Rarely do I complain, and I have never written a negative review of a restaurant, but my experience at Jacques was so sickening that I simply can not overlook it.
When we arrived, we sat at the table for 15 minutes before being approached by anyone. Though it was a Friday night, there were only a handful of other tables in the entire restaurant, all of them groups of four or less (looking back, this should have been a sign as to the popularity of this restaurant). When we were finally greeted by our server, he took our drink orders but had not brought any water for us with him to the table. He left and we sat there for about another 5 minutes before he brought us water, and then another 10 minutes before bringing us our drinks (which were glasses of wine, nothing elaborate or complicated). To be sitting at a table for 20 minutes before being brought water, and almost a half hour before being brought a couple glasses of wine - when the place isn't even busy - is clearly not attentive service.
Our server then took our order. The food was acceptable, but didn’t particularly stand out or exceed our expectations (and each entrée was $20). The server didn’t stop over to ask us how our food was until we were almost finished with the meal, and had come over to ask if we would like dessert. We told him that the food was fine, but we were ready for the check. I then gave him a coupon that I had, which was good for a free entrée with the purchase of an entrée of equal or greater value. The coupon did not list an expiration date, or any other exclusions for that matter. He took the coupon with him and came back to our table a few minutes later. He told us that the manager said that the coupon was no longer being accepted and we would have to pay full price. I politely asked him to speak to the manager.
About 10 minutes later, the manager came out to our table, seemingly very irritated at being “bothered” by his customers. I asked him why our coupon wasn’t acceptable and he shrugged his shoulders and replied that it “just wasn’t valid anymore” and that they were no longer accepting them. I pointed out that there was no expiration date on the coupon, but he didn’t seem to care and just kept repeating himself. Though I did not raise my voice, I firmly stated that this wasn’t acceptable; restaurants can’t print coupons with no expiration and then refuse to accept them. His reply? “I own this restaurant and no one tells me how to run it.” And he walked away.
This particular night, I had taken my mother (who was in Milwaukee from out-of-state visiting me for the weekend). What an impression of Milwaukee’s hospitality to leave on her! We sat there, absolutely appalled at this man’s lack of basic customer service. My siberian husky could provide better service than this guy! In retrospect, given the lack of people at this restaurant on a Friday night, he was probably upset because his business is not doing well and he just didn’t want to have to honor any coupons. But a manager at McDonald’s would have enough common sense to know that speaking to your customers this way does not win you any business.
Because it was only twenty dollars, hardly worth starting World War II over, we decided to just pay the silly bill and get the heck out of there. As we were paying, I told the owner that we would never be returning here, and would certainly not be giving any recommendations. He looked at us with his beady eyes and sneered that he “didn’t want people like us in his restaurant.”
Excuse me? I am a legal specialist at a very large law firm in Milwaukee, and my fiancée and I dine out frequently. Many downtown restaurants know us by name and appreciate our continued business. We are very gracious patrons who never complain over petty or minor things (we both worked at restaurants while we were paying our way through college and know how stressful the service industry can be).
Luckily for my mother and me, nasty people like the owner of Jacques don’t tend it get under our skin, but I could easily see where a situation like this could ruin someone’s night. This review is not written in vengeance, but simply meant to save someone else the unpleasantness of having to deal with this spiteful little man at his mediocre restaurant.
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