Saturday, November 10, 2007


So Long Sapristi

FWJoey and I have dined at Sapristi on numerous occasions and have told many of our friends about the restaurant. In a previous post (December 2006), I have explained pros and cons about Sapristi. Even though we have encountered customer service issues on a couple of occasions, we kept going back mainly because of Joey's love for the chicken cordon bleu. Well...even Joey's craving for his favorite Sapristi dish will not be enough to make us go back again thanks to the horrific dining experience we had on our most recent visit.

We were celebrating FWJoey's b-day and had our favorite OKcouple in town for a visit. The four of us arrived at Sapristi and quickly ordered a cheese sampler to start along with sauvignon blanc for the ladies and a couple of beers for the guys. Once we were served our drinks and cheese, our unfriendly server did a disappearing act. Our cheese plate was left sitting on our empty table for 35-45 minutes, our wine glasses were empty and our water glasses needed refilling. In addition to not seeing our waitress for what seemed like a decade, we still had not been served our entrees and we had been there an hour. Nobody came to our table to acknowledge the delay or offer an explanation. After growing impatient and becoming frustrated by our server's lack of attention, OKCJ excused herself from the table and went to speak to the manager about our poor service and our continued wait to be served our entrees.

OKCJ's discussion with the manager accomplished nothing and failed to evoke an ounce of sympathy or apology. While OKCJ spoke to her, the manager looked at her with a blank, seemingly annoyed stare. No words left the manager's mouth. Puzzled by her silence, OKCJ concluded the conversation by stating, "I just thought, as the manager, you would want to know what kind of service we are receiving at your restaurant." The manager responded with a curt, "Thanks." One might expect the manager to visit our table and at least act like she cared about our negative dining experience, but this manager did not. She never came over to acknowledge the situation.

Shortly after OKCJ spoke to the manager, our entrees finally arrived. We were hopeful the dinner would take an upswing from this point on, but we were wrong. Very wrong. My crabcake was cold. Not even warm to the touch. It was so bad, I had to send it back. The other dishes were okay, but even FWJoey's favorite cordon bleu was subpar due to being undercooked. Our disappointment continued. Not that our server would know since she never asked us how our food was.

After we finished our mediocre dinner (and I don't mean finished in that we ate all of our food, but rather we stopped eating - I left half of my crabcake on the plate because it just was not good), the server asked us if we wanted dessert. I quickly said no and requested our ticket. We were ready to get out of there! When the server delivered our check, she muttered something about not charging us for our last two glasses of wine. As we reviewed the ticket, however, she did indeed charge us for one of the last two glasses of wine. At this point, I was fed up. I placed my credit card with the bill and waited for the server to pick it up. We waited....and waited.....and waited. Finally, since our server never came for my credit card, I wrote a check and we left the restaurant feeling awful. Never, in Fort Worth, have I experienced any waitstaff or managerial staff demonstrating such a lack of empathy toward their customers.

This is the first time in my life, I did not leave a tip for the server. Normally, FWJoey and I are generous tippers because we have both worked in the service industry and know what it is like to depend on tips. In this case, however, if there has ever been a time that someone did not deserve a tip, it was this one. I felt guilty about not leaving a tip, but FWJoey reminded me that tips are voluntary and you have to be respectful to earn one, which this server was not. She failed to show any indication that she cared.

Later that night, I received a phone call from the owner of Sapristi. At first, I thought he was calling because he had been told about our negative experience and was calling to rectify the situation. In fact, in his message he began by stating, "I understand there were some problems with your service tonight." I thought, "Wow, this could be going somewhere good...." Boy, was I wrong (although I should not be surprised because I should have known that the cold manager was likely cut from the same fabric as the owner). Back to his message, " I understand there were some problems with your service tonight...but that is not why I am calling. I am calling about your form of payment. We, like most other Fort Worth restaurants, do not accept checks so you need to come back and give us your credit card." What? Are you kidding me? You are not calling to discuss our dining experience, but rather to ask me to come back to your restaurant to pay with a credit card?? Most other restaurants do not accept checks?? Really?? The tone of his message was condescending. I was shocked and insulted.

I did not want to call the restaurant due to my profound frustration, so FWJoey returned the call. The restaurant was closed the next afternoon so FWJoey left a message for the owner asking that he call him back. Think we ever heard from him again? Nope. My check was deposited the first business day after our visit and we are still waiting for Carlos to return FWJoey's call.

Now that, is poor customer service.

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