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Food & Drink

Manchester restaurateur Gary Usher responds perfectly to negative TripAdvisor reviewer

‘For goodness sake Robert. I’m supposed to be in TwitAdvisor retirement so let’s not waste any time.’

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Natural Selection Design & Sticky Walnut / Facebook & TripAdvisor

Manchester chef and restaurateur Gary Usher wrote a scathing reply to a negative reviewer on TripAdvisor.

Usher – who owns Elite Bistros which operates a number of restaurants across the North West such as the city centre’s Kala, Didsbury’s Hispi and Liverpool’s Wreckfish – replied to the review, which was written by a disgruntled diner from his Chester establishment, Sticky Walnut last month.

The review, which described the experience as ‘Excellent food let down by Ryanair style management,’ read: “The good news is that the food here is very, very tasty and deserves a high rating. The bad news is that the restaurant management doesn’t give a toss about customer experience.

“I ate here on July 9th, had a complaint that was dealt with badly enough by the manager that I wrote to the owner. A restaurant that aspires to offer fine dining experience but has lost the ability to empathise with customers and ignores them when they complain? That really is a shame.”

@phil4104 / TripAdvisor

Well, this scathing review didn’t sit too well with Usher, who wasted no time in replying and pointing out a few information errors. 

Clearly not in the mood for whining customers, Usher wrote: “For goodness sake Robert. I’m supposed to be in TwitAdvisor retirement so let’s not waste any time. After all, you’ve waited 11 years since joining Twitadvisor to write your first review. Rob you reserved a table on a Friday evening and agreed to a 1 hour 45 minute time slot. A standard practice, particularly on busy periods, that guests and restaurants worldwide agree to.

“After your dessert course the Manager, who you said ‘doesn’t give a toss’, gently reminded you that we would need the table back shortly. You ignored the Manager and proceeded to order another round of drinks. Perhaps if your party had arrived on time for your reservation this could have been avoided.”

Usher went on to detail that when the manager ‘politely’ informed him that the table needed to be cleared, the customer got out of his seat and ‘towered over the manager’ before pointing a finger in his face.

“The Manager’s response was ‘Sir, please can you stop pointing in my face.’ You proceeded to tell the Manager that they didn’t deserve to be a Manager and weren’t qualified to be in the position. Your Mother then joined in by adding to the vitriol being directed towards the Manager.

“That’s when both you and your Mother showed your true colours with the classic ‘We’ve both worked in restaurants so we know how it works. We should be getting these drinks for free.’

“You, Rob, then threatened the Manager by telling them that you would be contacting the owner because you know him and that Gary (me) would be appalled to know how you, ‘my friend,’ had been treated. The Manager politely pleaded with your whole table to just listen whilst they explained. No one did.”

And, in a shock twist of events, it turns out that the customer wasn’t actually friends with Usher after all – in fact, he doesn’t even know him.

Natural Selection Design

“In a strange turn of events you emailed me, your ‘friend’, at Sticky Walnut’s email address. You must have lost my number Rob! Not surprisingly, to either me or the Manager, you and I don’t know each other Rob. Every few months in a restaurant a rude guest will use the ‘I know the owner!’ line to try and intimidate team members and bully them into thinking that they will get into trouble because they didn’t look after the owner’s ‘friends’ well enough.

“I did read your email. I did ‘give a toss,’ but not about you Rob, but about the way you treated the team. So instead of replying to you we chose to block your number, and your Mum’s, and put a note on our booking system to not accept any future bookings from you.

“With regards to the Manager who ‘doesn’t give a toss’ they have managed Sticky Walnut for the last 8 years. Coincidentally the same length of time that Sticky Walnut has achieved a top 100 position in the National Restaurant Awards in the UK. I think that makes them both extremely deserving to be the Manager and absolutely qualified to hold that position.

“Regards. Not your mate. Gary.”

That customer won’t be venting on TripAdvisor in a hurry, will he? 

