

          1. re: Chris VR

            It looks like the customer posted it on the Pigalle feed, and not the other way around.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              The customer posted first but it probably would have passed unnoticed by Pigalle's fans if Pigalle's hadn't then made their own post about it, calling attention to it.

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            You took the words right off of my keyboard. That is probably what was going on here IMO. (coupled with Orflay (or whoever) being thin skinned and a d-bag)

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Agree. The reflexive impassioned emotion invokes an immediate lash-out, but after a night's sleep, good business sense and damage control should kick in.

          3. re: MC Slim JB

            It sure reads as if the owner or chef was the one posting. ("I don't want your money.")

            Couple of other things:

            - Post says that 98 out of 100 left happy. Who's the other unhappy customer and have the police found the body yet?

            - My grade school English teacher *would of* blanched at some of the grammar in those posts.

            - Strangely, I actually have some odd respect for the chef telling someone saying the dessert tasted like vomit to go screw. That kind of passion makes me want to taste the food more. But maybe I am a masochist.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              It's funny, I see threads here on Chowhound, and those posts echo the sentiment, saying "if you have an issue, say something while you're at the restaurant, at the time." But if I've had a truly awful meal or even just one dish, reading these responses from the restaurant just confirm my thoughts that the last thing I want to do is bring it up to a temperamental chef and have that sort of interaction at the restaurant.

              1. re: Chris VR

                The customer did try to tell the server, but got no response.

              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                "Post says that 98 out of 100 left happy. Who's the other unhappy customer and have the police found the body yet?"


                Man. Whoever was posting for Pigalle, the comments are so completely, astonishingly over-the-top that I want to clap. Obviously the poster is a total asshole, but part of me wants to respect this total lack of restraint. Whoever this person was is just burning the house down here.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  On the other hand, I find myself with zero desire to eat at a restaurant whose chef tells someone "Judging by how fat your face looks , you most Likely shouldn't be eating anymore desserts anyway" [sic] Particularly when they're addressing this comment to someone who doesn't appear to be fat at all.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      For the record, I have eaten at Pigalle once - Jenny Ondioline and I enjoyed a very good August Restaurant Week dinner there in 2007: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4291... As stated in my review, I don't think I would have gone again anyway, because it just wasn't my kind of place, but this seals the deal.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    As soon as I read the word "vomit" describing a dish in a restaurant review, it immeadiately discredits that review to me. I'm sorry, but the word "vomit" is over-the-top hyperbolic, trite, and completely unhelpful. I've eaten in many countries, in homes, in restaurants high and low, and have a hard time believing the pie tasted like vomit. Therefore, the review is dead to me. As are many Yelp reviews.

                    1. re: Klunco

                      The food that tastes most like vomit is my favorite cheese, Cabot aged cheddar.


                      1. re: Luther

                        Hahaha, touché. BTW, if you're a fan of the standard aged, try the clothbound cheddar, vomit galore.

                2. Complete , with , bizarre use ,, of punctuation and spacing that indicates the poster isn't super comfortable with English and/or the internet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Luther

                    They were probably replying using a phone or a similar device. It's hard to punctuate properly when trying to type on those wee screens.

                  2. Never been to Pigalle, but this kind of behavior/language/reaction, combined with recently running a Bloomspot promotion, makes me wonder if there are some bigger issues going on.

                    1. was the link taken down? doesn't open

                      7 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          That is both funny and tragic. I wish she had come back to explain how the rest of the meal was terrible. Or was it just the lack of traditional pie that ruined her holiday?

                        2. re: Bellachefa

                          Yep, it's been deleted, and the relevant posts on Pigalle's FB page are gone as well. Eater's got it now: http://boston.eater.com/archives/2012...

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            Still going unabated on their FB page.

                            Shame on ownership for getting into an ugly squabble with a customer. They could have just deleted the comments.


                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                              So while Chef Marc was at home with his family, Dishwasher Marc was manning the kitchen! LOL!

                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                  They deleted it everything and just posted about their burger. A few of the initial comments:
                                  "Does it taste like vomit?"
                                  "I have a fat face, may i have dessert? I do like vomit, in case you're wondering."


