Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beware Montreal ~ This is NOT the Food You're Looking For!

I have to say that in our line of work and spending the amount of time immersed in social media that we do in the course of a day that we see and hear a lot of things.  Like with most things, some of those things make you laugh, others make you cry and then there are some things that once you see, compel you to want to take action -- to do SOMETHING -- to make things right.  Such injustices should not be allowed to continue.  Right? 

I have seen some truly magical things occur on Facebook over the last year or so.  Animals returned to their owners, missing kids and runaways brought home safely,  criminals caught and huge amounts of awareness and community support to be shared.  Similarly the same is also true of customer complaint and outrage.  The old adage of she told two friends, and so on and so on still holds true – only now when two friends are told the echoes march around the world at rapid pace.  It never ceases to amaze me the truly stupid things that people do and actually expect that nothing will ever come of it.  Customer Service, much like common sense seems to be a really selective thing in our current population.  Another one of those things I just cannot explain but it drives me batty. In any case, I digress..

A good friend of mine shared a story, that a friend had shared with her regarding a recent visit to a local restaurant. As it goes, The party was 2 adults, 2 children, and 2 toddlers.  They watched the rude hostess set a table for 4 with 6 places.  When they asked for an additional table due to space constraints she was very visibly annoyed to have been asked.  (The restaurant was not busy, or full – it was suggested perhaps a 60-70% empty ratio at the time) so there should have been no reason why this simple request could not have been accommodated with little effort.

Sometime later a waitress finally came to take their order.  It was explained that both the Mom and one of the small children had some dietary restrictions due to their celiac disease in that they could not eat gluten.  While in the past they had been accommodated without any incident today they were told that what was on the menu was all that they had.  The family placed their order for the 4, while options for the two were considered.  After waiting 20 minutes the waitress comes back and is again asked if there is anything she might do – perhaps a plain chicken breast, something – ANYTHING – the kids are hungry.  To which she was told that there was nothing. 

Speaking to the store manage was of no help either.  After watching the waitress essentially insult her to the manager in plain view of the customer and other patrons the manager attends the table with what was described as a ridiculous smile to ask what’s going on.  The problem is once again explained, enunciating that previous visits to this particular restaurant have been accommodating and without any such difficulty. 

The manager tells the family that they don’t serve people with allergies here.  Mom explains that they don’t have allergies, that once again it’s a disease called celiac, and that they cannot eat gluten products.  She wasn’t even allowed to finish her sentence when she was sternly reminded that “We do not take any chances whatsoever and won’t serve people with allergies.”
As the family got up to leave the manager says “Sorry about that”, and the aforementioned rude hostess yells after them “Have a good Day”.  

I should point out here that a tab for a 6 person meal could  easily have netted the restaurant a sizeable sum, plus tips ~ but for a little consideration to food sensitivities this family with small hungry children to feed was turned away because nobody wanted to make a little extra effort.  Honestly, if their policy is truly to be unwavering in accommodating their clientele shouldn’t there be some kind of signage to indicate this?  Perhaps a big sign that says “No Substitutions” at the very least – but certainly something that would indicate on the first steps in the door that this is not a place where there is any wiggle room for change. 

This restaurant “Scores Vaudreuil” is in the Montreal area, but honestly it could have been anywhere.  Without trying particularly hard I can think of several friends who for a variety of reasons have dietary restrictions, myself included.  While every effort is made to make good choices for ourselves and our families there will always be those times when you want to go out for a treat, or life brings you out and about when you’d normally have been home.  Surely the kind folks in the SERVICE industry would be a little more accommodating of the people they serve?  Apparently not.   

Mom was happy to later report that another local restaurant “St. Hubert Vaudreuil” located just off Charles Street happily offers a “Gluten Free Menu” at the same cost as their regular meals.  They have been educated in contamination and even took the time to warn of possible cross contaminations.  Thumbs Up for St. Hubert Vaudreuil!

Since hearing of this story, news of the incident has been circulating around the social networks as we knew it would.  Another Mom shared an experience of the same restaurant wanting to charge the woman an additional $4 to take home a portion of her quarter chicken dinner that she hadn’t been able to finish.  The meal had already been paid for, and thinking she could make a sandwich with the leftover the next day, she was going to take it home with her. Apparently this restaurant has a new rule.  If you want a doggie bag, there is an almost $4 charge to bring home what’s left of a meal you have already paid for!  Incredible.  A letter to the head office went unanswered. 

So take note hungry people of Montreal and weary travelers.  As the saying goes Be Informed – Know Before you go!  This is not the restaurant you are looking for!