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Red Medicine Tweet

OK, so poor form not to at least call, but this strikes me as beneath what I thought was a classy restaurant. I'm guessing others may be cheering them on?


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  1. A bit tit for tat but, I can certainly understand the frustration on both the restaurant's side and the side of all of the potential patron's who were turned away. For every legit emergency, I'd imagine that there were 1,000s of douchbags who double, triple etc... booked or just didn't have the common courtesy to call and cancel for any number of other reasons.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      Thats what walk ins are for. A well managed restaurant should never have an empty table at a popular time because of a no show.

      1. re: jgilbert

        I doubt that, in that area at night, they are going to be getting a lot of potential walk-in traffic...

        1. re: Servorg

          Agree. RM does not get a lot of walk-ins. The RM tweet wont keep me from going back. Dont like the tactic, but dont like the failure to call and cancel even more. Of course its possible, that there was an emergency, so cant say for sure in this case, but as a general rule no excuse not to call.

    2. Big fan of the food at RM and them throwing out SIV.

      Not sure I agree with this move. Might just motivate a bunch of people to flood their reservation system and then not show.

      It would be easier just to flag no shows and not let them book prime time tables anymore after say 2-3 offenses.

      Most people probably lack the etiquette to cancel if they aren't going to show. Just because they don't know better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Porthos

        After 2 or 3 offenses? Too nice!

        If I were them, I'd say you have one shot. You don't show once? You don't get in ever.

        I would have no problem with that.

        The cancel-er would simply have a friend make the reservation next time - which is fine. I love the idea someone says "You're going to have to call and make the reservation, they have my name and number and won't let me because I stood them up."

      2. I think it is very poor form not to call and cancel a reservation if you cant make it. However, I also think its easy enough to note the offending patron in the reservation system and decline future reservations, etc. I like RM a lot but think this move is bad form too.

        1. I won't patronize this restaurant again.

          1. While I don't agree with the tactic I'm sympathetic to RM. This won't stop me from going.

            1. the slight vigilante streak in me applauds this. the world is full of a-holes and d-bags; doesn't mean the rest of the world has to accept their bad manners. is what RM did immature? maybe..but on the most base level, there is a reason that kids in the playground yell "but Johnny started it!" It's about fairness. If somebody slights you, is it better to always take the high ground and accept it or walk away? Sometimes it takes a bit of.. nudging (or a smack on Johnny's head if he smacked you first) to change people's behavior. 2c.

              46 Replies
              1. re: soniabegonia

                Get it, but "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" would have been the better way to go IMO. Hopefully, the guy is just a d-bag and did not have an accident or real emergency.

                1. re: Thor123

                  According to another site, they got a hold of one of the peeps that canceled. It was "a death in the family".

                  Call me cynical but w/e, you could have called the restaurant to cancel but didn't, and screwed them instead. If RM required CC's for rezzies, I bet they would have found the time to call and cancel.


                  1. re: ns1

                    Yes, because restaurants are the most important thing in the world. Way more worth thinking about than an uncle's death.

                    According to the article, the guy in question (one of several about which the a-hole Red Medicine tweeted) had only made the reservation an hour and a half earlier, so RM hardly truned away dozens who would have taken the table. And took the guy's phone number, and could have called -- but that wouldn't have attracted the publicity that publicly shaming people like this would do.

                    Sorry, won't eat there, no matter how good the food. And won;t have them cater the funeral of any family members either.

                    1. re: ns1

                      i don't feel the restaurant is the victim in this case.

                      1. re: ns1

                        Call me cynical, but Red Medicine has, at 1:45 pm today, availability at 6:30, 7:15, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:45 and 9:00 -- among others. I think there is more reason to doubt RM's claim to have turned away lots of business because of the reservation, than to doubt the one person, contacted by a website, who had a death in the family. And every reason to think this is about stirring up publicity for RM rather than any true indignation about lost business.

                        1. re: Capybara

                          Maybe this will come back to bite them and just a matter of time before Phil McCracken, Jack Mioff and their friends book reservations...

