Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Old man complains about 17-minute wait at Manuel's Tavern, brouhaha unfolds

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Manuel's Tavern has caught some flak in recent days after failing to take care of at least one elder patron.

In a lengthy Facebook post yesterday, owner Brian Maloof issued an apology following complaints about staff's substandard service during a shift over the weekend. The drama unfolded on Sunday after Michael Mears sat down at Manuel's - a bar he says he has frequented since the mid-70's - and attempted to order a meal. What followed, as he described in a Facebook post, is a harrowing experience of what he considers ageism at its worst:

I went by Manuel's Tavern to place a take order. I have been going to Manuels since the mid 1970's. I sat at the bar and waited for service. Two women were behind the bar, one white and one black (only for identification purposes) Neither one seem to acknowledge my presence even though there were several empty sets at the bar. The white waitress was in a deep conversation with a woman patron and the other waitress seemed somewhat bored. After sitting there for over 5 minutes I decided to time the service. After ten minutes of not even being acknowledge, the white waitress turned to the customer with whom she had been chatting (apparently that customer was a waitress at another bar and they were telling each other stories about how much they hated waiting on tables. After fifteen minutes, I still had not been acknowledged as a patron (or even human being for that matter.)

[...]

Sadly, however, i concluded that Manuel's Tavern, a bastion of liberalism and host of so many tolerant groups, I had fallen into that class of people that Manuel's tavern no longer recognizes. White men over the age of 60. Sad, I don't think I will ever go back, and that is sad for me, but I am sure that the current management and certainly the two bar tenders could care less.

Maloof responded yesterday morning that was he was "disturbed" by the news and had already started to make "necessary changes" to correct that kind of service at Manuel's Tavern. He added:

More important than the food or the drinks we sell is the service we provide. The best food in the world does not make up for poor service. Manuel's is not a pretty place, it is not fancy or modern. What we have always tried to be is comfortable and friendly. We strive to know our customers their families and friends. What we lack in modern trendiness and fancy foods is supposed to made up with personal service. We failed in a big way with Mr. Mears. There is no excuse for the service Mr. Mears and others wrote about.

The service issue pointed out on FB has been distributed to the staff. A new emphasis on personal service will be the lead topic of our everyday lineup. Mr. Mears complaint and any future complaints will be handled with less forgiveness by me.

You are our customers and we are in the hospitality business and we failed Mr. Mears and others at service. Our main goal is hospitality and we failed. Painful to write but true. I have become very aware of our problems thanks to Mr. Mears and all of you. I certainly do not want it to happen again so the problems pointed out are being addressed and it is my hope you will all notice a positive difference.

Mears' and Maloof's posts were followed by flurry of commenters - many supporting Manuel's and others echoing the "inattentive" waitstaff - but nevertheless it has certainly stirred the pot about the neighborhood's strong feelings toward the iconic Poncey-Highland institution.

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