                            2. I think all the attention probably crashed the wealovebeantown servers, wherever it's hosted.

                              1. A turkey dinner for two cost $200?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Veggo

                                  At Pigalle? Entirely plausible. Their 3-course prix fixe dinner was $65 per person; add in tax, tip, and drinks, and that would hit $200 pretty easily.

                                  My own RW dinner there 5 years ago ended up at $130 for two (*before* tax/tip), even though RW menus are under $35 - add in a couple of $12 cocktails and a half-bottle of wine, and suddenly there you are.

                                2. Hey, cool, I can cross Pigalle off of my "eat here someday" list.

                                  1. And it's made Consumerist.com (sister site to Consumer Reports)


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: L2k

                                      Still going strong on their Facebook page. The owners keep posting side posts trying to be cute. One blames the customer for not complaining directly. Another offers a new Sunday night special that they promise won't include turkey. meanwhile people are starting to chime in angrily. No matter how negative the customer was, no one deserves to be told repeatedly to go fuck themselves for their opinion. This will NOT end well.

                                    2. After reading those crass comments of his I would never set foot in the place. Drinking or not - he showed his true colors.

                                      1. I felt a little bad when I recently posted a harshly negative review of Marc Orfaly's other restaurant in the North End, "Marco", even though it was posted to an existing thread that began with an equally harsh review.

                                        Somehow I don't feel bad anymore. Not at all.

                                        And I see folks referring to Orfaly as a "great chef", if not a great communicator. I have to ask, have you eaten his food? 'Cause he communicates as well as he cooks.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                          I defended Marco in that thread and feel more than a little bad having done so now... I'll never go there again after this. I've been to Pigalle once and had a good meal but won't be returning.

                                          Agreed with others that diners should take their complaints to someone before they leave but this response was truly unwarranted.

                                        2. WOW!!

                                          Add me to the list of those who wont step through Pigalle's door.

                                          1. wowza. whatever the original customer said, this has got to be one of the most unprofessional things I've ever seen.

                                            1. Count me in as thinking this whole thing is a hack job.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                It's unsettling to watch a business melt-down, precipitated by a slice of pumkin pie.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  I get the feeling Pigalle is struggling. I noticed they have significantly increased their frequency of 1,000 point Open Table reservations as of late which is never a good sign. I suppose all the more reason to treat all customers, whether potential ones, dissatisfied ones etc. like gold.

                                                2. re: Bellachefa

                                                  Bella...It's real. They are furiously deleting posts on FB now with no explanation. If it was a hack job, they would have claimed it as so by now. This was a small minded chef/owner gone wild.

                                                    1. re: Swankalicious

                                                      Thanks swank. I guess I was being hopeful. We've all said things we regret. That his rage hadn't subsided with the rising sun is perhaps the most disturbing part of this story and could be the final nail in his kitchen's coffin.

                                                  1. re: FinnFPM

                                                    Thanks for posting that link, as I am not on facebook. They're both chubby faced wackadoodles. Were they once lovers?

                                                    1. Now there's a full apology on the FB page. Too little too late?

                                                      5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gabatta

                                                          It would appear so, given most of the comments on it. I don't think Marc knows yet just how bad he stepped in it. If, as people have been hinting for a while hereabouts, Pigalle was already on a downward slope, this could potentially be what finishes them off.

                                                        2. re: total13

                                                          If the food's exceptional and customer service is otherwise solid, I'd say the apology is "good enough." After all, it was a rude, immature, and over-the-top response (okay, series of responses) to a rude, immature, and over-the-top customer comment. Sandy handled it poorly. The chef handled it very poorly. Neither one comes out smelling like a rose. I hope the chef/owner learned a lesson about customer service. It's not merely his restaurant and reputation on the line, but also the livelihoods of the people who work for him.

                                                          ETA: P.S. that's my completely uninformed opinion all the way from Minneapolis!


                                                          1. re: total13

                                                            Would you call it... an Orfalogy?

