Eater Boston dishes on Pigalle owner Marc Orfaly's online response to a customer who found herself disgusted with the pumpkin pie he served up on Thanksgiving. It's not pretty.
Embarrassing behavior from both parties. Inexcusable but understandable from an amateur food blogger, just inexcusable from a professional chef and restaurant owner.
I had Pigalle on my list of places I want to try, but it just got pushed down to the bottom of that list.
It was a customer: http://boston.grubstreet.com/2012/11/pigalle-customer-feud.html
The original complaint on Pigalle's Facebook page was from a customer. A food blogger (at something called We Love Beantown) was the one who noticed the exchange and brought it to wider attention. For some reason, that blog post is no longer available (the sudden attention maybe used up its daily allotment of bandwidth?). Meanwhile, Pigalle has deleted its Facebook page in an apparent act of morning-after regret. But the Internet has a long memory: as you can see, Eater Boston got its own screen shots.
I'm not defending the customer's review, but Pigalle's response was unprofessional and, really, uncalled for.
This is why people hire social-media managers. Or lawyers.
At many (i'm extrapolating from my singular service industry experience) smaller restaurants, the general manager and floor managers are the social-media managers because of budget constraints. They manage the twitter feeds, facebook updates, yelp pages etc etc.
A social media manager would have prevented this PR disaster for Pigalle, but so could intelligence on the part of whoever was posting on FB for Pigalle. A simple "Sandy, we're very sorry your meal did not meet up to your expectations, please call xxx-xxx-xxxx and we can discuss how to resolve this issue." would have avoided all this. Pigalle blew it.
Or just don't rage post while drunk!
I'd be afraid to voice a concern to their face if that's how they react on facebook!
make a review, don't post it directly on their facebook page that's mean!
Not smart, but not shocking really. I don't know this chef personally, but I spent many years in the trenches in some of Boston's trendier kitchens. His comments are right about at the level of most (the vast majority) of chefs I've worked with. I used to shake my head at all of the fawning press these chefs would get in the local magazines. A chef would be presented as this seasonal ingredient seeking, wine pairing, cultured sophisticate, when in reality they were boorish drunks who couldn't find France on a map. There are exceptions to the rule, but by and large the elevation of chefs to refined gentlemen was largely a product of the media wanting it to be so. It's still a rough trade and kitchens are particularly rough and rude places.
I used to frequent the bar at Pigalle. Superb drinks and surprisingly cheap bar menu. Due to a move I haven't been back in a while, but attitude like this makes me not want go back at all.
Might be a wise idea to NOT tell your diners to go f*ck themselves when you charge between $21 and $42 per entree. Damn!
Enjoyed a few dinners at Pigalle. Probably not going back.
Keep your boorish, ignorant, painfully low-brow rage to yourself, and no one would know you're a dick, eh?
Confirmed by Grub Street Boston: http://boston.grubstreet.com/2012/11/pigalle-facebook-feud.html
I have sympathy for the restaurant industry; unfair commenters and ignorant Yelpers must be a constant, galling annoyance. But this is flunking Social Media 101, just really bad for business.
I wrote Pigalle off years ago after having a disappointing meal there with my parents and husband. We thought we'd go have the steak frites prix fixe meal for fun, but it was very clear the entire time that our waiter was irritated with us for not spending more - mind you, it's not like we all shared one meal and drank only tap water. Nor are we a particularly uncouth group. Since I received the distinct impression that my business was not wanted, I haven't been back.
So this moron has a thin skin when it comes to his overpriced gruel,eh? Well, sir, I had the displeasure of eating at your establishment once and young Sandy was being kind in her remarks.
From the French onion soup for $17.00 that was cold to the $21.00 burger that tasted like a failed McDonald's experiment, it sucked out loud. My Dad's scallops were like rubber for forty bucks and I had to keep the rents from getting up and walking out half way through the meal. My Dad then uttered the words that have made meals cringe worthy since I was a kid;
"We'd been better off at Jeveli's, fer chrissakes"
The server was nice though.
Orfaly seems to be one of those egotistical "chefs" that looks in the mirror every morning and repeats the same mantra:
"Today I'm Mario Battali. Today I'm Todd English. Today I'm Lydia Shire".
No, Marc. You're an asshole. A BIG asshole. I can't wait for your descent into obscurity. I can't wait until you end up as the house chef at some hotel in Vegas. Off strip.
Usually I would be on the wagon with every one and would claim I would never, ever go to this restaurant ever again. But something about a poster saying that a dish you serve tasted like "vomit" would send me into orbit too. So yeah he shouldn't have mentioned her "fat face," but when you say something that extreme, you have to expect some kind of reaction. I am giving Chef a pass on this.
I thought Isaac Hayes passed,no?
A meal this bad sounds worthy of voicing your complaint at the time, in person, or at the very least a letter/email to management after the fact. Too often, it seems like people will have a bad experience and instead of giving the venue an opportunity to make it right, they just complain to anyone who will listen and bash them on the web after they walk out the door.
In many cases, I think negative comments (especially on social media) can be an opportunity to show that you actually care about your customers.
I'm in the service industry so I often give a pass to places I have a bad meal at, as it can just be chalked up to a bad night. So I was content on having the bad meal, keeping my mouth shut and not going again.
However, once you see the owner calling a woman a bitch because she dared to criticize his assholiness and his establishment I felt that relating my experience was warranted.
On Friday nights, the old man would take us out to eat to give my Mom a night off. If he had a good week in the cab it was Jeveli's or the Red Coach Grill. If it was a bad week it was the McDonalds or Papa Gino's on Squire Road.
Thank you. I couldn't have said it better. It truly is a shame the way he responded. Maybe he'll learn a lesson and become a turn around story. I wish no evil on anyone. I appreciate your support though
Orfaly issues apology.
Hiis grammar and punctuation sucked in his loony FB rants., so I'm guessing someone else wrote the apology for him.
That apology couldn't sound any less like his actual writing style if it was written in Cantonese.
Sandy (or someone pretending to be her) posted to that thread saying everyone had made nice, he offered her a make-up meal, and the two of them are now Facebook friends.
I ate at pig alley once years ago. I thought the food sucked, and the service was shitty, so I never went back. I think given the fact that the waitress laughed at the customer when she expressed dissatisfaction with the crappy food, the customer was justified in taking her complaints to the web. I think more people should do it.