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When You Correct a Restaurant Error, Do You Deserve a Thanks?


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#1 joethefoodie

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:16 PM

I want to share a quick story, just to see if I was over reacting to the response I got.  Or what anyones' thoughts might be.

 

So we had dinner last night at Bar Crenn, a fanciful little wine bar/restaurant which has opened next door to Atelier Crenn, under the auspices of Mmle Crenn. As for the food, the apps and smaller first courses were quite good; the mains we had, less so. Most everything on the menu is borrowed/appropriated/inspired from a famous chef, though some of the chefs might not be happy with the results.  It's interesting that last time we were in San Francisco we went to In Situ, which also operated (still operates?) under a similar premise, but if I recall correctly, with much better results.

 

Anyway, back to my story.  The check comes, and I notice it's rather low for what we had consumed. 

It failed to include a $70 half bottle of wine we had ordered, to go with our plats.  So I let our server/bartender know (we were sitting at the bar), and she disappeared, only to return 5 minutes later with an updated credit card charge slip, already run, with the new total, and basically saying: "oh, you probably won't be as happy with this new total."

 

Everyone else - the somm who opened and poured and failed to add the wine to our check (but possibly added it to someone else's), the floor manager, etc., basically disappeared. Not any eye contact, not a single thank you.

 

The end.



#2 Orik

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:33 PM

Not to point out the error would be unethical, so you don't deserve to be thanked, but of course the nice thing to do would be to thank you.

 

The kind of thing you'd hope would be obvious but isn't. 

 

p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.


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#3 Steve R.

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:55 PM

Same story at Ginny’s birthday dinner last night at The River Cafe. A bottle of wine was left off the presented bill, I alerted them, and the new bill was issued. However, I did get a quiet thank you.

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#4 joethefoodie

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:01 PM

Not to point out the error would be unethical, so you don't deserve to be thanked, but of course the nice thing to do would be to thank you.

 

The kind of thing you'd hope would be obvious but isn't. 

 

p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.

 

Yes, my ethical standards are high.  And I guess I do hope for more from people; people who are allegedly in the business of making customers happy.

 

p.s. My French is bad - what's the correct title?



#5 Orik

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:24 PM

In places with sophisticated foh there's going to be a standing order to have any non standard interaction around the bill handled by a manager (to thank people nicely, or to be discreet about credit cards not being accepted, etc.). :)

 

Always Mme for an adult. 


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#6 Steve R.

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:26 PM

I've had this discussion with many friends/co-diners & I've always been surprised at the various responses.  The obvious ethical question is a no brainer to me, but there's a theory that the restaurant should be happy enough at your honesty to buy you a round of drinks.  Well, I don't give back anything when I find an overcharge, so that sort of negates that idea for me.  And, secondly, a round of drinks would cost close to the neglected charge (for both them and us), and we didn't want it enough to order it in the 1st place, so why do it?  Might as well just comp the item that was uncharged & be done with it.  

 

Bottom line is that I agree with Orik & "joe" - a "thank you" is in order, just to acknowledge the honesty.  And balloons would be nice too  :D .


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#7 joethefoodie

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:39 PM

In places with sophisticated foh there's going to be a standing order to have any non standard interaction around the bill handled by a manager (to thank people nicely, or to be discreet about credit cards not being accepted, etc.). :)

 

Always Mme for an adult. 

 

Right; I know that our server/person I alerted to the error went off to find the right people to talk to and to adjust the bill.  

 

And it was incumbent upon one of them to bring back the corrected bill and perhaps offer a thank you...instead of literally going out of their way to avoid any eye contact.



#8 voyager

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:32 PM

 

 

 

p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.

 

 

 

p.s. My French is bad - what's the correct title?

 

 AFAIK, the current usage is that if a girl is/looks old enough to have sex, she becomes Madame, or Mme.    i.e., late teens.    However, there are many woman who hang onto the flirtatious (often mocking?) use of Mlle and are crushed when their address switches from Mlle to Mme.  


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#9 voyager

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:35 PM

re the original question, we have found that there are usually just two responses.    An effusive "you saved my xxx!" thank you or an embarrassed total ignorance that you did so.   Certainly the former is a more elegant and poised reaction.    


"A meal without wine is called breakfast."   Camille Fourmont


#10 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:00 PM

The proper title is: Chef. See this story on her from Eater last year.

 

Whaddya want? A medal? Seriously, all I expect is a quiet "Thank you" from the person presenting the check when I bring it to their attention, and nothing they present the corrected check. What I hope for is them (or a manger) saying, "It's on us." (I've had that sometimes, but usually when it's only the cost on one cocktail or something similar, <$20.) What I definitely do not expect is a comp item after the bill has been closed out (such as a free after-dinner drink).

 

Paul and I have the debate from time to time, to bring it to their attention or not. I am the daughter of an accountant, so I say yes. He is the son of retail store owners, so he sometimes says no (he looks at it from the perspective of what he will have to pay, not what the establishment deserves to receive for goods rendered). It might depend on how expensive the place is: the less expensive, he might say okay because he assumes it constitutes a larger portion of their income, and that their margins are already pretty thin.


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#11 joethefoodie

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:25 AM

Whaddya want? A medal? Seriously, all I expect is a quiet "Thank you" from the person presenting the check when I bring it to their attention, and nothing they present the corrected check. 

 

From the OP:

 

Not any eye contact, not a single thank you.


#12 Sneakeater

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:46 PM

 

 

 

 

p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.

 

 

 

p.s. My French is bad - what's the correct title?

 

 AFAIK, the current usage is that if a girl is/looks old enough to have sex, she becomes Madame, or Mme.    i.e., late teens.    However, there are many woman who hang onto the flirtatious (often mocking?) use of Mlle and are crushed when their address switches from Mlle to Mme.  

 

 

Thanks for this, as I've always wondered.

 

But isn't that a rather awkward standard?  I mean, who am I to judge?  Also, it could lead to some fraught parent-child exchanges:

 

PÈRE:  Time to do your homework, mademoiselle.

 

FILLE:  That's madame.


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#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:49 PM

It seems like if you're in, like, the hospitality business, you should thank a customer for correcting an error.

 

Expecting a give-back, however, is just horrible.


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#14 Orik

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:47 PM


 


 


 
 
p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.

 
 
 
p.s. My French is bad - what's the correct title?
 
 AFAIK, the current usage is that if a girl is/looks old enough to have sex, she becomes Madame, or Mme.    i.e., late teens.    However, there are many woman who hang onto the flirtatious (often mocking?) use of Mlle and are crushed when their address switches from Mlle to Mme.  
 
 
Thanks for this, as I've always wondered.
 
But isn't that a rather awkward standard?  I mean, who am I to judge?  Also, it could lead to some fraught parent-child exchanges:
 
PÈRE:  Time to do your homework, mademoiselle.
 
FILLE:  That's madame.

And that is obviously why France criminalized incest with minors.
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#15 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:57 PM

 

 

 

 

 

p.s. I think Mmle is perhaps not the right title.

 

 

 

p.s. My French is bad - what's the correct title?

 

 AFAIK, the current usage is that if a girl is/looks old enough to have sex, she becomes Madame, or Mme.    i.e., late teens.    However, there are many woman who hang onto the flirtatious (often mocking?) use of Mlle and are crushed when their address switches from Mlle to Mme.  

 

 

Thanks for this, as I've always wondered.

 

But isn't that a rather awkward standard?  I mean, who am I to judge?  Also, it could lead to some fraught parent-child exchanges:

 

PÈRE:  Time to do your homework, mademoiselle.

 

FILLE:  That's madame.

 

typical prudish american.


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