SDR 
Member since Dec 22, 2009


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Re: “Is the rise of the no reservation policy good or bad for diners?

Except for very casual places, "no reservations" is a deal-breaker. It shows complete disregard for the customer's time. I don't have that much free time to hang around a packed bar waiting for a table. Sorry -- there are just too many excellent options that are much more customer-friendly.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 07/18/2014 at 10:26 AM

Re: “Atlanta's taxi industry declares war on Uber, Lyft

@Rick: Okay, piling on is probably less than helpful, so here are some observations from my POV:

1. Checker is the probably the best of the taxi companies in Atlanta. You have an app, you use phone numbers to provide automated dispatching, and you have the most cabs with CC machines. You should get credit for that, because Atlanta Lenox and the smaller companies are way behind you on this.
2. That being said, the sheer volume of complaints here should tell you that something is wrong, and I am concerned that you don't have easy access to real-time feedback to deal with issues as they arise. How can customers call you -- instead of the city -- when they feel they have been overcharged or were given the "CC machine is broken" line? It's not easy to let you know... and you're the guy who can actually do something about it.
3. Driving a cab is a tough job, I get it. But why should customers have to tolerate rude and unprofessional drivers? As you can see from the comments above, people can and will pay a premium for better and more professional service and, now that they see a better alternative, they are doing so. As an example, I have had all too many episodes of being lectured by "religious" drivers about the sins of homosexuality while being driven home from Midtown. Unacceptable behavior, but what option do I have at 2am? Needless to say, I've never had anything of the sort with Uber. I'd let the cab company know, but see point #2....
4. I'd be wary of the regulatory route... it's been tried in DC, SF, and NYC, and the consumer backlash was very loud. There is definitely a role for taxi service in Atlanta, but you won't thrive by simply putting others out of business.
5. Enforce the dispatch. I live near Peachtree Rd. in South Buckhead (just down the street from you), and even when I use Taxi Magic or your app, I have had several drivers grab a fare along the Preachtree while en route to my house and leave my high and dry... and when I call the dispatcher (and wait 15+ minutes on a weekend to get a live person), he/she has no idea what happened and assumed I was picked up as planned. At that point, I can either wait for another cab (and hope he/she will honor the dispatch) or contact Uber/Lyft... what would any rational person do at that point? yep, after 3-4 times being stood up, you lost me as a customer.
6. This is a tough one... and all of this may not apply to Checker, but in talking with cab drivers, one gets the impression that the owners are making a LOT of money. I hear stories of 10% fees for all CC charges (no wonder drivers don't want to take cards), excessive medallion lease fees (as well as absentee medallion owners in LA who live simply of medallion leases), poor dispatcher service and favoritism, and lack of support when the driver legitimately has to kick out a drunk/dangerous passenger. Perhaps the owners need to accept that their business profits have to come down a bit in order to compete?
7. Feel free to call out the city on this one. I remember when the previous commissioner would jerk around drivers over insurance or fees (this was when the office held checks for months then tossed drivers in jail because payment had 'not been received), and it is well-known that the commission is a safe spot for cushy jobs for friends of the Police Chief or Mayor. No need to go down with the municipal ship on this... the city (and counties) are part of the problem.

FWIW, that's my take... I know it sucks to read such negative feedback, but there may be an opportunity to make some big changes that have been on your mind. Just as I don't want taxi cab companies to have a monopoly in Atlanta, I don't want Uber, et al, to have one either... improve, compete, and make it better for us all.

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 02/03/2014 at 11:23 AM

Re: “Confess your unpopular food opinion

The Optimist is over-rated; Antico Napoletana is good, but the S*&t show they call service ruins it; Holeman and Finch don't have the best burger -- just the best burger drama.

21 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 08/08/2013 at 7:57 PM

Re: “Glutton at Large: Abattoir and Floataway Café

My experiences at Abattoir don't match yours at all. The menu has remained creative, but now with more entree choices. The "lamb three ways," chicharrones, shrimp and grits with curry, and hanger steak are as good as ever. Last Friday evening at 7:30, they had a full house.

My one complaint with all of the Star Provisions restaurants is that they clamp down on OpenTable availability. I have heard the stories of no-shows and (directly from Ms. Quantrano) the irritation at the $1 fee per booking, but more than once have I noticed that OpenTable shows a booked restaurant just to find a half-full dining room. It seems to me that turing away interested diners is hardly good for business...

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 04/17/2013 at 10:41 AM

Re: “2012 Beaujolais Nouveau: Drink it up and drink it fast

I'm with NNN.... never liked the banana peel scent.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by SDR on 11/20/2012 at 5:18 PM

Re: “Quick Bites: New Japanese restaurants in Buckhead, developments in Old Fourth Ward, and more

I hate to nitpick, but Nava is open... ate there Friday night. I'd hate to see people avoid the place because of this article.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 06/24/2012 at 9:49 PM

Re: “A rainy night at the Bone Garden

I haven't been to Bone Garden, but I have to admit that I find long "house rules" documents off-putting. I try hard not to be an idiot, am definitely too old to be a rug-rat, I tip appropriately, but I still get a little turned-off by a written "lecture" from someone who I am paying for a meal... I guess that if the BG folks only refer to it when pretty egregious behavior happens, then that's cool, but if it's indicative of an attitude problem, then I might just accept their invitation to take my money elsewhere.

Am I just being over-sensitive?

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by SDR on 04/04/2012 at 8:59 AM

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