Monday, February 6, 2012

Even though he WAS nice...I'm STILL pissed!

Ok, so as a follow up to yesterday's post "I know this is "old news" but I'm PISSED!", the following is the conversation, as best as I can remember, with the Manager of Joey Tomatos in Crowfoot, Calgary regarding the fact that they don't have highchairs an/or boosters to accommodate little dinners at their restuarants.

Before we get to THAT, I want to commend Massimo, the manager, for his professionalism and I would also like to commend MYSELF for not going all "LOCO" on his ass.  It DID help that Daddy Dave gave me a little "speech" prior to returning the managers phone call.  To sum it up in one sentence he said something like, " He is probably some young guy trying to make ends meet on minimum wage and because of CORPORATE DECISIONS he has to put up with "shit" that ain't his.  Be calm.  Be respectful.  And remember, he IS NOT the "face" of Joey Tomatos."  (Thank you Daddy Dave for keeping it all in "perspective" for me!)

Now on with the conversation...

Massimo- Hello Ginger, I wanted to give you the opportunity to express how you feel or if you have anything more you'd like to say before your anger escalates.  I can appreciate you anger and frustration.  So, is there anything else you want to say?

Me-  I think my email clearly expressed how disappointed I am that you don't have highchairs to accommodate young families.   I like Joey Tomatos so much and I was really upset that the option to dine at your restaurant with my children was not a possibility.

Massimo- I want you to know that by no means do we not want people to bring their small children in to our restaurant to dine.  If I could just shed a little light on why we as a company made that decision... it is because there are certain restaurants that cater especially to children and then others that cater especially to adults, where the prices are a little higher and we really wanted to meet in the middle.  We don't have highchairs but that doesn't mean that your children aren't welcome.  I know this might not make any difference because we can't "for sure" say we can accommodate children but I really don't want you to feel like we are not welcoming your children at our restaurant.

Me-  But the fact does remain that because you don't provide highchairs and booster seats to your customers, it sends a message loud n' clear that "children are not welcome."  I know that by law, you must say that your restaurant welcomes children because it's discriminatory not too and very much against the law in Canada.  So,  for you to be stating that your restaurant does in fact welcome children, pardon my language, but that is to "cover your arses".  The fact that you don't have highchairs IS telling people...children are not welcomed.

My children have been dining out since they were 10 weeks old and have been to a variety of different restaurants and I feel that Joey Tomatos falls somewhere in between, Chiantis, Moxies, Brewsters and Earls and then there are the more upscale/priced restaurants such as Murrieta's, Broken Plate and The Keg, who, by the way, all have highchairs.  And just for the record, La Chaumiere, Teatro and River Cafe which are all EXTREMELY high end restaurants accommodate tinny dinners.  Not to be disrespectful but Joey Tomatos is no where in the same league of dinning, as these restaurants

So, I am sure you can understand my frustration about Joey Tomotos marketing strategy to exclude families from dinning at their restaurant.  I hear what you are saying about meeting somewhere in the middle regarding pricing and not gearing a menu to children but that is quite irrelevant given that my children eat baked salmon and fillet mignon more often than chicken fingers and fries.

Massimo- That's really good feedback. I just hope you know that these decisions are made by head office and I hope it doesn't keep you from dinning with us in the future.

Me- Actually, it does.  And I welcome the opportunity to speak to someone in your head office further regarding this because I want them to know that this decision not only effects their short term business but their long term business as well.  I, along with several of my friends will  not be dinning at Joey Tomatos again because of this "policy" and we are making a commitment to the other restaurants I have mentioned when choosing to dine out during our girls night out as well as when dinning out with our families.

Massimo- I understand and this is good feedback and I plan to pass it on to corporate.  We are an innovated company and our decisions are not set in stone so, I do appreciate this feedback and I would really like to offer to "take care" of you if you change your mind about dinning at Joey Tomatos.  You have my cell phone and I want you to just give me a call ahead of time and I will "take care" of all the arrangements.  But I know you have a bad taste in your mouth about us right now, so I will leave that with you.  Just know anytime you change your mind, give me a call.

Me-  Thank you Massimo.  I do appreciate that "olive branch "offer but until Joey Tomatos changes it's policy regarding having highchairs and boosters, I will not be dinning at your restaurant. 

