I don’t have a degree in hospitality management and I haven’t worked in the industry either, but what I know for sure is that if it’s about good food vs good service, it’s the latter that always wins!
What I experienced at Pizza by the Bay, located at Churchgate in Mumbai, on 29 December (the last weekend of 2018,) was not just the worst service. I would have probably ignored that, but, when humiliation, embarrassment, offence, and abuse were served on the combo platter at this fine restaurant to a friend and me, we decided to fight back.
So, here’s what happened. December nights are perfect to visit an open restaurant and so we decided to go to the very famous Pizza by the Bay (PBTB). A friend and I reached the place at around 10 pm and ordered a long island ice tea, whiskey, garlic bread, and a pizza.
We got the drinks first, the long island ice tea (that costs Rs 750 at PBTB) was served in the shortest possible glass with just a layer of some mixers. Three-fourth of the glass was filled with ice. My friend described it as "sherbet on the rocks". We called the manager, the very "courteous", Mr Gavin Vaz, and told him that the drink wasn't potent enough and should have been served in a tall glass.
The manager snapped, and said, “this is our standard, don’t know what you’re looking for.”
We were taken aback and said that we have been visiting this place since forever, and that's not how anyone should be talking to his customers in the first place. After telling us in many different ways that we probably don’t know how long island ice tea is made or served, he said in the same arrogant tone, “Aur kuch chaiye toh bolo, yeh toh hum aise hi dete hai.”
We asked him to watch his tone as it was definitely not the best way to handle guest conflict. To which he replied, "Don't tell me how to do my job, sir". An argument ensued and after a point, I just told my friend we should leave the place since they don't care about their guests anyway.
When Mr Vaz heard me say that, he yelled, "Yes, get out of my restaurant. Bahar niklo yahan se!"
All this because we were not happy with the drink. He insulted us in front of 80 other guests and the staff. It was not about the drink anymore, it was about Vaz’ attitude and downright rude behaviour.
We refused to leave and when we told him that he can’t ask guests to leave, he shouted again, “There’s a ‘rights to admission’ board outside and I get to decide who sits at MY restaurant.” The very arrogant manager then called the security guys to take us out.
We even told him that he was not leaving a very good impression on the seated guests but obviously, he didn't care about them anyway. We had never EVER experienced anything like this before but we refused to let go.
We waited outside the restaurant for an hour-and-a-half, waiting for this man to come out and speak to us and give us an explanation for his behaviour. At almost 11.15 pm, he walked past us and we ran after him, asking him to apologise for his behaviour.
"Apologise? For what?", he said.
We thought an hour would have been enough for someone in this business to realise the mistake he has made, but clearly not. I told him I wouldn't let this go and would escalate the matter, asked him if he even cared about the image of this iconic restaurant that has been serving guests since 1967. He said "Do whatever you want, I'm not scared."
Just when I started recording everything that was happening, poor Mr Vaz did get scared and ran inside. I wish I had thought of recording the entire "experience"!
After almost two hours, the assistant manager of PBTB, Mr Kunal met us with his fake customer-care voice and told us, “I apologise on Mr Vaz’ behalf, but I’ll be honest with you, I can’t speak with him right now. But I shall discuss this incident with him tomorrow.”
Anyone who had witnessed what happened would have something better to say but then I guess this is what they are learning under that very dignified leadership. Mr Kunal did "his bit" and left.
That's when a valet came and genuinely apologised for what we had to go through. He told us, "I have been seeing you here since years and I'm sorry this happened today."
We left the place because there was no point in staying there. I also tweeted about the incident soon after at 11.50pm. This experience tarnished so many fond memories and while I know what Mr Vaz did can't be undone, people who saw him behave the way he did with us can't un-see it either.
I really wish some action is taken against Vaz and I hope that nobody ever is humiliated the way we were.
Thank You, Pizza By The Bay, for pretty much ruining the last weekend of 2018 for me. I also shared my experience on Twitter, Facebook, Zomato and TripAdvisor.
The Quint reached out to the restaurant for their response.
Here is what the restaurant said.
Please find below the reply.
Thank you for your feedback.
At Pizza By The Bay, we follow universal standards for all our beverages. The Long Island Iced tea contains 75ml of liquor as per standard guidelines. However, glassware is unique to Pizza By The Bay. We understand that you were displeased with the size of the glass in which the drink was served and our manager offered to replace the same with a drink of their choice which was then turned down.
We apologise for the unpleasant experience.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)