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KC restaurant Voltaire drops ‘epic’ response on Yelper’s complaint | The Kansas City Star complaint letter restaurant

Chow Town KC restaurant Voltaire drops ‘epic’ response on Yelper’s complaint

By JOYCE SMITH and SARAH GISH

The Kansas City Star

LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Reddit Print Order Reprint of this Story October 07, 2014 12:07 gczsieeb. cheap moncler jackets replica PM

When the West Bottoms restaurant Voltaire wouldn’t bend its policy and do take-out, a customer took to Yelp to complain.

But it didn’t end there.

Voltaire’s cheeky response has been picked up by such sites as Uproxx and Eater, a national network of blogs covering restaurants, bars and nightlife. Eater’s post had more than 8,700 Facebook likes by 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Voltaire’s response was written by owner Wes Gartner. He said in a phone interview that he’d never responded to a Yelp review before — but felt compelled to when Yelper Sonal B threatened to leave a negative review if the restaurant didn’t go against policy and sell her take-out.

“When a customer wants to get their way by using Yelp as leverage,” Gartner said, “I thought that was way out of line.”

Gartner added that he thinks his response “struck a chord” with people in the service industry because many restaurant owners don’t respond to negative online reviews out of fear it will hurt their business.

Voltaire’s owner stands by his response even if some people disagree with it.

“I don’t base my business off Yelp or social media,” Gartner says. “I think we do what we do and it’s good. I think I was justified.”

The Yelp reviewer, Sonal B, couldn’t be reached for comment. And while the review is no longer on Yelp, Eater has it posted:

“Just called Voltaire to try to order some food because we're in a late business meeting across the street. First, they refused to answer our question about what type of broth is used in the risotto. Then they said they won't pack food to go. My husband spoke to the manager and explained that we're in a conference room across the street, and asked if they can pack our dinner (which we would pick up). The hostess flat-out refused to answer our question about the food or to try and work with us so we could get food in our meeting. My husband asked to speak with the manager. The manager, Jamie, said, ‘our food is plated beautifully, and we can't put it in a ‘to go’ container.” So thanks, Jamie, we'll just starve . (What the manager said is just not true by the way--we've eaten there before, and they did pack our food to go.) When my husband said that he was going to post a Yelp review about the way the restaurant was treating us, the manager questioned, ‘Are you a grown man and an adult?’ Yes, Jamie, we are grown adults, and we do not do business with people who behave like you do.

We regularly travel to NYC and eat at a variety of restaurants, which are more than happy to accommodate people by packing food to go. This restaurant thinks they're too good for their customers. They will soon learn that if you ignore your customers, they're going to start ignoring you. I would not even give this place one star after this experience, and I'm dismayed by their unprofessional and arrogant behavior.”

Eater calls Voltaire’s response epic. It included:

“I sincerely apologize that we don't offer ‘take-out’ food at our restaurant. Being a Yelp user, I'm sure you were aware that on our Yelp business page, on the right side of the screen, it lists details about our establishment. There is an item listed ‘Take-Out: No.’ We have never offered take-out food as we believe the food we prepare should be presented as we see fit, (usually) on a plate inside the dining room.

As for the risotto, its made with a vegetable stock - this dish is vegetarian, and I'm certain that who you were speaking with wanted to make extra certain the information provided to you was accurate.

On your previous visits, you say you have witnessed dishes being boxed up as proof that we provide ‘take-out’ food. Although we do allow our guests to take their uneaten food with them in to-go boxes after they have dined with us, we have never offered ‘take-out’ food.

If you were actually starving, as in a life threatening condition requiring nutritional sustenance, we would be happy to assist you ... we do make exceptions for emergency situations.

Our general manager did question the age/maturity of your husband after he became combative and threatened us with a negative Yelp review if we did not alter our operational practice and provide him with ‘take-out’ food. 15 minutes later you indeed came through with this threat. I can assure you that we don't offer ‘take-out’ food because we feel we are ‘too good’ for our customers; we just prefer to have our guests dine with us, allowing for the proper presentation (and temperature) of their fare that has been skillfully prepared by our kitchen.

