A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse)

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wheregreggeats.com
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2011/12/07 08:32:58 (permalink)

A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse)

The Scenario:
 
A friend with Celiac Disease (not just a gluten allergy, something far more serious) ...
She goes to BJ's Pizza/Brepub in (Pinellas Park, Florida) a national chain that has a serious commitment to serving people with food allergies.
http://www.bjsbrewhouse.com/sites/default/files/GlutenAllrgnMenu0811_Brnch_R3.pdf
She orders the g-f pizza and g-f dessert. 
 
Pizza: Fine
 
Dessert: Seems like an innocent mix-up in the kitchen results in her consuming a non g-f dessert.
She wasn't even a few bites into the dessert, her body tells her "trouble" ... "trouble" ... "trouble" ... she stops eating.
 
Despite the very unpleasant disease (not allergy) related effects that are starting to manifest ... she
 
(A) stops eating  ...
(B) tells server ...
(C) PAYS bill and tip (server played it well with contrition and empathy). 
 
She knows she will be recovering for the better part of 2 or 3 weeks
 
She then made a courtesy call on the shift manager who was
 
(A) Rude
(B) Told her she was wrong
(C) Told her roughly, she couldn't have had a reaction from the dessert (he said he checked it personally) ... and proceeded to gave her INCORRECT information about the other things she ate saying they weren't g-f ... (if he was right the very comprehensive restaurant-prepared outline linked above would be wrong) ... HE WAS ARGUING WITH HER ... and then,
(D) He just about invited her to leave.  She, now taking some umbrage, she suggested it might be dealt with better at corporate (remember, this started as a courtesy call on her part) and he let her know that she could be his guest and do whatever she sees fit to do.
 
She will survive ... it wasn't the end of the world for her (she will have to miss a little work as she waits out the swelling a sickness) ... THIS is an example of how a seemingly inept shift manager can compromise all of the good programs put in place by a seemingly VERY responsible national chain.
 
She, at first:  Not mad, feeling a courtesy call to the office was her "civic" responsibility.
 
She now:  Fired-up M-A-D !!!
 
One contingent of their friends say, do nothing else, and wait the the same control policies in the kitchen kills someone ... others say she should make some noise.
 
Fellow RF'rs what be your wisdom ???
 
post edited by wheregreggeats.com - 2011/12/07 09:40:06
#1

18 Replies Related Threads

    fattybomatty
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/07 08:49:26 (permalink)
    She should complain to corporate via email and phone call.  This way if other people get sick, or god forbid, die then they have a stronger case against this company.  They can show there has been a past history of negligence because of her complaints, and presumably others.  The worst thing she could do is be quiet on this subject matter.  For not only her sake, but the sake of others.  
    #2
    rumaki
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/07 11:32:05 (permalink)
    I agree, but would also recommend a hard-copy snail-mail letter, ideally with "return receipt requested."
     
    The more documentation, the better. 
    #3
    mbrookes
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/07 13:35:03 (permalink)
    I also have Celiac. I hope she complains loud and long to corporate. The companies that try so hard to help us need to know when local management cuts them off at the knees.
    #4
    jeepguy
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/07 19:49:30 (permalink)
    Pardon my ignorance but isn't Celiac Disease "as it's called" a relatively new find. If so, wasn't everyone who has it always sick before the discovery? Just wondering.
     
    #5
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/07 20:42:40 (permalink)
    jeepguy

    Pardon my ignorance but isn't Celiac Disease "as it's called" a relatively new find. If so, wasn't everyone who has it always sick before the discovery? Just wondering.


    I can field that (I think) ... Seeing how I asked the same question not that long ago ... Celiac DISEASE is a step above an allergy.   Diagnosis went from something like 1 in a thousand to like 1 in a hundred over the last ten or 15 years.
     
    Many people lived and died with undiagnosed stomach ailments (including cancer) respiratory problems and much more as a result of the body's reaction to gluten (including wheat).
     
    If you know anyone who generally feels rotten all the time, there might be a bit of this behind their symptoms.
     
    The increase in diagnosis supports your supposition.
     
    #6
    CajunKing
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/08 16:40:14 (permalink)
    She should continue to complain to corporate and she should include her interactions with the local bozo.
     
    If a corporation is going to advertise and promote the GF menu then they should stick to it and take the precautionary steps to avoid such an incident.
     
    I am sorry your friend had this reaction and that the irresponsible actions of others have caused her discomfort.
    #7
    Foodbme
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/08 19:48:30 (permalink)
    I'm sure Corporate wants to know about this. Sometimes additional training is needed at the customer interaction level. Most new hires know nothing of these allergies and food disorders and need to be properly trained including local managenent.
    It should be required training in order to get a food handlers card.
    post edited by Foodbme - 2011/12/08 19:49:32
    #8
    smokestack lightning
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/08 23:51:37 (permalink)
    I have Celiacs disease. It can be a very serious illness. She should certainly complain until she gets results. I had a similar issue a few years ago at a great restaurant. I did not feel it was dealt with well, but an email corrected the issue.
    #9
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/09 07:04:33 (permalink)
    So, here's an update ...
     
