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Calabrese on Group Think and Sacred Cows


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#21 ExtraMSG

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:54 AM

Don't bring me into this. I believe people can be wrong, stupid, have bad taste or any combination of the three. ;-)

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#22 chefken

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:13 AM



Just thought I'd add, for the record that it is bizarre that my name should come up in the groupthink/sacredcows thread.
I have never attacked anyone for their preference in dining or drinking establishments.
When someone has attacked a restaurant for certain policies however I do point out why a restaurant might choose to have those policies.

I'm just wondering, since I've been involuntarily dragged into this, where do these things begin and end? This is not meant to be an argument but I guess would help me (and some others I imagine navigate the politics of this board)

Person 1) A statement is made.
Person 2) Someone disagrees.
Person 3) Someone disagrees with the disagreer.

Why is it ok for P2 to disagree with P1 but suddenly it is an "attack" for P3 to disagree with P2?

Correct me if I am wrong but that seems to be the logic at work here is claiming that people with dissenting opinions are attacked.

An Example:

P1 I really liked everything about Place X. Great environment. I'll be back!
P2 I went to Place X but will never return. It was horrible. The owner really needs to turn the volume down on the music and change their lighting- it was so dark! I wanted a quiet night out and the atmosphere here totally ruined it.
P3 You realise that place is a bar, right? Catering to people seeking a quiet night out really wasn't what the owner had in mind.

It seems that the claim on this post is that P3 is "attacking" P2. But by that logic how can you say that P2 isn't "attacking" P1?


See, I don't think that - in your examples above - that P2 is disagreeing with P1 as much as offering another opinion. To be disagreeing, P2 would have to be refuting P1's opinion, or implying that P1 was wrong in their experience. Which isn't the case. However, P3 seems to be saying that P2 is wrong somehow, and gives the reason for it. But really, what the owner has in mind is kind of irrelevant, unless they want to stop everyone at the door and tell them what they should expect their experience to be, and if they have some other experience they shouldn't come in.

I don't know enough about the thread that Calabrese is commenting on to be able to address the dynamic there. But I do think that sometimes people do get ganged up on - and their attempts to express an opinion refuted - if they happen to run counter to the group. Not always. But if someone says that they had a certain experience somewhere, I don't think it's valid for someone else to try to maintain that their experience was other than what it was, just because they happen to have a fondness for that place. Or because they think they know more about the business or a particular food.


So you and Nick have never, ever corrected people who posted things about your places....? Are you sure because I vaguely recall....
Lets say someone went on a tirade about what a crap excuse for a deli K&Z is because of you guys serving a reuben for example... which is completely unkosher of course.... you would never correct them that you never claimed to be a kosher place, right? And if you guys missed it and one of your regulars came on and let them know that you would of course want that post (the one defending your unkosher-ness)removed because it was "abusive" to provide a correction, right?


I don't believe I've ever done that. Can't speak for Nick as I haven't read all his posts. I don't think I would try to argue someone out of their opinion because my intent invalidated it. I just don't think it's ever effective, and ends up creating bad feelings with the customer.

I might contradict someone who makes a factual statement that is wrong. For example, if the poster had said, "I can't believe that Kenny and Zuke's - being a Kosher Deli - serves a Reuben." I think I would then say that we are not a Kosher Deli, and that it's therefore okay for us to serve a Reuben. If they then say that the only good Deli is a Kosher Deli, I can't argue further.

In the example you used above, the owner may have intended the place to be a bar, but somehow that message is being lost on the unhappy customer. The owner is expecting the customer to be mollified somehow by the fact that his intention was for the place to be somehow different than this customer wanted. But unless that is clearer to the unhappy customer, it makes no difference to how good or bad a time they had.

In our case, the fact that we're not a Kosher Deli is a fact, and it is clear. Expecting us to be Kosher would be like going into Pok Pok and expecting to get Indian food.

