Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Bad Review & A Pleasant Surprise

Tony called me today pretty moved by the gestures of a customer and an employee. A pleasant surprise, to say the least.

The gestures being letters they each wrote in response to a negative review recently published about Caribe. The paper, being The Southside Pride, a South Minneapolis neighborhood newspaper. The article being the words of the "Queen of Cuisine," Carla Waldemar. To Southside Pride's credit, they published both of the letters in response to her review, which is how Tony and I found out about it today. A customer brought in the paper to show Tony.

The customer is Carmen, who we did not know before opening Caribe, but she has since become one of our favorite regulars. She's Puerto Rico born and proud of it. The employee is one of our cooks, Katy, who unknowingly to us, also wrote the editor, not knowing we had just seen the review for the first time last week, also brought to our attention by Carmen, who was outraged.

Here is the review, followed by the letters in response:
The letter to the editor from Carmen

The letter to the editor from Katy

To say we are humbled is an understatement. Not by the article, but by those who stepped up on our behalf, without our knowledge. Your words far outweigh the insulting review and we are truly grateful for your kindness and support.

And as far as the review goes, we're not necessarily concerned with the negativity of it. We can take criticism and try to learn and grow from it. But the writer's decision to take it a step further and personally insult Tony, the waitress (or was it her grandma?), and make claims that weren't even accurate is what bothered us. It seemed her biggest complaint was that the food didn't properly meet her misconstrued expectations of Caribbean cuisine.

Was everything really that bad? And truly, if everything except the dessert and beer was so unacceptable, why didn't she say something at the time and allow Tony or our staff to correct the problem? Really...if we make a mistake, we want you to let us know. If something wasn't cooked properly, that is a problem. But if something wasn't as spicy as you thought it should be, then the problem is not with the food.

Ms. Waldemar, we invite you to return. We really do want you, and everyone who visits, to enjoy their meal. We value your feedback...just refrain from insults.

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