Response to Eric H – Memorial Day

admin/ May 28, 2018/ Uncategorized/


Original Review Located on Yelp at:

Response from Mark Whistler

Hi Eric,

I’m so sorry for the unpleasant trip to The Goods you experienced today, Memorial Day.

Foremost, you really matter to me as a customer and I want your experience to be nothing less than amazing.

Today was very difficult for us, as we had four of our eight member Front of House team call out. We were missing 50% of our Front of House staff. We were also missing 40% of our Back of House staff due to two additional call outs. Clearly, no one likes to or really wants to work on a National Holiday. Sigh.

Sadly – this is the restaurant business – and consistent and reliable staffing is our number one ongoing battle.

All of the above said, I want to thank you for your comments. I have learned a great deal about where we can improve from your review.

Regardless of our staffing situation due to today’s holiday, we really failed you in so many areas.

Foremost, we failed you by not anticipating the heavy call-out volume on a national holiday like Memorial Day. I mean this very sincerely… I should have personally anticipated the call-out volume and scheduled an additional 50% more servers.

After all, it’s easy for us to allow staff to leave when we are not busy, but impossible to get people here quickly when we are busier than predicted – and understaffed.

I accept personal responsibility for not taking the extra time to ensure we would be adequately staffed properly. I am the only one at fault for this and I owe you and our staff – who did come in this morning – an apology.

In addition, we should have had our staff better trained to greet every guest within moments of walking in the front door, especially if we encounter a situation where we do not have a host at all.

It is my responsibility to make sure our staff understands what is expected of them when guests walk through our doors – regardless of their staffing position in the restaurant.

Clearly I have not trained our staff  well-enough to understand they MUST be overly aware of customers at the front door at all times. Fully aware of the front door regardless of the presence of a host (or not), for that matter.

It is my responsibility to ensure this training is regular, consistent, and effective.

I very much appreciate you helping to open my eyes where our “Front Door Training” can improve significantly.

I’m not sure what happened with the pause in service from when you sat down and our server appeared to greet you. I am happy your training server did take your drink order; however, given it is our expectation that each table’s primary servers greet their tables within 90-seconds of sitting down, we did not execute well.

I need to investigate the details on our side, along with watching our floor camera to solve the mystery.

Again though, this is a training issue and it is my responsibility to make it better.

In regard to the Ginger Ale – another very sad training mistake on our part. The server on her first day – who was trying to help – was not aware that we carry both Ginger Ale and Pickett’s Ginger Beer (which has ZERO alcohol, please don’t be fooled by the name.)

The new server was not aware of the difference, thus, you received the Pickett’s Ginger, versus traditional Ginger Ale.

Again this mistake was completely on our side solely through aa lack of training, a lack of training protocol, and a lack of managerial supervision for servers-in-training.

(However, today’s lack of managerial supervision for our server-in-training was completely my fault for not ensuring we would have TWO managers – instead of one – on the floor today, Memorial Day. Again, I did not double check today’s schedule well in advance, nor did I absolutely personally confirm the importance of both of our managers absolutely needing to be here today – and thus, with only one manager, I am responsible for the lack of managerial supervision for our server-in-training today. I should have made sure we had two managers on the floor for the holiday brunch shift.

I need to implement stronger training protocol for servers-in-training, along with ensuring sufficient managerial supervision so that ordering mistakes do not occur. Really, all ordering by new servers needs to pass through the hands of a lead server or manager to maintain zero misunderstandings from lack of product and menu knowledge.

In regard to the food you ordered that never arrived. Research after the fact reveals our kitchen was not able to prep the correct amount of pancake batter this morning.

They were scrambling to put the batter together after your order came in and because of such, I take full responsibility for the issue.

The kitchen was short on prep time this morning due to a late start from a door-related issue. I failed my kitchen by not absolutely double checking to ensure they had the necessary key to enter the kitchen at the required time of 8 am today.

Our usual keyholder who unlocks the door was not present this morning, and given I was three flights of stairs below, I did not hear our kitchen staff knocking. All of which could have been solved through simple communication yesterday evening. However, I failed to understand the depth of our staffing situation this morning, and thus, did not properly think ahead to ensure our door was unlocked at 8 am.

Because I was personally not more insightful into this morning’s possible key debacle, our kitchen staff entered late and thus, were not able to prep the proper amount of pancake batter.

In this business one small mistake can and WILL lead to a chain reaction of events eventually hurting service. I accept full responsibility for not having the pancake batter properly prepped this morning due to my lack of insight yesterday evening – in regard to ensuring our back door would be unlocked in the absence of one of our normal key-holders.

I failed you on so many levels here.

I also failed you by not personally checking the pars prepped by the kitchen this morning to ensure we had the correct amount of batter for today’s brunch service.

I certainly will never again overlook ensuring our pars are correct. I accept full responsibility for the kitchen error, I should have caught the problem long before it could have ever even existed as a problem. I also need to better train our kitchen to “check list” our pars before every service, which ultimately, I should then confirm and sign off on each day. I need to make sure this protocol is diligently enforced to ensure proper amounts of product are available for every service.

We also failed you through not properly communicating to a manager – from the kitchen – to speak with you as soon as we discovered there was a problem related to an insufficient amount of prepped pancake batter.

This is my fault for not properly training ALL of our staff to immediately take action – and communicate with you – the guest – if and when there is (and was) a potential problem at hand.

The fact that the communication from our kitchen to a manager or server somehow broke down is solely my responsibility as a restaurant owner.

It is my responsibility to ensure all necessary training has occurred – including our internal policies and procedures for all guest-communication, especially when there is a problem looming.

The proactive communication that could have eased the problem did not occur because I have not spent enough time training all of our staff on proper problem-related-protocol when a mistake happens..

It is my responsibility to now immediately train our staff at a higher level on guest communication protocol when an issue arises. Especially in lieu of how we handled the situation with your pancakes so poorly.

I absolutely need to take the time – immediately – to clarify these guidelines for our Back of House staff, managers, and severs so we never encounter this situation again. I am again – solely responsible for not having enough training in place to have ensured the communication breakdown would not, and could not, occur.

Your server avoiding you and carrying on with other staff members is very much the last thing I want to hear. I will need to watch our cameras to again see exactly what happened… Given how understaffed we were, I felt as if we were all running a million miles an hour, so if there were indeed staff not contributing, I need to know. I appreciate your feedback here very much, because I absolutely do need to know.

Regardless, the lack of correspondence between our kitchen and you is again, a training issue, though on two fronts. Foremost I need to better-train our servers to continually maintain an open dialogue with customers, especially if there are potentially hazardous problem(s) to the order time of your dish – occurring in the kitchen.

In addition, I have let you down because I did not personally double check today’s schedule – last night – to ensure both of our our managers would be here this morning. Ashley is an amazing manager, however, given he was the only manager on the floor in an extremely understaffed situation, he was simply too overwhelmed to keep a watchful eye over the floor at all times.

All of this, including the added stress to Ashley not being able to properly look over the floor (as he is very adept at), was my fault for not absolutely making sure both of our managers would be present this morning.

Because I was not more proactive and diligent in making sure the schedule for today was absolutely over-staffed, including making sure to PERSONALLY confirm with BOTH of our managers that they would be here this morning – I hindered Ashley from being able to properly do his job…

All of which, including the backdoor key debacle, translates to a chain effect of small issues eventually leading to the delay in the pancakes you ordered and our manager not being able to adequately resolve the issue…due to his having to take on too much responsibility…due to under-staffing, which again, was completely my fault for not making sure…was correct.

Every small issue within the realm of a lack of planning in a restaurant will snow ball. We witnessed it today. I am responsible.

It is absolutely my job to be the final set of eyes that watches over absolutely everything in the restaurant each day. I should have double checked the schedule last night and confirmed with both of our managers – personally – that they would be present.

I am happy our Manager Ashley did come over to speak with you and buy your drinks. However, it is completely my fault that I have not trained our staff to communicate problems – and resolutions – faster – ensuring you feel zero delay-related stress, should a problem occur.

There are so many ways we could have handled this better, including just getting you some sort of appetizer or snack and additional drinks – especially for your little one – if there was any delay looming.

I am solely responsible for not having clearly communicated my expectations to all of our staff – and ensured the proper training has occurred to make sure they know how to respond to “problematic situations” that arise in the kitchen with empathy, courteousness, hospitality, and deft.

At the end of the day, it is only me who failed you today. I need to ensure we have stronger training, across the board, to make sure these problems never occur in the first place – though if they do – we maintain clear and comprehensive resolution guidelines that all staff is aware of and able to execute on.

I let you down. I offer you my sincere apology.

If you wouldn’t mind, I would really like it if I might be able to speak with you in person – so that I might be able gather more information and data that could help us better train our staff in the future.

I really appreciate your feedback and would very much like to speak with you in person please. If you wouldn’t mind, would you please call me at 7203736018.

Thank you so much for your visit to The Goods, I am very sorry I let you down

We will work harder at training our staff better so the heavily disappointing visit you encountered today does not happen again.

Again, I am the only one responsible for all of the mistakes of your visit. As an owner, it is my responsibility to ensure all proper training is in place. I have learned much about where we can improve from your feedback.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Mark Whistler


The Goods





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