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Food & Drink

Manchester restaurant serving ‘world’s hottest curry’ to anyone brave enough

It has been described as ‘like eating molten lava!’

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Zouk

A Manchester eatery is daring customers to try its extremely hot curry for National Chilli Day.

This February 22nd, Zouk is creating the World’s Hottest Curry as part of the restaurant’s celebration of National Chilli Day – where courageous participants will have to eat a whole portion of it within the allocated time frame to win a prize.

The dish will feature the World’s Hottest Chilli (according to the Guinness Book of Records), the star of the show, The Carolina Reaper.

The Carolina Reaper Karahi curry – available in chicken (£15.95) and vegetable (£14.95) options – will be available Monday, February 19th to Friday 23rd as a special.

Zouk

Zouk has also created the world’s hottest kebab, the Reaper Seekh Kebab (£7.95), also made with Carolina Reaper Chillies, mixed lamb and chicken keema. 

The restaurant is offering prizes for those bold enough to take these fiery dishes on.

On National Chilli Day (February 22nd), Zouk is challenging the most daredevil customers to take on the Reaper Curry or Reaper Seekh Kebab, where if they manage to complete the task they can win prizes to be enjoyed at the restaurant at a later date.

As a menu special, there is also a devilishly good Chilli Margarita drink for guests to enjoy – although this is made with milder fresh chillies.

Zouk

The prizes for those customers with a ‘strong stomach and mind’ are:

  • Finish the full Carolina Reaper Seekh Kebab in one sitting (maximum eating time is 30 minutes and no help from companions) and you will get your kebab on Zouk, plus a £10 gift card to enjoy at the restaurant to redeem against food or drinks at a later date. 
  • Finish the full Carolina Reaper Curry (either chicken or vegetable) in one sitting (maximum eating time is 30 minutes and no help from companions) then you will not only get your Reaper Curry on Zouk, but you will also win a Brunch for two at the restaurant at a later date. 
  • Finish both the full Carolina Reaper Seekh Kebab and the Carolina Reaper Curry in one sitting (maximum eating time is one hour and no help from companions) and you will get your kebab and curry on the restaurant, as well as winning a Zouk Sunday Roast Meal for two.
Zouk

Knowing the Reaper is officially the world’s hottest chilli, it may not surprise you to learn from the chefs that even cooking this curry is a bit of a challenge. 

Owner Tayub Amjad commented: “The chillies are so hot that the chefs must be careful when handling them. You can feel them on your hands and stinging your eyes. The heat really is intense. 

“We’ve also made a vegetable karahi suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Last year we made a kebab but this year we’ve upped the stakes and made a seekh kebab reaper dish, we believe it is the world’s hottest kebab. 

“Last year only about 15 people completed the challenge and beat the reaper so I can’t wait to see who takes on this trio of Reaper dishes in 2024.”

Zouk

Anybody who finishes one of these challenges will also get a Zouk Ice Cream Sundae to help cool off those scorched taste buds! 

Zouk believes this to be the World’s Hottest Curry, so if you fancy putting it and yourself to the test, make a booking now and embrace National Chilli Day’s Biggest Challenge. 

To find out more about the challenge and prizes or book a place at Zouk, click HERE.

Zouk’s World’s Hottest Curry Challenge takes place at Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester on Thursday February 22nd.

*Diners will be required to sign a disclaimer before trying.

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Food & Drink

A week-long margarita-mile bar crawl is coming to Manchester next week

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Manchester's Finest Group

A mile-long Margarita bar crawl is returning to Manchester with a host of venues set to take part to celebrate the drink’s national day.

Honouring National Margarita Day on February 22nd, the celebratory bar crawl will feature El Tequileño tequila in a variety of cocktails at venues across the city.

Known as ‘Mexico’s best kept secret’, El Tequileño is produced in the heart of the old town of Tequila and stays true to its authentic roots.

Manchester’s Finest Group

The brand will collaborate with Maldon Salt – because what’s a Margarita without the perfect dusting of premium salt around the rim of your glass? – to deliver the event at bars including Stray Bar, Madre, New Century, Fierce and Smithfield Social.

Whatever your Marg preference – classic tequila and lime, frozen or spicy – there will be plenty of signature mixes to sip on between February 19th and 25th.

Stray will showcase distinguished blends like their Tomato Vine Margarita, Madre will be serving up flights of the good stuff, while Fierce are mixing it up with beer to make the Cervezarita.

Manchester’s Finest Group

In a nice touch, ALL participating bars will be discounting Margaritas to £6 on Margarita Day (February 22nd) itself.

Many of the venues taking part are also adding margherita pizzas to the mix, so you can grab a slice to accompany your tipple.

Tequila fans and connoisseurs can learn about the origins of their favourite drink and how it is made from very special guest Tony Salles – the grandson of El Tequileño creator Don Jorge Salles Cuervo. 

Supplied

Tony will meet those on the mile at The Daisy to chat about all things tequila on National Margarita Day.

Taking inspiration from Manchester’s Margarita Mile last year, London and Leeds cities will also be hosting their own first Margarita Mile in February 2024, also in conjunction with El Tequileño, Maldon Salt and Tabasco.

The Margarita-Mile bar crawl takes place from February 19th – 25th at the above participating venues.

*Please remember to drink responsibly.

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Food & Drink

Individual Restaurants offers new loyalty scheme focused on personalised customer experiences

Members can enjoy access to sporting events, free birthday drinks, discounts, Club IR parties and top culinary experiences

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@piccolinorestaurants / Instagram

Individual Restaurants brings Club IR – the new highly anticipated loyalty scheme offering customers an unforgettable experience and real rewards.

The move comes after customer insight from Individual Restaurants revealed that 60% of people don’t value points as part of a loyalty programme.

Individual Restaurants says the new programme, which launched on January 4th, elevates what diners can expect from a loyalty card, ditching the tired ‘points’ system and instead focusing on giving guests what they really want; personalised offers, exceptional service and money-can’t-buy experiences.

@piccolinorestaurants / Instagram

With personalisation at the heart of Club IR, members on each of the three tiers; ‘Club’, ‘Black’ and ‘Diamond’, can expect the ultimate tailored experience.

From a round of drinks on your birthday to exclusive invitations to VIP events such as luxurious Club IR parties, top sporting events and once-in-a-lifetime trips to top culinary destinations, Club IR has it all covered.

More than a loyalty scheme, Club IR has been curated based on valuable customer insight that shows more than half of customers prefer a variety of offers and discounts, as well as surprise rewards (92%) and a tiered system of loyalty (85%).

Individual Restaurants

The Individual Restaurants collection includes Restaurant Bar & Grill, Piccolino, Riva Blu and Piccolo by Piccolino, totalling 31 restaurants across the UK. 

As part of the new programme, members will be the first to know about news and events, and will be privy to a variety of specially curated in-restaurant perks.

With an amazing new app, Club IR could not be easier to access, allowing guests to see exclusive rewards and experiences available in real time and book tables.

Individual Restaurants

Individual Restaurants has designed the programme so all guests are welcome from the moment they join the club, with benefits starting from sign up.

Andrew Garton, CEO of Individual Restaurant Group, said: “We know from our members that it’s not points that they value. 

“Instead our guests value personalised service, incredible food and friendly hospitality – something that we pride ourselves on at Individual Restaurants. 

Individual Restaurants

“With our new loyalty scheme, we’ve taken what was an extremely popular programme already and listened to guests to make it even better – with more personalised offers, luxury experiences and tailored event invitations.

“Club IR exemplifies our values through specially curated, personal offers for our members, a range of incredible money-can’t-buy experiences and a knowledge that they will always receive the very best service when they enter any one of our restaurants. 

“We’re confident that our new Club IR loyalty programme is the best on the market. “We value every single one of our guests, and want to reward them in the most special and personal ways we can.”

Become a member of Club IR or find out more by clicking HERE – you could have the perfect Valentine’s Day!

 

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