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***** Some Owners Are Smart And Others Aren’t *****

Posted on August 31st, 2012 · Other

***** Some Owners Are Smart And Others Aren’t *****

I can’t begin to tell you how many people “tell” Jeff Eats that they feel that many of their favorite restaurants take them for granted.

You guys do know, that some restaurant owners/managers are smart–and that some owners aren’t smart, dontcha?

Let me make this one real short and simple.

Like many of you guys, Jeff Eats eats out a real-lot–and I have a whole bunch of favorite joints that I “repeatedly” go-to.

For all of you restaurant owners/managers out there…customers “love” when you:
1. pick up the check
2. buy a round of drinks
3. buy a round of desserts
4. buy the table an appetizer or two
5. take something off the check
6. stop by the table to chat

Now, I’m not going to name names…but some of my favorite joints “don’t” know how to treat people. For sure my favorites have great food, good prices, great service—but a number of them have owners/managers who treat customers as if they were a dime a dozen. For example, there is a Greek joint that I love—where I’ve eaten something like 20 times in the past 18 months and not even once has the owner/manager ever done any of the SIX items listed above. For example, there is an Italian joint that I love—where I’ve eaten something like 15 times in the past 12 months and not even once has the owner/manager ever done any of the SIX items listed above. You know what a schmuck is? Well they are schmucks and Jeff Eats is a bigger schmuck for continuing to eat there. I guess the owners/managers of these joints think I’m a glutton for punishment—so they don’t go out of their way for me. By the way, based on conversations with other customers, “these” owners play the same game with them, so old Jeff Eats hasn’t been singled out for non-special treatment.

Now for the good news, some owners/managers “know” that customers don’t grow on trees and go out of their way—to please them. I really don’t have time to name-names, but I’m sure you guys out there know which owners/managers do the right thing.

I got an idea, starting with Jeff Eats …let’s not go to the restaurants where “we” don’t get treated “special”—believe me, I can live without that gyro and that chicken parm.

Jeff Eats would love to hear as to who the smart owners are/and which ones aren’t so smart.

61 Comments to “***** Some Owners Are Smart And Others Aren’t *****”

  1. MH says...

    Tavolino Della Nonna in Coral Springs. Ed the owner can’t do enough for his customers.

  2. AGS says...

    Jeff,
    Like you I eat quite a bit a Chris a Greek restaurant in Lake Worth. Food is great. Ive been there at least 10 times this year and not once has the owner ever said anything to me or my wife.

  3. Ron V. says...

    Matteo’s in Boca always does the right thing. My wife and I eat there on average about once a month.

  4. BOBBY T says...

    My wife and I tried Salt Life in Coral Springs after reading your review.
    It’s relatively new.
    Adam the GM stopped by the table and had us try a sushi item on him.

    On the other hand Barone’s La Pizzeria where we have eaten for years has never “bought” us one single item.

  5. Kalish says...

    We live in Boca Raton.
    Here’s a list for you of restaurants we frequent in Boca.

    Matteos…..good
    Nino’s….. real bad
    Pizza Time…..bad
    Dominick’s 1 & 2… real bad
    DaVito’s….. real bad
    Too Jay’s…..bad
    Nick’s…..good
    Augie’s…..good
    Boca Ale House…..bad
    Steve’s Woodfire….bad
    Tucci’s…. real bad
    Dubliner…..good
    Bagel City…..bad
    Bagelworks…..bad
    Mississippi Sweets….bad

    We’ll have more for you later.

  6. KOSTAS says...

    Jeff, just a quick off the cuff list
    Gamaroff’ terrible.
    Aquilino terrible.
    Yardhouse terrible.
    Grimaldi’s terrible.
    Anthony’s terrible
    Anthony’s Runway 84 terrible

  7. KPM33496 says...

    Jeff, ive eaten in tons of restaurants.
    here is a list of some of those that take care of their customers.
    There are plenty of others, but these come to mind right off the top of hat.
    tavolina della nonna
    matteo’s
    ny prime
    abe & louie’s
    renzo’s
    gramercy bagels
    ruven’s deli
    ernie’s chop
    park ave bbq

  8. steve shiner says...

    We eat out seven days a week and I know that restaurants take care of there customers and some dont but I can tell you that New York Prime and Matteos know what they are doing. John and Peter make you feel that you are family and I can’t tell how awsome a feeling that is. keep up the great job we really appreciate it.

  9. Gary says...

    My wife and I eat out on a regular basis.

    We do not want anything other than great food, great service and a comfortable atmosphere.

    We don’t want anything from anybody nor do we need anything from anybody to continue to patronize a restaurant that is doing what it is they are supposed to do.

    I can’t believe you would tell your readers to stop patronizing a restaurant that they have been enjoying 10, 20, 30 times or more because they don’t get a freebie from the mngr/ owner.
    Or a B.S. “how are you enjoying your dinner this evening”

    • EF says...

      Jeff is so right and you are so wrong that it isn’t even funny.
      Guess you just see things differently.

      • Gary says...

        My business serves up to 3k customers DAILY.
        My customers thank my staff each and every day for giving them a shopping experience that they CAN’T get elsewhere.
        My customers thank us regularly and bring my staff token gifts on a regular basis, and with true sincerely ask my staff about their personal lives.
        I DON’T have to kiss ass to keep a customer, I just have to give a great product, great selection, great service in a comfortable atmosphere. Above all, I treat my staff with respect, and give them that little extra.

    • HerbK says...

      I agree with you. If I am getting consistently exceptional food and service I’m going to keep going back for more.

      • MrDinner says...

        Sorry, I agree with Jeff.
        If you are a good customer the mgt should treat you special. Now I’m not talking free food all the time but every so often a drink an appetizer a dessert.
        I eat in loads of very good restaurants. The ones that treat me right get even more business from me than those that don’t.
        I get the point that if I get a good meal etc then mgt has met their burden. But the way I see it one of the six things Jeff listed is part of a long term relationship.

    • Anthony Franza says...

      I don’t care what you say, if a mgr or owner can’t do a little extra for me and my wife I would prefer doing businesess that will

    • Robby Rowe says...

      Jeff is right on the money here. Even if you have great food the mgt should treat steady customers with extra care. Not doing so shows a certain contempt for the customer.
      I recently stopped eating at a really good restaurant over its failure to appreciate my business. A simple gesture that it appreciated my loyalty was all that was needed.

  10. Gary says...

    The only thing I expect from a restaurant that I go to on a regular basis,is a sincere welcome back, and a short wait in season, or when they are packed.

    What do you get for spending $10k a year at publix that every other shopper doesn’t get. Do they give you free meat because you’ve been there 10 times.

    What do you get when you buy a $50k-$100k plus BMW or Mercedes,etc.. Do you get a free set of tires because you’ve purchased $200k worth of cars from them in the last 5 years.

    A business that does what they are supposed to do, should not have to give you something other than what they have given you over and over again to earn your business, to keep you as a customer.

    • HY says...

      Gary. You are a hypocrite.
      You say you want nothing but then you say that you want a sincere welcome back and special treatment to get in when the restaurant is busy.
      Isn’t that basically what Jeff has listed as number 6 on his list?
      Jeff is right and you actually agreed with him.
      Bye.

      HY

      • Gary says...

        Hy, I didn’t see good service as one of the six. A sincere welcome back and a quick seating for a regular customer falls into that category .

  11. Gary says...

    What does the most successful retail store (Apple) give you for buying an, iPod, iPhone, iPad, notebook, and desktop.
    Well according to Jeff, they are schmucks and we are bigger schmucks for patronizing them.

    What does McDonalds and Subway give you for free because you’ve been there 10 times.

    What does Walmart put in your bag, to say thank you for your loyal patronage.

    I guess there are a lot of schmucks in this world.

  12. Mark says...

    My sister and brother inlaw had a regular place they went to and they always got all 6 of your list but when i say regular i mean atleast once a week and its not a cheap place 18 to 20 per plate When ever i visited they always took us there and the manaer would remember us from the year before.

  13. David L says...

    I usually agree with you Jeff, but I have to say, you are off base on this one.

    First of all, you should never EXPECT anyone to do anything for you in a restaurant. This way you will never be disappointed when you don’t get anything you are looking for. When you do get something, it just makes the experience that much better.

    Next, I have to say that 20 times in 18 months hardly makes you a VIP customer. People who eat at a local restaurant barely more than once a month ARE “a dime a dozen”. If you told me that you eat at some of these restaurants once a week, or even 2 or 3 times a month, then maybe you would have a better case for getting one of the items listed above…

    Sure, it is people like you that keep the restaurant in business, but restaurants that have people who come back once a month are usually doing something right that warrant a return. However, to call a restaurant a “schmuck” for not giving you something is definitely not called for.

    In my experience, a manager will buy me something after I come in with a big party, or I tell someone to go try their restaurant, and they let a manager know that I was the one who sent them. You do not deserve a free meal simply for gracing them with your presence once a month. If you expect a manager to go above and beyond, then you need to do the same for the restaurant in one way or another.

    • HNA says...

      You are 100 % dead wrong.
      I and my partners own two very well known s Florida restaurants. Our managers are TRAINED to stop by every table to make sure that things are running just right.
      If you noticed Jeff didn’t say that a restaurant had to do all 6 things on his list. Look at #6 Jeff just has a mgr or owner stop by the table for a chat.
      Customers love when an owner or mgr stops by to chat.
      Sorry, Jeff is so right that owners have to always do more than serve great food, have great service and have reasonable prices.

      • Gary says...

        stopping by a table to make sure everything is just right is good service, stopping by a table to “chat” (#6)is unwarranted .

        • PL says...

          Semantics

      • Gary says...

        Let’s just say that you and all other restaurants do Jeff’s #1-6 for every customer. What is it that is going to bring that customer back to you, I think I made my point!!!

  14. EF says...

    Jeff
    We live in Boca
    Here is a small list of smart and not so smart owners.

    Ben’s not smart
    Matteo’s smart.
    Tucci’s not smart.
    Nino’s not smart.
    Pelligrino’s not smart.
    Renzo’s smart.
    piccolino’s not smart.
    Table 42 not smart.
    racks not smart.
    Ben’s not smart.
    BagelWorks not smart.

  15. PS says...

    very interesting conversation started. i think both jeff and gary have valid points. i dont think there is a right or wrong way to treat the customer. it is difficult to compare mom and pop restaurants with BMW dealerships and Walmart. in any business there is a standard of expectations that must be met, for them to retain customers. do those businesses that have a “system” in place to reward loyal guests keep them, or do they just come in when there is a special or sale going on? I have worked on and off for Duffys in many positions over the years and the benefits of their “system,” the very popular MVP card are huge. simply put, the more you spend, the more you earn. it is all done by computer, however, at store level, on the “front lines,” it is always nice to be acknowledged, and the managers do a good job of this.

  16. KBP561234 says...

    Hey Gary,

    My brother and I are in the restaurant business. We have owned many and one of our concepts is now part of a national chain.
    Walmart and Target are one thing, but an independent restaurant is a whole other animal.
    The customer even with great food etc has to be treated GREAT.
    WE ALWAYS TREATED PEOPLE TO THINGS AND ALWAYS STOPPED BY EVERY TABLE TO SEE HOW THINGS WERE.
    You seem to be willing to settle for just the good food etc.
    A RESTAURANT IS SUPPOSE TO GIVE THAT TO YOU.
    When you are a regular you MUST BE TREATED SPECIAL.
    Sorry pal, Jeff is right on the money here.

    • Gary says...

      What would bring me back to you on a regular basis, if your philosophy was standard practice throughout the industry.
      To succeed in business, in a highly populated field you need to stand out. If you NEED to suck up to keep me as a customer, your food etc. is probably no better than your competitions.

      • KPB561234 says...

        Gary,
        I guess you know better than I and my brother.
        I guess the $132,000,000 we got for our chain also means we don’t know how to run a restaurant.
        Take Care!

        • Gary says...

          Obviously you guys did just a tad bit more than give freebies and schmooze.

        • Gary says...

          The Yardhouse was just bought out by Darden for $560,000,000. and they were on somebody’s list as being terrible.
          Perhaps if you focused on what is really important to the customer, you would be $428,000,000. richer.

  17. D Carson says...

    any owner who doesnt do at least one of the things listed by jeff is a schmuck.
    it costs the owner literally nothing and he gets a satisfied customer and tremenous word of mouth.

  18. Ken says...

    I don’t agree with Jeff . The only time I get free something is when they screw up which is not what I want.. If the place is crowded and great, then they are working hard to perform that.

    Do you want the owner watching the shop to help provide a great meal or walking around while other things are getting scewed up?

    To be honest, I don’t want to be bothered if I am having a good time.

    Jeff , do you have a hidden agenda here by getting the places you go to buy you things now?

    • STEVE-O says...

      i get “free” stuff all the time.
      i eat in a load of restaurants. some quite frequently.
      many times the owner or manager buys a round of drinks or maybe a handful of desserts.
      either you been going to crap restaurants, or you look like a loser so no one cares if you come back or not.
      last night i ate a sports bar and the manger bought me and my wife a round of drinks.
      you are definitely doing something wrong.

  19. mnbv says...

    im with jeff all the way. a smart owner does what jeff suggested. the dumb ones dont.

  20. Ben G. says...

    JEFF IS THE MAN!

    Just last week, my wife and I stopped at Scruby’s’s to pick up some bbq ribs and chicken.

    While we were waiting the manager brought out some ribs for me and my wife to try while we were waiting for our order.

    Very smart manager. After all I’m telling you ffolks the story and that’s PR for Scrubby’s.

  21. gary says...

    An $8. an hour girl or guy with a great personality(hired by a VERY SMART MANAGER)should be making sure all waiting guests are happy.
    A VERY SMART MANAGER should make sure his kitchen staff is cooking food properly and his wait staff are serving customers properly.
    Have you read Scrubby’s reviews? I would choose not to go there because of the poor food and service reviews.
    (crazy me…I read food blogs to see where I can get above average food and outstanding service)
    But I’m pretty tempted to try them now knowing that I can get a free spare rib from a VERY SMART MANAGER!!

  22. steve shiner says...

    Gary what are some of the restaurants that you go to often? I see you said you read food blogs why would you not go to a restaurant and try it for yourself

    • Gary says...

      Steve,
      I have been to almost every restaurant in Boca, some only once and just a handful numerous times. For lunch, the Tin Muffin in downtown boca is my #1 choice and for dinner, Trattoria Romana and Chops are my 2 favorites.
      I try almost every new restaurant and have tried many of Jeff’s reviewed restaurants. Most are just the same sh-t you can get everywhere else, I guess that’s why Jeff and many others here need free food or a VIP greeting to continue coming back.

      • Gary says...

        Steve,
        By the way, I use to go to NYPrime often, great food , great service, but my last time there, the goofy bartender was a complete ASSHOLE
        and I have not retuned since(I was a 2 -3 bottle of Silver Oak customer with a $1000. + tab)
        Also love the food and service at Matteo’s but my wife and I usually enjoy a quiet intimate dinner alone or with close friends.

        • FULLERBRUSHMAN says...

          gary, your last comment tells me you really dont know crap.
          tin muffin? you cannt be serious.
          romana, once again second rate.
          ny prime dumped because of a bartender. give me a break.
          matteos is great but too noisy for you.
          stay home.

          • Gary says...

            Tin muffin has delicious homemade food, Romana is far from second rate, they are busy 7 nights a week 52 weeks of the year, and I didn’t say Matteo’s was too noisy. My comment suggested that Matteo’s has great food and great service but is the type of place to go to like NYP to see and be seen.
            Also as far as your comment “stay home” I do often, I am a culinary school graduate and I love to stay home and cook delicious food on a regular basis.
            BTW I’m in the market for a new vacuum.

          • Goeason says...

            Tin Muffin, it’s for old people. If you are 80 to 90 they think you’re a kid there.

        • rRR says...

          Gary
          You sound like an Old man who is full of himself.

          Your posts indicate that you don’t compromise much.

          Listen to Jeff and you’ll be a better person.

          • Gary says...

            I am far from an old man, and certainly not full of myself.
            I go on Jeff’s blog to get reviews of restaurants.
            I highly doubt that listening to Jeff will make me a better person.
            I am constantly reading to learn and better myself.
            Today’s New York Times had a very interesting article describing what many restaurants are doing to keep customers coming back and feel important each and every time they walk through the door.
            I learned a lot from THAT article, not Jeff’s.

  23. smoothasglass says...

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, and both sides make great points. I can say I’m really enjoying the debate and I have to give Gary the upper hand on wittiest responses. I hope this continues on because God knows there’s nothing good on TV.

  24. eater says...

    Jeff – 1 question.. why do you keep going back?

  25. robertw says...

    I definitely dont eat out as much as Jeff or others here. I generally dont expect anything if I go to a place often. It doesnt cross my mind. A manager or person stopping by is nice. Sometimes people I know will be asked by a manager how the meal is etc and they are ashamed to say anything bad even if things are bad. I will be straight with them if they ask.I love when a waiter drops food on your table and before you can barely get a fork in your mouth, they ask how everything is. Usually I say (awkward) that everything is ok so far. As a waiter many years ago I was told to check on tables, but let the customer eat something.

  26. robertw says...

    One other thing. I think that a restaurant should recogize you as a repeat customer (mom and pop) or smaller place. Places with reservations know that you are a repeat customer. If they make you feel extra welcome I think that is great. And again I dont expect a free item although I would think highly of the place.

