* Yard House, The Capital Grille, Darden Restaurants -Terrible Customer Service!


* Yard House, The Capital Grille, Darden Restaurants- Terrible Customer Service!

Here’s a story for you guys…

As witnessed by Jeff Eats’ write ups dated 1/28/08 and 1/14/11–I’d been a huge fan of the “sports bar” Yard House chain since 2008…suffice it to say, Jeff Eats is no longer a fan. Printed below is a copy of an e-mail which I sent on January 1, 2014 to the General Manager of Yard House’s Boca Raton location in Mizner Park. To date, Jeff Eats has not received the courtesy of a reply from either the GM or from Yard House’s corporate office.
Subject: Poor Service/Food
As you may recall, last night I and five others were in Yard House around 10:15pm. The reason why you may remember is that you and I exchanged business cards when you came over to our table. Just in case you don’t, Jeffrey Richman of Jeff Eats
Suffice it to say as the editor of one of South Florida’s leading food blogs, I’ve literally been to and reviewed hundreds of restaurants. If you check Jeff Eats’ site you will find a past- extremely favorable Yard House review. I just wanted to tell you, that last night’s outing was lousy and that your actions as GM on the same level.
The facts are real simple.
We arrived around 10:15pm to a half empty restaurant. We were seated and waited quite awhile for a waiter to appear. He took the beverage order which was real simple- hot tea, two hot coffees, three iced coffees. Once again extremely slow in filling the order, which when delivered found the three iced coffees with no ice and watered down and the two hot coffees barely warm, the tea was okay. The waiter left the table failing to supply straws for the beverages or spoons. When he returned to take the food order, he was told that the hot coffees were unacceptable and after requesting same he supplied straws and spoons. The food order was taken which was basically six cake items topped with ice cream. Sometime thereafter the waiter returned with hot coffees. Before the desserts were delivered, you stopped by the table and saw what was going on. Now unless the six of us are hard of hearing, you said that you would do something to compensate us for this really unacceptable outing. The desserts were delivered, a couple too sweet and one with ice cream that had already started to melt. Suffice it to say, we finished and I had to physically get up and search for the waiter to get a check. As you know, I never found him and I got you to run the check which totaled $60 with no discount or anything else. We left $75 in cash on the table and left the restaurant. I will tell you, that on the way to our cars, we discussed what a crappy operation Yard House was and what a piss poor choice we had made.
Now, I and my wife have eaten in Yard House many times and have always enjoyed the food and service. As for the two other couples this was their first visit to a Yard House and I’d bet they will never set foot in one again. They were amazed at how poorly it was run.
What I am really pissed off about is your behavior. I’ve been around along time and for you to have failed to “correct” this matter, is as if you played me.
If you would like to “correct” things, let me know and I’ll arrange for the other couples to be engaged. I’ll put my latest-planned Yard House review -as well as the email that I have written for Yard House’s Home Office on hold until January 5, 2014.
Jeff Richman
561 *******

Here is an observation…

Way-back on 10/30/09 Jeff Eats did a review of The Capital Grille in Miami. If you check, you’ll find that it was not a favorable story. To update that review, to date The Capital Grille neither on the local or corporate level ever took any action to “address” Jeff Eats’ concerns about a terrible dining experience. To go even one step further, The Capital Grille never communicated with Jeff Eats after an initial promise to make contact.

For the record, The Capital Grille chain was/is owned by publicly traded Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) who coincidentally also owns the Yard House chain having acquired it in July 2012. Just may-be there is a pattern here…that being, that Darden couldn’t give a rat’s ass about customer complaints. I will tell you, Jeff Eats has eaten a ton of meals and has done business with a ton of mom & pops and chains–and Darden’s behavior 2x in not responding to a customer’s complaint is very strange in an industry that literally lives or dies on being customer-friendly.

