CRAZY RESTAURANT OWNER SYNDROME (CROS)

There was a recent post on Gawker featuring an email written by Vadim Ponorovsky, the owner of Paradou, a restaurant in the Meatpacking district, taking his employees to task for not collecting email addresses from his patrons so he could add them to some kind of marketing list. Here’s the email Ponorovsky wrote that was “leaked” to Gawker.

To All,

Please read this email carefully. This is the last time we will be discussing this.

This weekend, saturday and sunday we had 451 customers. Guess how many emails we collected? 60? 80? 40? No. None of those. We, or more accurately you, collected 2 emails. Thats less than half of one percent. 2 fucking emails.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ASSHOLES?!?!?! How many times do we have to tell you how important it is that you collect emails. Everytime we have a slow night and you make no money and you sit there bitching about how you make no money, remember its because youre fucking lazy motherfuckers. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!! ALL OF YOU, INCLUDING THE HOSTS!!!!

Let me guess, youre probably sitting there saying “Vadim is such a fucking asshole. How dare he speak to me like this. I dont need this.” Youre right, you dont, so why dont you get the fuck out. Any and all of you.

Youre probably sitting there saying “How dare he speak to me like this. How dare he not have respect for me”. Youre right there also. I have absolutely no respect for any of you. Why? Because every fucking day, all of you continue to show that you have absolutely no respect for me or Alex. So if you dont respect us enough to do the little that we ask you to do, then GET THE FUCK OUT YOU FUCKING LAZY DISRESPECTFUL ASSHOLES!!!!!

Effective immediately, any server or host who fails to collect at least 20 emails per week, will be fined $100. Anyone failing to collect at least 20 emails for two weeks in a month will be fired immediately. No matter what. No matter who you are.

You dont want to do your job, you dont want to do what we ask, you dont belong at Paradou. Go find another place to work.

How dare you disrespect Alex and me this way. How dare you completely ignore what we ask of you time after time after time.

I am sick of all this shit, you bunch of fucking children. This is what I have to deal with at 6AM?!?!? I wouldnt tolerate this from my 13 year old, and Im sure as shit not going to tolerate it from any of you assholes.

You give no respect, you get 10 times back.

Now in fairness to Mr. Ponorovsky I thought about calling him to ask him about the aforementioned email blast, but the guys at Blackbook.com beat me to it. Go read Mr. Ponorovsky’s answers and come back.

Got it? Good. After reading Ponorovsky’s answers I saw no need to ask him anything further. Now we have both “sides” of the story. Here’s my take on it.

Judging from the tone of Mr. Ponorovsky’s berserk email it’s obvious he was not in possession of his faculties when he wrote it. And judging from the persecutory tone running through Mr. Ponorovsky’s email and his answers to Blackbook.com’s questions, I’m afraid this gentleman suffers from Crazy Restaurant Owner Syndrome. (CROS) What is this malady you may ask? Well it’s not in the DSM-IV but let me try and highlight some of it’s symptoms.

1, Extreme narcissism to the point of sociopathy – You know, like Ted Bundy! Did you notice how Ponorovsky referred to himself in the third person in his interview with Blackbook? “Prior to this, you probably had no clue who Vadim Ponorovsky was?” That’s a neat bit of disassociation right there, Vadim.

2. Delusions of grandeur - Restaurant owners tend to think that because they run an eating establishment they’re captains of industry. It’s the big fish in the little pond thing. And when some restaurant owners lose track of reality and begin thinking their restaurant is the center of the known universe they can suddenly act like they’re beholden to no one, lose their behavioral inhibitions and start acting like Caligula. This is evidenced by Ponorovsky’s nifty quote, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ASSHOLES?!?!?!”

3. Extreme jealousy - Did you catch that part in the interview with Blackbook where Ponorovsky said, “I didn’t get in to this business to be on Iron Chef?” Oh but I bet you wish you were Vadim!

4. Anger management issues – Gee, what gave it away? Was it when Ponorovsky wrote, “GET THE FUCK OUT YOU FUCKING LAZY DISRESPECTFUL ASSHOLES!!!!!”

5. Persecution complex – Constantly feeling like your employees are out to get you. “Because every fucking day, all of you continue to show that you have absolutely no respect for me or Alex.” Your words Vadim, your words.

6.An absolutist Al Qaeda view of people - As evidenced by the quote, “I have absolutely no respect for any of you.”

7. Total lack of empathy – As evidenced by Ponorovsky’s statement in the Blackbook interview, “But my approach was: I don’t care.”

8. Self-destructive behavior – Uh, writing this crazed email in the first place.

9. Control freakiness – “Effective immediately, any server or host who fails to collect at least 20 emails per week, will be fined $100. Anyone failing to collect at least 20 emails for two weeks in a month will be fired immediately. No matter what. No matter who you are.”

10. Dehumanizing staff – As evidenced by Mr. Ponorovsky’s liberal use of the word “asshole” and the statement, “I am sick of all this shit, you bunch of fucking children. This is what I have to deal with at 6AM?!?!? I wouldnt tolerate this from my 13 year old, and Im sure as shit not going to tolerate it from any of you assholes.”

Okay. So it’s obvious Mr. Ponorovsky has a bad case of CROS. Here are the treatment options.

