An open letter in response to the comment from "Anonymous"...
We know you are not that anonymous, let’s face it, if you actually had a stake in the company/restaurant, you would be smart enough to a) take the high road, either not say anything, or contact me via telephone to try, try again, or b) apologize for the total lack of service/experience. Since you are doing neither, we can assume that you are indeed emotionally connected to the restaurant but not financially (other than your wages and tips).
In response to your above comment, I called ahead and specifically requested the 10:30 reservation, figuring that it would leave ample time to have a relaxing late meal and ring in the New Year. I specifically mentioned to the reservation-taker that we were celebrating our anniversary. There were plenty of alternatives (both reservation times and alternative restaurants), but the Vesta Dipping Grill was a restaurant that my wife and I had wanted to try. We could have probably gotten better service had we patronized a local McDonald’s. (I have eaten at a variety of establishments on Valentine’s Day with every restaurant keeping their reservation)
My first complaint about the look of the hostess was not so much a complaint as a valid perception. Dining has a general rule of thumb – presentation is 90% of taste. Not just the taste of the food, but the taste that’s left in the patron’s mouth after they leave the establishment. If I were a restaurant owner, I would make sure that the patrons’ dining experience was top notch. So, if it’s your job to be the front runner/first fresh face that the patron sees, and all I am faced with is someone with caked-on beige makeup and a nasty attitude, who didn’t hold up their end of the reservation, I am going to be left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Regarding your comment on understanding and compassion, my understanding was perfectly clear. I shouldn’t have to beg for a table at a restaurant, especially in one of the worst economic depressions our country has faced. Unfortunately, your speculation about me being a spoiled, only-child is totally wrong. I have 2 siblings, and my parents in no way spoiled me. That’s exactly why I appreciate quality, style and design. I will pay more money for something that will last a long time rather than purchase something cheap over and over. You get what you pay for – but selling a Coors Light for $4.50 is just sad – and when there are much better beers available, especially in Colorado. Paying more money for watery beer doesn’t make it taste better. Paying more money for a wrist watch that I can hand down to my grandkids because it was made with a high level of precision and engineering over generations of Swiss watch-making, makes sense to me.
Clearly the service industry has gotten complacent with its customary 20% tipping and making people wait attitude. By the time we left the restaurant it was pretty close to 11:00. What’s the point of making a reservation anymore? Is this an episode of Seinfeld? Remember when reservations used to be a way to ensure that your table was ready? It was the patron’s end of the deal to show up at the specified time and the restaurant’s end of the deal to have a table ready at that time. If the patron was running late, they would simply phone the restaurant and deliver an ETA. The restaurant actually wanted your business! So that fact that you suggest that I ask for another table, is simply appalling. I had already waited in the bar (not drinking Coors Light) waiting for our table.
The simple fact that I have yet to mention in the few basic functions of a restaurant:
1. The restaurant makes food for people to eat.
2. The people pay money to eat at your restaurant.
3. The restaurant has an inviting atmosphere and waitstaff that brings people into the restaurant.
If you can’t go to a restaurant and pay money for food because the restaurant can’t hold a reservation, the hostess is less than accommodating, and the waitstaff never shows up, it isn’t much of a restaurant.
Had the management/owners of the Vesta Dipping Grill cared about their reputation and establishment, they would have ran out the door to catch us as we were leaving, or apologized for the lack of service, or called me back to offer some sort of restitution for missing the mark on fulfilling basic restaurant functions. So, sorry if I struck a chord with your “done no wrong” attitude, but the fact of the matter is: the review was based on something that actually happened (or didn’t happen), not just cheap shots because I was pissed. So remember: when someone is pleased with service they might tell one person; when someone is dissatisfied, they will tell 10 (or maybe more).
As a side note: My wife and I went out New Year’s Day for dinner to make up for the previous night's shenanigans. We told our server this story, and the restaurant felt so bad that not only was the service great, but they gave us free dessert. I have no problem patronizing that establishment in the future.