                            1. re: Capybara

                              The availability factor is what gave me pause as well. I went one time, by myself, about two months ago. I ate at the bar. There were two other bar patrons and the rest of the room was about 10% full. Despite the lack of customers, I was afforded the most threadbare service from one of the surliest, disinterested bartenders I have ever encountered. Letting him know it was my first visit didn’t seem to matter much to him and he was of very little help when asked for ordering suggestions. The various food runners could not be bothered either. And I was not addressed by the staff at the host counter as I left. I will keep my assessment of what I ordered very brief (I must have chosen off of the “mediocre” section), but the gruff attitude was just so pervasive that night. I would have thought with the low volume that I might have been greeted with a warmer, more congenial reception. These tweets make sense in context with the SIV fracas and my dining experience. In comparison, I’ve had significantly less hostile (read: outstanding, maybe even life changing) receptions at establishments such as Ko, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Alinea, Babbo, or French Laundry where it can take something like act of God to get a seat. Although I empathize with the front-of-the-house and business concerns inherent with last-minute cancellations, I cannot condone the proprietor’s behavior.

                              1. re: djquinnc

                                >>"Although I empathize with the front-of-the-house and business concerns inherent with last-minute cancellations, I cannot condone the proprietor’s behavior."<<

                                This. 100%.

                              2. re: Capybara

                                Saturday vs Tuesday.....

                                I'm not taking sides, but in my field, a "death in the family" happens more often than you think when people can't make an appointment, if all those excuses are true then people are just dropping like flies.

                                1. re: blimpbinge

                                  Exactly. Someone's uncle died AND someone's GF died! That's a very high number of fatalities amongst acquaintances of no shows at RM...

                              3. re: ns1

                                and according to eater, the person remembered to call his friends (who were also on the rez) that dinner was cancelled, but not the restaurant.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  i'm a bit cynical when it comes the person's story (which sounds kinda f'd up on my part), but I doubt anyone would just admit to SeriousEats, "Well, I'm an inconsiderate ass and didn't feel like going and didn't bother to cancel." Which may be why SE only got 1 response.

                                  1. re: andytseng

                                    There is always reason to doubt a reported, self-serving story -- but that applies equally to the restaurant. In this case, the person did not seek out someone to whom to give his story but was contacted by the website, which gives some (little) credibility to the story. So I'm willing to assume that yes, this person's uncle died. And that the other no shows had no good reason. And that the harm to the restaurant was minimal, and this whole thing a combination of worse manners on the part of the restaurant and a bid to make a splash.

                                    PS -- Eater gives absolutely no authority for the proposition that the guy called his friends to cancel, and also acts disbelieving that Grub Street actually spoke to someone. On what grounds? As to contacting the friends -- assuming they didn't show up and call when he wasn;t there, perhaps they were with him when he learned of his uncle's death. Perhaps his girlfriend contacted them. Perhaps there was a Facebook post so they all learned without a call. The possibilities are endless -- but lets continue to believe that not showing up for a reservation is worth the possibility of calling someone whose uncle has just lied to public shame and a liar besides.

                                    Not to mention the ethics of taking someone's personal information (name) for a particular purpose (taking a reservation) and broadcasting it to the world without permission.

                                    1. re: Capybara

                                      The sheer number of entitled assholes out here in LA is nothing short of breath taking. I find this whole "My Uncle died" akin to the venerable "The dog ate my homework." I don't feel sorry for these deadbeats one little bit for being held up to public shaming. My respect for Red Medicine is increased.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          +1 here as well. The restaurant had my number and they didn't call me. WTF, you were willing to accept a call but not make one in your alleged time of grief?

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Sounds like B.S. to me too. Even if there was a sudden tragedy in my life, I would still call. It's rude, obnoxious, and arrogant.

                                            I like the whole shaming thing. They deserve it. I have a lot of restaurateur friends and I know this shit drives them crazy.

                                            Where do I find the no-show names?

                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                              Maybe some people like their uncles more than you do.

                                              1. re: Capybara

                                                Maybe they lose it and I don't. It's possible, but I'm still a responsible person in those kinds of moments.

                                                But Grubstreet's version of the whole thing was telling. So I change my mind somewhat. R.M. could have called them (but unless they're in the hospital themselves or rushing to give blood for their child - they should give a call.)

                                                "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

                                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                  What do I do? Order another drink. Cheers.

                                          2. re: Servorg

                                            Cry me a river. Someone doesn't show up. People stand me up in my business all the time. And my life. This is shameless self-promotion, calling out someone for bad manners with the exhibition of worse manners.

                                            Why would the guy make up the story that his uncle died -- he was contacted for a comment, did not even know RM had twteeted about him. Or you think Grub Street is lying too?