Now nothing for nothing, but Jeff Eats has been reading and hearing that 2 of Darden’s other chains aren’t doing too-well, namely Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Just maybe, Yard House and The Capital Grille’s failure (as evidenced by Jeff Eats) to address customer issues are systemic to the entire Darden operation!

Suffice it to say, Jeff Eats won’t be doing business with Darden Restaurants anymore. No reason to support a business who couldn’t give a damn about me!

69 Comments to “* Yard House, The Capital Grille, Darden Restaurants -Terrible Customer Service!”

  1. HN (BOCA) says...

    jeff, read you article. if I read right, despite terrible food and service you and your friends left a $15 tip on a $60 check. you and your friends are classy folks.

  2. JeffEats says...

    HN (BOCA):

    Just had a chance to read your comments.

    You read right.

    Thanks for reading…

  3. jrjsr62 says...

    Hey Jeff,
    I was just thinking maybe the reason why you didn’t hear from The Capital Grille is that they are stilling investigating your claim. After all it’s only been 4 years.
    I live in Boca and have been to Yard House in Mizner several times. In recent months I’ve noticed a fall off in service and food quality. Had a burger on the last outing and the meat didn’t smell fresh.
    Not on my going back agenda.

  4. TURNER says...

    jeff, the capital grille in boca is no match for Morton’s ny prime, abe & louies, chops, ruth cris. darden owns long horn or maybe its lone star whatever but the same crap meat is served there.
    by the way I see that on 1/19/2007 you reviewed olive garden and liked it. so we know you call it as you see it.

  5. Dave says...

    Is this real? Can’t be. Must be a sarcastic joke poking fun of jerk off food bloggers. This guy could not have actually said I’ll give you until 1/5 to make up for this.

    By the way…who the #%+# reviews Olive Garden.

    • TURNER says...

      Hey Dave,
      Funny but your reading Jeff Eats. So if food bloggers are jerk offs just think what guys like you must be.

      • Sid L. Turner says...

        Guys like you amaze me.
        Your just a reader.
        If Jeff doesn’t want others to read what you said he doesn’t have to publish your comments. But he did so it goes to show you that Jeff is willing to take on all comers good or bad.

    • Bobby F says...

      Turner has your number.
      All the GM had to do is call or write Jeff Eats and set things straight. But he didn’t.
      As for food blogs, I see you’re a reader so you must be interested in what they have to say.
      I heard Jeff Eats on radio and know that he is invited to attend numerous food events in Florida so I guess these food blogs do carry some huge weight
      As for the 1/5 date. Seems fair to me.
      You sound like a loser.

    • Dave says...

      Let’s be clear…I read this when a friend emailed it to me as a joke.

      I’ve owned (and still own) restaurants for years. I would NEVER respond to a jerky email like this. And before you say “that’s why you won’t make it,” know that I have become a millionaire doing what I do.

      The email is inappropriate and the probing for free stuff to make up for a bad meal is disgusting.

      • johnny s says...

        You really don’t know dick sheet.
        I have owned many businesses in my day and I seriously doubt that whatever crap you owned ever came close to my chain which grossed $52,000,000 in 1993 when it was sold to a public restaurant chain.
        All I know is that the GM obviously knew of a problem during the meal. His failure to address the issue when he ran the bill is unacceptable and then not responding to Jeff’s email was another dumb move.
        Just read Jeff’s bio on the site and you know that he wasn’t looking for free anything.

      • Herb C. says...

        You must be some restaurant owner ! You would have to be blind not to see that nobody was looking for anything for free. Despite a bad setting The party left $15 as a tip on a $60 tab.
        You are obviously not that bright.

      • TGA says...

        Yeah yeah yeah. A friend sent you this site as a joke. Like we might ever believe that one. Then you’re a millionaire restaurant man to try and buy credibility.
        You are a phony.

  6. Rolando says...

    Why the GM didn’t contact you is a mystery to me.
    Real simple matter to correct and make right.
    He has you and your friends for lunch or dinner on the house and Jeff Eats is once again a happy content camper.