1. Mr. Ponorovsky needs to find a new line of work. For him owning a restaurant is like an active alcoholic working in a bar. As long as he’s immersed in this environment he’ll continue to act like a raving lunatic. People, places and things my friend.

2. Ponorovsky needs to make amends to everyone he’s hurt – his staff, his customers, his partners, his family and to waiters the world over. I stand by to transmit that apology.

3. Detox from any and all illegal substances if indicated.

4. Heavy doses of Haldol, Ativan and Benadryl. (Swear to God this cocktail works!)

5. Discerning restaurant customers should aid Mr. Ponorovsky’s recovery by avoiding patronizing his restaurant until he’s been replaced by someone who isn’t stark raving mad. If he treats his staff this way how do you think he’s going to treat his customers? This gentleman’s email was a Freudian slip into his attitudes regarding people.

And to the waiters at Paradou, you need to work on your own recovery! I know times are tough but you need get new jobs. Trust me on this! I’ve worked for people like Ponorovsky before. They’re not worth the damage to your soul! Start quietly sending out resumes. After this debacle Paradou probably won’t be open past February.

And to Mr. Ponorovsky. I will post any response you care to send me.

Addendum: Please do not call Paradou and threaten Mr. Ponorovsky. That’s not cool. Also, here’s an audio clip from Gawker of the restaurant owner having another meltdown. This guy’s just giving himself more rope to hang himself.


Comments

CRAZY RESTAURANT OWNER SYNDROME (CROS) — 93 Comments

  1. I worked as a waiter for an Italian eatery owner in Michigan once. I was berated for saying “Good Morning”, instead of “Good Morning, Mrs. Italian Asswipe [paraphrased]“. No talking with co-workers while doing 1-1/2 hrs of opening sidework. Standing at attention by the host stand silently waiting to seat guests. Kow-towing to the chefs with cigarettes dangling from their lips while they spooned clarified butter on top of the over-priced (and over-pushed) Chateau.

    I lasted 6 weeks because I needed the money. There were many, many more who stayed years and accepted the abuse because they had to, because, ironically, it was GREAT money. Luckily, I was able to move on.

    No self-respecting person should have to put up with that.

    • Exactly I would’ve sent that email to ALL news media and asked my favorite one if I could publically quit on air. That’s abusive and if that asshat thinks it’s right to talk to his employees like that I’d go to court over abuse.

  2. As a patron, if a waiter asked me for my email address while serving my meal, I’d think he was totally out of line. If I were still working as a server, I’d feel I was prying into the customers’ personal business. What next? Ask for their phone numbers and street addresses? No wonder the servers haven’t done it.

    Perhaps if the restaurant owner (deranged or not) really wants this info, he could print out a little form that’d come with the check, maybe a survey about the food and the service, maybe with a discount coupon for a return visit attached, and ask for the customer’s email address that way.

  3. Some piece of shit use that tone with me I’d tell him to suck my fucking dick-after I smashed his fucking face in….. Long story short, I guess I’ll never work in your industry :)

    Finally, if some waiter asked for my email address I’d give it to them:

    notipforu@gmail.com

  4. It just proves the old adage “If you give a man enough rope to hang himself with…”

    I’m sorry Paradou employees had to tolerate this man’s abusive behavior. I’m sorrier that they will soon have to look for alternative employment owed to his inability to see the error of his ways. I don’t think think Paradou is long for the NY restaurant world.

  5. The same club manager I referred to in my comment under the previous “Handcuffs” post was, in addition to being an ass who didn’t like to see servers get tips, a raving lunatic. One key example: our larger tables were set up, during Sunday brunch service, with a coffee cup on every other place setting. If everyone wanted coffee,you had to bring out more cups/saucers. No biggie. However, one time I was on my way out of the kitchen with cups/saucers and the coffee pot and our manager started screaming at me- “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!? (imagine this in a Swiss accent) WHY DID YOU NOT FILL THE COFFEE CUPS AND THEN BRING THEM OUT TO THE TABLE? NOBODY IS PAYING TO WATCH YOU FILL THEIR CUP WHEN IT CAN BE DONE BEHIND THE SCENES?!?!?! (not to mention that nobody wants to see me burn the shit out of my arm with 6 full cups of coffee jiggling around, but I digress) TAKE THEM BACK TO THE KITCHEN AND FILL THEM IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!”

    Not 10 minutes later, I was filling another table’s extra cups with coffee in the kitchen and taking them to the members who requested them when I was stopped again. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!? WHY WOULD YOU FILL THE CUPS IN THE KITCHEN AND THEN ATTEMPT TO CARRY THEM TO THE TABLE?!??! NOBODY IS PAYING FOR YOU TO SPILL COFFEE AND BURN THEM!!! BRING OUT CLEAN CUPS AND A COFFEE POT IMMEDIATELY!!!” This man was a serious head-case. He would yell a ridiculous nit-picky order, forget about it, and then yell at you later for doing it the way he had asked. I think he just liked yelling, but that’s just me. Compared to some of my coworkers, he treated me pretty well. We had a guy from Bulgaria and he refused to use his proper name and instead called him a bastardized form of a Muslim name. This guy got stuck doing all the shit work. Ugh, just thinking about Mr. _____ is giving me a headache, if only because a day at work usually resulted in some pretty heavy drinking post-shift.