  27. M.B. says...

    I would like to start by saying that I never write on any of these websites. My wife and I eat out 7 nights a week we are known in many restaurants. Gary i agree with you 100 percent give me good food,service and charge me a fair price and everything is fine. We go to all of the places New York Prime, Abe and Louies, Matteos, Trattoria. I am taken care at al of these fine restaurants. I would like to share a story, we had a death in our family and we were sitting shiva when one night we received a delivery of food from Matteos, the food was sent by Peter the G.M. i cannot tell you how touched we were by this guesture. This is what makes places successful we you are appreciated and treated like family. There are always two sides to every arguement and I guess this one as well

    • Louie P. says...

      Unless I’m sorely mistaken, you actually agreed with Jeff and others here and not Gary.
      You tell us about Matteo’s GM going out of his way for you.
      Isnt that what Jeff is talking about?
      Owners/Mangers that do special things for regular steady customers.
      If you followed what Gary said, you would never have heard from Peter.
      Read what Jeff wrote, you are on his page and not Gary’s.
      Thanks.
      Louie P.

      • Carl11218 says...

        Louie P,
        no question that MB is in agreement with Jeff Eats and doesn’t even realize it.
        Gary thinks such acts of GM kindness are not warranted.

    • WestBoca says...

      MB
      I think you really in Jeff’s camp on this one.
      The little special touches is what separates the real pro owners and mgrs from the herd.
      Your story says it all.

  28. Gary says...

    M.B.
    What Peter did for you was a sincere act of kindness. I would have appreciated and welcomed the same acknowledgement from any business that I frequent on a regular basis.
    This act does not fall under
    1. picking up the check
    2.buying a round of drinks
    3. buying a round of desserts
    4. buying the table an appetizer or two
    5. taking something off the check
    6. chatting
    This was one person acknowledging another persons pain and an act of human kindness.
    I don’t think Peter’s intention was to make sure you will feel “special” and come back for his chicken parm.

  29. TRS says...

    I and my wife eat at Tucci’s in Boca at least twice a month.
    We never use a coupon although the owner runs promotions all the time. Not even once has this guy ever offered us a complimentary item.
    Not the brightest light bulb.

    • HerbK says...

      My wife and I eat at Tucci’s 2 or 3 times a month and we go there because we think their pizza is the best and is consistently good. I don’t ask for or expect anything more than that. The owner comes to our table when he is there and is friendly as can be but I don’t expect him to do any more than that

      • Gary says...

        My wife and I eat at Tucci’s often as well, I went there originally because I heard that their pizza was considered one of the best in the area. We go back often because we love their pizza. If they keep making a great pizza, we will keep coming back. We don’t go back to feel special, we go back for delicious pizza that is better than most…

  30. David L says...

    If you really want a place that fulfills MOST of Jeff’s requirements, try going to almost any Japanese Restaurant, and sitting down at the sushi bar for a few meals.

    I know from reading this blog that Japanese food is a long way from Jeff’s area of expertise, but a good sushi chef knows how to make a customer feel like a member of the family. After a small amount amount of time, he or she will know what you like to eat, and even customize the menu for you to account for your tastes. Even when they are busy, they will usually make time to chat, and do everything they can to assure that your meal is as good as it can be.

    There is no better feeling than sitting down for dinner, and a chef telling you that while he was at the market that day, he saw something he thought you would like, so he bought it to put on the menu that night. Or, that they knew you were comin in, so they put a few pieces of what you like on the side for when you got there.

    I’ll share a story with you guys. I moved here from NY about 10 years ago. I recently went back to visit, and we decided to back to our old sushi rstaurant where we used to eat once or twice a week. As soon as we walked in, the chef behind the bar recognized us and immediately sent over an appetizer for us. It was the same appetizer that we used to order when we ate there almost 10 years ago.

    That my friends is how to treat a customer. I don’t know of anyplace down here that would do something like that, but since we had our children, we obviously don’t eat sushi 1 or 2 times a week anymore either…

  31. Jon Greenberg says...

    I think both have points. In the days of my youth I worked in NYC at night on my way home about 4am I would stop at a Deli on 2nd Ave and about 28th street at least 3 times a week. The deli man knew me well and I would tip him well. He always gave me extra meat on sandwich and not charge for my fries. The point is I went all the time he took care of me and I took care of him. We were all happy and life went on!

  32. Gregg L. Friedman MD says...

    I agree with Jeff. It often surprises me how poorly some restaurant managers treat the customers and how they overlook simple steps to keep customers coming back. By Gregg L. Friedman MD, Psychiatrist, Hallandale Beach, FL

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