  7. Zepper says...

    Darden is a mixed bag. Most its chains like Red a Lobster, Long Horn and Olive Garden are low end shops. That’s why they don’t know how to properly run their better more upscale chains. They are use to customers who just take it and don’t complain.
    You and I and every sensible reader here knows that GM should have been on the horn to you as soon as he got your email. Obviously Darden’s system instructs the GM to just brush customers off figuring that there always be another to fill the seat.

  8. Mr. G says...

    Fair is fair.
    You told GM that he had until 1/5 to get to you and obviously he didn’t.
    Must be a stupid guy.

  9. Jeffbeats says...

    Darden is bad news.
    2007 FTC Action based on Darden cheating gift card holders.
    2012 Federal Class Action Suit in Florida for underpaying workers.
    Jeff they are a slime ball operation.
    They don’t give a damn about their workers or customers.

  10. Jason says...

    Worked for Darden for 3 years (Seasons 52) and I would have to agree with Jeff; I was their top earner, performer, and moving into management all to be taken away from a petty shoppers report.

    I had two injuries on the job and never followed any action due to thinking they would move me up in the ranks; I blame myself for this one.

    If anyone only knew the true side of Darden; Shame on this company.


  11. Jinx cry says...

    For the GM not to have addressed Jeff’s concerns says he is either a freaking moron or that he knows that Corporate like him could care less about customer complaints.

  12. PS says...

    I worked at Duffys for many years and it was a top priority to respond to customer complaints quickly. All I can say is that this yard house is probably much busier than most Duffys (I would guess a thousand or more covers per day) and they may not have had enough time to review their emails, HOWEVER, they should have an automated bounce back email stating “thanks for your comments, the GM is reviewing and will get back to you shortly,” that would buy some time to investigate..

  13. Shelly H says...

    Jeff: I went to the Yard House in Mizner a few months ago. Little more than half full. Terrible service comined with totally mediocre food. No longer on my go to list.

  14. Jason says...

    The entire staff are FAU Kids

  15. POPPY says...

    Was a long time Yard House fan. Noticed decline in food quality in Boca about a year ago and havent been back. Cant believe GM didnt contact you.

  16. Justin says...

    Hi Jeff – After this recent visit to Yard House, we can understand your frustration. It is concerning that you left disappointed with the desserts, coffees, and service you and your party received. The lack of a response to your email only exacerbated the matter. Sorry for leaving you with such a poor impression of Darden.

    Despite what you recently experienced, we want to assured our guests’ satisfaction has been and remains a top-priority for us. We know it was a first visit to Yard House for many in your party and we would like to make this up to you and dining companions. Would you mind sending me your contact information to

    With that information, we will have our Capital Grille team contact you as well.


    Justin S.

    • ZED says...

      hey justin,
      is yard house now responding to jeff because his article is now posted on the internet?
      how come you didnt respond directly to his email and not through jeff eats?
      i suspect his article caught somebody’s attention at corporate.

      • ralphym says...

        definitely the article.

    • Blue and White says...

      Justin, I hope Jeff Eats complaint goes viral. Lack of customer service is always intentional. No one is trained to be rude and lie to paying customers. Your chain should be ashamed of the treatment you gave to Jeff and his party. Just how many others out there have had issues with Darden and their restaurants?

    • Nicky V says...

      Waiting to see how long it takes Darden to get back with Jeff.

  17. gary says...

    ….Classic Rock and Roll
    …. 230 beers on tap
    ….catering to 21-45 year old patrons
    ….Darden group serves over
    ***** 425 MILLION MEALS ANNUALLY*****
    and they didn’t respond to you when you gave them an ENTIRE 4 DAYS
    Dessert (a SWEET course eaten at the end of a meal), a couple too sweet???????
    One with Ice Cream already starting to melt (melting point of Ice Cream- ANY Degree above “0”)?????
    and they didn’t compensate you?

