The horse is dead and the shark ate him!

It’s been a looooong time since my last entry. I will readily admit to the fact that the reason I began to post on this blog was personal and cathartic. I had a ton of anger and rage that I just had a need to channel and this was the safest way to do so and not get my big ass locked up. Up until this morning, the rage and anger had subsided. I’ve been blessed to have wonderful people in my life as well as a woman with whom I’ve become very close. In fact, for the first time in my life, I can actually say that I am in love. The reason being, I am, for the first time in my life, in a committed relationship clean and sober. That is to say, I am able to see things and people for what and who they are rather then what I, in my high and drunken stupors, imagined them to be. OK, enough of the warm fuzziness of recovery. It’s time to for me to forge ahead into the meat of the matter and the reason I felt a need to write this entry.

Let’s begin with the title. I like to give a bit of an explanation about the title especially if it presents itself as cryptic or misleading. This one qualifies. The shark reference is a nod to jumping the shark as in the Happy Days episode when the Fonz, while water skiing, jumped over the shark in the cage below the surface. It’s my understanding that this is the episode, for which this phrase was coined, and became part of the pulp culture, so to speak. The horse reference is a nod to an earlier entry in which I stated that I would ride the “deal site” horse until it died and then eat it. Well I’m happy to proclaim the fuckin’ horse is dead and the shark ate him. I can’t eat him, I’m watching my figure and cannot afford the calories.

Let us allow this entry to serve as a public statement and promise to my entire staff that…..

I WILL NEVER RUN A DEAL ON ANY SITE EVER AGAIN!

I’ve been running deals of various amounts and in different forms for nearly 3 years. In the beginning, I saw it not only as a means to raise working capital in a very challenging economic environment but as a wonderful form of mass marketing. A form of marketing that not only required $0.00 outlay of cash on my part but also paid me in advance for future dining by new guests in my establishment. It worked! My email list of guests jumped from 1500 or so to over 3000 in the past couple of years. Each new guest willfully requesting to become a part of the list. I use this list to directly market to my customers by way of Constant Contact and it is absolutely invaluable in every way imaginable.

In recent months however, I’ve had a great many conversations with my front of the house team led by my very professional, accomplished and highly respected General Manager and Wine Director Marcello. In each and every one of these conversations it has been brought to my attention that the attitude and overall personality of the guest I am attracting with these deals is in a free fall sort of decline. A decline that is having a very negative effect on the entire staff in terms of moral and happiness while at work. This, of course, cannot be allowed to continue, I told myself. I need all of these folks to be in high spirits. I also need them to feel an overall sense of appreciation not only from me but from our guests. If this is not happening it is ultimately my responsibility as the owner of this restaurant to step in and correct the problem to the best of my ability and with as much tact and sensitivity as possible. I’ve tried, I really have, but to no avail. I am left with only this to say.

******DISCLAIMER******

Please be advised, this DOES NOT apply to all deal site users. 99% of these deals have been redeemed with great satisfaction and in many instances with a return visit. No disrespect is intended to those of you who have purchased these deals and used them happily, following the rules set forth. We appreciate you and look forward to serving you always!

   In fact, this only applies to a small minority of deal site users. For the most part, these sites have served to expand my customer base and reward a good number of my current guests as well. In addition to providing me with much needed capital. Capital used to make improvements in the restaurant and build an addition that serves as dining space as well as a private dining room for a variety of events.

OK, now that I’ve been able to explain how much I value those that use these deal sites for their intended purpose, (that purpose being a win/win for all three, the guest, the establishment running the deal and the deal site itself.) I will now say what needs to be said to the small minority of folks that have ruined it for the whole bunch. Ready?

YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME! Did ya get that? I mean it, STAY AWAY! Please call or email the deal site and tell them you want a refund. I cannot believe the entitlement and general attitude of “me, me, me” that you people exhibit in public. Forget about my restaurant and my staff for a moment. This is not about us. This is about you fools. I am told over and over again by my staff, how abusive some diners can be when they simply do not have the means or even worse, have the means but not the willingness to act in a civil fashion in a public place. Are you people not embarrassed by your behavior?!!? It puzzles me as to who would, if anyone, want to sit at a table with you idiots. You are, as a group, abusive, mean, nasty, despicable human beings that should not be allowed to walk amongst other more evolved people, much less omit the vile stench of your attitude toward those that serve you in a public place, such as my staff of professionals of whom I am very proud.

I am recently most proud that none have them have taken it upon themselves to punch you in the fucking face for treating them as you have. I have actually had some of you tell my manager, point blank, that he is here to work for you and he should do as he is told, BY YOU! Are you fucking kidding me?! This gentleman and his team do not work for you – you entitled neophyte jag-off! They don’t even work for me. They work as independent contractors for the same restaurant for which I work. The fact that I own the restaurant does not make me any less of an employee of the establishment. It simply makes me responsible for everything that goes on within.

We, as a team, have experienced lies of epic proportion, in order for you, the entitled, dishonest, sneaky folks that you are to get your way regardless of the needs of other diners not to mention the overall health of the restaurant. I place very clear and specific restrictions on each of the deals that I run. These restrictions are as follows; 1.) the diner must call the restaurant directly and speak to a staff member to make a reservation. Online reservations are not permitted for tasting menu deals. 2.) one deal or certificate may be redeemed per table per evening. 3.) the deals are not redeemable with any other offers. 4.) a limited amount of these deals (tasting menus only) will be honored on Friday and Saturday evenings. (6pm or earlier or 8 pm or later)   That’s it! There is no hidden agenda. There are no cloak and dagger games being played. I mean no disrespect when presenting these restrictions. They are simply necessary to have in order to insure a fair and just means of redeeming these deals and still allowing the operation to survive and dare I say it????? PROFIT!

Yes, that’s correct, I need to profit as well as offer these deals. The problem is this. Those of you of whom I am speaking, have exhibited breathtaking disrespect for my team and also happen to be the same assholes that could care less if my restaurant lives to see another day after you have redeemed your deal. The details are not of concern to you. You want what you want, when you want it and you have no interest in hearing an explanation of why your demands may be somewhat unreasonable. The disclosed restrictions, the needs of other deal site users that actually use the deal as intended (respectfully) and the basic human rights of my staff BE DAMNED!

Last night was the final straw. I awoke at 6 am as I do each day to find a text, an email and a missed call all from the same person. This woman took it upon herself to get the message to me at all costs that her dining rights have been irreconcilably denied and therefore her experience ruined. Not to mention the experience of her esteemed, food savvy guest. This couple had a deal site tasting menu certificate. Not a big shock we took 14 of them last night. This is wonderful in my eyes as we are reaching guests that for the most part, are learning of us for the first time after over seven years at this location. (We have been able to see repeat visits from over 20% of our deal site first time guests. This is a number not often seen. quite a blessing not to mention a testament to my staff and their professionalism.)  

Back to our “happy couple.” The woman informed me, by way of all three communications, that my manager is, and this is a quote, “a complete asshole that does not belong in his position nor does he deserve to work with the public in any way shape or form”  This statement, as it turns out, was the least offensive of all the ridiculous things stated as fact in her opinion about my restaurant. Now Marcello, while not always warm and fuzzy, especially when abused by a diner in the way in which he was abused last night, is ALWAYS professional and accommodating in every way.

He represents my restaurant and our product with such pride and integrity that one might mistake him for the owner. Please allow me to state for the record that I do not subscribe to the “customer is always right” philosophy. This is an antiquated, flawed business philosophy that allows a guest to dictate what an establishment should provide rather then enjoying what the establishment is best suited to provide. Not to mention what that operation is known for providing. Pure nonsense! A practice seen only in those establishments that lack either the strength of their convictions or a lack of confidence in their own product…..or, even worse, BOTH! Needless to say, we are not one of those establishments.

