Restaurant Owner Tells Yelp Reviewer How He Really Feels

jodiIf you live in Seattle, Washington, please go to Sam’s Tavern and ask for the owner James. When you find him, give him a big bear hug from me because he has all my respect after calling out a woman named Jodie H. who gave his restaurant a 1-star review on Yelp.

Long story short: Jodie H. was pissed that the waitress wouldn’t let them place their various coats and bags on an adjacent table and they were forced to remove them. Also, the waitress didn’t smile enough.

James, realizing that he really didn’t care if someone like Jodie H. came back or not, responded to her complaint and left her ass out to dry. No word on how Jodie H. responded to the complaint, but as of now, it is still posted online. This means that either she hasn’t seen it yet or she has and she does not care. My guess is that she hasn’t seen it, so I will take it upon myself to share this story so that eventually, Jodie H. will know just how James feels about her.

Thank you, James. And thank you to all of the other restaurant owners and managers who are standing up to the insignificant complaints that people like Jodie H. leave on Yelp. It’s awesome.

Jodie H.’s review:

So, I’ve been here a handful of times for work events and am finally coming here to leave a review because I doubt I will come here for any future meetups.

If you don’t mind less-than-stellar customer service, having your group ignored, being served by waitresses who refuse to smile and act like they’re doing you a favor, and waiting 45 minutes for your food when you only have an hour, then you’ve come to the right place.

The last straw was today, when our server asked us to move our coats and bags from an empty booth adjacent to our tables we had reserved. We were told that because we only reserved the one table, that we’ll have to move everything to sit under the table where our buffet for 20-25 people is. On the floor. No hooks under the tables. Mind you, there are at least 10 other empty tables and it wasn’t rush AND they stayed empty throughout our stay.

How about waiting until the tipping point where you have to make room for another group in that booth? Instead, our waitress rudely wandered through our gathered group, announcing that we need to move our items, that we only have the one table and cannot have our items in that empty booth. We proposed that we could sit at the table, but she said no, that would be unacceptable. What the what? So onto the floor our bags and coats went. Gross.

I won’t be back and will take my business elsewhere, and I will let my vendor partners know of the other restaurants that welcome our team events and treat us with respect. You know? With customer service.

A suggestion would be to send your servers to a workshop to learn what customer service looks like. So that your increasingly bad reputation doesn’t sink you. Or, go visit Butcher’s Plate, Cactus, Cuoco, republic, or Serious Pie and witness the customer service that delights customers and has them coming back, and spreading the good word.

James’ response:

Hi Jodie.  My name is James & my wife and I own Sams Tavern.  Thanks for coming in, we do appreciate your business.

I generally do not respond to these reviews because I believe that Yelp is used primarily for venting.  Which is great for people who want to complain about stuff like you mention… I mean, really?  You can’t put your purse or your coat on the floor?  Wait, what?   I’m appalled that someone in their 40’s (Jodi H. woman in her 40’s) would complain about putting a purse or a coat on the floor. Why didn’t you put your coat back & purse back on if you were so worried about putting them on our 7 month brand new concrete floor?  Gross?

In terms of the food 40 taking 40 minutes, I spoke with my kitchen manager about that.  We had 2 new cooks training that night and they got slammed.. sometimes that happens in the food service industry.  Have you tried hiring kitchen help lately in Seattle?  Its tough.  We are still getting used to the volume changes in South Lake Union.  We are working on that and our times have been improving greatly, due to our awesome kitchen team and bar/serving team.  Our team is great!

Your comments about your server not smiling really bothered me.  I spoke with our employee who was working with your group and guess what she had to say?  Maybe you were a little rude to our employee because you were upset that you had to move your coats and precious purses? This is the problem with yelp, a one sided argument from a woman in her 40’s bitching about a server not smiling?  Wait, what?  Is she required to smile at you if you have an attitude with her?  I’m guessing that most people that you interact with don’t smile back at you… Maybe its time to look how you are treating the people around you?  Why do you get to judge our server for not smiling?

My third point.  I will also let my vendor partners know to be on the look out for a woman in her 40’s named Jodi H.  I will let them know that they better make sure everyone smiles at her and make sure she has a direct route to a coat hanger, because if you don’t, she will give you a 1 star review and threaten to take her business else where.  Grow up Jodi H in her 40’s.