  6. here it goes: Work or dine in a corporate chain restaurant – you can file a lawsuit for this behavior. Work or dine in a private owned establishment – you put up with shit.

  7. If I had a server ask me for my email address, I’d be pissed. I’ve just paid for the privilege of having a meal at your establishment. That doesn’t mean your boss is entitled to fill my inbox with news about daily specials.

    I’ve stopped shopping at certain stores (I’m looking at you Radio Shack and Tuesday Morning) because it became clear they fundamentally misunderstood their relationship with me, their customer. If I buy $20 worth of stuff, it doesn’t give you the right to demand my contact information. (I actually had someone at Tuesday Morning tell me she couldn’t ring up the sale without a telephone number. “Just give me anything” she said.)

    This owner has put his employees in an untenable position; they probably stopped asking because they were getting incredulous or annoyed looks, and it was being reflected in their tips.

  8. I would never give my email address to a restaurant. So, I would be contributing to these server’s demise. Horrible!! This man doesn’t deserve to own a restaurant.

  9. I agree – I have an unlisted phone number AND eMail address. I don’t want your junk mail.

    You want me to know what’s going on? Set up a web-page and offer something on it (a special, discount, etc.) only available for those that access the page.

    “Push” technology sucks. No matter what corner it comes from.

  10. I would never give my email to a restaurant. I don’t even like it when asked for my zipcode at stores and some restaurants. It’s invasive. It puts the servers in a terrible position. . .they get too pushy asking for emails and people will not come back. . .I don’t know why the owner thinks the staff and extract this information if patrons do not want to give it!! What a complete assclown!! Basically he’s going to force the staff to start making up fake email addresses to turn in to make him happy or looking up lists of them online.

  11. Just because someone asks for my email doesn’t mean I’m offended to be asked. But that also doesn’t mean I have to give them a *valid* email.

    Not worth getting upset about.

    I’m surprised the servers at Paradou hadn’t just submitted churned fake emails. Whatever it takes to shut up the would-be dictator.

  12. I’m sure that some industry rag wrote a profile on “Marketing on the Internets” and it emphasized the importance of growing the email list. I know this because since being laid-off and going back to grad school last year, I have worked at two independent shops who are mad for customer email addresses. Certainly, neither of them requires immediate restraint, medication, and hospitalization, as Mr. Ponorovsky clearly does.

    Part of the problem is that the restaurant business lags behind the Zimbabwean ox-mating industry in tech-savvy. I haven’t worked in a restaurant in over a decade, and they are still printing 50 copies of the FOH schedule and handing them out! I ran a tech support floor in 1995 and managed to put our schedule online! We even had a newsgroup for schedule requests and changes.

    Many people are worn out with commercial email. My credit card companies, my mortgage servicer, even my bike shop all send me email on a regular basis. I admit, I freely gave my email address out in the past. I don’t do it anymore because I can’t wade through that much junk and I know now that even if I am interested today, in 12 months it will just be an annoyance. My suspicion is that the whole concept of the email list is getting a bit fatigued. If you aren’t getting the email numbers you want, it might be time to innovate, rather than having a psychotic break.

  13. It made me shudder to read the guy’s comments that many of his employees think he’s the “best boss they’ve ever had.” If he were really the best, I would imagine a number of those staff members would be suicidally hopeless by now. As for me, I would have walked out then and there, even if I needed the job. (I have done it before. At, no surprise, a restaurant.)

    I wonder if Ponorovsky considered using the carrot instead of the stick. How about incentives for collecting the most emails?

  14. Wow! It is amazing what people will put up with to keep a job. I am not being critical of these individuals, as I currently put up with similar behavior from my own employer. Makes you think something should be done to combat this type of behavior from employers.

    Well, I see this as an opportunity for the dining public to assist these employees in their plight. Not dining at Paradou will simply result in the place dying a slow death. Waiters and other staff will be “let go” one by one until they hit the cliff, signaling the demise of the establishment. This will result in all the staff losing their jobs, which is not exactly the result that is most beneficial.

    Why not use social pressure to adjust this out of control owners behavior towards his staff? I am not sure that it will be effective, but it might be worth a shot.

    As far as the collection of e-mails, I have not read anything about exactly what this owner plans to do with these e-mails. I assume that he believes that he will have some great marketing campaign with these e-mails. Really? The response rate to these “marketing campaigns” is pretty low. Besides, if he wants customers to give out e-mails, he has to explain the benefit for the customer. People are just tired of the constant barrage of people wanting information, but they might give it to you if they realize a benefit.

  15. I was just thinking what a good idea it would be to know offhand a few of the abuse addresses for various large ISPs. If asked for your email, give out one of those addresses. When restaurant owners send their “opt-in” spam, they’ll trigger major spam filtering, and possibly lose their internet service.

  16. Interesting issue. I work for a large chain retailer, and we have goals for credit card applicants, e-mail sign-ups, and survey responses.

    I find it paradoxical that 1) I’m supposed to talk to each customer at check-out about every one of these items, every time, so that they have a “great” experience; then, 2) on the computer survey, the customer is asked to rate me on how considerate of their time I was while processing their transaction.

    I do not fault my store managers at all; they are friendly, supportive and understanding. The goals and directives seem to come from executives several levels higher, who may be out of touch with actual customer interactions. I sense that some customers are getting tired of the same bunch of questions every transaction. My apologies to each of you; I’m doing what I’ve been told to do as part of the job. Thank you for your patience and the occasional understanding smile.