We try very hard to provide a wonderful experience for all of our guests. We do so with a strict attention to the important point that when we veer from what we are known to provide best, we inevitably welcome trouble. The most common instance of this is when we let the guest drive the experience. This woman was trying to do just that. They arrived 45 minutes late for an online reservation with a tasting menu deal certificate for which the kitchen was not prepared. We routinely prepare for at least 2 or 3 tables that pop up as a result of an honest mistake either on our part or as the result of a miscommunication with the guest. We take full responsibility and do our best to accommodate. Sometimes we are simply full and do not have the capacity to make last minute changes to facilitate the needs of a single guest. In such a case we offer alternatives, extensions of expiration, application of face value to be used that evening but in a different capacity, etc…. at times, such as last night, this is simply not good enough for the guest and things unravel.

I did not bother Marcello with this situation today as it is his well deserved day off and I want him to relax. I took it upon myself to speak with all of the staff that worked last night and each of their descriptions of what happened was identical with the exception of, you guessed it, our deal site folks.

It seems the lady was much more upset in the beginning then the gentleman and was very vocal. After addressing the table and explaining that since they did not do what was asked on the deal and call to alert us to their tasting menu, we could not produce an additional menu of this type. I do not give a shit if anyone understands why I made this restriction a part of the deal.

It just is. I will not and cannot disclose my business model to everyone that buys a deal. Now the man, and I use that term in jest, becomes aggravated despite Marcello’s best attempts to make reasonable amends for the situation. This fool begins to shout in the middle of MY DINING ROOM at the gentleman that runs the entire operation, demanding that what he and his dining companion want, must be provided. In doing so, they disturbed other guests, belittled my manager, his staff and my restaurant. Still, in the end, they were given everything we could give them to try and make them happy. As these pricks dined on my cuisine, served by a professional team in a comfortable environment, (all at a 50% discount mind you), they were texting and talking on their phones all night long. Very loudly might I add, making a point to be loud enough to let my staff know that they were going on opentable and Facebook to slander the restaurant in grand fashion as they dined.

To this couple I offer you this. FUCK YOU!!! As well as everyone else that thinks as you think and acts as you act. This is an grown up restaurant for those that know how to act in public. It is for those that want to and are able to act civil towards one another and towards those that work very hard to serve them. We greatly appreciate all of our guests that enjoy dining in our restaurant, especially nowadays, when there are so many great options. I made a mistake riding this horse as far as I did. I have my reasons. I also have a couple of regrets – not the least of which is the stress I put on my staff in order to accommodate the small minority of deal site folks that simply don’t deserve to be accommodated.

Gentlemen of the staff of Restaurant Michael, I am very sorry that you had to endure this silliness. I would like to thank you for doing so and for being the professional, dedicated people that you are. I am very fortunate to have the privilege to work beside you. Please do not be discouraged. 99% of our guests appreciate and love the service you provide. It is that 99% that inspires me to continue providing the product we provide. Be proud of yourselves and rest assured, I certainly am proud of you! I will not allow anyone to abuse us as professionals not to mention as human beings.

Wanna hear the kicker? The guests from last night were industry people. A cook that works for a very close chef friend of mine and his bitch girlfriend. – twenty-somethings with no balls, no respect and no class. I weep for the future of our nation…… Make no mistake, had I been here last night you would all have cause to weep for them.

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54 thoughts on “The horse is dead and the shark ate him!

  1. Is there some hidden message in all this that I’ve missed, Michael? Meanwhile, the cure to issues you’ve described is called a Smith & Wesson model 500. Puts Dirty Harry’s 44 magnum in diapers. 😉

    • The hidden message is a couple of punks provoked The MONSTER…how sad. You and your staff ARE NOT powerless. Next time, ask them to leave. They are disturbing the staff,Chef & your blissfull patrons.

