Did you know that people who work in the hospitality industry complain about how Restaurant Week is for "rookies"? That, secretly, restaurant managers and staff and, hell, even OWNERS hate you, if you dare to patronize a restaurant that may normally be out of your price range, but is offering a prix fixe menu for the week? They hate you. They think you're inferior. How do I know this? 1) I've heard such snobbery firsthand, out of the mouths of the people who work for some of the "nicest" restaurants in Boston, and 2) there is simply no other explanation for the way that I saw a restaurant owner treat his customers tonight.
Here's the thing. If you own a restaurant, you should be kissing the fucking feet of people who come into your business and spend their money. Especially given the state of the economy, and ESPECIALLY given how ridiculously inflated restaurant prices are. $35 for a flaccid piece of chicken, plopped on a plate and framed with a pathetic zig-zag of colored sauce, accompanied by side dishes that you have to purchase a la carte? Fuck you.
Tonight, I learned that one restaurant owner in particular hates Restaurant Week because he estimates only 10% of the "rookies" that dine at his Davis Square bistro that week will be repeat customers. So, he doesn't bother to treat them nicely. Because, when someone is treated like shit on the one night a month, or even a year, that they go out and spend money on a nice meal, they're SO inclined to return.
Tonight, I walked into that Davis Square bistro and was greeted by that owner, not with a "hello," or a "welcome" or even a smile, but, rather, with an irritated, "Can I HELP you?" I explained that I was meeting a friend, who was already seated, and was told, "That's impossible. We would never seat an incomplete party. He's not here." To which I replied yes, my friend was here, that I'd just gotten a text message about how he was waiting at a table in the back. "Impossible," was the reply. "You're in the wrong place." And then he looked down at what I was wearing, and rolled his eyes.
Well, I was right -- my friend was there, waiting at a table, and I was APPALLED when I learned that this indignant man, this asshole, was the restaurant's owner.
Boston restaurant owners and chefs, listen to me: Restaurant Week is optional. If it's such a fucking hardship to you to mass-produce mediocre three-course meals for crowds that are excited to come and dine in your venue, if it's such a hassle to be bothered to be NICE to customers who are bringing you revenue, who may decide to bring you revenue AGAIN, but may only be venturing out to eat because it's a treat, because they don't make enough money to be elitist asshole scenesters 7-nights a week, if it's such a goddamned pain in the ass to just put a smile on your face when people are happily plunking down their money at your business, then DON'T PARTICIPATE. The end.
Our dinner? Fine. Our service? Lovely. Our overall experience? Ruined. Ruined from the moment I walked in the door and was treated like an irritating child, or a rancid bum, or a stain on someone's white pants, all because I was, in the eyes of the owner, a lowly Restaurant Week plebian.
This attitude is pathetic, it's elitist, it's cruel. Boston, you deserve better than that.