Monday, April 28, 2014

Tripadvisor Review

This is a follow up to my previous post regarding the guests who left without eating.
It is more of a statement with regards to the reviews posted by people at travel sites like, Yelp, Tripadvisor or many others that serve more as a platform or tool for disgruntled, unhappy customers.
The percentage of good reviews overshadows most of the negative ones, unless a place completely drops the ball in all categories, most reviews are on point. (tripadvisor is where our restaurants are reviewed the most)
My issue is with the disgruntled or unhappy guest that posts an exaggerated review in hopes of hurting a business, just because of a slight crushed ego.
Consider the guest I previously blogged about. I believed my staff and I did everything in our power to not only keep them from leaving but to "guarantee" them a great experience.
They ended up leaving, which is OK for anyone to do at any place, where they are not happy with product and or services. However this people did not even give us a chance and yet, they feel empowered to rate us on: food, service, value and atmosphere.
Granted, their main complaint was about the atmosphere and indeed, that could be rated as low as they pleased.
Unfortunately, the site does not distinguish between the different categories.
So be it. It's the nature of the beast!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fine dining vs Coffee Shop

Last night an elderly couple walked into the restaurant and immediately notified their server that, they were appalled that we called our restaurant "fine dining" they insisted that this was no more than a coffee shop because of the the way some of the patrons were dressed as well as the level of noise from people talking, laughing and engaging in their dinner.
I walked to the table to apologize and find a way to make them feel welcome. The gentleman was a bit more receptive than his wife who immediately told me the same that she had told the server. "this is disgusting, look at the way people are yelling and it's too bright in here, this is not your steak house this is just your coffee shop" 
I informed them of our new initiative to address dress codes and also told them that I could move them into a quieter area of the restaurant, which they refused. I the told them that we would do everything to make them feel welcome and forget that it was noisy or too bright. 
I walked away to let the server know my expectations with regards to them and to wow them with his service skills and if that didn't work, to Code Red them. (I'm kidding here, we have no code red - disclaimer)
I actually felt sorry for them. Late seventies, maybe older searching for a bygone era. Working in the casinos in Vegas, you come to meet a lot of the old timers and after engaging in conversation, they always speak of the "good old days" and point at the current ways in which people dress or talk or even going as far a pointing at minorities that somehow don't fit in their world. I know they see the color of my skin when they make these kind of comments, or perhaps they don't or don't care.
Not ten minutes later I saw them walking out the door. I could only thank them for stopping by and wish them a good night. To be so full of anger and unhappiness that you'd be willing to go hungry just because you did not like the ambiance in our restaurant. 
Fine dining is: white linens on tables, candles, fresh flowers, subdued lighting, some kind of music fitting of the room, servers in jackets or vests, extensive wine list, etc, etc.
Coffee shop: placemats in place of linen, maybe rolled up silverware, servers in pools or long sleeved shirts, perhaps a tie, two, three page menus, "fun drinks" as options, you get the idea.
Don't go hungry because you may not like the looks of the place, give service a chance, most of the time, that is what makes the fine dining experience possible even in a coffee shop.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Les Mis

It's been years since I last saw Les Mis. I could have seen it last year when it came to The Smith Center here in Vegas. I could have seen the production put on by the Las Vegas Academy but I guess I've always been a purist or call it a bit of a snob when it comes to Broadway shows.
Last night was quite an eye opener.

The show they put on last night was as good as any you see in NY, SF or LA. Of course you'd expect the show to be put on at any of the theaters along the strip and probably because of resources, they chose the Summerlin Library. We are talking about a stage as small as you would find in your local neighborhood theater. An IMAX theater or cineplex is much bigger than this stage and yet, they made it work.
All the actors were right on spot. Javert was more credible and sang much better than his counter part in the most recent Les Mis movie. Jean Valjean could have been plucked from one of the big productions across the country. The Tenardiers were also just as credible and I could go on about every character in the play. They were awesome, they had my wife in tears and she was not the only one. In such a small venue you could hear the sniffling and see the wiping of tears. That proves that this production is as serious as any other one playing anywhere else.
Don't miss it!
Buy your tickets at:
Les Mis tickets

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Linq

One of the things we "locals" dislike the most, is having to go to The Strip for entertainment. Traffic, long walks, tourists, and the list goes on, don't make for a good experience. If you're not from Vegas, it's OK. At some point I been a tourist in your town and behaved as such.
Yesterday was one of those occasions. I decided to take the babies out for a ride and I wanted to check out the new attraction in town. Of course it's not easy preparing and packing for the girls, there's finding outfits, shoes, getting them to stand still while I get them dressed and then getting them into the van. That's another saga.
By the time we got on the road it was just over 10:00am. So off we go on our adventure. They love adventures.
We quickly got down to the strip and along Flamingo, even before you get to Las Vegas boulevard, you can see a big sign indicating where The Linq is, so I followed the sign in the direction indicated. As I turn into the street, I can see a lot to traffic in addition to construction traffic. No worries, I slowly make it towards the entrance to The Linq. 

There is no entrance or parking dedicated to this place. Your only luck is going to be to park in one of the adjacent casinos (Flamingo or The Quad).
So I pull into the parking entrance for The Quad and lo and behold, it is only for registered guests or for those who have a "player's card" for their casino. Sorry, not me. 
On the way back out I ask the security guy where else I can park. He tells me that the back parking lots behind Flamingo are an option. As I exit, I see some lots full of cars and I'm not sure if this is what he was talking about. I figure I try the parking structure at Flamingo but before I got there, I had to get back onto LV blvd. and deal with traffic all the way down to Spring Mountain, basically from The Flamingo all the way to The Venetian. 

I end up again along the same street I turned into originally, only now I am looking for the entrance to The Flamingo, which I quickly find. No luck here either, same deal as The Quad for patrons or guests only. Now I'm rethinking my "adventure", go home or find another solution. 
I decide to park at Caesars. 

Caesars is such a huge place and their parking lot is behind what used to be the original Caesars. ( the building you see in Rainman). Now parking is surrounded by so many other towers.
after driving through one of the lower parking levels with no success, I end up on the roof. Finally I find a parking spot and begin to gather everyone. I have a stroller with one seat in front and one on the back. Two babies end up in back seat and one in front and off we go. I can see our destination from the roof of parking lot. Now we just have to walk a good half a mile through the casino, onto the street and across the strip to get to The Linq.
Eventually success!
We get to the big observation wheel and after asking around for directions, there is no signage anywhere. I line up behind some people purchasing tickets to the observation wheel. Finally my turn to get tickets and I have to wait till 1:00pm. It is now 11:30 and I know the triplets will not wait that long.
I say thank you and instead opt for lunch. 

We make our way to Brooklin Bowl and find out we can bowl free for an hour. This deal was worth all the driving around hassle. Babies had a great time bowling, enjoyed their pizza and followed by some very expensive cup cakes at "sprinkles" $12.00 for 3 cupcakes. While we are there, we run into a local celebrity journalist. Norm Clark, who proceeds to interview us and take lots of pictures in the process.
It was a great day on The Strip.