Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nu In Town

Every reviewer in town is nearly wetting themselves with excitement about Harry Kambolis' new Nu in False Creek. So the buzz, along with a funky website, a beautiful location, a whimsical menu, and affordable prices prompted me to investigate this place as a potential birthday restaurant for a nice dinner for a group of friends. Warning: rant ahead, proceed cautiously. Now, I honestly have been trying to ease up on the negativity here on my blog, but I do need to rant a bit. Here's the situation. I phoned Sept 13th to ask if I could tentatively book for 6 people for my birthday, and then phone back when more people RSVP'd and add onto that number. The woman taking my reservation was quite polite and let me know that they have a maximum of 8 people, and after that, I could discuss a set meal with ...(I'm not sure who she said). She said that they could push tables together to form a table of 12 at most, and people above that would be at separate tables. This was all okay with me, so I asked her if she could get someone to email me an example of a menu for a set meal in the next little while. She told me that she would get someone to email me within two days. I was calling at 5 pm or so, not a particularly busy time of day, but I figured they would still need some time to think about what they would want do for a set menu since it sounded like it hadn't been decided upon really, and I was fine with them just getting back to me later. She took both my phone number and email. A week passed, and no email, no phone. I tried calling them, to politely let them know the situation, and maybe attempt to talk to someone directly . Their line was busy (no voicemail that picks up when it's busy, just a busy tone), tried again a few times, gave up. I tried a couple of times a few days later, busy signal again. I've still heard nothing, and haven't been able to get in touch with them, and it's been 11 days. I even thought maybe they have an email address, and I could email them, and then they could just reply, but their slick website only has the dreaded busy tone phone number. I know that the general manager is active on eGullet (so they have computer access), and it's almost worthwhile for me to get my upgrade on my membership there so that I can bloody well get in touch with him. Bear in mind that if I were to come to this restaurant for my birthday with my group, we'd be introducing all these foodie people to their brand new restaurant, we'd be eating and drinking up a storm (in birthday celebratory mood), and (though they don't know this), they'd probably get even more buzz, because of my blogging. I know that they are hot, hot, hot, and must be busy, and are probably going to do just fine without my business, but I'm still surprised by all this. Even if they don't want my group to come, they should at least phone me back. Well I guess they won't have to worry about it, I've made other plans. The unfortunate thing is that I was genuinely quite excited about this new restaurant, but now it'll probably be a very long time before I'm tempted to try it after this experience. Anyhow, it's 11 days and ticking...anyone want to wager on when/if they'll get back to me?

5 comments:

SaabKen said...

Too bad about the dead end with Nu. I'm wagering they won't get back to you after 11 days now, they either lost your request somehow or just plain inundated with business.

My parting comment is seeing how this is yet another example of the lack of "business smarts" that many Canadian businesses (not just restaurants) demonstrate. I must say, being a frequent visitor to U.S. that, comparatively, many Canadian businesses (most notable in Vancouver but seen everywhere across the country) don't work smart and don't seem to adequately train their staff. I've been to restaurants up and down the U.S. west coast and southwest where even the smallest diners treat you like a special person with courtesy and manners. Just last week I was at a Tex-Mex cantina in Phoenix dining with a group of 5. Before we even fully sat down at our table, 2 waiters have already beat us to the table with chips, salsa, menus, place settings and water. Blew me away !

My own rant over.

Hope your b-day celebration is a blast at another venue.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, and your comment, Ken :) I'm actually not going to go to a restaurant, and am just doing a dessert potluck. Should be a lot of fun. I'm making it a contest.

Leonard said...

Hello Dumpling_Girl,

Thank you for your kind comments about Nu, the website and about the excitement we’ve stirred in Vancouver. I read with regret, however, your situation dealing with us over the phone. Someone should have called you back immediately, and I apologize that that didn’t happen.

I am also sorry you’ve had difficulty contacting the restaurant. We have been overwhelmed with calls since we opened. We also don’t have the phone line capacity we truly need, due to the Telus strike. To keep the Nu experience warm and personal in an impersonal age, we made the conscious choice, for now, to not communicate with customers through email.

As you state, Nu is “hot, hot, hot” right now. That’s a kind truth. It is also true that hotspots come and go, and only businesses that are accountable for their oversights and errors stay the course. It sounds like you have made other plans for your special day, but if and when you would like to experience Nu please contact me directly at leonard@whatisnu.com I will be pleased to attend to your reservation personally. Consider us a friend earnestly presenting a Happy Belated Birthday card; grant us the second opportunity.


Leonard
NU

Leonard said...

Hello Dumpling_Girl,

Thank you for your kind comments about Nu, the website and about the excitement we’ve stirred in Vancouver. I read with regret, however, your situation dealing with us over the phone. Someone should have called you back immediately, and I apologize that that didn’t happen.

I am also sorry you’ve had difficulty contacting the restaurant. We have been overwhelmed with calls since we opened. We also don’t have the phone line capacity we truly need, due to the Telus strike. To keep the Nu experience warm and personal in an impersonal age, we made the conscious choice, for now, to not communicate with customers through email.

As you state, Nu is “hot, hot, hot” right now. That’s a kind truth. It is also true that hotspots come and go, and only businesses that are accountable for their oversights and errors stay the course. It sounds like you have made other plans for your special day, but if and when you would like to experience Nu please contact me directly at leonard@whatisnu.com I will be pleased to attend to your reservation personally. Consider us a friend earnestly presenting a Happy Belated Birthday card; grant us the second opportunity.

Leonard
NU GM

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thank you very much for your note, Leonard! The Telus strike must be a frustrating situation, as I read that it is also obstructing you from being able to use interac at the restaurant. Thank you as well for your email contact information, and I will likely take you up on your offer to personally arrange a reservation for me. Congratulations on the success of the restaurant.