                                                            1. re: total13

                                                              It's what they had to do, but the fact that he suddenly discovered how to use proper grammar between last night and this afternoon isn't lost on anyone. The chef stepped in it and a PR firm is obviously trying to do cleanup duty. I do so wish he'd just ignored it, or deleted it and really hope other owners/chefs learn from this. Whether it's on Chowhound, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter or whatever is going to get invented next, don't let people goad you into something like this. You're the one who suffers in the end.

                                                            2. If a restaurant is good, it will have more positive reviews than bad ones. Some of these fine dining places charge so much money per meal that I want to ensure it's going to be good the one time I go there. Reviews help me acknowledge that. If a place is wildly inconsistent they are clearly not doing a good job. Writing reviews holds a restaurant accountable for each and every experience they provide, and more often than not hopefully those are good experiences. Chef Marc could take a note from other restaurants and either ignore this one comment or even offer the person to come in for another meal to try another dessert that may be more to their liking.

                                                              The consumers have a scary amount of power in the restaurant business now and it scares average restaurants while the best restaurants prosper greatly.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: AaronInBoston

                                                                The frustration on the chef's side doubtless comes from the fact that yes, amateur reviewers are gaining more power, but not all reviewers are fair, reasonable, or honest about their experiences. The miserable customer who looks to find fault because he get pleasure from complaining will never be really pleased, yet his online review carries as much weight as the reviewer who had a reasonable complaint about service, aired it directly in-person appropriately, and still did not get satisfaction, so has a right to pen an unflattering online comment or review.

                                                                That's got to be galling. But it doesn't change the fact that engaging in that kind of online slap-fight is hurtful to the business. There are cheaper ways to work out that frustration, and taking the right approach, which amounts to killing them with kindness, actually has a way of turning problem customers into loyal fans.


                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                  Exactly -- the original FB reviewer's post was angry, outrageous, and over-the-top; getting sworn at and insulted was like throwing gasoline on a fire. A smart business owner knows how to defuse this sort of thing rather than inflame it. A simple post saying "We're very sorry you didn't enjoy your food. Please return as our guest whenever you like and we'll make sure your pie is 100% vomit-free," (or something along these lines) would have taken care of everything.

                                                                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                    We (chowhounds) should start a restaurant consulting business.

                                                              2. Rule #1 never reply to angry customer comments at 2:00am, after working a 12 hour stint in the kitchen and consuming your usual five or six bottles of wine.

                                                                Just like drunk driving and drunk dialing, drunk posting is a bad idea, just don't do it.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                  Rule #2 Don't wake up after foolishly PUI (posting under the influence) and toss a few more logs on the fire to fuel the flames, especially when you have 3 chins.

                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                    Y'all know that Christmas song We Three Kings?

                                                                    We three chins of Marc Orfaly
                                                                    attacked a patron who's name is Sandy. . . .

                                                                2. An amusingly similar thing going on in London, although this chef has Michelin stars if that means anything. People, step away from the twitter and FaBo.


                                                                  1. Wait...it gets worse...the link above didn't contain the ENTIRE interaction...THIS blog entry has the whole thing, and it's just crazy...


                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mwk

                                                                      Yikes... he spelled palate "pallet"

                                                                    2. In a business sense it was dumb for him to respond to the woman, but man, if someone said something I worked hard on was like vomit in a public forum I would be pissed. You can't say something like that to someone and then be indignant when they respond harshly.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kinopio

                                                                        Whatever the catalyst, I think the guys true (arrogant) colors are showing. No matter how angry I was I don't think it would be in my mind the classify customers as "uneducated, unintelligent, unpolished human beings". It is really unbelievable.

                                                                        1. re: Kinopio

                                                                          Paper is useful here. You can vent your spleen and then destroy the evidence, and proceed to a sensible response.

                                                                        2. Well he managed to rally a few of his friends to post kind things on their facebook page today but then comes the stunning announcement that he must habe BOUGHT HER OFF.

                                                                          They are now chummie facebook friends with each other and she is encouraging all of us to eat there!

                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                            Where is that announced? I see that Sandy has posted in the comments of this Eater story about how she and Orfaly are all chummy now... http://boston.eater.com/archives/2012...