                                            I think not calling to cancel is bad. But why people here think that it is only customers, and not restauranteurs, who can lie, make self-serving statements and be entitled assholes is beyond me.

                                            One reason you don't do this kind of thing is because of the posiibility -- rare, but occasional -- where it leaves you in the position of being a real asshole to someone with a very good reason for not making it to the restaurant.

                                            1. re: Capybara

                                              Many more entitled, lying customer assholes out here by a factor of 10...at least...and whether someone knew about the tweet or not ahead of being contacted, the automatic response by lying d-bags is to automatically lie again to deflect any and all possible blame away from themselves. As a friend who is a screenplay writer once told me, there is no word for "lie" in Hollywood...

                                              1. re: Capybara

                                                i think we're getting lost in the trees conjecturing about whether the uncle excuse was true or false. to me the broader issue that the tweet raises is: "Are some people assholes - yes. And should assholes be publicly shamed - question mark." if it had been just that one person whose uncle may or may not have died, chances are RM would not have tweeted. there is no way that all those people he named had a similarly compelling excuse. but if it were me, unless i was with the uncle giving him CPR in a vain effort to save him at the exact time of the reservation, i still would have called the restaurant. Being distraught is no excuse for behaving like an asshole and making your problem someone else's problem, unless the state of distress is creating an insuperable physical barrier. but in any case, i'm voting for BS on this one.

                                                1. re: soniabegonia

                                                  If my uncle dies it's a 50% chance that I call the restaurant in time to cancel the reservarion an hour later. If I'm a restaurant there's 100% chance I don't put that guys name out on twitter. Failing to cancel is very low on the asshole scale; suddenly dead relative a good excuse for missing many obligations.

                                                  I think way too much credit is given to RM simply because they make good food.

                                                  Servog -- you assume a guy is a lying a-hole and then use that as a reason to think he'd lie again when called by the reporter. But, of course, there has been no accusation that he lied any time but that one time.

                                                  The problem with participating on a website of people obsessed with food is that the importance of food/restaurants in our lives risks becoming outsized, and we forget that for almost everyone else, other values greatly outweigh the inconvenience of a reservation not cancelled.

                                                  The last time I called and cancelled a reservation, the owner thanked me profusely and said he wished more people would. From which I gather:1) it has to be a cost of business to deal with cancellations; and 2) it isn't a thing most people think of as a big deal, not calling to cancel. If most people don;t think it is a big deal, then it does not make them an asshole to fail to call.

                                                  1. re: Capybara

                                                    " If most people don;t think it is a big deal, then it does not make them an asshole to fail to call."

                                                    I know that that logic doesn't follow based on the experience I see with those same entitled assholes who ask my wife to rush their order because they have two nearly dead relatives coming to stay with them and then fail to come in to pick up the rush order for a couple of weeks after the due date. Happens frequently. I know the lying weasels don't think it's a big deal, but for my wife it's a VERY big deal as she is so incredibly slammed with work all the time and is scrambling for each extra hour in the day to try to get everything done on time.

                                                    1. re: Capybara

                                                      If most people don;t think it is a big deal, then it does not make them an asshole to fail to call.-->

                                                      I would say that just means most people are assholes.

                                                      1. re: soniabegonia

                                                        Fine. My point is that if you judge people only by your expectations and viewpoint, most people will fail you.

                                                      2. re: Capybara

                                                        Uncle? One of those tweets said GF...

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          Grub Street tried to contact the people named by RM in its tweets. One person they contacted did not know about the tweets and said he had made the reservation about an hour and a half before, and then a half an hour later he earned from his mother that his uncle had died so he didn't go, and didn't think in the circumstances to cancel. And the restaurant never called him as they could have, as he had left his number.

                                                          The reason I find this more credible, and at least hesitate to call a person I've never met and about whom I only know that he failed to cancel a reservation a lying scumbag, is that 1) he didn't seek anyone out to tell his side of things; 2) he didn't even know about it (I believe the Grub Street reporter could tell by the conversation whether this was likely to be true); 3) it would have been far simpler for him to decline comment -- there was nothing for this anonymous person to gain by this story at this time if it was a lie. He also didn't make a big deal of it, just said he wouldn't be going there. The big deal is being made by us in the internet world.

