Woman Kicked Out Of A Restaurant For Complaining About Bartender On Twitter

from the customer-disservice dept

As a few different folks have submitted, a woman in Houston was apparently ejected from a bar/restaurant after the general manager saw her complain about something the bartender had done. The woman, Allison Matsu, had apparently gone to Down House, and overheard the bartender talking to two other employees and making fun of another restaurant owner/bartender. She didn't think that was appropriate and used Twitter to call the bartender "a twerp." Apparently, after that, she actually had a good conversation with him, but about thirty minutes later, the General Manager of Down House (who was not there that night) called the restaurant and asked to speak with her. Apparently, he had read the tweet and called to kick Allison out of the restaurant. There's a bit of a dispute over the nature of the phone call, but both agree that the end result was that she was told to leave because of the tweet.

Obviously, a restaurant/bar has the right to refuse service to anyone. But it really makes you wonder what Down House general manager Forrest DeSpain was thinking. It clearly marks Down House as a place where any sort of criticism is not at all welcome. That's not going to attract a lot of customers. Sure, it sucks to have someone say something (very slightly) mean about an employee, but why not just try to understand it, or respond defending the guy without kicking the woman out of the establishment entirely.

Honestly, the part that struck me as most interesting in the article was another restaurant owner explaining how he used Twitter in a much smarter way (and almost entirely the opposite of the way DeSpain used it): to invite people who had bad experiences at other restaurants to his place instead:
"However you feel about Twitter, it makes a big difference," says Kevin Strickland, owner of Ziggy's Bar & Grill and an avid Twitter user, who runs the account for both of his restaurant's locations. "I depend on it. It allows me to have a dialogue with my customers, and they'll usually get a response from me."

Strickland emphasizes that Twitter should not be used by restaurateurs eager to take a crack back at unruly diners. "I've done the opposite," he points out, referring to times when he's seen patrons Tweet about a bad meal elsewhere, and inviting them in to have a better meal at Ziggy's on him.
Which approach seems better for business?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Andy (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 4:03am

    Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    In another account of this incident the following additional information was included:

    "Down House's owner Chris Cusack defended the manager's actions and told KPRC Houston it was not out of line to kick Ms Matsu out.

    "Any business is allowed to set the tone of their establishment. If you go to someone's house and start calling them names, I wouldn't really expect to stay too much longer after that," Mr Cusack said."

    So setting the tone of the establishment includes kicking out paying customers but apparently not ensuring the establishment's own staff adhere to these standards against name-calling, if the customer's original reason her tweet is to be believed. Nice double standard!

    That other account I saw also included this gem from the person who was allegedly the subject of the bartender's original comments:

    "Mr Heugel, the person at the centre of the Twitter-storm, even weighed in on the incident. "Social media can be a fickle bitch or your best friend," he tweeted. "Some of ya'll need to chill.""

    So true!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 4:14am

    Who cares?

     

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  3.  
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    grumpy (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 4:16am

    Which approach seems better for business?

    I know, please sir, take me!

    The one that allows the business owner to feel superior and lets the staff continue behaving unprofessionally while alienating the paying customers.

    No? Bugger that, next you're gonna say that them {RI|MP}AA guys are wrong too I bet.

     

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  4.  
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    abc gum, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 4:47am

    Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    Ohhh - this occurred in Texas, that explains a lot

     

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  5.  
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    Chris Moline, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:12am

    twitter and customer service

    I agree with Ziggy's use of Twitter. In fact, in the last two weeks both Hilton and Dunkin Donuts have responded proactively to my online kvetching.
    I was pleased with the outcome in both cases.

     

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  6.  
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    FredZilch, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    Restaurant tweet.

    WTF! You call this news?

     

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  7.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    Re: Restaurant tweet.

    No, he calls this his opinion on something he read somewhere that involves the use of and reaction to Twitter.

    Want news? Go to a news site, not a blog.

     

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  8.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    Not on Twitter, but...

