Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vintage Kitchen - "Unsavory" Impression

You might have noticed the pleasant review I had written about Vintage Kitchen from this past weekend, unfortunately the experience has been completely ruined. Customer service goes a long way and the actions of the restaurant completely left an unsavory impression in our mouths.

We dined as a party of 9 and paid the single bill that was given to us with cash and card payments. I received a call from the owner on Tuesday that the restaurant had charged an additional $20 plus dollars to each of the two cards that had been used at dinner due to a shortage of cash left for the bill. Let me remind you that the dinner took place on Friday, it is now Tuesday and we were getting notified of the additional charge. I was so baffled at the fact they charged our cards without authorization, I didn't have much to say on the phone. After telling my husband the entire story, he decided to give them a call and try to get the issue resolved. The issue isn't the fact that we were charged, it is how the restaurant handled the situation.

During the conversation, the owner had a very condescending tone and repeatedly blamed the party for not leaving enough cash. Typically, a server counts the amount that are on the cards and checks the cash amount to assure that the money adds up correctly when she takes the bill. The server did not do this, nor did she mention there was a "mistake" when she brought us our slips to sign. The owner told us that she was doing us a favor by just adding what we asked her to put on the cards, it was not her fault she did not count the cash. He then told us they had tried to call several times (without leaving a voicemail) and he couldn't call sooner because he was on vacation. Unfortunately sir, your vacation is not my problem. My problem is you charging my card without authorization and not taking any responsibility for your server's error or your actions. It is ridiculous for you to then question our honor and integrity as individuals. Those of you who know us, understand that is the last thing anyone would question us about, so you can imagine how offended we both were at this point.

He also noted that by participating in restaurant week they were providing a service to the community by reducing their prices. I thought restaurant week was a way for restaurants to thank loyal customers and introduce patrons to new dining experiences, I guess I was wrong. It's too bad our experience concluded with this interaction with the owner. We will not return, nor will I recommend their restaurant to any of our peers.

After thinking about this issue all night, I called my credit card company to get their opinion on the matter. I talked to two individuals and they both agreed that once you sign the bill for a certain amount that is agreed upon, you have done your part. She also mentioned that her brother was a general manager in the restaurant business and typically in this situation the server pays the difference if there is one, because they did not properly count the payments. She said merchants run their business differently but we were not in the wrong in this case. We were refunded the additional amount that was charged to us immediately. Thank you to our credit card company for your outstanding customer service!


Hampton Roads Foodie said...

This owner needs a consult with someone in marketing to clue him in on the importance of managing his brand and customer service. And from a former server, it was her job to make sure the tab was covered and when there is an error, she is the one to cover it. Basic math. It is essential in life.

Eat. Love. and Be Merry. said...

You are absolutely correct! It's nice to hear from others that we were not wrong in our argument. It really is a shame that their service was horrible, I was looking forward to going back.