Massimo- Well, I am sorry to hear that, but thank you for your feedback all the same.

And while most might leave "it" at "that"...I went ahead and wrote the following email to the Joey Tomatos corporate offices:

To Whom It May concern,

I am writing in response to my conversation with the Manager at Joey’s at Crowfoot crossing regarding the following feedback I submitted today, February 1, 2012:

My name is Ginger and I have been a longtime customer of your restaurant.  My girlfriends and I frequently get together and enjoy fabulous food, cocktails and great conversation at the Crowfoot Joey Tomatoes.  We are always extremely pleased with the service, ambiance and overall experience.
 Late last year my parents were up visiting and I wanted to bring them to your fabulous restaurant.  My family and I, 4 adults and 2 children (age 2) arrived at the restaurant only to be totally shocked that they did not have highchairs and/or booster seats to accommodate little budding socialites.  I, of course, voiced my concern regarding this as I strongly feel that it is very discriminatory to not include the needs of little dinners in the equation of any restaurant.  I was told that if I had something in the vehicle that would make dinning with my two children easier, I was more than welcome to bring that in.  I am not sure as to what your staff may have been referring to as I do not travel with my own highchairs.  I figure this was an attempt at trying to downplay the unfriendly child environment and eliminate any further discussion regarding discrimination.  Meaning, that your restaurant wasn’t saying that we couldn’t eat there with our 2 year old twins, we just need to make our own accommodations for them to be able to be comfortable and actually sit at a table.
 I am sure you can understand my frustration as I can understand perhaps, where your company may be coming from in regards to not wanting “unruly” children dinning in such a nice establishment.  However, I am appalled that your restaurant does not cater to families with young children.  While there are the few who may not understand the etiquette of dinning with young children, it seems insulting that those of us who do and respect others, suffer as a result.
 I thank you in advance for taking the time to read and  respond to my concern regarding the fact that your restaurants do not have highchairs and/or boosters.

Firstly, I would like to thank Massimo for contacting me so quickly after submitting my feedback.  Secondly, his professional response to my concerns was impressive.  He was very empathetic to my situation and listened to everything I had to say with an open mind.  Although his explanation as to why Joey Tomatoes chooses not to provide highchairs and/or boosters to accommodate young dinners was unacceptable, I do understand that these decisions lie in the hands of corporate and not the individual restaurants.  This is why I felt the need to share with you my original letter of feedback with expectations that someone from the corporate offices will read my legitimate concerns regarding your “no kid” policy and respond to this accordingly.

I would like to take a moment to once again commend Massimo for his professional communication and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

And the saga continues...
Be sure to check back Friday when I will share the "interesting" conversation I had with Corporate regarding their "un-friendly" kid enivorment policy. YUP!  I'm still PISSED!


  1. You go girl!!!!
    My Twintastic Life

  2. It makes my blood boiling when I read Massimo's 1st sentence "...before your anger escalates..". What the heck is he implying? That the customer have no control of their temper?

    Anyway, saw most of his answers are mostly "standard answers" and does not really address the problem.

    Agreed. Don't give them any business unless they change their policy

  3. I think that is so crazy...I'm going to tweet it on behalf of you...

  4. I just tweeted your blog..hopefully it brings some traffic... I hashtaged JoeyTomatos

  5. I love your passion - I honestly don't think I'd have the energy to fight like you do but I do admire it

  6. I love how he says they welcome children but unless you plan on having your child sit on a dirty restaurant floor or unsafely on the table, I don't see how you could possibly bring young children to their restaurant. Essentially, they are saying children aren't welcome.

    It is too bad because it seems like his hands really are tied.

    I'm anxious to hear how their corporate office responded!

  7. Yup, I'd still be pissed too! I look forward to the continuing saga...=)

  8. Way to go Sister...Give Em Hell..!!! XXOO

  9. Wow he started the conversation with a bug FU by telling you to stay calm. I'm impressed that you kept your cool, I'm pretty sure that I would have lost it.
    I would still be mad, he just made excusses.

  10. Uh oh, so I take it they haven't changed their stance on providing high chairs? C'mon, that seems like such an easy thing to do! Glad you are fighting for it!
    Have a great weekend!



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