    • Hello, Michael.

      My husband and I have not dined at your restaurant in a few years. Why? When we have dined with others who drink cocktails or wine, we have gotten great service from your wait staff. We do not drink alcoholic beverages or sweetened beverages. When we have dined alone and not ordered cocktails or wine, our service was not nearly as good. We were not brought or offered chocolates/truffles at the end of our meal as was the table next to us which was being served by the same person. As non-drinkers, we did not feel welcomed, and have not returned.

      • Well to be honest, I find that very difficult to see happening. We have no bias towards nor against drinkers vs. non-drinkers. I myself no longer drink. If anything, we have developed a tendency to pay close attention to those not drinking since it has become a part of my personal experience. As for not getting truffles at the end of your meal, I apologize, I would love a chance to make it up to you should you feel inclined to visit us again.

        Thank you for the valuable feedback!

        Michael

  2. wow, I can’t believe the assholes you have had to deal with. They do not belong in your wonderful place. Keep em out! We ate first time with a real estate thing worth 100 bucks that my wife’s “boss”–nannies for–gave us. We spent more than that but considered every morsel wonderful, we ate every crumb, in heaven. Felt no entitlement, only gratitude, and sorry for the boss not going herself. Then we came for lobster night, superb. Thanks.

  3. Micheal, GREAT!

    I loved your scathing report of the “underdeveloped, bush league” couple.

    We have dined at your restaurant about 5 times since we “found” you about 2 years ago
    and
    will continue in the future.

    (I know you will) ….. keep up the HONEST and direct opinion/reporting/analysis/feedback!

    Sincerely,

    Dave Lee

  4. BOY DO I AGREE WITH YOU MICHAEL, but I’m glad you weren’t there last night and endangered yourself legally. Super HAPPY you are in love!! May you continue to be Blessed in your life.

  5. sorry for your problem. going to california for a few months. will see you when we return. hope you all have a good winter and a healthy new year

  6. Good for you, Michael. You own one of the finest restaurants in Chicago with excellent food and a very professional staff. Your diners should measure up to your establishment.

    • There are moments when I realize the many reasons I miss Chicago – YOU are 1 of them!!! Under the KISS principle, the real irony of the couple’s outrage is not that you are a “great chef”; but, rather, you have always been (and, I have been to all of your endeavors numerous times) – a great chef that cares!!!

  7. Good for you Michael – We love your food and the people who work at Restaurant Michael are all class acts and professionals.

  8. well said . . . . we dined at your restaurant on a Group on or some other coupon offer a while back and had a great time, good food, and enjoyed your wait staff . . . . this behavior does not just happen at your restaurant . . . it seems to be epidemic . . . maybe it’s in the water or air and affects some people . . . or it may be the narcissistic attitude of the FaceBook generation . . . whatever . . . I completely agree with you . . . I think you should write a book . . . it would be a best seller. Thanks for expressing yourself . . . . I really needed a good laugh . . . . P Granahan

  9. Well said. We have enjoyed our experiences in your restaurant and appreciate your attention to details. We celebrated my husband’s 75th birthday with you and 4 friends last May and look forward to many other celebrations with you. Don’t let the bad guys get you down.

  10. But enough pussyfooting around, Michael. Tell us how you REALLY feel! (I’m a regular, and have never had a bad experience. The one time I made a “special request” to be moved to a different table because of a (massively) over-perfumed guest, it was immediately expedited, with apologies, no less (none needed, it wasn’t YOUR perfume).

    • I forgot to mention that we’ve had the good fortune to get Umberto as our server the last 3 times in a row! He’s a dedicated professional, from the old school, with impeccable manners, confidence, knowledge and enthusiasm for the meals you’re delivering. And the Julia Child tribute was utterly “phenomenal!”

