Oct 31, 2011
I bought a Groupon voucher for a meal at Bistro Fleur at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast in late September. Last week, I rang the restaurant to make a booking for Friday night. The man taking my booking (who I later found out is the owner) was the average cordial restaurant person - until I mentioned I had a voucher. His tone immediately changed and he very rudely asked me "what voucher?". I mentioned having a Scoopon and he yelled, saying "That's already expired so I can't take your booking".
Shocked by his rudeness, but still trying to maintain my cool I told him that I was sure my voucher was valid as I had only bought it a month ago and it said it was valid for 3 months. I said I may be mistaken and maybe it was a Groupon. He cut me off before I could even say anything else and snapped at me saying "If you don't know what you've got I can't take your booking".
Clearly, he wanted my business.
By this point I really wanted to just slap him but yet, I summoned all the niceness in me and very politely said to him, "Look, I know I have a valid voucher and I'm just trying to make a booking. If it's such a big deal, I will ring you back with the details of my voucher." I was out for lunch at the time and needed to wait till I got back to the office.
But Patrick wasn't listening and just went off at me about how they had 3 vouchers going and I couldn't use an expired voucher etc etc. I wasn't trying to use an expired voucher! Anyway, so I told him I'd ring him back and he hung up on me!
I rang him back and his tone and attitude was no better when I told him it was a voucher I bought on 20th September. He asked me when it expired and I told him it was valid for 3 months. He snapped at me asking what date. I'm sorry, is it that hard to figure out that 3 months from 20th September is 20th December? He took my booking but left me fuming. I was seething for the rest of the afternoon and eventually ended up deciding I wasn't going to go. I looked up Bistro Fleur online and found these reviews on Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor - so many of them saying how badly they were treated and guess what, Mr. Patrick got a special mention too.
I was really excited to go to this restaurant. I've never been to a French restaurant before and I was keen to try out some snails. I really enjoy eating out and I love discovering new places through sites like LivingSocial, Groupon etc. If the Bistro Fleur experience had been good, I would have definitely been a repeat customer.
I have worked in a restaurant and I know sometimes customers are stupid and sometimes they will try to use expired vouchers. But you don't yell at them. If I was annoying him by saying Scoopon instead of Groupon, he could've simply said "I'm sorry but our Scoopon voucher has already expired, did you mean Groupon?" AND in a tone that is more customer service friendly not one that accuses me of being stupid.
I was shocked to find out I had spoken to the owner of Bistro Fleur and he was so angry that I had a voucher and had the gall to use it. Why does this man sell vouchers to his own restaurant if he wants to treat voucher-holding customers like shit? If you don't want customers, don't sell vouchers. It's really as simple as that. The whole point of vouchers is to generate business and possibly create a new customer base - but if you make your customers feel like shit, they're definitely not coming back - totally defeating the purpose of having a voucher.
I was going to ring him back and cancel my booking and tell him it was because he was so rude but I forgot to do it. At 7:45pm on Friday I had a voicemail on my phone from a very angry Patrick saying "You haven't bothered turning up, I'm going to cancel your booking". There's that lovely tone again.