Coupage Restaurant – Worst customer service experience ever

I alluded to it previously blogging about my 30th birthday, but recent events brought this to the forefront of my mind again.  I was so upset about the events that transpired on my birthday that I decided to write a review on Yelp:

I had dinner at Coupage last Saturday for my 30th birthday and was looking forward to finally eating here given all the great things I’ve heard and read about the place.  I had a reservation for 14 people.

The food was quite good and everyone enjoyed it. The restaurant was a bit on the small side and the tables were a bit close together for my liking.  I think the proximity of tables is great if you have a party of 4 or less, since the conversation will naturally be quieter. However with a party as large as ours, or actually any party greater than 8, it might get uncomfortable given how close the other tables might be.  I couldn’t help but feel that everyone in the restaurant could hear every word of every conversation.

Following the meal, we asked for the bill from our server which included an 18% gratuity.. He was an absolute dream all night and very courteous.  However, when it came to the bill, we were told they could not take more than 2 credit cards.  Given our party size, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone except 2 people to have that much cash in hand, or us to piggyback tabs on top of only 2 credit cards.  We kindly asked our server to take more cards at which point he went to talk to the owner. He then got "permission" to take up to 6 cards, which was still very hard for us to do.  We tried to be as flexible as possible, and got it down to 7 cards which in itself is an amazing feat for 14 people to do considering there was only 1 couple at the table that could join tabs.

We asked them to take the 7th card, and were given a complete hassle.  One of the members of our party asked to speak to the manager, and kindly talked to him about how we were disappointed they wouldn’t take the 7th credit card given the party size, the bill total and the obligatory 18% gratuity that was tacked onto the bill.  The owner first tried to explain that the credit card fees are too expensive for him, and when challenged on that point, the conversation degenerated to what was effectively name calling where the owner declared that he "runs the 3 top restaurants in Seattle and we should be thankful for our experience".

I always write very balanced reviews and would normally be understanding when I have a negative experience. However, in this case, I’m not at all writing about the credit card limit or their inability to take more than 2 (or 6) credit cards.  Instead, I’m reviewing the owner’s extremely poor attitude towards his customers.  The specific conversation we had indicates something more fundamentally wrong with his customer service and his perceived right to verbally abuse his customers.

Not only did this ruin our evening, but it will ensure that we will never eat at Coupage ever again nor any of his other restaurants.

After posting this review on Yelp on June 30th, I’ve received 6 messages from other Yelpers in the Seattle area (3 of which are in the Yelp Elite group) praising me for the review and iterating how bad their past experiences have been at the restaurant.

What makes me re-write this in my blog you ask?  Well today I got a message from another Yelper named “Joseph S” (who just joined Yelp this week) who is brand spanking new and berades me with this gem of a message.  I’m quoting his message word for word so forgive the poor grammar and spelling mistakes:

give me a break dude when a paryty of 14 has dinner in a restaurant it is completley rude and disrespectful to assume you can split a bill 14 ways which is what your party attempted to do!    Try going to any fine dinning restaurant anywhere in the world and ask to split a bill 14 ways or even 6!  The manager, matre d, server, kitchen staff as well as other diners will be laughing at you.  It is unfortunate that the complete lack of respect your party has for the restaurant industry fueled an umpleasent experience on your birthday……You should repremand your friends not our establisment or better yet try going to Canlis or Crush with a group of 14 people and ask to split a bill any other way than one or two cards and see what kind of response you get.

It should have been crystal clear to anyone that read my review in entirety that I didn’t write the negative review based on their inability to take more credit cards than we wanted them to.  I was writing about the verbal abuse and poor customer service.  Seems that the newly joined Joseph S didn’t read it, but also seems to imply he works at the restaurant.

What’s ironic is that not only have I been to both Crush and Canlis, but have had some of the best dining experiences there.  They not only took more than 6 credit cards on several occasions with large parties I’ve been with, but their attention to customer service (and satisfaction) is something that the owner of Coupage should learn from.

If this other Yelper really does work at Coupage, it really chaffs my butt to receive a message like this from someone that represents their restaurant. If he does, it definitely is helping to continue their tradition of poor customer service. 

I’ve asked the mysterious Joseph S whether he does indeed work at Coupage, so we’ll see where this goes from here.  In the meantime, I encourage any of you that are Yelp users to mark my review as “useful” 🙂