  11. Michael;
    It is a shame that Marcello and the rest of the staff had to be subjected to such idiots. And, we are sorry for the guests that had to endure this. As long time guests (we necame acquainted with you and what you do for food back in your Glen Elyn days) we grow in appreciation of everything about what your place means. For us, even when we just want a night out your place is where we think of. Your staff is so wonderful. Being acquinted with several of them beyond being just our servers makes coming to your place like visiting with old friends and wanting to pay for the priviledge. You made a wonderful accomdation for us when we used our tasting certificate. The expereince of the meal is that is one of the best if not the very best we have in our 52 years together. I was going to write to thank you and tell you how wonderful it was. However, this gives me the opportunity to thank you and the entire staff publicly. We agree and echo the comment Of John Petergal that like him have never had a bad experience ay any of the places you have been been the chef either owner or otherwise. We cannot give you and the staff too many kudos. You are all the greatest!
    Larry and Ina Rosenthal

  12. My family have dined at your restaurant numerous times, for many special occasions (birthday, anniversary, graduation, special out of town friends). The staff is always professional and service and food first rate. We dined once using a “deal” and was treated just as another valued guest. Marcello is always very courteous and makes a point of stopping by and checking to make sure we are fine and enjoying our meal.

    It is a shame that some people don’t believe rules apply to them. Those people who are always trying to get something extra will never be satisfied with life. That will be their punishment. Good for you for standing up for your people.

  13. Michael;
    I am totally with you, Fuck Them and the horse they rode in on. You are absolutely correct about the restrictions on your deals. I have viewed your deals as a bonus and a thank you since I am a regular at your restaurant and would come anyway. I also am aware of the restrictions and understand why they are there and that you are attempting to attract new diners at an otherwise slow day or time as a way to promote your restaurant. But we must also remember there are some assholes who think they are entitled, a function of the “Me” generation. These are the same people who lack manners, are rude never heard of etiquette. I am not surprised they were texting and speaking on their phones. There is nothing worse than totally inconsiderate jerks who only think only of themselves and never consider or care that they are disturbing others, whether it is in a restaurant, riding on a train or some other public place, by talking on their cell phones. Hey Assholes, its a restaurant, not a phone booth. My only surprise is why someone in your restaurant didn’t ask these schmucks to leave.
    By the way, you are looking great and keep up the good work on the diet.
    David Yavitz

  14. We ate with a Groupon this week. It was a first time for both of us, but we loved everything & will be back. I am always apalled but have stopped being surprised by what some people consider acceptable behavior.

  15. Tell it, Michael! You are correct in your appraisal of the self-entitled “Me” generation and their rude behavior. Love your restaurant and cannot wait to return!

  16. Michael – The moment some people realized that they could yell via email and most other electronic mediums all hell broke loose. No longer do you have to face someone and tell them what you think, you can hide behind your computer screen and go wild. As a home chef who aspires to cook good food, I truly appreciate the quality and attention to detail that your restaurant provides. I was told once that the difference between most cooks, and chefs is the quality of the sauces. You always inspire me to cook better and to think about what I am doing while in the kitchen to improve the sauces and improve the presentation. We love your restaurant, when you deal with the general public you have to realize that a percentage are going to be morons. That these two were in the “trade” is ever the more shocking. Stay away from the deal a day sites and keep doing what you are doing; providing excellent food, a great atmosphere and wonderful presentations.

  17. Michael,
    We love the restaurant, and we found it through the Groupon deal. We came back a few times with and without the deals, because we found the food to be exceptional (according to my very very picky husband :)) and staff is awlays very accomodating and nothing but professional and friendly.
    That couple should’ve been kicked out of the restaurant immediately, I hope they are just an exception to the rule, and most of the people who use the deals do not cause scenes.

