By now you might have read about my experience with Gordon Biersch Saturday night as well as all the comments. Those comments were more enlightening as it is pretty clear there is a bigger problem than just what I experienced. Late Monday our own Spencer Cross opted to send the post to the corporate headquarters which oddly seemed to be the impetus for an interesting chain of events.
On Tuesday I got an email from the General Manager, apologetic and acknowledging he had my card and had only then gotten around to responding to it. It was clear he had not read the post nor the comments. To see what he wrote and my response you need to make the jump…
” … I’m the general manager here at Gordon Biersch in Pasadena. I was told about your experience here at the restaurant on Saturday night, and would like to first, apologize for the poor service you received, and secondly, would like to speak to you about that night. I also would like to apologize for getting to you late. I took your card home with me accidentally that evening, and grabbed it on my way in this morning.
I’m not clear on exactly what happened, or more importantly, what didn’t happen that night regarding your experience. My hostess came to me at the end of her shift and told me you were upset with your service, and left your card with her, but I’m unclear on the details of your experience.
The fact that you chose us that evening over the other 60 restaurants in Old Town, just to have a bad experience set’s bad with me. The experience you had is not the reflection I want of myself, and not who we’re trying to be.
If you could please reply to my email to let me know if calling you is ok, or if you’d like to call me at (626) 449-0052, or if corresponding via email is preferred. Either way, I’d like the opportunity to try and earn your business back and to learn the details of who, what, when, where, why and how of that night so I can correct it.
I look forward to hearing from. Have a great day.”
And I responded back…
“Good afternoon,I am surprised the hostess even gave you my card given her attitude at the time.
My post on metblogs went live Monday morning as promised. http://la.metblogs.com/2008/07/28/gordon-biersch-pasadena-your-service-stinks/
In reading the post you will note one of my counterparts submitted the same link to an email address on the Gordon Biersch yesterday afternoon.
I do have a busy day and not much free time. The post will give you the details of what happened. The comments should enlighten you considerably on the number of people that have had the same experience at Gordon Biersch Pasadena.
After reading the response he wrote me one more time and to be truthful, if you follow my art blog I am in show prep mode, and haven’t had much time to deal with anything including responding to him. His next response:
“… just read your post, and again, am very sorry for that experience. For any of my employees to talk to any guest like that is completely unacceptable, and again, is not the impression I want you to have of me or my business. I understand you’re busy, so I won’t press, however, would like an opportunity at some point sooner rather than later, to speak to you, invite you back, and earn your business. Please reply when you can. I look forward to hearing from you again. Have a great evening.”
One of my favorite comments came to me in a personal email from a commenter here:
” I have a good mind to write him on my own and tell him that I was there that night, in the bar area, trying to get dessert with a friend and couldn’t get served. Perhaps I could pull the,” I wasn’t cute enough” or “since we were a table of two females, they didn’t think we would tip so service wasn’t a priority
Two incidents on one night may get some bitches canned. Just what he deserves having done this to you. Thoughts?
Late Wednesday afternoon the Regional Manager called me and we talked a bit. He assured me this is now what Gordon Biersch is about or wants to be known for. He apologized profusely and wanted to know what he could do to make it up for me.
I had to ask if he had read the entire post and the very telling comments. He said he had not. I suggested he might want to read them as at least another half dozen people, including former Pasadena Mayoral Candidate Aaron Proctor chimed in about the bad service. I told him it appears that things were much more pervasive than just my bad experience.
He assured me that he met with the General Manager in Pasadena and put together specific training plans to prevent this from happening. Part of the problem that evening is that there was an event that staffing was increased, it still wasn’t adequately planned for and as such he will oversee and sign off on staffing when future events arise. The other part of the problem was that the General Manager spent a lot his time behind the bar that night rather than working the restaurant floor. He said that would change. He assured me specific training plans for the staff will be in place.
He asked me several times what he could do. I told him that honestly this post wasn’t about getting something in return. It was about relating my experience. As much as I appreciate the offer of being his guest and given the royal treatment to show how good they can be, that is what I should have had when I visited him on Saturday. He agreed that is how it should have happened.
I told him I rarely go to Old Town Pasadena as its frankly a pain in the butt with parking nazi’s and crowds. Aside from that for me its an integrity thing. I can’t accept a guest invite like after I write a post, taking gifts like that takes away my credibility as being impartial or at least acting on my own. I thanked him for the offer but it just wasn’t something I felt I could do as I wasn’t out any money. (Getting my money back after I’m screwed over is an entirely different matter, consumer geurilla warfare isn’t pretty and I do it well, but that is the subject of another post).
I will give them credit as at least they called and try to fix after the fact. The last restaurant I told you about who had service that sucked, their HQ dropped me a note to “discuss what may or may not have happened”. HA!