    • MR. JONES says...

      gary, you sound hung over. too much partying on New Year’s Eve?
      usually your comments are clear and concise. this one is just a rambling mess.

      • gary says...

        Not hung over, I don’t drink.
        My food sucked
        the service sucked
        the manager sucked
        But if you give me something, I won’t let anybody know…..

        • jrjhs62 says...

          gary, what does the line “but if you give me something I won’t let anybody know…” reference?

  18. mark says...

    I will agree with Gary on the time to respond. 4 days of which one was new years day is not enough time. Who knows perhaps after the long holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years he took a few days off.

    • JeffEats says...


      Just had a chance to read your comments.

      Just so you know, when the 6-of us were in the restaurant the GM told us at the table that he would “Take care of the desserts.” When I got the check, no-nothing was done. Since we all wanted to get home to “watch the ball drop” and it was already 11:30pm we didn’t stick around to discuss the matter with the GM.
      As for the January 5, 2014 date, I think 5 days to respond to an email is more than enough time.
      If you check, earlier today -January 6, 2014 “Justin” in customer service wrote to Jeff Eats asking for my contact info, so I’m not too far off on the response time required.
      Just so you know, a copy of was forwarded yesterday to the Darden’s Corporate Media Department. Betcha a buck that the Media folks lit the fire here.
      Now the question, if and when Jeff Eats will ever hear from Justin again?
      Personally I’m not counting on it, as The Capital Grille after making contact way back in 2009 was never ever heard from again.

      Thanks for reading…

      • gary says...

        If the GM said he would take care of the desserts I would have to say that you were offered appropriate compensation.
        The fact that the GM didn’t follow through I would consider that an over site and not necessarily Bad Management.
        Based on your tables poor experience with the food and service, I would have to believe that the GM had his hands full that evening with other patrons and issues throughout the restaurant.
        Your letter to Brandon was harsh and inappropriate.
        I think that this would have got you what you were entitled to.

        Brandon,(Your 1st 3 sentences) followed by:
        Thank you for offering to “take care of the desserts” . Unfortunately the desserts were on our check when we finally got it. I paid the full amount and have kept a copy of the receipt.
        I have enjoyed your restaurant for many years and appreciate your offer to take care of our desserts for, as you said “our really unacceptable outing”. Please contact me to discuss my reimbursement.
        Thank You Jeff

        After reading this letter not only would I fully credit your charge but would also send you 6 Free Dessert or possibly Entree coupons for you and your 5 guests.

        The letter you sent was not only sent to a GM but a Human Being.

        • WH87 says...


          “Oversight” my ass…the GM played us. He said he would take care of everything and he didn’t, just that simple. The restaurant was virtually empty when we were there, so there goes your busy argument.

          I and my wife were there with Jeff, his wife and another couple and everything about this episode sucked. The ice coffee was watered down, the hot coffee cold, slow service, no spoons or straws. It sucked.

          Jeff’s email spells it straight out. No reason to play little pussy like you with the GM.

          Just so you got the picture, during this mess, Jeff and the GM exchanged cards. The GM knew who he was dealing with and should have taken care of things right away. By the way, I told the GM that during the disaster that he could look forward to my writing a negative comment about Yard House on Jeff Eats and he assured me that he would take care of us. Screw him.

          Don’t be such a pussy.

        • bocalady says...

          i was one of the 6 and New Year’s Eve was my first time in a yard house. to tell you the truth, the restaurant was virtually empty when we got there at 10:15pm. let’s just say my wife and i won’t be running back to yard house real soon. the food. beverages, service were all lousy. the gm was there from the beginning so he should have taken care of the check long before jeff had to find him to run the tab. there was no doubt in any of our minds that the check would be ZERO but when jeff came back to the table there it was 60 bucks and a few cents. just to get the hell out of there each couple threw 25 bucks on the table. by the way, we left the waiter 15 bucks on 60 because it was New Year’s Eve and he seemed lost in his service duties.
          on jeff’s email. just right. we were PLAYED just that simple.
          guaranteed if it happened to you, you wouldn’t be writing panzy letters to the gm. you would have been pissed.