  18. Michael – Congratulations on your sobriety and all the positive changes in your life. As a small business owner myself, I can appreciate your situation. People in service industries need to be as accommodating as possible to everyone, but where there are clear breaches of stated agreements (whether it be one of my consulting agreements or one of your deals) those ignoring the terms need to be made aware of the fact and the consequences. My husband (Larry Muffett, who commented a few people above me) and I took advantage of one of your deals and we were SO impressed with the food, the service, the ambience, that as Larry said, we can’t wait to come back.

  19. Michael:

    I will ignore the profanity in your rant; it is certainly not befitting of your reputation and the cuisine and service you provide to your guests. I offer you a couple of things you might want to think about:

    1. You signed up for the group/discount/coupon offers. I am sure there was some expectation on your part of what you might receive (new customers, etc) in exchange for offering the discounts. I know of many businesses that regret signing up with these programs. That said, you are the proprietor of a fine establishment; you signed up for the deals and you must now complete your part of the transaction.

    2. You are in the hospitality business serving the general public; you are not a private membership club. Some folks are big jerks; born that way and will always be that way. I encounter them in airports, hotels and restaurants all the time. They seem to appear in public places at the most inconvenient times. Society, in general, has become more and more selfish (in many ways) and your recent experiences have been witnessed by me in many other public places across the US in fast-food and fine-dining establishments alike (I have not experienced such behavior outside our country).

    Some suggestions:

    1. Post a sign indicating cell phone usage is not permitted, as it disturbs other guests.

    2. Don’t over-complicate your coupon-offer situation with derivations from your normal service (online reservations restrictions; limitations of numbers, etc.). It can only serve to confuse your prospective customers and, potentially, your FOH staff.

    3. I am intrigued about the couple that was from “the industry.” It seems your close chef-friend’s cook needs a little lesson in how to behave when in the front-of-house. I am sure you’ve reached out to your chef-friend, but why don’t you share with us where the jerk-cook works? I am sure some of us might want to share our thoughts with his employer.

    This situation is not worth an ulcer. Your customers will stand by you over the long-term.

    Cheers.

  20. My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to try your establishment through a coupon, and I thought the restrictions were very clearly outlined but apparently nobody reads the fine print! After we made our reservation and came in to use it, I was so appreciative of your wonderful staff that treated us in the most respectful manner. It is shocking to think that people would treat your staff in such a rude, disrespectful way. We gave them a great tip based on the full price of the menu and cannot wait to return for a special occasion. Your staff is crucial to the full experience and I think you have made the right choice, as sad as that sounds. While we were there, we did witness some disrespectful behavior from another diner with a coupon and hoped their behavior would not reflect on us. The staff handled it professionally, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our experience. Thank you for all that you do, and remember that one person’s behavior is just one person. There are many good people out there that do exist and appreciate quality food and service.

    • I assure you, the behavior of those less intelligent, classless people is by no means a reflection on anyone but them. I am pleased you were able to take advantage of the deal and hope it brings you back.

      YOU are exactly the target I intended to hit with such marketing.

      Thank you!!!!!

      Michael

  21. I also found your restaurant via an online deal, even though I’d driven past it a thousand times. I’m so glad you did make the offer, as we’ve been back several times since (bringing friends as well) and have always had a great experience. It saddens me that you have to endure fools like these people. Please keep up your lobster specials – even though it seems like we’ve been unable to get away on Fridays, we will be by soon!

  22. Michael,
    I applaud your response and attitude regarding this party of insufferable ignorant people, unbelieveable that they come from the food industry.As one who is a self employed sales representative, I totally agree with you that the customer is always right is a wrong concept that leads to us being abused, your staffs experience last night is proof of that.I have dined in your restaurant more than just a few times, ordering from your regular menu and also using Groupon for your tastings.I have found your staff to be totaly professional and your food to be on the level of all the fine dining establishments in Chicagoland. Kudos to your staff for putting up with these morons. I look forward to dining in your restaurant many more times in the future,in fact we have a reservation with some friends for this coming Thursday and as always, we look forward to it.
    Keep up the good work.