My wife and I recently had twin girls.  If my girls were ever to complain about having to put their coats/purses on the floor of a restaurant at any point in their life i would feel like a failure as a parent.  You are way out of line and I hope that next time you have some feedback, you could email us at info@samstavernseattle.c… and we may take your comments more seriously.  A suggestion for you, buy a fanny pack.  You could take your coat off, roll it up into your fanny pack, then you would never have this problem again.  Problem solved.

On a side note, I installed a bunch of coat/purse hangers today.  We are dedicating them all to you.

Have a great day!


30 thoughts on “Restaurant Owner Tells Yelp Reviewer How He Really Feels

  1. Angeldrawers

    Hey, Jodie H., the proper etiquette is to put your purse (I’m gonna say you’re not carrying a handbag, because that would mean you have spent over $100 on said item) on the floor to the right of chair. Not on the back of the chair, not on your table, and certainly not on a table in a servers section that you did not reserve and that you have no intention of compensating her for.
    Today’s comment brought to you by Emily Post

  2. Leslie

    Jodie is an idiot. I agree wth the owner completely, and I love that he stood up for this staff. When worked at a restaurant, bartending, I had the AUDACITY to ask a girl for her I.D. After being yelled at because she “comes here all the time,” (in a year there is had never seen her), she produces a Mexican I.D. Because other places I had worked did not accept that form of I.D., I told her I had to ask a manager to clear it…. and she flipped out. I kept smiling and did what I had to, served her and her boyfriend their drinks, blah blah wet through the whole service wth a smile even though she was extremely rude.
    The next day when I showed up to work, I had a yelp review stating I laughed in her face when she handed me her I.D, I apparently threw it at her, I was racist against Mexicans, I watered down their drinks, oh, and I wore too much makeup. In response to such a scathing yelp review that had no merit, instead of standing up for me, I was demoted. It was the worst. That girl even continued to come in and referred to me as the “racist bitch,” and even took it upon herself to go to my Hispanic tables and tell them that I hate Mexicans. But did management do anything to stop her? No. They gave her gift cards and shit to keep her happy and keep her coming in. A total of 200 dollars of I recall correctly. Bullshit.

    1. Eric

      When a customer says “racism” they all of a sudden hold all the cards. Restaurants don’t want to deal with any discrimination and would rather give the customer the moon than defend their employee. It’s a sad day that they can claim what they want without merit.

    2. Melissa

      Sounds like when I worked for a certain restaurant chain. .. management would give out gift cards for any little complaint because they care more about having the worst guests coming back to spend money than they did their employees…

  3. Stephanie

    A foreign driver’s license is actually not a legal form of ID in this country. They need their passport to be served. You did the right thing.

    1. Mark W

      Actually, it’s up to the company just what ID they accept. Where I work, we accept state issued drivers licenses, state issued ID cards, military ID, passports, and US issued nonresident IDs. We cannot accept any of these of they are expired. We cannot accept an ID or drivers license from another country.

      1. Alaskanfirebunny

        In Washington state, we can accept all of the ID’s you mentioned, as well as Canadian ID’s, but not other countries ID’s besides passports. However, it’s not up to the individual business to choose what to accept, it’s the state liquor board who decides what is valid and the business and the server can be fined for not following their laws.

    2. Matt c

      That’s not entirely true as an englIsh license is an international license and is acceptable as a form of ID. I only know because my ex wife is English and used her ID throughout college and after.

  4. Eric

    As for Jodie in her 40s, go work in the service industry, walk a mile in their shoes, then we’ll see if you complain. But, you don’t sound like a girl who could hack it in the service industry.

  5. DeeDub

    I’d love to book a flight to Seattle right now to give James a great big hug from BW, from me and from every single server that has had to put up with assholes like Jody H in her forties. Sadly, I’m too busy putting up with assholes 7 days a week to do so.

  6. Karen

    I guess I’m the only one who thinks Jody has a valid complaint? Why are they being hassled about their coats when the restaurant apparently didn’t have an appropriate place to put them? It must have been a problem at the restaurant or the owner wouldn’t have recently installed hooks. I wouldn’t want to put my coat on the floor either, and saying the concrete is only 7 months old, sounds absurd, that doesn’t make the ground clean! But I didn’t understand why putting them on the back of their chairs was not an option? That would have been the most logical place to put your coat. Since it was such a large group of people, it doesn’t sound like they were sitting in a booth. Sounds like neither Jody nor the waitress handled it appropriately. Still, she should have contacted the owner instead of making an issue out of it on yelp.

