Update on my Gordon Biersch experience

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?

Little Mama”

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!

12 thoughts on “Update on my Gordon Biersch experience”

  1. First of all – great post and great job. Nice namedrop ;-)

    I used to manage a Hollywood Video when I first lived here in Pasadena back in like 2000, 2001…(the one on California & Fair Oaks that closed a while back) – not in the food industry I know, but hear me out.

    I doubt the chick is gonna get in trouble or reprimanded – unless there have been TONS of complaints about her. You see, for as many people who have LEGIT complaints at stores and restaurants – there’s always those people trying to get shit for free. So – when someone at Hollywood Video would get complained about to the District Manager, the DM would agree with the customer, etc..but then just have a sit down with the employee if it was like..a once-in-a-lifetime complaint. What I”m saying is – more often than not – this bitch is still gonna work there and be a bitch to other people.

    There used to be this one chick I worked with who was “dating” (read: banging) the DM. She was a slacker, would be mean to customers, wouldn’t be helpful – and I’m pretty sure she worked there until all the Hollywood Videos started closing.

    So who wants to bet this hostess probably even giving sexual favors to someone in management and that’s how she can stay employed and be a bitch at the same time?

    It’s not as uncommon as you think. When you work in service jobs or customer service jobs at stores or restaurants, you’re usually around these people more than your friends or family – so work relationships can become QUITE incestuous.

    – AP

  2. Dude…I am beyond being picked up by chicks, and really it isn’t an option as I could never do that to my wife!

  3. You’re not surprised that the GB managers aren’t readers of your blog posts, are you? Obviously, they’re not in the demo. Our readers don’t use phrases like “set’s [sic] bad with me.”

  4. Good for you, Fraz. Last month Wells Fargo Bank created a series of blunders at the phone banker level that resulted in limited access to one of my accounts for two weeks. My efforts to identify the culpable idiot(s) took me all the way up the ladder to corporate; acknowledging the egregious error, two bank officers repeatedly asked, “What can we do to make it right? What can we do for you?” I was astounded. “This is not,” I told them, “about me getting something from you for your mistake.”

    You did the right thing by turning down their invite to show you they can run their business in an efficient manner.

  5. Matt, no I didn’t expect them to be blog readers, but when they are sent the link I don’t think its an unreasonable expectation they will read it before contacting me. The comments are like an extra helping of crow they should digest before contacting the writer. Then again I have high expectations for common sense in others.

    I loved the typo, but from the king of proofreaders here,(sarcasm, dripping sarcasm on that one) I won’t be tossing darts at that one.

  6. El Chavo, so I guess the answer is mid-day you can get service. I did garlic fries once, paid for it wicked heartburn and tasted for days afterwards. Didn’t meant to jilt you with the ping back, either.

  7. “What can we do?” They always want to buy you off. If I rifle through my blog, I can probably find the restaurant, but last year we went someplace where service sucked, but not as bad as the food. I told the lady the food tasted like puke (which it did) and she offered me more. “Uh, no thanks. I’m cool.”

    FWIW, I think that Gordon Biersch in general, but the one in Pasadena and City Walk have handsdown the worst service ever. I won’t go back to either. It’s been 5 years since I went to the one on City Walk (is it still there?) and 3 since I stepped foot in the Pasadena one. For kicks, the one that used to be in Lake Forest was the best way to interact with some of the dumbest people to ever walk the earth. I had the chef come out an yell at me because I complained about the food. He said, “You have no idea what medium rare is supposed to be!” which, I guess is fair enough, but I had ordered pasta.

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