I booked this restaurant by email many weeks before I went on August 24. It was a surprise trip to Epernay for my wife, and friends came on the second day.
I arrived at the restaurant in advance, Firstly, I told the chap at the front that I'd reserved (in French) and was greeted with a very terse, 'we're full'. That didn't bode well. 'No, I've reserved,' I countered, and he checked and yes, found my booking. I was led to a back room to wait for my wife and friends.
The food was excellent, really, and the service at table adequate. The prices weren't bad either, so I was happy with my choice. We had a good evening - till we tried to leave.
The lady at the front looked at my credit card and said, in French, 'Sorry, the machine's not working'. She pointed to a scrawl on the door, barely visible in amongst the Visa and Mastercard signs, that said so, and said, 'you should have checked'. She didn't offer any alternative, just stated the bald facts.
Now I am very placid normally but I was increasingly alarmed. 'I booked this restaurant weeks ago. Nobody told me I couldn't use a credit card. What am I supposed to do?' I think she may not have expected me to speak fluent French. A debate followed, during which I explained we would obviously have to withdraw cash from the till and it would cost us. Could I therefore have a discount? 'I'm not sure about that'. My friends, who were helping to pay, trotted off to the cash point while I continued arguing. We had no choice.
'It's the responsibility of the house, not the customers,' I continued. Now the front of the restaurant is a small area and the whole thing would have been noticeable. The place was packed and I cannot imagine the lady wouldn't be playing out this scenario several times that night. She just shrugged.
Not once did she say sorry, not really, beyond the 'I'm sorry, but...' nuance. She finally gave us a 2% discount for the cash withdrawal. One of my friends said after, 'that left a bad taste in the mouth'. How true. And how unnecessary.
Generally, I'm sure if you go there, you won't have this issue, and you'll have a great meal. But personally, I wouldn't go back there because of the way I, my wife and my friends were treated, all because because their one and only credit card machine didn't work.
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