                                                          Of course most people who fail to cancel have no good reason -- but one reason you don't go off half-cocked and public blame someone is you don't know if the person you are calling out is one of the exceptions.

                                                          BTW -- the restauranteur agreed to appear on local news to talk about this, but then cancelled. At least as egregious, even if it isn;t a mighty restaurant being stood up.

                                                          1. re: Capybara

                                                            "BTW -- the restauranteur agreed to appear on local news to talk about this, but then cancelled. At least as egregious, even if it isn;t a mighty restaurant being stood up."

                                                            Did the local news lose revenue? Did some of their sponsors cancel? Has their continued existence as a news organization been put in jeopardy? Because that's the consequences that restaurants face if this practice of making reservations and not showing up "goes viral" and they can't keep their doors open.

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              Yes to all - and congratulations for RM in discovering a method of saving the existence of all restaurants by tweeting.

                                                              1. re: Capybara

                                                                The continued existence of individual restaurants is always a very precarious balance. What I see is a result of that precarious situation in the lengths that the owner went to here. It just shows the pressure they feel. Right or wrong, they are fighting for their survival and that tends to bring out all sorts of behavior that probably wouldn't be displayed otherwise.

                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                  Fair enough -- really. But I just object to granting license only to restaurant owners and assuming all others are assholes. My position would be I think the tweets are beyond the line but would excuse the behavior for reasons you say, if this particular restauranteur didn't talk about having fun doing the tweets and hadn't taken actions to destroy the ability of a restaurant critic to do her work. He seems like one of your assholes, restaurant owner or not.

                                                                  Journalism is even more endangered than restaurants these days, imho.

                                                        2. re: Capybara

                                                          I'm not crazy about R.M.'s food, but I like the public shaming!

                                                          And it does cost them money when someone cancels. It could easily mean the difference of a loss that day, or a profit.

                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                            RM is not complaining that someone cancelled, but that he failed to show up yet did not cancel. That only costs money if the restaurant was not full, but could have been full if the person had given warning that he was not coming after all.

                                                            Just like many people refuse to believe the guy who said his uncle died, I am sceptical that RM actually lost anything just because it claims it did,

                                                            1. re: Capybara

                                                              Again, not defending them, but use common sense.

                                                              If they actually had a big set of empty tables during prime dining time, then yea, they probably didn't make as much money as they could have because the tables would have been.. DING DING empty for hours!

                                                              1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                I don't follow, and am not sure you follow what I said -- which is a basic analysis of economic damages.

                                                                Of course what RM would like is for everyone to eat there all the time, and to the extent that doesn't happen it loses money.

                                                                But the question is -- what money is lost by the practice of a person with a reservation failing to cancel the reservation beforehand when he doesn't show up?

                                                                If there is an empty table which could have been filled, there is no loss.

                                                                There is loss only if there were no other empty tables, and there were people turned away during the time after the time the person could have cancelled and before the end of the time the table was held for the reservation who did not show up.

                                                                Otherwise, there is no difference to the restaurant between a person cancelling and being a no-show.

                                                                1. re: Capybara

                                                                  "Otherwise, there is no difference to the restaurant between a person cancelling and being a no-show."

                                                                  I'll tell you why that analysis is flawed. I recently wanted to go to the Tasting Kitchen in Venice but they were full up for the time we could go. On the day that I tried to get my reservation for, at 9 AM, the restaurant called me to say they had a cancellation and would I still like to come? I said yes and we went that night at the time we had wanted. Win-Win, all because someone was nice enough to give the restaurant enough time to call me off their wait list.

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    Yes, in that case you qualified as someone able to take the table between the time of the cancellation and the time of the reservation, and available to contact, and so the loss of your business would be a loss as the result of a failure to call and cancel.

                                                                    You fit the analysis -- my use of the phrase (in my second explanation) "turned away" was inexact, but the point is the same. The first time I tried I put it this way: "That only costs money if the restaurant was not full, but could have been full if the person had given warning that he was not coming after all."

                                                                    If Red Medicine has a practice of taking numbers and calling people when reservations open up, then the amount of damage from a failure to call and cancel is greater than if it doesn't. Anyone have any idea if they do?

                                                                  2. re: Capybara

                                                                    Totally agree with you Servorg, although I disagree that the tweet was the way to go. I would simply blacklist the offending future diner.

                                                                    1. re: Capybara

                                                                      It then depends on when they cancel.

