Forestville – Backyard, Part 2: Frustration and Disappointment.
Hi, all. Long time, no talk. I’ve been really busy planning my wedding, which is going really well, despite being stressful. I feel bad about not updating my blog more often.
Last night, I wrote out a review for Backyard on Yelp that I do not know if I should post or not. It’s currently saved there, but not posted. But I will post it here for the time being:
Ohhhhh Backyard. I used to be so in love with you. But after multiple negative experiences with the front-end manager, Marianna, including trying to get Backyard to cater my wedding, I feel I must update my review.
FIRST OF ALL, the Bib Gourmand they received is well-deserved, food-wise. As you can tell from my previous review, the food is FANTASTIC. That is why they get two stars for this review instead of one.
The service…. Pretty inconsistent. My friends and I wait entirely too long for our food whenever we go. That said all of the servers are pretty nice, except…
Marianna, the front-end manager that pretty much every negative review of Backyard complains about. Look, I’m sure she has good intentions and I’m sure she is anxious to succeed and wants nothing but the best for her restaurant. Putting all those ideals into practice though? She fails really hard there.
I started emailing back and forth with Marianna about catering my wedding in January 2014. Everything seemed great at first… We met at the restaurant to talk details. She and her husband seemed very accommodating and enthusiastic about our business. Great. My fiancé and I were excited.
Come early March, my fiancé and I had to push back our wedding date twice. We communicated about this via email. Marianna was fine with the first change, but when I asked about the second change, she didn’t respond to me, so I had my fiancé call her. When he got her on the phone, Marianna more or less put all the responsibility for her lack of communication on us, stating that we needed to “figure out” the actual date before going forward with her. Sorry, but that’s not how you handle business. You don’t blame your lack of response on your client. What would have happened if we never had called? She just wouldn’t have emailed me back? Really?
She then told us we needed to send her the contact information of the wedding site’s host so she could see what equipment would be available to her. Fair enough. Despite being displeased with her attitude, I sent it to her, asking her to please confirm that she had gotten the information. Once again, she didn’t email me back.
Well fortunately, during Restaurant Week, my friend and I went to Backyard for their fried chicken dinner. I asked Marianna in person if she had gotten my email. She said she had and that she would get in contact with the venue’s host after Restaurant Week was over. Okay, that’s fine. Side note: I’m not very well versed in gluten allergies, but I mentioned before to a coworker with Celiac’s that Backyard had gluten-free fried chicken. My coworker asked me if they fried the gluten free chicken in the same oil as the regular fried chicken so I asked Marianna since I had the opportunity. In a very sharp tone, she condescendingly responded, “we know what gluten-free means.” Seriously??? Don’t treat the customer like she or he is stupid. It’s a perfectly valid question. In case you are reading this and are wondering why you see so many negative comments about yourself on your Yelp page, there’s an example right there. There’s no excuse for that.
So because Marianna SAID she would contact the venue after Restaurant Week, I expected her to actually contact the venue after Restaurant Week. Did she? Nope. One more chance…
Restaurant Week ended March 16. On April 8, I wrote my second to last email to her:
Getting our caterer booked is extremely important to us and we would really appreciate a word, any word, from you. I might have fiancé call you today, but until then, please let me know if you get this and what is going on your end. We are getting closer to the actual wedding date, and if things don’t work out with you guys, we need enough time to execute a backup plan. Any response is better than no response at all (and thus being left in the dark). I feel I have been very patient until now, but I am starting to feel ignored. This is mine and fiancé’s big day, and we really would like things to go smoothly. If email doesn’t work for you, let us know; we will be happy to call you instead.
We really, really love the food at Backyard, so we really want this to work out.
She actually responded the same day, I think because I poked her to do so via Facebook. She said “I have you down for the 19th. I will call and set up an appointment with you and the land owner later this week. ”
That was April 8. It’s now June, and we still haven’t heard from her, and neither has the wedding venue. Needless to say, we have moved on and have another caterer booked.
Marianna obviously has some serious work to do on her management skills and people skills. Hell, on Backyard’s Yelp page, instead of taking criticism with grace, she has responded to two negative reviews by accusing the customers of lying. Look for them yourself. That is borderline Amy’s Baking Company behavior. Lucky for her, Backyard’s food is great.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever written a review that met the maximum number of characters for a Yelp review. I wish I could have written more, too. Ha!
I face a dilemma about posting it because, well, my roommate’s farm supplies produce to them, and Marianna and Chef Daniel are friends with my friends, Sarah and Tyja. I don’t want to cause a bunch of drama for any of them, and I want to be able to go to the restaurant in the future. Knowing what I know of Marianna and how she responds to criticism, she’d be foolish enough to turn away my business just because of that review. Call me crazy for wanting to at least be able to go back, but their food is that good, and I have fun going out with my friends to dinner there.
What would you do?