                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              He MUST have paid her a ton to make nicey nice now. What a buffoon.

                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                And I bet her customers, she owns a "kids cook" type place, was getting hurt. Maybe Marc will review it now, lol

                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                  People need to be alerted about her facebook behavior before they allow their children within a country mile of her. He may be a rage-aholic chef, but he's not in the business of mentoring kids. From her website.

                                                                                  Our classes are in partnership with local Community Centers and Park and Recreations. We also offer Birthday Parties, Boy and Girl Scouts cooking badges and school enrichment programs.

                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                    Which is why I speculate she is now so quick to make nice. Keeping this alive much longer would have meant the eyes of the media, social and otherwise, would soon be on her and her business.

                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                      "KITCHEN KIDS mission is to introduce children to the joys of creative cooking.Kids will be enlivened with bright colors, wonderful aromas and tantalizing flavors. Even the fussiest eaters will be thrilled to eat something they have made with their own hands."

                                                                                      Wow. This is like a bad SNL skit, where Sandy is filming a flowery commercial for her business but inevitably keeps getting sidetracked by attacking her kids' food.

                                                                                      "Here at Kitchen Kids, we strive to create a fun, positive atmosphere, where kids of all -- TIMMY! TIMMY WHAT THE HELL -- IS THAT SUPPOSED TO BE AN OMELETTE? TIMMY THAT LOOKS LIKE THE PLACENTA THAT BIG BIRD WAS BORN IN!!! I'D RATHER DIE IN A FIRE THAN EAT THAT! IDIOT!!!"

                                                                                      "... as I was saying, here at Kitchen Kids, we offer fun, rewarding classes in -- Oh My GOD, Olivia, I can smell those MUFFINS FROM HERE AND THEY MAKE ME WANT TO STICK BOTTLE ROCKETS UP MY NOSE AND SET THEM OFF. OLIVIA I WOULDN'T SERVE THOSE ROCKS OF SHIT TO HITLER!!!"

                                                                                      1. re: FinnFPM

                                                                                        ROTFL!! Someone needs to get this to Lorne Michaels NOW. Can we get Amy Poehler to come back and do it?

                                                                                        1. re: FinnFPM

                                                                                          I wonder if the Kumbaya moment that the chef and the complainant eventually achieved was in part driven by Sandy Tremblay's late-arriving realization that she is a small business owner, too, and this sorry mess does not reflect well on her at all.


                                                                                          1. re: FinnFPM

                                                                                            I'm not going to venture into these waters too far, except to say to FinnFPM that I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Pretty brilliant.

                                                                                        2. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                          Wow. I might eat at Pigalle again because I've come to accept that some chefs can be foul-mouthed prima donnas, but I don't think I'd enroll my kid in Sandy's cooking class. What was she thinking?


                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            SERIOUSLY.. He's irresponsible, but she's a nut.

                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      Check out Pigalle's Facebook page.

                                                                                      I can't post a link. Sorry

                                                                                    3. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                      Well that was fast. Was Gloria Allred involved? I heard about it all on the radio today - in Texas.

                                                                                      1. Yes, Marc overreacted and was rude, but he is right. If you do not tell someone you are unsatisfied with your meal and or service how will they know? It is what they do after you tell them and if they do nothing to make it up to you then you have a right to call their food vomit.

                                                                                        I was thrilled when a waitress noticed I hardly ate my meal and she asked if I enjoyed it. I told her honestly No, it was very bland. She then told the manager, apologized asked if she could get me anything else and took my meal off the check.

                                                                                        1. You're a chef and you don't know that the relevant "palate" is not p-a-l-l-e-t? Or was he making another fat joke there?

                                                                                          1. What is telling is that the woman who complained has very publicly "made up and become friends" with Marc on both of Pigalle's FB pages. What's funnier is how immediately after, she
                                                                                            has now befriended Dan Andelman and also The Phantom Gourmet on Facebook. I'd bet a week's pay that the Phantom will be doing a spot in the near future on "Kitchen Kids" owned by none other than Sandy Tremblay. http://www.facebook.com/sandy.trembla...