    Accidents happen ... she KNEW it was going to be a three week adventure to recuperate ... she knew it was an accident ... she knew a doctor'd be involved, there'd be the symptoms she'd driven to a reliable restaurant to avoid ... she wasn't out to make trouble.  She was making a courtesy call.
     
    The original title of this thread referred to was a bad situation ... MADE WORSE.
     
    The TROUBLE came with a night manager who was rude, demeaning, challenged her on her condition ... and overall ... i am sure ... threw whatever training he'd gotten out the window and chose to handle it his way.
     
    A call the next day, to the General Manager revealed a company with a good soul ... (this is especially hard for me to write, in that it is a FORMULA restaurant and is a CHAIN and everything) ... but the GM was the anti-night-guy and took an immediate "whatever-it-take-to-make-this-right" stance.
     
    We discovered the chain BJ's actually has a separate line for food preparation when they've been alerted to a food allergy ... a manager has to inspect every such order before it goes out, etc. (Like I say a respectable policy.)
     
    She has, had at least three conversations with corporate (calls initiated by corporate) ... she and she and they are really trying to "out-nice" each other ... it was an accident.
     
    I guess I can't help but keep coming back to the super-ordinate factor here ... if night manager had shown one iota of concern (as opposed to the stance he took) ... we'd not be having this discussion at all.
     
    The company is fortunate that my friend took the initiative, to inform the higher-ups. 
     
    It is is unfortunate that a single "Bozo" can thwart the best policies and intentions of a corporation that apparently does have a good soul.
     
    I'll be giving BJ's a "coveted" spot on my list of "Gregg's Approved Chains"
     
    ...
     
    All I've ever eaten there is half of a shared G-F pizza and ... no, I didn't think I was in New Haven ... but, it did fare well compared to ANY "pizza" I've encountered anywhere outside "the pizza belt" of the Northeast ... probably better than most attempts pretty much anywhere GF, or not.
     
    ....
     
    CajunKing ... Your observation about "local bozo" being included in report to corporate is insightful ... who knows how/if the report may have been sanitized as it worked it's way up.
     
     
    #10
    carlton pierre
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/09 08:09:49 (permalink)
    Sounds like the issue was regarding the night manager.  Had he handled it properly you would not have complained about the g-f mistake.    The chain certainly needs to improve it's inspection of g-f dishes, but more importantly needs to re-train it's people in dealing with complaints.
    #11
    mbrookes
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/09 16:22:52 (permalink)
    Jeepguy, this is probably more info than you wanted, but here goes:
     
    Although the symptoms were reported as early as the second century, Celiac was first identified when children in Scandanavia  with chronic intestinal issues got well during WWII when wheat was not available. After the war ended, the sickness came back. This led to investigation that "discovered" Celiac Disease.
     
    Celiac is not an allergy. It is an auto-immune disease like lupus, rhumatoid arthritis and others. When the affected person eats gluten the body sets up a reaction that may take the form of intestinal disturbance, joint inflamation, migraine headaches, emotional difficulties and many other things.
     
    There is some speculation that the changing varieties of wheat (GMO, for example) have contributed to the prevalance of Celiac.
     
    Told you I would tell you more than you wanted to know. Yes, I do have Celiac.
    #12
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/09 19:07:35 (permalink)
    I ran a thread once (that fell flat dead) about how to find good gluten free Roadfood ... especially in Tampa/St. Pete area.
     
    mbrooks ... what is "GMO" ???
    #13
    6star
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/09 21:22:23 (permalink)
    I would guess it is genetically modified (something).
    #14
    mbrookes
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/10 15:02:11 (permalink)
    It is genetically modified something. I don't know what the O stands for. I was paraphrasing something I read.
    #15
    mbrookes
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/10 15:02:54 (permalink)
    A gluten free thread would be fun.
    #16
    bartl
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/21 09:39:04 (permalink)
    One problem with celiac disease is that it has become a "fad" disease, meaning that people with other digestive problems declare that they have it without diagnosis (and there is controversy in some of the diagnostic techniques in asymptomatic people, or with just vague symptoms such as "being tired"). This makes it much harder on those who genuinely have it, because they often end up not being taken seriously.
     
    Bart
    #17
    mbrookes
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/21 14:02:52 (permalink)
    You are so right, Bartl. It makes me doubly appreciative of the ones that do take us seriously, and I am definitely a repeat customers of those. I find it doesn't hurt to tell the manager how much I appreciate them.
    #18
    bartl
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    Re:A Bad Restaurant Experience ... (Made Worse) 2011/12/23 16:19:21 (permalink)
    mbrookes You are so right, Bartl. It makes me doubly appreciative of the ones that do take us seriously, and I am definitely a repeat customers of those. I find it doesn't hurt to tell the manager how much I appreciate them.

    I've worked with true ADHD kids, so I know how it is for something to be so over-diagnosed that people question its existence. Hell, for me, cigarette smoke is a powerful co-allergen (from a symptomatic point view, it is no different than a true allergy), but so many people say, "I'm allergic to cigarettes" when they just don't like cigarette smoke that nobody believes me until after my eyes turn red and I break out in hives.
     
    Bart
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