I organised my little girl’s birthday lunch at a pizza joint in a mall, not too far from home one Friday. The team were very helpful all throughout – from assisting my many queries beforehand, helping to set the table up, and accommodating the needs of 11 very excited, noisy kids.
It was a fabulous birthday and my girl was very happy, as was I.
The following day, my husband started having stomach discomforts. The diarrhoea (Part 1 of 15) started. Then it was my turn, add on vomitting to that. Thankfully just one of my three kids was unwell – with a slight fever, and nothing else.
Other than my husband and I, 2 other adults at the party were sick – with similar symptoms. Other than my daugther, 4 of the kids present at the party got sick too – to different degrees : one had slight stomach pains and diarrhoea, one threw up and had stomach pains, another had diarrhoea, and another was vomitting so much they took him to the hospital. That’s 4 adults, 5 kids unwell, out of a total of 24 guests.
Now, we all know that - shit happens. Literally.
I would also say that I am a fairly reasonable person. So – I sent a whatsapp to the restaurant manager to explain what had happened – see snapshot below.
She replied me quite promptly with “Ciao Mam. I’ll take a look at it mam.”
At 6pm that evening , she finally rang to ask how the family was doing. She then went on in a very detailed explanation that they checked their inventory – everything that was used as part of the pizzas that we ordered, and after a long explanation -basically – everything was good.
It was a really odd conversation.
So I said, are you saying that we all got sick, but it wasn’t from the restaurant?
And she said that we did bring in a cake that day.
So I started to explain that everyone present at the party had the cake, but not everyone had the same pizzas.
But hey – who knows right? It’s always one of those – could have been this, could have been that – scenario.
So I told her.
It’s good that the team checked the inventory and it’s good to know that it was fine. I would have appreciated an apology and a bit of concern, regardless if it was your fault or not.
A ‘I am so sorry to hear that you and all your guests got sick,” the moment I sent the whatsapp, would have meant the world. Or a phonecall promptly after to say the same.
There was no apology, all throughout. It was just a long explanation to say it was absolutely not their fault.
When I did tell her what I thought, she then started to apologize.
I don’t know ay.
I don’t work in F&B, so I can understand maybe she was worried that I brought this case forward and they got into trouble or something, I really don’t know.
But from my side – a customer, a patron, someone who adores the hospitality industry in Dubai – my advice to restaurants going forward is – if this ever happens to you, please tell your staff to show a little bit of remorse, and just apologize. It means the world.
9 guests were either throwing up, or shitting themselves for over 24 hours after a birthday party. That’s pretty bad for them, and for me, as the host. Regardless if it was the restaurant’s fault or not, if a guest brought it up to you – a sincere ‘I am so sorry to hear that’, would have meant the world.
Thoughts? I would love to hear from those on the other side- how have you dealt with cases like this?