  17. Second all the people who said they’d be offended if asked for their e-mail addresses at a restaurant. Who knows, maybe the staff actually were asking for them, but all the customers were refusing.

    I’ve developed a system for dealing with intrusive requests for information when making purchases. I, um, “exercise creative license”. Want my phone number? Sure. I rattle off a stream of random numbers. Same with zip codes. There’s no sense berating the poor server/cashier/whoever; they’ve been told they have to ask for the info. Refusing will just delay your transaction and possibly get them into trouble. If the owners get enough junk responses, maybe they’ll give up.

    Meanwhile, I urge any restaurant owners in the vicinity of Paradou to welcome refugee waitstaff warmly. You’re sure to look like the world’s greatest boss by comparison to Mr. Ponorovsky.

  18. CROS indeed. I’ve been there, at an ice cream shop no less. I was alone with the owner once, helping all the customers by myself while he was on the phone with tech support about the registers. He got mad and threw the phone from one end of the line to the other, breaking it on a cooler. In front of customers. Fucking freak show. I quit before I had another job because I couldn’t deal with it.
    I also hate the constant need for contact information. I don’t want a credit card from you, I don’t want to give you my email address, I don’t want to give you my phone number. I just want to buy my crap and leave!! It’s uncomfortable for the employee also, though; I’ve worked at both Borders and Barnes and Noble, and you have to ask all the customers for their email address and to sign up for rewards cards. And the man monitors you, so that if you don’t have enough sign ups you get into trouble.
    I can’t imagine being asked at a restaurant by my server for my email address. It’s so inappropriate.

  19. I am in total agreement with felis sidus. I excercise the same response when asked for contact info from cashiers and the like. I make it up on the fly, my transaction is cheerfully completed, and everyone parts happy and content.

  20. God, so glad I quit waitressing/bartending at the dawn of the internet. The worst I had to contend with was a 2 drink minimum (and you can bet they kept track of our sales).
    It usually worked in our favor though. Anyone who refused to buy a drink was removed from our tables by security and forced to standing room. This was a rock and roll club and eventually someone would end up at our table that would drink and tip.
    If someone asked for my e-mail at a restaurant I would refuse to give it. I have seen the cards asking for info. Mt teenage daughter has a wonderful time filling those out with all sorts of nonsense.
    Oh and Steve, I love your psychological insights.

  21. The waiting staff could always just do what the boss asks. A quick question along the lines of “Would you like to leave your email address so that we can inform you of any upcoming promotions?” is fairly inocuous and is not too much to ask. It is stressful running a business and I feel for the guy. Can’y be easy being surrounded by a bunch of prima donna waiting staff who can’t fulfill a simple request.

  22. I worked at a restaurant where we had to collect e-mails via forms stuck in with the check, but needless to say people weren’t too keen on this idea. it got to a point where our managers forced us to ‘sell’ the idea by explaining and exaggerating the ‘benefits.’ i don’t hold this against my managers however, it was a corporate mandate and they HAD to force us.

    the place i currently work thankfully doesn’t do that, however my manager is completely batshit insane and constantly contradicts himself then blames it on a few of us in particular, including me. the man will be lucky if he lives another 10 years. he’s in his 50′s, has already had 3 heart attacks, and is a complete fucking spaz.

  23. Is it wrong that my first thought was “he needs to learn how to properly use apostrophes if he wants anyone to take him seriously”? I’m sorry, but the profanity doesn’t bother me–I have a mouth like a sailor–but I hate when people mutilate the language they’re trying to communicate in (tourists who try to speak a foreign language are exempt from this). Hell, it was written; it’s not like there isn’t a spell and grammar check available.

    Also, if you want people to treat you with respect, and try to help you out, don’t be a douchebag. That thought has been phrased more eloquently, but it all comes down to the same thing.

  24. I agree with content from everyone’s comments, but I especially agree with Comment #3. As a patron, I would definitely feel my waiter/waitress were being out of line if my email address were randomly requested.

    Many restaurants that I’ve patronized do provide you with a survey card to complete – which also asks for your mailing addresss and email.

    If done more tastefully, the owner would definitely attain more email addresses…good luck to everyone involved!

  25. It’s my opinion that small business ownership attracts people who are too prickly and headstrong to be work with others as equals. So they start their own place.

    Not every small business owner is like this, not even most — but more than in the general population. I’ve run into bunches of them. I can only imagine what happens if you combine that mindset with the big ego needed to open and front a big=city restaurant.

  26. I bet most of the waiters, under pressure to deliver 20 email addresses, just give 20 random addresses (working ones). As long as they don’t bounce emails back the boss is never gonna know the difference.

    Easy solution.

  27. Pingback: Another recent “restaurant scandal” highlighted by Waiter Rant « So You Want To Be A Waiter

  28. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. @28-realitycheck
    The problem is that customers get offended/angry about getting asked for their information. It is stressful for the person who has to ask. The owner isn’t on the floor dealing with customer’s reactions, the waitstaff is. Perhaps they tried at first, but were uncomfortable with the reactions they got, and maybe it even effected their tips. When I worked in retail, I definitely didn’t ask everyone for the information like I was supposed to, because it was often extremely stressful and opened you up to anger/abuse.