                                                                      Your assumption is that people cancel 5-20 minutes before the reservation time. In that sense, it's basically the same as a no show.

                                                                      However, if they cancel a few days or even 2-3 hours before the reservation time, a hot spot like red medicine could easily fill the booking for that set of tables.

                                                                      1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                        Thje evidence is not good that Red Medicine is full up all the time. The reservation made by the guy with the uncle was reportedly made an hour and a half before the time in question. This coming Saturday is wide open for reservations.

                                                                        But anyway, I make no such assumption. I say explicitly that if they could fill the table, and there are no other empty tables, than the restaurant is hurt by a failure to call and cancel.

                                                                        1. re: Capybara

                                                                          There is no excuse for callous disregard or common courtesy. Economics aside, these people are rude. I dont think the tweet was the right way to go (as I said), but to act like its no big deal is misguided.

                                                      3. re: Capybara

                                                        I would assume it was because the reservation was for more than 1 person and the other people in his party did not show. But you know what they say about assumptions...

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          Yes, we don't know. And it doesn't really matter. But I think the scepticism about a selected group of others isn't real scepticism, but simply putting a thumb on the scales. A true scepticism would hesitate to believe the report of the death, hesitate to believe what Red Medicine reports about how harmful the no-shows were, and would question about why the person exercising the scepticism is willing to believe the one but not the one.

                                                          (Another reason the others may not have shown up -- they were all planning to travel together, and learned of the death when the guy didn't show or when they showed up at his place.)

                                            2. It is fine form if they never keep anyone waiting and were unable to fill the table for the night. And if they know the guy just chose not to show, as opposed to having an emergency of some kind. And if they weren't the restaurant that purposely tossed out a restaurant critic and spread her photograph, just for the douchiness of it.

                                              1. I'm guessing that heaven has a courtesy phone for new arrivals to cancel unused reservations. As to the other fork in the road, maybe not.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  Either fork in the road leads to purgatory.

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Then Yogi Berra's advice was balanced. When you come to the fork in the road, take it.

                                                2. Having never eaten there, but having driven by numerous times, my guess is they'll be out of business by Christmas, if not much sooner. I've never seen more than a handful of tables occupied.

                                                  As to the public shaming, any publicity is good publicity - people who are going to eat there don't need to be worried about being outed, and those that claim this has turned them off RM probably were never going to be customers anyway.

                                                  My guess is business picks up, at least temporarily. Then, like every other previous restaurant in this location, it will die a slow death.

                                                  1. is this the same place that took a pic of a food critic and kicked her out?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                      1. re: blimpbinge

                                                        I'm sure that I'm not alone is thinking that it was pretty awful to kick out a well known LA food critic. Attempting to embarrass customers who, of course should cancel reservations they are unable to keep, is equally arrogant. I don't care if they are serving the best food on the planet, this is a place I wouldn't want to support.

                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                          Food is really great. Judgment is really bad. They are both assholes, but I will still eat there occasionally.

                                                      2. I have never been part of the service industry, but I would assume that there is always some overbooking and there is always patrons who don't show up. Yes, its in very poor taste not to show up for a reservation, but to call them out on it on twitter maybe not the best way to handle it either.

                                                        You always share (and remember) your bad reviews and experiences before you share your good ones.

                                                        1. I think that they are shooting themselves in the foot.

                                                          1. Whether you approve of RM's behavior or not, this was simply bad business. Who wants to go to an establishment that has no compunction about embarrassing (even potential) customers?

                                                            I was abashed by their response to SIV but kept them on my "to try" list because the food looked interesting. After this event, there's NO chance I'll spend my time or money there.

                                                            Maybe the sense of self-satisfaction they got from those shout-outs was worth the loss of good will and future revenue.

                                                            1. I take no sides on this debate.

                                                              I just wanted to point out that this incident and Red Medicine's reaction to it made the local news in Austin, TX.

                                                              1. I'm trying to take no sides on this debate (don't feel like getting tangled in endless back and forth like the Lukshon carrot-cake-gate thing last year), but I will just say this... I expanded the 67 comments in this thread, hit Ctrl+F in my browser, and typed the word "professional" and got no hits. That surprised me. I'm sure it felt good to call these people out, RM, and you may even be in the right, but was it professional?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                                  Allow me to add my "Amen!" to that. "Amen!"