  23. Chef Michael,

    Congratulations on the happiness in your personal life! It’s good to have something so wonderful to offset such unpleasant happenings. Your restaurant is hands-down my favorite restaurant, as I was just telling a group of friends the other day. I love your food, the ambience, and the graciousness of your staff. Rant away, keep out the fools who can’t appreciate an all-around amazing experience (it’s not just about what is or is not on the menu, after all), and please don’t ever close your restaurant!!!!

  24. As you know, dear Michael, we have been ardent fans of your culinary prowess for many years and in many places. We love the present incarnation of Michael, with its warm ambience, quiet atmosphere, superbly professional service and consistently brilliant food and presentation. We came long before Groupon et al., and we will continue to come long after. I agree whole-heartedly with the suggestion that you prohibit cell phone use in the restaurant, as is done in some of the finest European restaurants where there are signs on every table. I also agree that discontinuing future use of coupons is a great means of excluding self-centered bargain hunters who occasionally lower the quality of the dining experience for others. When such persons also denigrate the expertise of your staff, including Marcello, they reveal the inappropriateness of their patronage of any fine dining establishment. Your business will not be hurt by your reverting to business practices of the past. We will return soon and as often as possible, perhaps even once more with an unexpired Groupon coupon in hand. But I promise to read the fine print first.

  25. My husband and I dinned at your restaurant last week for the very first time ,since moving to Kenilworth one year ago from the East Coast. And yes we did use a “coupon” . When I telephoned to make the reservation, I was told of the availbility of the earliest date for our reservation and was briefly informed of why. I understood completely and respected the fact that you know what you have to do to run a business efficiently,providing the best quality for your guests. We Loved our experience, the food and staff were delightfull. I am replying because I completely understand and believe in what you had to say in “YourRant” and sometimes you just need to use those words. I wish you were our new president, maybe it would be a better country of more givers and less takers. Your restaurant is my favorite in the North Shore and we will definitely be back, coupon or no coupon.
    See You Soon!
    Theresa

    • Theresa,
      I know this is my friend from Kenilworth. So glad to see that you love Michael Restaurant as much as we do. I totally agree with your comment. We have been coming to Michael since they opened seven years ago. Michael L. Is not only a superbly talented chef but he is also a very kind, fair, and forthright human being. His restaurant and staff represent the finest dining experience on the North Shore with the best value. We are so fortunate to have such a gem of a restaurant in the suburbs. I can’t wait to dine there with you. I will introduce you to his wonderful and professional staff and hopefully Michael too. In reference to the two narcissistic twits, they are NOT WORTHY!!!
      From a great admirer of Micheal

  26. Yow! What a nightmare! Just one question: did people applaud when they left? I would have. I’d say that Louis’ suggestions above are worth considering, but I’m guessing that that particular crowd would not have respected posted rules about cell phone usage, etal. any more than they did their reservation time. This is the same type of person who thinks Stop Signs signs are merely suggestions.
    I feel badly for your excellent staff. I haven’t been to your restaurant often, but have had wonderful dining experiences when I have. I’m not an easy diner to serve, as I have numerous dietary restrictions, but your staff has always gone out of their way to accommodate my needs, which I appreciate more than I can say.
    I remain,
    A Fan

  27. I am Leonard Cohen’s other half, Ide. Well written, and so right on. Every industry has these jerks to contend with. I’m sorry your staff had to deal with them. Frankly, I would have thrown them out on their insolent asses. We appreciate you, your staff, your food etc. We enjoyed ourselves every time we have been there as regular patrons and as well as Groupon patrons. We will see you Thursday!

  28. i have enjoyed the experience for fine dining at Michael, using Groupons or not. My adult daughter, friend & i feel very comfortable, well-treated,& able to enjoy an adult ( or have witnessed very well-behaved children) multi-course without the establishment turning into Sesame Street!
    Has it occurred to you, that they were not just ignorant fools, but that they did this intentionally to provoke you & perhaps set you back in your personal life as well as business? They should have not been accommodated, since they did not comply with your restrictions, which are more than fair.
    i am planning to return for every special/non-special occasion with or without my Groupon. Keep the restaurant with its great ambiance/service/food just as it is!