I am very pleased that you frequent New York. We travel often as well. And I can assure you that there are many restaurants in NYC that do not offer ‘take-out’ food. Although there are many other options that do - in Kansas City as well (Go Royals!).”

Most Yelpers responding to the comments are showing Voltaire the love with five stars:

▪  Excellent restaurant in KC! Shame on the Sonal B review. The owner could not have replied better. Now looking forward more than ever to dining there next time I'm in KC.

▪  It has been put in my bucket list to visit this place. Thank you Sonal B for being such a food cow and putting this restaurant in the spotlight. With an owner so smart and funny I bet the food is AMAZING!!!

▪  If Sonal B. had read the restaurant details, she would see that Voltaire does not serve take-out, nor do they serve children. That should have been her first clue. If you want your meal on the run, go to Mickey D's or BK where you can get a happy meal and ‘have it your way.’

But some Eater posts were not so kind.

▪  Apparently all sorts of immature people (on both sides of the street) in KC .

▪  The customer should have come in, parked their butt in a seat long enough to order several dishes (enough for whomever was waiting at the conference across the street), and when the food arrived taken one bite of one dish before asking for it to be wrapped to go. They would then have been honoring the restaurant’s holier-than-thou, hair-splitting rules. Just silly.

That said, this customer got overly worked up (and equally silly) – but I’m guessing they were hungry and frustrated by the restaurant’s response.

Voltaire is at 1617 Genessee St.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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How do I write a complaint letter to a restaurant in a tactful way? My husband and I went AJUUA! in San Antonio last night and the service was absolutely horrible, I want to write a letter to the manager of the restaurant but I'm not sure the ettiquette on such a thing. Any suggestions? Follow 21 answers 21 Report Abuse Are you sure you want to delete this answer? Yes No Sorry, something has gone wrong. Trending Now Meg Whitman Kanye West Boy Scout Jamboree 2017 Dom Dwyer Mattress Reviews 2017 Airline Tickets Kourtney Kardashian Cheap Airline Tickets Katie Ledecky Janee Harteau Answers Relevance Rating Newest Oldest Best Answer:   Wait a day or two and then sit down to write it. Stick to the facts and don't let your emotions get in the way. Let the manager know that you're writing to him because if it had been YOUR employee, you'd want to be informed about it. Also, if the food was good, let him know that as well. You should also think about if you'd like to return to the restaurant and perhaps let him know why or why not you'd do repeat business with their establishement. If the manager is worth his position, he'll get back with you and perhaps offer you a gift certificate. If he doesn't at least send you an apology, I wouldn't step foot in that place ever again. Source(s): T_Jania · 1 decade ago 1 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now Asker's rating The restaurant will be more likely to listen to you if you write your letter politely instead of angry, even though you may feel that way. To offer my honest opinion, it is a little uncommon for people to write to restaurants about their food, normally if you don't like it there, you don't return. I know for veggie burgers, some people don't like tofu and whatever is in it, but some people do. It's like writing to a restaurant and telling them you hated the shepherd's pie because you hate mashed potatoes and corn together. That's not the restaurant's fault because that's what a Shepherd's pie is, if you understand what I'm saying. You could be a little more harsh when you talk about the manager because the manager did not speak to you after you were waiting. Also, it's hard to write a letter of complaint about food because it may be something that they did on your particular meal that you did not like, or that the veggie burger doesn't suit your taste but other people like it. Keep in mind that the chefs are very busy and they try their hardest to make their food enjoyable, so show a little respect when you're writing the letter. Say that you went to the restaurant (maybe add a compliment like the waiter was very nice) and you ordered your son a veggie burger and a salad for yourself. You were very displeased with the lack of taste in the salad, although there was a considerable amount of olive oil, and the burger was not particularly enjoyable. You are offering this compliant to them in hopes that they will consider it as customer feedback. Also mention that the service from either the waiter or the manager was unacceptable, as somewhere communication lacked that you wanted to speak to the manager. Just stuff like that. Writing a letter to the head office or wherever is generally not going to do anything if they are a big chain of restaurants. Alternatives you may want to consider are visiting the restaurant's website and sending them an e-mail, or calling the restaurant and demand to speak to the manager. :) Tracey · 1 year ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now Include your name, address, and home and work phone numbers.
Type your letter if possible. If it is handwritten, make sure it is neat and easy to read.
Make your letter brief and to the point. Include all important facts about your purchase, including the date and place where you made the purchase and any information you can give about the product or service such as serial or model numbers or specific type of service.
State exactly what you want done about the problem and how long you are willing to wait to get it resolved. Be reasonable.
Include all documents regarding your problem. Be sure to send COPIES, not originals.
Avoid writing an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. The person reading your letter probably was not responsible for your problem but may be very helpful in resolving it.
Keep a copy of the letter for your records. Source(s): http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0002121.h... sjpadilla1 · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now I would not necessarily worry about tact, but more about getting your point across of what was wrong with the service/food. I'm not saying scream and curse them out, but as I have had to write a complaint letter before to a restaurant, (a rather large chain bar and grill), just make sure you give them all the facts, include your information such as your name, telephone number, email address, and your home address.

