I am writing this the evening following Mother’s Day, which as you know is a big day the restaurant business. After Saturday night we put the key in the door at 1:15 am Sunday morning and went home having run around serving each and every one of the guests that packed the restaurant for the night of dinner service, live music in the lounge, and two large birthday parties that filled our private dining room and the lounge after that. Then got up at 10am and came back to serve 180 people lunch and early dinner all day Sunday. Through the day we hustled around and kept smiling, the vast majority of our guests are amazingly nice and happy, but there are also the people that snap at you for offering a dessert menu, that think Medium means their steak should have no pink in the middle, and who are just honestly not that happy in life regardless of what we as restaurant service staff members do. That’s ok, we know about all that, and we smile and say ok. Just take the dessert menu away, cook the steak to medium well, and keep going.
Thats not what makes this business hard. This is:
After all of this a party of five, which was one of the last remaining tables, left. Just as I sat down with my mother who came to spend it with me during the last seating. A matter of minutes later I saw a female from the party come back and look around the table, so I got up and walked over to her to see what she lost. Her iPhone was missing. We scoured around the table, the women’s rooms, the hutch, the hostess stand etc… then she left me her number and left.
After that I talked to the entire staff and had two of the bussers and support staff dump out the top three linen bags in the bin out back and search through them as I kept calling her phone over and over. No Luck. As I sat back down with my mother, the lady walked back in with her husband and wanted to look through the linen themselves, so their server went out back with them and looked again. Again No Luck. Now there were some insinuations that someone on the staff might have taken it, and though they were polite it was kind of out of line after we had gone as far as we could to search for it, and accommodated their request to search through dirty linen bags (in 20 years that was a first).
So as a staff we sat around, a group of people who have worked together for years, had an after shift glass of wine and moved on. As usual. Again they were polite, but someone accusing you or your staff of stealing if done politely isn’t something you want after waiting on peoples every wish for 18 of the last 24 hours.
Then today I got this:
After enjoying my sister’s birthday party at Evenfall on Saturday night, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day dinner with my family at Evenfall yesterday afternoon (it was a particularly special day for my wife, as we are expecting our first child in October). Unfortunately, my wife left her iPhone behind on top of the table when we left – and when she returned to the restaurant fifteen minutes later, the phone was gone. I truly appreciate the help that some of your staff provided in helping us to look for the missing phone. In particular, I believe the hostess and one of the bus boys helped us to search through a bag of soiled linens (for the second time, since they had already gone through it themselves). Thank you also for the concern that you expressed to us personally, we both appreciated it.
Jen (my wife), my sister Erin, and both of my parents truly enjoy Evenfall and have dined there more times then we can count (as of yesterday, three of us came twice within 24 hours!) We have recommended you to many, many people, and all of us have brought friends, my in-laws, etc. Unfailingly, people we have brought or recommended to Evenfall have returned after their first visit. All in all, we are all truly happy for you and for Evenfall’s continuing success. Your restaurant is a great thing for Haverhill.
Unfortunately, I am writing to tell you that after reviewing – with all five members of our party – everything that happened (down to the most minute detail), the only conclusion that we could all arrive at is that one of your employees took the phone. It is not a fact, but given all the circumstances, we all believe it is the most probable explanation. In the ordinary course of daily events, on a quiet Sunday afternoon at a very nice restaurant, a bright, turquoise-colored object the size of an iPhone, which was sitting in plain view atop a table in a dining room of mostly seated patrons, could not have been swept up and discarded unseen — particularly not in the space of fifteen minutes.
Although we were able to contact the phone and it continued to ring while we searched for it at the restaurant, a few moments after we left (and after your remaining employees presumably left), the phone was turned off and stopped ringing. Again, none of us believes that a fully-charged, water resistant phone turned itself off in that coincidental span of time. It is certainly possible that another patron took the phone, however it seems unlikely that they would have left the phone on for such a long time if that had happened. The first people who would have spotted the phone sitting on the table after we left were likely employees who cleared everything away. Also, to be clear, there is no other place the phone could be — we left it sitting on the table (three of us remembered seeing it there just before leaving), we walked out to our car, drove 7 minutes away to my sister’s house, and returned in the same amount of time after realizing that the phone was missing. In almost any other similar circumstance in life, I am sure that you would agree you would have expected – as we did – that the hostess would have had the phone to return to us or that it would still be sitting on the table where we left it.
It certainly is not your fault; indeed, it was our own fault for forgetting it on the table. I am writing to express our disappointment in what happened. Just as you said to us yesterday that you were disappointed something like that could happen at Evenfall, so are we. For better or worse, Jen and I are of fairly limited financial means at this time, so the loss of the phone is a huge hit to us – replacing it does not only cost the $200 to buy a new one (that price is subsidized by AT&T), but $500.
Equally importantly, I cannot apologize to you enough if we are wrong and the phone was truly misplaced through no fault other than our own. Unfortunately, it seems safe to say 24 hours later that we will never know.
Thank you again for your hospitality and best wishes,
So what do you do? Again the polite insinuation that one of our employees stole the phone his wife left behind. I know for sure that they did not, and I really don’t want them to be telling people that their phone was stolen by one of us either.
What would you do?