  30. I’m perfectly fine with restaurants who collect email addresses on their websites (opt-in) and in exchange email me $5-10 off certificates every couple months.
    However, regarding this jerk, hell would freeze over before I went to eat at his restaurant.

  31. If giving out my e-mail address is truly voluntary, I shouldn’t be pressured into giving it by the waitstaff (if they’re being pressured into getting addresses, they’ll put more pressure on me). Do most people want to be added to mailing lists? Not really, no. I’m sure it’s handy for some people, but many people–and I know this, as it’s been part of my job–hate giving out any personal information to strangers/companies, even e-mail addresses.

    Of course, I have a fake e-mail address for this very purpose.

  32. HAHAHA I much loved him posting a sockpuppet response “I side with the owner” (as anonymous, of course) and someone else taking him to task for it. (He also says “grow some balls” — because you know women aren’t even worth acknowledging.)

    What a moron. I hope his store goes under quickly.

  33. This is almost as bad as book stores that make their employees push magazine subscriptions, clothing stores that push their credit cards, and office stores that push warranties. These places tell their employees to push [x] amount of these things a day/week/month or be fired. It makes it an unpleasant experience to tell them “no” repeatedly. I don’t get mad at the employees since they’re being coerced into it.

  34. The employees could just turn in 20 mailexpire addresses… You know until they find another job.

    I totally understand anyone who doesn’t want to give out his email. I don’t like it either especially in such a situation. It’d be different on the website but if I’m pushed the walls automatically go up…

    btw. Am I the only one who read his name as “Pornovsky”?

  35. Um, does he have the authority to fine his employees?

    Or should they all take the fine, turn around, and sue him into the poorhouse with the labor authorities assistance?

  36. What a self-entitled little prick this guy is. Not to mention a profoundly ineloquent one. Gee, Mr. Ponorovsky, you managed to squeeze every derivation of the word fuck into your rant at least three times. Are you proud of youself? Is that an accomplishment in your little corner of the world? And tell us one more time exactly what it is about you that you believe should inspire respect, the lack of which you are so loudly bemoaning?

    And the whole “$20 fine?” Seriously, I’d love to see him try to enforce THAT one!

  37. What next? Will “Super turd” the boss demand his employees clip his toenails and wax his ass before serving customers?

    When sales people ask for my name or email, I give a phony one… change a few letters in my real name…or do something like this, with a serious face.

    I.P. Nitely

    Claude Balls

    Ivan Kuchurkogov

    Hoo Flung Dung

    Johnny Inferno

  38. As a business founder I could never bring myself to talk to the fabulous people that ‘work with’ me and sacrifice so much to make our business a success.

    Paradou is on my list of restaurants to NEVER PATRONIZE EVER IN THIS LIFE (or the next).

  39. I don’t even like it when asked for my zipcode at stores and some restaurants. It’s invasive.

    I don’t mind giving my zip code; it’s useful for figuring out where your customer base is, and isn’t invasive at all.

  40. i worked for a couple with CROS in minneapolis for way too long. you’re right, Waiter. i quit over 10 years ago, and i still bear the emotional scars those people left on me.

  41. Dear Waiter,

    It’s obvious from your description of CROS that you have never owned a business.

    About 3/4ths of the defects you listed are what make owners and businesses successful.

  42. 47. . .. I don’t give it. I give one for Iowa. I do not like to give ANY information just because I want to buy an item or have a meal. I get asked for my phone number at the grocery store! Everyone wants information, it’s bullshit. Just let me pay and get out. In fact I avoid places that get too nosy. Social security number was put in place under the premise it NEVER be used as a general means of identification. . yet try to do anything without giving that out!

  43. How sad and defeating. More pressure when the bottom line should be customer service. when do we, as servers get to humanely get to give good service WITHOUT being invasive to our already ‘dealing with whatever the day brings’ customers?
    They come to our establishments for peace. A good meal, and some respite from the day. A feeling of “relaxtion” and “repletion” is the goal.
    They should leave saited and pleased. Suffering no loss of dignity or civil mindedness. No need to “adapt” to “our’ concerns.
    Being harshly brought back to the “now’ after a presumably pleasant experience shatters everything.
    I suppose the whole picture doesn’t allow for that anymore, does it?
    Even a pleasant”could we request your e-mail address?” Would unpleasantly jar me after a heretofore nice experience at a good restaurant.
    Have some respect for your customers! Give tham some peace! We are daily innundated by constant barraging information trails and constant ‘exposure’ to others.
    A truly great restaurant would know and appreciate this.
    Discretion, some privacy, USED to be a signature of a truly great place to dine in comfort and quiet.
    A little grace from the pace.
    How ill-dignified and grasping this element seems.
    How little it lends itself to true ‘service’ and what it used to represent.
    I dare say-how shameful.
    Am I mad that this seems entirely out of structure with what the whole idea of a good dining establishment should aspire to?
    I think not.
    And I-
    I am merely a “chain restaurant server( But I have served in fine dining-and gratefully report I have seen nothing of this dreadful like, damaging to the standard of all)
    A stunning lack of courtesy and common respect, for self(in the owner’s case) for the staff ( how exhausting, mitigating and destructively obvious) and most of all_ for the life blood of the whole thing THE CUSTOMERS!
    GET A FUCKING GRIP MAN!
    DISGUSTING, phweugh
    Better you should run street, you deserve less.

