I was wretchedly disappointed that a family matter kept me away from the Terroir Symposium in Toronto this year. I had attended in past years and found it enormously worthwhile, thought provoking, tasty, and a ton of fun.
A few days after Terroir wrapped up, I learned two things at the same time. The first was that Stephen Beckta (Beckta/Play/Gezellig) had won the Terroir-GE Monogram Award of Excellence in the Outstanding Service Professional category (hip hip hurrah to Beckta and his entire team). And in the Globe and Mail that day, I read that Jen Agg, owner of Toronto’s wildly popular The Black Hoof had taken to twitter to vent her displeasure with her guests of the evening. This, apparently, was her missive: “Dear (almost) everyone in here right now. Please, please stop being such a douche.”
According to the Globe article, she had used social media to target patrons before: “Dear Table 2: … you’ve been finishing your drinks, for, like, an hour. It’s time. New Table 2 is so cold & hungry.”
The Black Hoof may win awards for many things – and it has, and I have eaten here and thought the food was brilliant – but I would suggest it will never be on the short list for a service award. It will never be the sort of restaurant that believes to its core that caring for people is as critical as feeding them. That table ministrations, that civility and kindness and going the distance matter.
If a guest in your restaurant is being a pain in the ass, there are surely more gracious and grownup ways of letting them know, and possibly of turfing them. Perhaps Jen Agg should send Stephen Beckta a tweet, asking for some advice…