  29. Wow Michael. Sorry to hear you have had to deal with crazy customers. I actually tried your tasting menu through an on line deal earlier this year and just purchased another one last week. But this time I am bringing MORE friends with me who do not have the DEAL discount. there is something to be said for increasing awareness and building your client base through offering such deals, but certainly not acceptable for some guests to behave as you mentioned! I am looking forward to dining with you again. I thought your food, presentation and wait staff were awesome! See you soon 🙂

  30. You will be pleased to know that Groupon’s stock is down 30% today, a total fall of 89% since their IPO. They obviously have a broken business model. At this rate, the problem will take care of itself…..

  31. Dear Michael,

    I didn’t even know your restaurant existed until this past summer. I’m a Georgia girl in a wonderful long-distance relationship with an Illinois boy. (After being widowed at 43, I’m in love again, too.) I found The Groupon deal and thought it would be a great 45th birthday dinner for me back on August 18th. (We still spent over $200 bucks, but it was one of the top meals in my life and I’ve traveled quite extensively.) I thought the service was great, and I felt no attitude about having the Groupon by your staff, but we did follow the rules. 🙂

    I’m arriving again on Sunday for a couple of weeks, and I’ve been eyeing the emails and passing along to Gary. I even suggested Thanksgiving dinner there would work for me, but he has made other plans with friends.

    I’m just sorry these two bad apples got you so worked up. I’m sure they embarrased themselves, but I can imagine how it affected the mood in such an intimate establishment. Try and let it go and focus on your purpose. Because of the Groupon, I will be back. It was my most memorable birthday dinner – ever. Ah…sweetbreads…

  32. I am a true fan of your restaurant – my wife and I have booked a party there (note to anyone who reads this – if you have a party, book it at Michael’s restaurant. You will look like a star, and be rewarded with the best service and meal you can imagine) and have eaten there often. I will note, however, that the last time I was there I asked, and Michael was not there. The staff is entirely different when the boss is gone (surprise!) – not horrible, not shout-from-the-rooftops lazy and bad, just different. But when Michael is present at his own establishment, WOW!

    • Hi Michael
      I am sorry to hear about this situation. I am in the service industry as a massage therapist. One of the places I work at is a high end health club, I won’t name. But in the orientation process, we were warned about just this type of people. The lady conducting it said she was from California and has trained people all over the country, and called the Northshore quite an anomaly. Having never experienced this sense of ruthless sense of entitlement. We were explained how expensive the memberships were, and how we needed to learn to grin and bear it.
      I have worked with actors and many musicians backstage and have never had any major difficulties with difficult divas. Luckily in a spa setting vs. the restaurant part of club we get less fussy brats. But sometimes when we are lucky the receptionist will pre warn us, and we know what to expect.
      I was on my way to Evanston to a steak joint on my 3 year anniversary dinner when field trip, an app popped up for your place. I just had missed getting a wedeal $40 for $80…and decided I’d rather five you guys a try. It was late, but you still accomodated us and to good service. Sad to miss the future of deals, because was a special treat and love a deal! Thanks. Hope to be back

  33. I can’t believe the behavior . We went to your restaurant last summer on a groupon and loved our experience. We plan to use another one before Xmas and bring good friends who have never enjoyed your restaurant. Julie McCarron

  34. No one is more of a professional then Marcello. He teaches his waitstaff to be the same. They all reflect him. That is why the service is so excellent. He expects nothing less. If it isn’t he is not happy. For people to act like this is inexcusable. Read your coupon…accept the terms and don’t disturb anyone else’s meal. Otherwise don’t buy the coupon to begin with.

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