    • ClownieJones says...

      hey mark, if i read jeff correctly its been over 4 years since he last heard from the capital grille. is 4+ years enough time to give someone time to respond?
      i also think that it less than 50-50 the jeff ever hears from this Justin again

      • mark says...

        Clownie i was not speaking about the Capital Grill i was saying that as it was a Holiday week with alot of people taking time the guy from the yardhouse a few more days.

        • Clowniejones says...

          i’m with others here, jeff wont hear back.

          • mark says...

            looks like he did and is getting a gift card

  19. My World says...

    Restaurant operators get their grades • 2:06 PM
    • Hedgeye’s Howard Penney has some strong feelings on which restaurant operators are managing themselves through the operational boom-and-bust cycles most chains endure as concepts are grown too fast.
    • The research analyst thinks Starbucks (SBUX -1%) and Brinker International (EAT -1.1%) have honed in on a correct management strategy to trim capex spending and “attack” the middle of the P&L to improve EBITDA, while Darden Restaurants (DRI -2.3%) stubbornly resists the idea.

    • james34 says...

      darden is a very poorly run company.
      that fellow justin of yardhouse should have already spoken to jeff eats following his first email.

  20. Liz T. says...

    Yard House is a terrific sports bar.
    Jeff just happened to bump into a crappy General Manager.
    Darden ought to ream this guy’s ass out. Look at all the bad pr has been generated because he didnt take care of a small problem

  21. JeffEats says...

    At 6pm this evening, Jeff Eats received an email from Justin in Yard House Customer Relations. The email indicated that I would be receiving a gift card by 1/16/14 and that management would be looking into the matter to make sure that the Company’s staff was properly trained, etc.

    I’ll let you guys know if and when the gift card shows up and for how much.

    • My World says...

      The damage to their reputation in South Florida is priceless

    • JeffEats says...

      Just wanted you guys to know that this afternoon in the mail Jeff Eats received a $75 gift card from Yard House. I must also tell you that last Tuesday I received a call from GM Brandon in which he apologized about the entire incident and his desire to have Jeff Eats’ “party” try Yard House again as his guest.

  22. MM says...

    To Jeff, Darden Group is a class act in my opinion. I was at Capital grill with 9 pm reservations and they were running 15 minutes late. I did not ask for anything. I expected to spend $300,00 on my wife and I. The manager offered me any drink on the house. That is good management. For Jeff, you go to a lower class Darden group place, a sports bar, and you want a free desert, on New Years Eve of all times, give them a little slack. Just my 2 cents, its not Capital Grill.

    • YH says...

      I think all that Jeff wanted was what he ordered and paid for. Which he didn’t get. He wasn’t looking for anything FOR FREE.

    • SlipMahoney says...

      You sound like an idiot.
      When you pay you are suppose to get what you paid for.

  23. FruitSalad says...

    I say Jeff doesn’t get that gift card.

  24. J says...

    Your repuation is certainly well known in south Florida.

    “If you would like to “correct” things, let me know and I’ll arrange for the other couples to be engaged. I’ll put my latest-planned Yard House review -as well as the email that I have written for Yard House’s Home Office on hold until January 5, 2014.”

    “Extortion-use of one’s official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage”

    When Darden sends you a gift card so your next trips are free. You WIN right?

    Keep up the good work.

    • ZED says...

      Jeff is the man.
      It is amazing that people like you probably allow joints like Yard a House to roll over you.
      Jeff called Yard a House on its poor service, that’s it.
      All Jeff asked for was for Yard House to correct a terrible meal.
      Jeff didn’t ask for anything more or less than he was entitled to.

    • Jonsey says...

