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The guest claimed they had to wait one hour to be served at The Terrace in Yarmouth, on the Isle of Wight, and couldn’t order from the main menu because they hadn’t booked a table. In the scathing two-star TripAdvisor critique, the diner described the restaurant as expensive, having paid £7 for a glass of Prosecco, and complained about the service.
But Tom Fahey, general manager of the popular eatery at the harbour in Yarmouth, fired back a brutal response.
“I’m going to humour you and respond by explaining a bit about wine pricing, the cost of land and how restaurants work,” he said.
“Does it make sense to you that restaurants with nice views might experience higher costs than those without them and therefore need to ask guests appreciating said views to pay a little more for the privilege?
“Regardless of such costs, I believe we have done a very good job of making the wonderful space we are lucky to occupy more affordable than we could have done.
“In our first year of operation we turned away about 50 guests a day during summer. In our second year we built a 70-seat terrace with even better views in order to offer more guests a seat. Now you might think these premium seats would make us a lot more money were they full booked for three-course meals.
“The answer is, they would. But they would also lower quality of life for our team and put undue stress on our tiny kitchen. And they would do nothing for guests who happen to stroll into Yarmouth hungry but without a restaurant booking.
“If you moor up in a busy seaside town in August and want to eat food that ‘sounds amazing’, my advice is to book a table. Or, at the very least, ask Mr Google to tell you which menus are available and where.
“Don’t just turn up at a busy restaurant, accept a seat and close your ears to everything the staff at the restaurant say because that will just make you (and them) unhappy.”
The Terrace has 216 reviews from happy diners, Hampshire Live says.
Mr Fahey added that the criticism was “inaccurate”.
He tweeted: “Hospitality does not have to roll over and accept inaccurate public criticism that could have been simply and easily resolved in private.”
He has since deleted his response on TripAdvisor, regretting the tone initially used.
The restaurant boss said in a further tweet: “While I stand by the substance, it’s not the right tone for a restaurant as committed to guest happiness as we are. The story should be the heroic efforts of our team to delight 300+ guests a day, not mine in snarkily dressing one down.”
The critical guest had said: “We thought we were lucky to get a table outside with a view of the marina on a glorious day.
“However, they failed to tell us that walk-ins get a very limited menu and those that book get the full menu which sounds amazing. We sat for an hour until we could order from the limited menu. We were so hungry and they wouldn’t even serve bread/oil and olives while we waited.
“An hour for a salad and a terrine but they’re quids in with the beer and wine. Seems discriminating that you can’t order from the main after your wait”
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