  44. 1) Buy a domain name for like $20 a year
    2) Put up a simple web page on it that says “Welcome to the hottest social network of (your small town here).” We are in invite mode only. Please get a member to refer you.” (in case the owner wonders why so many customers have emails there)
    3) Create a catch-all mailbox. That means anything sent to @yourdomain goes to that one mailbox.
    4) Just make up names and put them on your cards as needed to that email address.

    I do that with my domains. If a place is going to offer a perk to sign up with an email address, I give them one-time use on a domain I own, check it once to get the coupon/perk, then block it after that.

  45. When I am asked for this type of personal info, be it zip code email or home phone number, I just simply say I would rather not give this information out. I dont have to justify this and the person asking usually gets it right away and they never seem to be offended and I can remain polite and PRIVATE.

  46. I know restaurants ask for this information; sometimes it is on the back of their receipts, sometimes cards up at the front (which, by the way, takes the pressure off people I would THINK).

    Anyway, I have only given my email out to ONE restaurant, THe Counter – because I want to know what their monthly burgers are!!

  47. A few places where I waited tables resorted to this sort of thing. Making their waitstaff get phone numbers, email addresses etc. Of course the customers HATED this. I always thought it made the establishment look desperate (which, I guess they must have been). I remember waitresses and bartenders making up information to turn in (because so few customers were actually willing to give it to us) because there was a quota.

  48. Honestly, this is when I think we should encourage union activity coming back into the workplace in this country. This behavior by adults to other adults is beyond abusive.
    Who looks out for those of us serving the public. We have enough to do to keep our wits about us working in various service industry but to find abusiveness of this magnitude from the employers of America. This is disgusting.

  49. I love the description of the CROS.

    I worked for someone with all those symptoms.

    Is it alright if I put this on my facebook?

    I know my old owner reads my notes……I have not worked for her for 3 years. She is THAT nosy.

  50. Oh, isn’t there a smart soul who could

    a) lay his/her hands on those lists of MILLIONS of email addresses that hackers use
    b) marry that list to software that reads text out loud and, finally
    c) have the whole thing phone this nutcase non-stop leaving voice message after message reading emails to him non-stop in that chilling computer voice?

    As D Desaris once said “I’m not so much old and wise but old and very, very cruel.”

  51. I work for a guy just like this, so I’m really getting a kick out of your replies…

    To the people defending the owner: This kind of behavior is NOT what makes businesses successful, particularly not restaurants. Abusing your staff causes high turnover, which costs you money.

    And I’m sure this isn’t “a simple request”. This guy, most likely, issues several contradictory requests at a time, freaks out over the littlest, most inconsequential thing, ignores serious problems that he causes, and screams first and asks questions later.

  52. Sorry, but I really agree with Mr.Ponorovsky albeit the angry email. If you were in his shoes, I’m sure your temper would flared up as well. Why? One, because his intruction wasn’t followed and Two, his idea is actually very creative. Who would have thought you could have this alternative way to collect the emails directly from customers? If they were requested to fill in their emails through leaflets, brochures or whatever, nobody would ever do that. But if requested face-to-face, I’m sure the chances are higher because patrons would be unlikely to turn you down. And if you think you can buy a database? Have you thought how much would that cost and the unethical way the emails in the database was collected?? Waiters, at the same time, are good choice of sales persons to promote the restaurant’s food and specialties. Maybe he should be a little innovative and try to prepare ‘simple’ forms where waiters can carry and give out when they arrive if the bills. I think the customers don’t mind if they know what is the purpose is for i.e. new menu, promotions etc. Even if they decline the request, it is OK. If his waiters had done their best, it is then all right to say ‘Good job’.

  53. I worked in a very upscale neighborhood dining establishment where we were to collect email addresses. They were used to send emails to invite them back and they were giving printable coupons for money off their next experience in the restaurant. Management made a game out of it-did you ever have to do “roll-ups”?? Well, no one likes to do them. So for every email address you got, you received a free pass “to get out of jail” for one shift. You better believe those email addresses were collected with a vengeance!! I still have one pass left over from that tour. :)

  54. Hilarious! It reminds me of the owner of the restaurant where I work. He is constantly on our asses about handing out comment cards to get email addresses, and is always threatening to write us up or fire us if we don’t each get 120 a month.
    I never push customers too much because I sure as hell wouldn’t want to get all those emails telling me about his “brilliant” ideas.
    But maybe I should sign up for the email list…that way I would always know about promotions and the like before customers fill me in

  55. Having been a former restaurant manager for an owner with CROS I’d like to point out some symptoms you may have forgotten to include in the diagnostic:

    - Dissociation from responsibility: (i.e. failure to pay bills on time) May or may not stem from a fore mentioned extreme narcissism.

    - Inability to preform simple mathematical calculations: There does not seem to be a corresponding root cause in the diagnostic. This leads to results such as berating employees for *only* doing $2,000 in sales in a 20 seat restaurant on a Tuesday night with average entrees of $7.50 (as an example… not actual numbers)

    - Holier than thou complex: No matter the task assigned the CROS patient has the sense that they could do it better, faster, and cheaper than the person they assigned the task. Whether it be cleaning gum off the floor or assembling a 5 course menu to fit in a small budget, the patient believes whole heartedly that they and they alone in the world could do it best.