When I had to do this, they wrote me back and called me to discuss my problem. They sent me a gift card for their restaurant and corporate was called in (which I know because I was in there to see this) to supervise the restaurant. My husband and I where even spoken to by a member of corporate at the end of our meal to further apologize.

So just keep it to the facts, but let them know you were not happy. ericansammcbi · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now Was the service so bad you are willing to get the server in trouble and jeopardize his job? If not, still write the letter but be general so that the manager can focus on improving all of his servers. If your server was intolerable and you passionately want to ensure he never waits on another person, you can get specific. In either case your letter will be most impressive if you are non-emotional and just state the facts. Also state what you would like to see improved after your site what was wrong. You can buy some really helpful books that help you write letters on anything. They come up with so many of the words for you and you fill in the rest with your experience. Anonymous · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now Just tell them that you had a really bad experience and it was meant to be a special night. The service ruined the whole night. If you had anything good happen you could put that in too so it doesn't seem like you're just a mean nasty person. Some people complain about the littlest things. If they are a reputable place they will give you a gift certificate. Then, when you go back you can let them know that they have improved or not. Witchy Woman · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now I'd open the letter with a history of your past patronage and satisfaction this the restaurant. Let the manager know you have appreciated his establishment in the past, and are a repeat customer. (this assumes you have frequented this place before). If it was your first visit, let the manager know you visited his establishment with high anticipation of a satisfactory meal and excellent service. Restaurants live or die on service and satisfied customers that become return customers.

Then outline the recent visit and the events leading up to your negative reaction to the visit. Be specific, and leave out highly subjective assertions and assumptions. Be as specific as possible on why you were disappointed.

Finally, offer constructive criticism to the manager. Let him know that you have the ability to see wrong from right via suggestions to help prevent problems in the future. john s · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now It may be easier to call and speak with a manager. Either way, just tell the truth. If they have a server that is not good at the job, they will appreciate the info. I would not ask for a refund though, because they may think that's what you're after...if they are a respectable establishment they will offer a refund or a free meal next time. qamberq · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now My husband and I went to your AJUUA restaurant last night. Unfortunately, the service was far below the standards I know your establishment holds. Because the experience was so immediately unpleasant, I felt ill-at-ease in even attempting to discuss the matters with your wait-staff (coincidentally, one of the problems).

Perhaps your staff need to be re-trained on serving courtesies required for interacting with paying guests.

I hope this letter will find its intended mark with your consideration. We will look forward to giving AJUUA another try in the future. ? · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

Submit · just now i've had complaints before about restaurant's food or service but never both-i always tell them which i liked first then say i had a problem the last time i was there-then explain the problem and tell them you'd like to come back but don't know if it's worth the time and trouble if the service will be that bad again-you may even get comped-it's worth a try daves8958 · 1 decade ago 0 Thumbs up 0 Thumbs down Report Abuse Comment Add a comment

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