Pants Rant: Perry Street, How to lose customers and alienate people

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Let me preface this with the following: You don’t mess with my Dad.  You just don’t. Robert is a West Village resident and loyal to a fault to his favorite places; his default dining spot for any occasion, or no occasion at all, is Perry Street.  He and my mom will sit at the bar and eat tuna burgers any night of the week, and they waited with baited breath for Perry Street to reopen after the Hurricane. He loves seeing familiar faces when he visits restaurants and loves the notion of being a local.   And how is he repaid for his loyalty?vNot with a friendly nod from a hostess or manager, but rather a big fat kick in the ass out of his table, simply because he had exceeded his time limit. No tables were waiting, my parents and their guests  were  simply informed that they had exceeded their two hour time limit, and WERE WELCOME TO TAKE THEIR DRINKS TO THE LOUNGE. I went to Cornell Hotel School kids, and there is a very clear line that EVERYONE is taught if they are in the situation where they need a table back from patrons who are done dining but lingering over drinks/coffee: ” I am so sorry, but  I really need this table; I would be happy to buy your next round in the lounge.” Especially to someone that you should recognize by face…

Let me also preface this with the fact that I know a thing or two about service and turning tables.  I worked at my family’s restaurant this Thanksgiving where we did 700 covers ( a little bit more volume than Perry Street on a Saturday night), and not once did we have to ask people to vacate their table because they exceeded the time that we allotted for them.  Dedicating tables and figuring out turn times is a delicate dance, and although we would love everyone to pop up when their time is up (like a piece of toast), it just doesn’t work that way.  Most people have enough self-awareness to cut the night short if the waitstaff is waiting for them to go home and the lights are starting to be dimmed, but unless you have people waiting for that table, why kick out customers who  paid a premium for their dinner, and are still buying drinks?  Not to mention a loyal customer who frequents a pricey spot several times a month?

When my Dad asked to speak to someone about how he was treated, he was told, from the manager on down, that this is Jean Georges policy, and that he can speak to someone if corporate if he doesn’t like it.  When he asked why a large party that was there before him and allowed to stay after him was exempt, they said that they are a special case.  No one in Jean Georges corporate ever responded to his calls.  This is the most egregious case of rudeness I have encountered in a while, especially coupled with the absolute lack of service recovery.  Boo to you, Perry Street…

I have exceeded my time limit complaining about this place, so I will finish here….

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