  56. cros…Soo true! Some owner can get crazy..
    @Ex-rest.manger “No self-respecting person should have to put up with that”

    completely agree with you even if the money is good ppl don’t deserve to be treated and contu to take that..servers are sales people so the way boss peer and coworker effect how much you like your job. It get really hard to motivate to get up and go to work with any excitment at all.

  57. I just started reading Waiter Rant, and I was instantly captivated by the similarities of Amici’s to my own place of employment. I am inspired to comment tonight because I am on call…. seriously? Are there any other restaurants out there that put their servers on call? Anyway… I’m not even serving tonight; I was supposed to bartend. At first I was on the schedule at 6 then Mary the equivalent to Sammie called me to tell me not to come in until 10:30 to then call back and put me on call at 10:45 ON A SATURDAY. WTF?! The owner of Cafe Suck also suffers from CROS and is probably Caesar’s twin brother. He went to school for multiple things… he’s a chef, an attorney, and a business man (with degrees to prove it) but this cocktail of jobs only says one thing to me: SCAM ARTIST. The most fucked up part to this job is that the wait staff has to tip out 22% and does not get to claim cash tips… even though we pocket some anyway. And if I bartend, I don’t keep any tips. I bartend for $2.83 an hour and $38 every 2 weeks. This restaurant is located in Pittsburgh in Shady Side which is the perfect environment for bad tippers (the Shadyside hospital is within spitting distance). I have only been working there for about a year, and the only reason why I am still there is because I’m in grad school and no one is going to hire my broke ass when I can only work once a week. It’s almost time to call in! Please comment and I’ll let you know if I had to go in!

  58. Jesus, Cafe Suck-I don’t know whether to cry for you or rescue you!(Did you have to go in?) You’d be better off working at Mickey D’s or Taco Hell. My daughter was an asst. manager while in high school at Taco Hell, and she pulled some awesome grades. You can do it too!!!

  59. ALL NIGGGGEERS ARE DEAD BEATS, THEY NEVER PAY THEIR BILL, AND THEY ALL HAVE BAD CREDIT, THESE NIGGGGERS NEED TO GO BACK TO AFRICA, THE SHIETHOLE, WHERE THEY BELONG, DIRTY LOW LIFE NIGGGGERS!!!

  60. I hate to admit it but I actually work for someone like this and have for 17 years. Although I have the utmost respect for him as a businessman I completely lost respect for him as a person. It’s a mom and pop type esablishment and I feel bad for his family who happen to be very nice people. The staffs attitude has trickled down to them which may not be fair but I understand it.

  61. My first waitress job was at a chain restaurant with a regional manager just like this. Mind you the entire place was mostly staffed by high school students and some first year college kids. One night he locked the door after close *I had filled in for someone and worked TWO doubles back to back that night so I’m operating on zero sleep* and proceeded into a hour and a half long verbal abuse fest over catsup lids. Mind you there was nothing wrong with the catsup lids…I think he was on a coked up bender but, what did I know back then.

    Now? I really don’t work around the crazy manager types. I leave. I’ve grown a much thicker skin AND I just don’t put up with it.

  62. #28-reality check, #51-john and #64-nina:
    Seriously? Mr. Ponorovsky is a deranged boss. I have two wonderful bosses who have never, EVER, resorted to this sort of behavior to “run a business.” It doesn’t take this sort of behavior to make a place successful, nor does it take obtaining patron’s e-mail addresses. There are different, more effective ways of advertising than barraging customers with unwanted spam. I had an owner like him once who would berate me in front of customers and employees. My final straw was when he dumped red wine on me. I can tell you that owners like Mr. Ponorovsky are egotistical maniacs who can quickly turn their verbal abuses into threatening physical ones. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen and that is NO WAY to run a successful business.

  63. If that place did 450 covers, then those waiters are making tons of money every week.

    If I worked there, I’d be grateful that I get to work in a money pit like that. If the owner wants emails, give him emails! Your making hundreds of dollars per night!

    Dealing with asshole owners/managers/chefs is part of the business……its just the price you have to pay to be making that kind of money sometimes.

  64. That email reminded me of how lucky I am to work in a place that is government mandated. If a manager sent something like that (and they wouldn’t. We have good supervising staff), they would be out the door 10 seconds after they hit “send”.

    I did have a psycho boss during university when I was working as bartender at the mess on a military base. She never did anything and then yelled about it. I always did my job and had it inspected to make sure it was up to snuff. I would then get yelled at later because I “hadn’t had my duties checked”. She didn’t write it down, so I got yelled at.

    My favourite was the beer incident. One night, my reserves were running low in the beer fridge, and she was working. I did not have keys for the storage area, so I had to rely on her to get any supplies out of storage. I asked her once, and she said she would get it. She came back with nothing, and when I asked her for it again, she said that I hadn’t. I second-guessed myself and said “ok, but could I get a few cases of Blue? I only have 3 bottles and no cases.” She disappeared again and when she came back, I asked her if she was getting it (keep in mind, these are half-hour spans between askings). I was down to 1 beer at that point. I was yelled at for not asking her sooner (please refer to the above statements), called incompetent for letting the stock get low, then told to go get the beer myself… I had to remind her I didn’t have keys.

