Thursday, 20 October 2011

The plot thickens...

This email popped into my inbox yesterday morning:

Dear Helena
A link to your blog was kindly sent to me by a customer of ours enabling us to read what you have written about the restaurant.
 
I find it genuinely upsetting that you felt the need to slate the restaurant on your blog, rather than contact me directly so that I may look into this and address the points you raise over your latest visit. I see on your blog you have had enjoyable visits to us before (for your reference the caul fat around dumplings or faggots dissolves when cooked and is merely used to hold the dish together when cooking, so I think you may have had some bad faggots in the past, if that was still intact when eating!).
 
I understand that you were booked under the name of xxxxxx? At 5.30 you should have been offered the pre theatre menu and the dinner menu as we are indeed serving dinner at that time of day. We are open all day from noon so the receptionist was 100% on duty, and I can only apologise for the fact she did not make eye contact with you upon arrival whilst dealing with another customer on the phone. The table you point out in your blog does indeed seat 8 people and it was booked for 6.30pm. Therefore we could not offer you this table as you would have had less than an hour to enjoy your meal which I am sure you will agree is not sufficient time. I  can confirm that the table did not show up for their booking, but sadly we did not know that at the time and had no way of knowing either as they had confirmed that morning.
 
It is a shame that your whole blog focuses on a table allocation rather than the one sentence where you mention the food was cooked perfectly. And of  course so disappointing that I read this online before being given a chance to investigate the situation.
 
You state on your blog that you have not yet heard from anyone at HIX. As you did not contact us directly, there was no way I would have known about this if our HIX customer had not kindly sent the link to me direct to read.
 
Regards

xxxxxxx     

I'm struggling to find the words to reply to this email. I guess I could point out that the tone of the communication is quite aggressive and that this completely tallies with the reception we had at the restaurant.

Or I could say that the blog was a result of how the evening appeared to me the next day, and that unfortunately due to the lack of service the food didn't play as big a role in my mind as it should have done.

Or that as a private blogger - just like any food and restaurant critic - I am not in the habit of contacting any establishment before I write a post about them. Besides, I would have thought that any business with a brand would set up a Google Alert or similar to monitor their brand awareness.

Finally I might say that my aim was certainly not to 'slate' the restaurant. I merely expressed my opinion as a normal restaurant goer about the experience at this Soho restaurant.

But, you know what, just like they couldn't be bothered to greet us when we arrived or make any amends about moving us about, I don't think I can be bothered to reply to their email.

19 comments:

KarenG said...

I wouldn't reply to it either. It seems argumentative and contentious and why waste your time getting into an email drama with these people?

The Return of the Native ... sort of. said...

You are lucky Helena that your food was good at Hix. We recently ate at Hix in Lyme Regis - it was okay but not okay for the price, our order was wrong and I'm sure if they had offered us a free coffee at the end, six people would have been a lot happier ...

Anonymous said...

The Hix people do seem to have added insult to injury with their email. I agree that their tone is rather aggressive but,as you say, in keeping with the experience you had in the restaurant. I am not sure what they hoped to achieve with their attitude towards you but it doesn't make me want to rush out and book a table.

Helena Halme said...

It's all very disappointing,but hey, there are hundreds (thousands?) of other restaurants in London!

Helena xx

Markus Frise said...

What an unpleasant reply. Sounds like you touched a nerve. Do you think it was the man himself?!

Anonymous said...

You are right do not reply. It is a very strange letter, why would you contact them? makes no sense at all. It is not that you bought a jumper that you want to exchange. Thanks to internet consumers in all fields have much more power, it is not always a good thing, but it is freedom of speech, which is important.
Keep posting your very personal reviews and opinions about the things you do.
Erika

Helena Halme said...

Markus, this kind of attitude must come from the top, so you never know!

Erika, How right you are, why would I want to contact them?

Thank you all for your lovely and supportive comments!

Helena XX

metscan said...

Hi, first time over here ( via TNMA ), got curious because of your name, and then realized, that you are a Finn.
I read the post about your visit to the restaurant, and then this reply from the restaurant.
Seems to me, that this all is something we Finns might refer to, as: Turhaa hälyä tyhjästä.
What I mean, is, that you did not raise an opera at the restaurant, but the restaurant did ( later ).
I understand you being annoyed by the reception, you received on arrival. Perhaps you could have just turned right out?
And yes, there must be hundreds of restaurants over there to choose from ; )!

James said...

Sorry, are you mad? The email is perfectly reasonable and polite. I don't agree that you ought to have contacted them, and you have every right to blog how you want, but this seems totally barking and extraordinarily solipsistic. Get over yourself.

Baglady said...

I thought their email was quite friendly and polite. Am I the only person to read it this way?

Anonymous said...

Seems like a reasonable email to me, I don't see any aggression.

Simone said...

I think their email is extremely rude & has done them no favours whatsoever - you absolutely did not need to contact them when writing your review. if they wanted to apologise or explain their bad service in their email,then they should have done that.

Funnily enough I walked past their restaurant at the weekend.....as you say, there are many other restaurants in that area and I wouldn't dream of visiting them now.

Simone said...

I think their email is extremely rude & has done them no favours whatsoever - you absolutely did not need to contact them when writing your review. if they wanted to apologise or explain their bad service in their email,then they should have done that.

Funnily enough I walked past their restaurant at the weekend.....as you say, there are many other restaurants in that area and I wouldn't dream of visiting them now.

Anonymous said...

This seems like a reasonable email to me in response to an unpleasant blog/review. Why didn't you have the guts to ask to see the manager when you were in the restaurant if the experience of not being greeted obsequiously enough so offended you? Then the restaurant could have made amends, rather than being slagged off later. Of course you can blog as you wish, but surely you should take care not to endanger the jobs of real people in the real world, such as the wretched maitre d'.

Anonymous said...

Aahh, seem like the staff has found the blog!

Hoping for an eye contact and maybe even a smile when a group of customers walk in does not really count as asking to be greeted obsequiously...

Anonymous said...

No doubt about it; the email is rude and shows an attitude you certainly do not expect from an upmarket restaurant where you pay a high price for your meal... They need some PR and Marketing training as reading their email has resulted in at least one potential diner (me) never even considering going to their restaurant.

I am a fellow Finn in London Helena! Nice to come across your blog! :-)

Helena Halme said...

Welcome to my blog my fellow Finn!

Helena xx

Mörkö Väyrynen said...

Coudn't find anything reasonable or polite from that post, but other hand maybe nordic people have used to different level in those two... In Finland, if restaurant would send someone similar post, it could start scandal, if that post would come to public...

Yen said...

How rude - after giving you bad service - they proceed, unprompted by you, to send you an email to tell you off for blogging about your experience. I've never been to Hix, and after your experience, I never will.