Phileas Foggs Bar / Poway, CA Complaint - Diner Beware! This is one for the record books!
CALIFORNIA -- Well, for those of you that love this place God Bless ya, but 5 of us (all over 45 y. o.) had an unfortunate (VERY unfortunate) experience here.
I have never written a review before, but having experienced what I am about to share I was compelled to and wish I had this info coming in.
In short, one of 5 meals was sent back because it was simply terrible. It looked like a poorly plated Denny's meal, and the taste was worse...Flavorless. Like most decent patrons, we overlooked other certain aspects (waitress was very green and didn't seem to be trained) but she was very sweet and we appreciated her efforts. We ate the rest of our food that was average at best and never shared our disappointment, we only sent one meal back and did it in a proper manner. Yet we were threatened by this man who claimed he was the OWNER, who dropped an F-bomb to us at our table and broke every rule in the restaurant business.
You see, as the person who returned the meal, when the female manager came by to retrieve it and inquire, I balanced my feedback by adding 2 compliments, saying the service was good and my fries were great but my meal was inedible. (We have all seen those jerk customers who pound their chests and return food like they are self-entitled snobs) So it is my rule to always be nice. And though the female manager had a “hint” of attitude when inquiring, I was polite and too the point.
What followed was beyond Twilight Zone. Minutes after she retrieved my plate the following unfolded.
This short man was giving me dirty looks and staring (for more than 30 sec) through the little window on the kitchen door. I'm thinking...who is this person and why the stink eye? The cook? Dishwasher? It was a very bizarre and aggressive display. It gets worse...He then came to our table, didn’t introduce himself, and began to "attempt" to belittle me with a flurry of aggressive questions about my knowledge of such food and accused me of being very rude and that I made the cook and the manager “cry”. He leaned in over top of me, placed his arm on the wall above my head as to attempt to make some dominant stance/body language and began to pick an argument with me, as the whole table sat with jaws dropped.
Like a spoiled little boy arguing that he was insulted that the meal was returned, we all witnessed his unraveling and utter self-destruction, wondering at what point he would realize he was committing business suicide as the OWNER. It was painful to watch and I was forced to, in a very sanguine manner, put him in his place and request that we be left alone. The female manager stood by watching, and I asked her, "was I not polite, and in telling her food was bad also complimented the fries and the service?” she said yes, and the "Owner" shooed her off since clearly it was not fitting into his M. O.
The grand finally was him yelling the "F" word with a 4 y. o. girl three feet from him.
He took a pretty benign event that was already forgotten by us, the CUSTOMERS, and made it a public display/discussion thus punctuating it a thousand fold. His gradual realization of his self-destructing display lead to, the waitress not him, telling us there would be no bill.
We paid despite, (minus the plate of canned beans, instant potatoes and Bob Evans like sausages they claimed to be bangers and mash) and made sure our friendly waitress who was caught up in all this was tipped properly. The poor girl was a wreck and we were the ones reassuring her that she was fine and everything was going to be ok. Her "bosses" seemingly left her flapping in the wind.
We left thinking about some of those basic rules for bar owners, any owner, manager, etc, for that matter:
1) Don't revisit a negative with a customer who has moved on mentally and enjoying there meal and elevate it to an entirely new level.
2) If you are dumb enough to step in it on purpose, heaven forbid, as the owner, when you PUT yourself in a hole stop digging.
3) Remember as an owner, you are the one at work, not the customer.
4) If you don’t have the chops to deal with a simple “return” of a meal get out of the business.
5) Take situations like this and gain knowledge from it, if you ask a patron’s opinion, take it and walk away – if you can’t manage such info don’t ask.
6) If, as an Owner, you pull a stunt like this don’t then join/sit with patrons at the table next to it and continue to rant and rave even after you tried to comp the party’s meals. That is childish and passive-aggressive.
The only humorous takeaway as drove home was that this Owner didn't even succeed at what he was trying to do - It was painfully sad to whiteness.