    I stayed on for about 8 months after that, largely for the clientele (I loved the regulars), but eventually went to the base chief and upper management in the CF support staff… I decided that I deserved better treatment.

    Paradou staff: I hope you don’t take this from your boss for much longer. Good luck on the job hunt. Leave him in the lurch. He has no respect for you as workers, and you should not worry about the establishment.

  65. There’s a great tapas place in Boston, Tasca, and they have a little form where you can leave your email. The servers mention it with the check and suggest signing up because you get emailed coupons and such. Lots of people give their emails, and I have gotten more than one free pitcher of Sangria because of their email dealies.

    That seems a lot simpler and nicer than going off on one.

  66. I ate at Paradou a few years ago and the service was horribly slow and rude. Wouldn’t go back anyway. Now I know why.

  67. I want to go there and after my meal I want to demand to speak to the owner and tell him that the waiter asked for my email and I shall never eat there again. And ask him who was the idiot who thought this was a good idea.

  68. Who communicates with their restaurant staff via e-mail anyway?

    I’ve worked in restaurants of all sorts, from the lowest of the low, to some pretty high-level type places, and I’ve never had a bad experience with an owner. Ok, I lie. Technically the owner at my first job, or one of them, anyways, was completely anal about everything, and he did pretty much stoop to language as contained in that email, but… I dunno, I guess seeing it written out makes it actually feel a lot worse. Then again, he never berated the entire staff, and when he berated someone it wasn’t over something as trivial as emails and usually ended in a better-performing server.

    That’s just my two cents.

  69. My favorite place to eat is a local diner. They have a Facebook fan page which is posted on the wall behind the register as is ‘look for us on Facebook’ printed on the business cards located on the register. If you like them, ‘fan’ them on FB and they will post ‘for a coupon good for a certain item during this date/time period please go to our website’. They do this and advertise in the local ‘daily’ with BOGO coupons and the like. Non-intrusive as you make the decision to go on their website. If it can work for a diner, why not an upscale(?) restaurant. Thanks for the warning….was planning a trip to NYC and I know where NOT to patronize.

  70. This guy sounds somewhat like my boss- except my boss doesn’t send out emails, he verbally yells at you inside the restaurant, while there are customers inside. He will even scream at the waiters and cooks on a Friday night in the middle of a dinner rush– and he gets mad if there arent cocktail napkins underneath a customers drink. What are we supposed to do if the customer takes their drink off of the cocktail napkin?

    This guy has some serious anger management issues, just like my boss. But how can he charge you $100 if they don’t get emails? is that even legal?

    This really proves that most restaurant owners are CRAZY. They think their entire staff is out to get them, when really their entire staff is just there to make their money, and then they want to leave. At the end of the night, that’s all that really matters to them.

    I really enjoyed reading this and I liked how you made it sound exactly like a conversation, like you actually had a conversation with him even though you didn’t.

    People are CRAZY!

  71. I kinda giggled when I was filling in the blanks to comment. It asked for the mail. I didnt really. Wow, i have so far worked at only one place almost for a year. But i have started handing out resumes slowly while doing part time at the place. I think it is important just to let yourself aware of the work environment you would have once you start working at a place. Let the owner or the manager know that you are not up for any kind of demeaning acts. I know it can be seen as a bad attitute but back it up by mentioning how hard you work and that is all that matters. I wouldnt wanna start working at a place knowing how the workers are treated as. But if you are metal-skinned, just work until you get kicked. I dont see any reason to take any one of those comments seriously. Best way to cope with these kinda treatment is to bitch about that/them. Best coping mechanism.

  72. This is hilarious. I am a restaurant owner myself and I know what that guy feels like. I want so bad to go on a rant like that someday, but that’s what separates me from the crazies. Professionalism isn’t a lost art in the restaurant business, but sometimes I wonder. Great blog, enjoy reading. Check out my blog about owning a restaurant at http://www.nickhrestaurant.blogspot.com. Thanks and happy writing!

  73. I’m out of the restaurant business now but some of these posts sure bring back memories of that crazy business. I owned a place on Vancouver Island some years back. A young waiter applied for a job and told he had quit another position at a “high end,” establishment nearby. I already knew the owner of this place was a “bit off,” but I was still surprised by the waiter’s response.

    It turned out that a group of four seated in a window table overlooking the garden had complained that the food wasn’t up to standard. The megalomanic owner instructed the waiters to go outside to the garden, stand by the window, drop their pants and MOON the offending table. Several did. The young lad who applied to me for a job refused and quit on the spot. I hired him. (Guess he didn’t want to make an “ass” of himself.) The motto of this story is; if you’re visiting Vancouver Island; to tip or not to tip might be the least of your concerns. Cheers!

  74. Great write-up, but a frustrating read, due to the lack of proper punctuation in a lot of spots. Please close your quotations! If this article is following some sort of nouveau grammatical style, of which I?隆茅a??a?隆茅m not aware, I remain frustrated; however, I apologize.

  75. Before I walked out I would be tempted to knock this a-hole straight the F out. I have been in the business for over 20 years and am the best at what I do. When the owners have a bad day and decide to take their anger out on me they better be damn ready for me to take my anger out on them! If I’m going to jail I will make it count!

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