    It seems that businesses are getting more and more publicity for exercising their opinions... take this one for example:
    http://instinctmagazine.com/blog/nj-bridal-shop-refuses-to-sell-wedding-dress-to-woman-bec ause-same-sex-marriage-is-wrong?directory=100011

    Absolutely horrible, in my opinion. However, these businesses are just making their beds in the way that best suits them. They will, of course, have to sleep in that bed, so it's all on them.

    Personally, I agree that these two businesses are being foolish and closed minded (and really, really HORRIBLE in the story I linked), but it's their choice. As a result of that choice, I would choose to not do business with them if they were in my area. That’s the price they pay for ‘being right’.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:40am

    Re: Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    you're an idiot

     

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  10.  
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    LizG, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:41am

    Re: Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    You're a fucking idiot. Signed, Liz

     

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  11.  
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    Jimr (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 6:18am

    Where is this Ziggy's Bar & Grill? Sounds like they actually care about the customer and make an effort to make the customer happy.

    Personally I am always impressed when a business hears about a bad experience and expresses a genuine interest in doing what they can to resolve it. For me that is the type of place I would rather spend my money at, even if it cost a bit more.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    Would the manager had kicked her out if she complained to to him directly?

     

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  13.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    I don't know...

    I read somewhere else that one owner of an establishment went so far as to be rude to patrons so that they would negatively review him because, as he put it, even negative reviews got him more traffic and they were easier to get than positive ones.

    Back Asswards, but hey, I guess if it works someone will use it.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 6:52am

    shouldn't the manager have been there instead of home on their computer?

     

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  15.  
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    Eric, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    I was banned for blogging

    Long story short ... In April 2011 my local BW3's had the jukebox on rather than the game sound despite the majority of the crowd wearing Pittsburgh Penguins gear and watching a game that mattered. So I blog about it them not being sports bar, despite their claims of wings, beer, sports, and the manager tells me I'm not welcome back in any of the four local BW3's owned by their group until I take the blog down. http://tinyurl.com/455m4ht and it's still up.

     

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  16.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re: Restaurant tweet.

    Hugh: Call yourself a school?

    Stephen: I don't actually call myself a school, no.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Semi related note

    Not entirely related, but dealing with social media and a bar. A girl was caught here in Tyler, TX (Where's Rufus is the bar's name) stealing tips out of the tip jar last weekend. They got it on the security cameras. They ripped the security footage and put it up on Facebook with a warning to would-be thieves. I bet theft at that place drops dramatically over the coming months.

     

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  18.  
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    Pixelation, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    "Which approach seems better for business? " Not sure. Inviting people to your business simply because they complained may not be the right answer either. Some people love to complain and you may wish you had not invited them in.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    who cares..

    wah wah i got kicked out of a bar for tweeting stupid crap big deal.. if you bad mouth people they don't exactly want you in their bar.

     

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  20.  
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    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Semi related note

    WTF?

    Why is the tip jar anywhere near where customers can access it?

    Around here when you leave a tip in a bar you leave it ON the bar and the barkeep collects it and puts it in the tip-jar. Also you don't F*ck with other people tip money.

     

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  21.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: Not on Twitter, but...

    Personally, I agree that these two businesses are being foolish and closed minded (and really, really HORRIBLE in the story I linked), but it's their choice. As a result of that choice, I would choose to not do business with them if they were in my area. That’s the price they pay for ‘being right’.

    The problem I have with this whole business is that these same people who are making these choices are the ones who sue folks for defamation when it is reported in reviews of the company. They want to make their bed, but they don't want to sleep in it. I would make the same choice as you, if I knew, but if they threaten you about telling it to everyone and we don't hear, then bad business practices are allowed to continue.

    Then again, I am a little more direct...I see this posting to twitter as a cowardly approach, and if I heard a bartender saying something I didn't like, I would tell him. Then again, I let a lot of stuff slide too, and maybe he was just having a bad day...but if I heard it a couple times I'd let him know I didn't think it was appropriate.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:35am

    I don't want to print the Houston Post article...

    So you should probably take the "print=true" out of the URL on the link.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Semi related note

    It was sitting on the bar where customers could drop money directly in. The fucked up portion of this is that the girl that did it was a waitress at another area business. Someone who works for tips.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    The "tone of the establishment"? She actually PRESREVED the tone by complaining on Twitter and not in person, where the other current patrons might have overheard.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Who cares indeed

    The restaurant has every right to eject her, who cares?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 9:16am

    The Customer is Always...

