Friday, June 26, 2009

Restaurant employee lies to customer, manager insults him for figuring it out.

For any of you who read this blog in the Chattanooga area, you will want to read this chain of events that happened to a co-worker at the Boathouse recently. I have removed his name from the chain of emails.

Subject: Restaurant Experience

June 25th, 2009

To whom it may concern.

I wanted to inform you an incredibly unsatisfactorily experience I had with your restaurant. On Saturday June 20, I attempted to take my father to the Boathouse for a Father's Day dinner along with my wife, my 3 year old and my 1 month old daughter. My Father was in from out of state and I wanted to bring him to a dinner he would enjoy as he loves seafood. In order to make the experience enjoyable for everyone, we stopped at McDonalds prior to arriving at the restaurant in order to get my daughter some food that she would be willing to eat. My daughter can be a particularly picky eater at times and we wanted to make sure that she would be happy and there would be something she would be willing to eat.

When I arrived at the restaurant, it was noticeably not crowded yet I had to wait for almost 10 minutes while the multiple hostesses tried to determine where I could be seated. Keep in mind that it was probably close to 100 degrees out and that I have a one month old child. I finally was brought to my seat after this wait and was in the process of being seated, when a female employee whom I might assume was the manager came over to me and informed me that would could not bring me daughters food into the restaurant as it was against the "Health Code" for such to be done. I attempted to explain the situation to her and was basically put on deaf ears and repeatedly told that it was a health code issue and that my only choice was to leave and go elsewhere. I was never offered any sort of other alternative. So therefore despite the fact that I went out of my way to go to your restaurant, I had to then load 2 kids back into the car in the 100 degree heat and drive to another restaurant.

After this experience, I contacted the State of Tennessee to see if this was in fact a violation and received the following email back:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thu, Jun 25, 2009 11:38 am
Subject: Re: Question

Mr. ,
It is not a violation of the food service establishment rules & regulations to bring food into a restaurant from another restaurant. However, some restaurants choose to implement their own policies restricting foods from other establishments.

Thank you,
> 6/21/2009 7:17 PM >>>
Can you tell me if you are allowed by the health code to bring food into another restaurant. For example, can I bring in McDonalds prepared food into another restaurant if it is still packaged or is it a health Violation?

Thank You

As you can, See what I was told by your Employee was completely incorrect that it was an issue with the "Health Code" and may have only been a policy of your restaurant. If this is the case, it should have been explained to me as such, and I would think that any reasonable person would be willing to work with a customer in this regard. I had thought that the Boathouse and it partner restaurants were family friendly type establishments and would understand how difficult it can be at times to have children, but apparently, I misunderstood and it is your desire not to have customers with children.

Based on this treatment, I have elected not to continue to eat at any of your establishments and will be sure to also relay my experience to others, especially those with children. I also wanted to make sure that you understood that you have employees that are using the health code to enforce rules of your establishment that are not part of the health code.

I would appreciate this if this could be shared with the Owners/Manager in Charge or your establishment so he is aware of this experience and hopefully no future customers are treated as poorly as I was.

Have a pleasant Day.

This is the response from the general partner of the Boathouse:

Mr. ,

You really should check with your Pediatrician, concerning a 3 year old having that much control over her nutritional program.

Lawton Haygood

General Partner


My Co-Workers response:

Wow, Thanks for the caring response. I am in awe that someone who is the General Partner of a restaurant would be that smart assed to a customer. My daughter is not in control of her nutritional program by any means, I was just trying to let her have a treat and have something that she wanted to eat that evening and in turn let us have a pleasant night out as a family. I apologize that my family is that much of a burden to you and your company. I thought it would be important to get some feedback from a customer's experience, but apparently, it is not something that you care too much about.

And it gets worse with the general partners 2nd reply:

You go to McDonalds to get a happy meal, then to a restaurant, then back in a hot car and go to another restaurant, but the 3 year old is not in charge? You need to really think about that.

Co-workers last email:

Thanks for the parenting advice. You are unbelievable and I will be sure to share this level of caring that you display with as much people as possible. I quickly drove through a drive through while my baby slept and got my daughter some food. It is pretty rude of you to insinuate that I was a bad parent for doing this, but based on the consistent response you and your co-workers care to display, I can see that it is more of a practice. I wish that I was as perfect a parent as you must have been. Perhaps if I only checked with you, prior to coming to the restaurant, I could have been better.

My Apologies.

I for one will not eat at this restaurant or any of the other restaurants in the Chattanooga area that are associated with them. What a way to loose business and alienate people! I have never brought fast-food into a restaurant, but having a 17th month old myself, I have brought outside food into restaurants numerous times and no one has even batted an eyelash about it.


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