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                              Both Tremblay and Orfaly will be on the Phantom Gourmet radio show this Friday afternoon.


                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                Unbelievable (more or less as you predicted, though, so, believable). I can't believe they are both probably going to get some kind of business boost out of this.


                                                                                            2. Soo.. as anyone tried that pumpkin pie? I was kind of intrigued by it, when I read that there were chunks of real pumpkin in it. Sounds kinda good... ya know, despite the vomit.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Prav

                                                                                                Chunksa pumpkin? Not what most people expect in their pumpkin pie!

                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                  as soon as I saw her on the news last night (I only made it to the 10 o'clock news, wanted to sleep still dreaming I could win Powerball), and heard her say that she's going to go back to the restaurant, I knew they had gotten to her. Just like Brave New World. We have never been at war with Pigalle

                                                                                                  1. re: L2k

                                                                                                    Based on her continued posting on Pigalle's FB page, "Hi, it's ME!", she's clearly enjoying her 15 minutes. I'm also sure her payoff was Phantom Gourmet promising to plug her business if she would agree to an interview with chef/nutjob Marc on their weekend radio show.

                                                                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                                      She's turned into a media whore and loves the camera and attention. Sadly the camera and attention don't love her.. And yet, she still hasn't given a single detail on why %90 of the food served was left uneaten.

                                                                                                      Who in their right mind after that he said she said tirade, while leaving %90 of her meal on the plate as unedible, would return? What did she eat that was so offensive, other then a deconstructed pumpkin pie. I'd love to hear more about the meal, but that would draw focus away from her "ME"ness

                                                                                                      She is clearly unhinged. Don't let your kids alone with her.

                                                                                                    2. re: L2k

                                                                                                      Great reference, L2k, but for the record, it comes from 1984, not Brave New World, as in "we have always been at war with Eastasia".

                                                                                                      1. re: brandywiner

                                                                                                        Dammit, I once knew better but no longer. I shall be disappeared from this thread.

                                                                                                  2. I think they are BOTH idiots for acting the way they did. As a business owner you should have the respect to not trash another business owner in public and instead be mature about it, make a phone call, or write an e-mail. Everyone has an off night and as a restaurant owner herself she should know that better than anyone. That being said, he couldn't have had acted more inappropriate to say the least. All they ended up doing was making both of themselves, and more importantly, both of their business, look bad. I for one wouldn't want to to patronize either of their businesses after seeing how they both reacted. I actually think she may end up worse off after this than him. No parent is going to get warm and fuzzy feeling about that lady after seeing some of her remarks. They both acted out spur of the moment and both will suffer consequences.

                                                                                                    1. I don't see any defense for him. Sandy made a rude comment, though she clearly wasn't feeling liberated to do so by being anonymous on the internet. (She's anything BUT anonymous at this point.)

                                                                                                      An angry response that I could have excused would be go eff yourself, you're rude and have no palate, don't come back. Instead, he went right for stupid and fat and poor and "b***". There's your difference between angry and mean right there. I would never give him business, ever.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: dulce de leche

                                                                                                        It's fairly obvious that Chef Orfaly had some sort of mental collapse. His reaction was so far off the top it was more outrageous than an SNL skit. Given his on-line reaction, complaining in person would have certainly result in physical harm to the complainer. I wouldn't recommend ever visiting the establishment of anyone that is so unstable.

                                                                                                      2. It was just a piece of bad pie. Sheesh. Not worth a profanity-laced public tirade.

                                                                                                        1. We've moved an interesting discussion about whether you should post a negative report after you have previously recommended a restaurant, and a sub-tangent about food-borne illnesses to the General Topics board at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/879733

                                                                                                          1. Devra First weighed in on the story (sort of) on the Dishing blog on boston.com:

                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                Ouch! When does the Twinkie revival begin?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                      Love it. This really is the runny whipped cream on the vomit pie of this entire episode.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                                          Fabulous. Pretty bold for boston.com, too. Way to go, Devra.

                                                                                                                      1. They say any publicity is good publicity but I dont buy that in this case.