    With 30 something years running hospitality businesses, I can state with certainty that the industry says that "The Customer is Always Right".

    Being practical, in our operations we went with “The Customer is NOT always right, but they are NEVER going to hear it from us”!

    Any hospitality manager (or employee) acting in such a maner as in the article, and a few examples in the comments, are not practicing hospitality.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    There is the possiblity that the "tone of the establishment" was being followed by the bartender. In that case the patron destroyed the tone by not complaining in person.

     

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  28.  
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    CJ, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Right to Refuse Service

    Actually restaurants in the United States do not have the right to refuse service to anyone. See Title II of the Civil Rights act of 1964.

    I only comment because it's about the third time in the past couple weeks that someone has said that and it's kind of irritating because it's not true.

     

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  29.  
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    vilain (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Social Media does make a difference

    A chain lamp store sold my 85yo mom a lamp that broke 4 months later. When she called them to get a replacement, she was told over the phone that they didn't do repairs and she'd need a reciept to exchange it. She'd thrown that out along with the box it came in so she was out $50. I called to clarify and got the same sales person and talked to the store manager who reiterated the store's policy. I made a point of offering 'service' vs. a product and that I got 'service' from the family owned lamp store down the street who know me and my mom but the manager wouldn't budge. I put all this on Yelp and a corporate communications type from the store's main office sent email to assure me that the incident was being used as a teaching moment for the store's staff even though we'd already purchased a replacement from the local store.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: Right to Refuse Service

    They absolutely have the right to refuse service to ANYONE. The civil Rights act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. A restaurant owner can still refuse to serve an African American Jewish Irish man for any reason he wants provided it is NOT based on race, color, religion or national origin.

     

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  31.  
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    Borders Design (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Using Social Media In Business

    Could this be a reverse Streisand effect, in that the event starts with major publicity of the situation, but then the small business loses customers & trade, as people decide not to frequent their establishments; the business slumps into obscurity. This is directly as a result of their customer relations, or lack thereof. Micro management gone badly wrong.

     

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  32.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    Bitter about something, are you?

     

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  33.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    They may have to change their name soon.....

    ....to "The Down and Outhouse". This kind of dump is a joint that I would now never, ever visit, and I think a few well-placed reviews on venues such as Yelp and Urbanspoon might go a long way to eliminating this kind of idiocy.

     

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  34.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Right to Refuse Service

    Yeah, I'm sure you can dream up a lot of pretexts to deny service to those you deem unacceptable largely due to their ethnicity. Of course, in court, any first year law school grad would skin you alive and run your hide up the courthouse flagpole. So go ahead and try it. Do you feel lucky?

     

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  35.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Who cares indeed

    And everyone else has every right to not patronize a dump like this where douchebaggery on the part of management is considered acceptable. Of course, you'd fit right in there, Zippy.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Tip for running a business, don't actively drive your customers away

    How do business owners who act like this manage to make their businesses successful in the first place?

    Imagine if he'd instead called and asked her to explain her issue and if there was anything he could do to fix it. Instead of losing a customer he'd probably have made a new friend and repeat customer and gotten some free advertisement when she tweeted about what a great guy he was.

     

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  37.  
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    Sunny, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    kicking a patron out of restaurant

    Give me a break. Being thrown out for the tweets? Hey what ever happened to the customer is always right....even if they are wrong. Customer service has be thrown a curve ball and a bad one at that.

     

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  38.  
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    abc gum, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Add some hypocrisy to the mix

    Heh - too easy

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    That manager must be Japanese LoL
    He should put a "Analogue people only"

    Website showing "Japanese only" establishments in Japan(even though it is against the law)
    http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Who cares indeed

    Clearly you care enough to have read the blog post and comment.