      As we see Jeff is also into the 1st Amendment letting a jerk like you negatively comment about him on his own site.
      If more people were like Jeff Eats we wouldn’t have all kinds of phony restaurant reviews out there.
      Jeff asked the restaurant to make good. Period end of story.

    • Steve Greene says...

      You sound like a moron.
      Jeff and his party didn’t get what they paid for. Just that simple.
      All Jeff did was ask for YardHouse to correct its mistake.
      He isn’t asking for anything that he isn’t entitled to.
      In his email he tells the GM that before he brings the Company’s Home a Office into the matter he is giving the GM a chance to straighten things out.
      Once again you sound like a freaking moron.
      By the way. Did you notice that Jeff published your dumb comment when he could have easily not have?
      Jeff is a straight no holds bar straight shooter who calls it as he sees it.
      Go f yourself you fool.

    • Albee says...

      You sir obviously never went to law school.
      It’s really criminal that dopes like you think that Jeff Eats was looking for anything more than he was entitled to.

    • TURNER says...

      Now I’ve heard it all.
      A restaurant screws you, you pay, you then ask for the restaurant to make good, you then have a jerk named J who thinks that you aren’t entitled to get your money back or a replacement meal.
      This jerk J is a real simpleton,

    • Larry Gold says...

      I picture you wearing a dunce cap.
      Your comment has to be one of the dumbest I’ve ever read on Jeff Eats.
      What makes this site heads and shoulders better than most is that Jeff allows everyone to have their say even if as in your case they are wrong and as dumb as all sheet.

    • george s says...

      Your post has to be one of the stupidest that I have seen on Jeff Eats.
      Extortion is when you try and get something that you aren’t entitled to.
      Jeff and his party are entitled to a full refund.
      You are a loser.

  25. Mr. Klein says...

    i have to give you credit.
    you published this jackass J’s comments when you could easily have just hit the delete button.
    This guy J obviously isn’t the sharpest pencil in the pencil case.

  26. mark says...

    Here is where J is correct. The issue was bad service and Jeff tipped over 20% for bad service then went to managment to get the 20% back. If the service was bad why tip so well in the first place,

    • JeffEats says...


      Just read your comments.

      The truth be told, it wasn’t Jeff Eats’ idea to tip 15 on 60. There were two other couples and the gentlemen paid the bill in cash. Outside I asked them how much I owed them and they told me that they had left 75 so I owed 1/3 which was 25. They told me that they felt sorry for the waiter who had to work on New Year’s Eve and how befuddled and confused he had been.

      Personally, IMHO they over tipped the waiter as I would have given him 12 but as you can see, I really didn’t have a choice in the matter.

      I will tell you, Jeff Eats knows all about bad service. That said, I can’t recall the last time that I diidn’t leave at least 20%. The reason, good or bad, I appreciate how hard being a waiter/waitress is.

      Trust me, if the GM hadn’t told us during the meal that he was going to take care of the desserts and then failed to do so, we wouldn’t be here talking about Yard House. The meal would have been just chalked up as a lousy meal, end of story.

      Thanks for reading,

  27. mark says...

    jeff did you ever get the gift card from the yard House?

  28. Ted G says...

    Ate in Boca tonight.
    Food and service were very good.
    Very pleasant meal.

  29. TA says...

    Boca has a new GM, Mark. Brandon was moved to Hallandale I eat in Boca loc frequently. The new GM knows his business..

  30. Skip Mahoney says...

    Yard House was a better chain before Darden took over. Food and service have declined.

  31. Zeke says...

    Burger was lousy as was the service in Gulfstream loc.

  32. Lo Lo says...

    Yard House’s food and service are average for a sports bar, that’s it.

  33. Joe Rose says...

    Ate at Yardhouse at Gulfstream last week.
    Food was decent, nothing great.
    Service was slow and confused.

  34. Ernie Lane says...

    8 of us at Yardhouse in Boca Raton.
    Food was lousy.

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