    1. Jay

      I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the waitress. You don’t put your belongings in a booth that isn’t yours. Even as children we’re taught to keep our stuff within our own space. The waitress was doing her job, the lady was being a prick.

      1. Amanda

        I can 100% see that being an issue if the restaurant is full and they need the table, but by the sound of things, that was not the case. If the table is not needed, then why is it such a big deal that they have their coats and bags there? Especially after she suggested that they could move to that table.

    2. Veno

      So far, you have the best response, and I’m a server! They all handled it inappropriately, and every situation is open to interpretation, there are circumstances we’re unaware of. But yelp is for whiners…

  7. Bye, Amazombies.

    Dollars to donuts she’s an Amazon employee. I used to deliver pizza in that area and we used to do our best to avoid them at all costs, because the vast majority of the time an encounter with any one of them was practically guaranteed to be a day-ruiner. They make more money than anyone else in the area (which has drastically driven up rents, although I suppose that much isn’t their fault), but they are notorious for being the worst tippers around. And as this lady has proudly displayed for all to see, most of them have a real healthy sense of entitlement. She wants to take her business elsewhere? I’ll gladly tell all my service industry friends in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne to be on the lookout for her. Chances are that they already know to avoid her, though. Seattle is not as big as it seems, and if you can’t tell already, Amazon employees do not have a great reputation with service staff.

  8. Mellie

    I’m trying to figure out why you cannot sit in a booth, two people on each side, and put your purse between the two people…plus your coats. When my family goes out, this is what we do. Now, we don’t each weigh 500 lbs, so there is a bit of room between us to put our coats and accessories, but it doesn’t look like Jodi does either, so I’m not sure that this inconvenience was really enough to write such a scathing reply on Yelp. Or am I out of the loop on this?

  9. Kelley

    Why does the guy keep going on about Jodie being in her 40s? Maybe that age range isn’t encouraged to dine in his establishment.

  10. Catherine C

    Sounds like it was a large party 20-25 people. If so is it to much to ask that they at least let the group use an unoccupied booth to store their belongings with the understanding that everything be moved if the booth is needed for additional seating. Sorry, I wouldn’t care how old or new their floor was its totally unacceptable to ask a paying guest to put their belongings on the floor. I don’t use my home floor to hold my coat I certainly wouldn’t use a high traffic restaurant floor. Maybe this establishment should have installed some coat racks, hooks or a hanger in a coat closet at the same time they installed their 7 month old floor. And we work for tips so sometimes a smile and a laugh goes a long way.

    1. SlumSlut

      This problem would not exist if they would just ban all tables in restaurants. There should be like, a law or something. And by “they”, I mean the REAL “they”, aka “Them”.

    2. PolishKnightUSA

      Exactly. I think this rant undermines his position of raising awareness of manners from diners. Jodie was willing to move to other tables and also throw the gear on the floor if the tables were needed. Enforcing policy in this case appears capricious, something a serving industry should avoid appearing. Even worse, the response from the owner appears to make the situation worse. I have had something similar like this happen to me where I swallowed my pride and went along with the orders of the local wardens, er, servers but left a bad taste in my mouth (so to speak.)

      My wife is highly superstitious and views it as low manners to leave a bag on the floor (because later on the table when getting her wallet, it transfers dirt from the floor). Also, we are discouraged from leaving clothes on the floor even at home since it appears a sign of untidyness.

  11. Tilly

    Even if you’re sitting on a bar stool with no chair back, between 25 people, you would think one of you would figure to drape your coats over the chair. Why the waitress didn’t suggest this, I don’t know, though in my experience, I’ve been mistreated by my fair share of idiots whose problems were so ridiculously stupid and were so rude about it that I stopped offering simple solutions to out of spite. If you think treating someone like a second class citizen because they’re at work and not in a position to defend themselves, you are honestly undeserving of any extra help.

    That being said, I feel like a good number of those people weren’t actually that stupid, but were just indignant because you weren’t letting them have their way. And yes, there are plenty of people that would sooner leave a one star review than they would move a stroller to a different spot that didn’t block an exit.


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