    Moron.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:01pm

    read the post for a little insight

    ""and overheard the bartender talking to two other employees and making fun of another restaurant owner/bartender. ""

    so she was eavesdropping on a conversation the bartender was having with two other employees, not customers, employees, and rather than complain to the manager, that she has no manners and listens to other peoples private conversations, what did she do?? goes public with someones conversation, she got what she should have gotten, tossed out

    the customer is always right, bullshit, that is a fallacy of service, that has led customers to be the worst dickheads in the world and still expect you to treat them like gods

    she handled the situation just like a child, running and screaming to everyone, if it bothered her so much, she should have said something to the bartender or the manager

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:01pm

    read the post for a little insight

    ""and overheard the bartender talking to two other employees and making fun of another restaurant owner/bartender. ""

    so she was eavesdropping on a conversation the bartender was having with two other employees, not customers, employees, and rather than complain to the manager, that she has no manners and listens to other peoples private conversations, what did she do?? goes public with someones conversation, she got what she should have gotten, tossed out

    the customer is always right, bullshit, that is a fallacy of service, that has led customers to be the worst dickheads in the world and still expect you to treat them like gods

    she handled the situation just like a child, running and screaming to everyone, if it bothered her so much, she should have said something to the bartender or the manager

     

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  43.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 9:31pm

    Huh?

    How did they know who she was?

    I mean, if I went to a restaurant right now and tweeted some mean things about the staff, how would they know I did it as opposed to the person at the table next to me or the one across the room?

     

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  44.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Right to Refuse Service

    > Yeah, I'm sure you can dream up a lot of pretexts to deny
    > service to those you deem unacceptable largely due to their
    > ethnicity. Of course, in court, any first year law school grad
    > would skin you alive and run your hide up the courthouse
    > flagpole. So go ahead and try it. Do you feel lucky?

    Wow, that's a whole lot of bullshit wrapped up in a shiny package of macho nonsense.

    Fact is, whites, blacks, hispanics, men, women, Jews, Muslims, Christians, handicapped, whatever, get kicked out of private businesses every day and no one gets skinned alive for it or run up a flagpole unless the booting was done based on the person's 'immutable characteristics'. If they're just being a jerk, out they go. No muss, no fuss.

     

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  45.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 20th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    And in other creepy Twitter monitoring news...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    erewhon, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    well-known houston tramp...

    Allison Matsu is a coke addict and nothing more than a drunk.

    Plus it is well known among those in the high end fashion retail scene in Houston that she stole over $10,000 from Barney's & was fired for doing so... so who would give this little child any credibility?

    She's still living off of her dad, surgeon Dr. Eddie T. Matsu of Foundation Surgical in Houston; and was fired from Riazul Tequila for her constant flaky behavior & THEFT of product, not to mention abusing the company's credit card. She cost the poor owner of that company much grief thanks to many of her late nights blowing coke and getting wasted at every Houston bar (this is not her first time being asked not to come back to certain Houston establishments due to her behavior).

    This spoiled #twerp has ruined many businesses and made several struggling business owners suffer for her immaturity. I can't believe people would defend her or WORSE honor her with an award as the Houston Press did... for what?!
    Being a drunk...? What a joke of a publication.

    What is this world coming to!

    I'd say leave her a message and tell her what you think personally:
    Allison Margaret Matsu
    (832) 465-5335

    or maybe pay her a visit:

    4307 W. ALABAMA ST. APT #1
    Houston TX 77027-4935

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Mike, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 5:22pm

    Just some wannabe gal craving attention

    This Allison girl is some overweight wannabe food critic. She just wants free meals and when she is in a bad mood, will criticize the food. Hope she gets kicked out of more restaurants.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Annoyed, Mar 17th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    Terrible Sports Bar Manager

    I hadn't made a scene. I didn't disrupt his business or his other customers' meals. I complained twice to the waitress about late food and wrote my comments on the back of the receipt. Worst service and first time I've been kicked out for letting a sports bar know how bad their service was. I couldn't believe I was getting kicked out for turning my receipt into a comment card. I will not be going back to Primetime's in Fairfax, va.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    agence webmarketing, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    Au passage, très bien votre blog :) Je vous remercie une fois de plus. Continuez !

    référencement site web gratuit http://referencersitegoogle.wordpress.com référencement gratuit

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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