It's interesting, the parallels of your examples with Tanuki, which you intend to be a bar. If someone didn't like your food on a particular night (as inconceivable to me as that may be), would it then be valid for you to say, "Well, we're a bar, and what do expect from bar food?" I don't think so. The experience that someone derives from your place is what it is. Most often it's going to be what you intend it to be, if you do your job right. Sometimes someone will have a shitty time. Nothing you can do about it, least of all try to talk them into the fact that they didn't have a shitty time. Or that their shitty time was a result of their unrealistic expectations. Just makes it worse, IMO.
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#23 Quo Vadis

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:34 AM

It's interesting, the parallels of your examples with Tanuki, which you intend to be a bar. If someone didn't like your food on a particular night (as inconceivable to me as that may be), would it then be valid for you to say, "Well, we're a bar, and what do expect from bar food?" I don't think so. The experience that someone derives from your place is what it is. Most often it's going to be what you intend it to be, if you do your job right. Sometimes someone will have a shitty time. Nothing you can do about it, least of all try to talk them into the fact that they didn't have a shitty time. Or that their shitty time was a result of their unrealistic expectations. Just makes it worse, IMO.


I think you're talking past me here. I've never tried to justify someoen not liking the food here online- although if a non drinker comes in we warn them that our food is intentionally "overseasoned".

What you are missing is that many people post comments on a place wanting or expecting to be heard by the owner. Such as in cases where someone says "I wish they would XYZ...."

It is more to say... "this is what we do, if you didn't like it then you won't like it now because the place is exactly as we intended". Saving someone a second unpleasant experience. I would never try to convince someone they didn't have a shitty time here.. what I would try to convince them of is that if they had a shitty time here before the time they have will be just as shitty in the future. ;)
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#24 Quo Vadis

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:37 AM

Don't bring me into this. I believe people can be wrong, stupid, have bad taste or any combination of the three. ;-)


That wasn't intended to be insulting.. what I meant was that you have been known to use the forum to have dialogue with your customers... for the most part that I've seen with positive results.
Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escap'd shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances-Hume

#25 chefken

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:33 PM


It's interesting, the parallels of your examples with Tanuki, which you intend to be a bar. If someone didn't like your food on a particular night (as inconceivable to me as that may be), would it then be valid for you to say, "Well, we're a bar, and what do expect from bar food?" I don't think so. The experience that someone derives from your place is what it is. Most often it's going to be what you intend it to be, if you do your job right. Sometimes someone will have a shitty time. Nothing you can do about it, least of all try to talk them into the fact that they didn't have a shitty time. Or that their shitty time was a result of their unrealistic expectations. Just makes it worse, IMO.


I think you're talking past me here. I've never tried to justify someoen not liking the food here online- although if a non drinker comes in we warn them that our food is intentionally "overseasoned".

What you are missing is that many people post comments on a place wanting or expecting to be heard by the owner. Such as in cases where someone says "I wish they would XYZ...."

It is more to say... "this is what we do, if you didn't like it then you won't like it now because the place is exactly as we intended". Saving someone a second unpleasant experience. I would never try to convince someone they didn't have a shitty time here.. what I would try to convince them of is that if they had a shitty time here before the time they have will be just as shitty in the future. ;)


I never meant to imply that you tried to justify it. Sorry if I gave that impression...I was just using a hypothetical that might relate to Tanuki to illustrate the point I was trying to make. And I think your warning to non-drinkers is entirely appropriate.


I have no problem with owners commenting. If someone, for example, complains that something is salty, I think it's fine to say that we highly season the food and that it's not to everyone's taste. Especially non-drinkers or people who are salt sensitive. I think it's inappropriate to argue with someone that the food isn't salty if they think it is. To them it is, and they're right. To them. I also think it's incorrect for them to say the food is salty, when they should be saying that they find it salty, or to their taste it's salty. But as an owner I wouldn't point that out. Towards what end?

It's interesting - We get complaints often from people who are shocked that our sandwiches cost what they do. $12+ for a pastrami sandwich? $13+ for a Reuben? Incredible! Why, I can get a footlong at Subway for less than 1/2 that! Doesn't matter that the Subway sandwich weighs 1/3 what ours does, that the bread is crap, that the meats are pumped full of water and chemicals, etc. And that most people make 2 meals out of one of ours (AND it comes with a side.) All they see is the total, and some bitch about it. Nothing we can do.

But so often they bitch about it, but they come in anyway. Like somehow the bitching enhances the experience. I've found the same thing with salt. A lot of people will complain the pastrami is salty. It's a bit like complaining that bacon is salty. Uh...Yeah? But they come in anyway. I think if I were to try to placate them or explain our intent, it would just make it worse. The product speaks for itself. If someone doesn't like it, they'll figure it out. Can't please everyone.
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#26 Angelhair

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:38 PM

Can't we get back to hating on Calabrese? That was so much more fun :blink: