Customer Service double standards!!!!

I received the email below, describing a very obvious example of terrible customer service:

“Hi Everyone,

 I’d like to share a story that happened to me yesterday with you:

sequoia-logo Yesterday, me and a few friends decided that we want to go out today & wanted to go to Sequoia .. My friend called to reserve a table for today & they told her it’s all booked out. My other friend decides to give it a shot, and they tell her it’s all booked out on Thursday AND on Friday. I thought something wasn’t right, so I called (I used to live in the USA), spoke using my fluent American English and asked to reserve .. to my shock, they gave me a reservation!! My friends who spoke Arabic were told that there are no tables, but when they thought I was a foreigner they gave me a reservation for 6 people!! Looks like they favor foreigners over Egyptians!! I’m infuriated!! Why does an EGYPTIAN restaurant decline reservations from Egyptians only to give the tables to foreigners?!?!? Are we THAT worthless in their eyes????

 I will be boycotting this restaurant! I’m going there today to raise hell with the manager.

 Note: My friend was with me in the car when they told her they are all booked out, and I called as soon as she hung up so I’m sure no one had cancelled their reservation!!

 My contact details are as follows if anyone would like to contact me directly about this:

Omar M. Elkalla
Business Intelligence Developer
Tel: (+2) 011-555-5373
Personal email:


The worst thing anyone can do is to apply discrimination among his customer base for any reason.  If you do, it will easily spread in the market and you will lose more customers everyday.  Sequoia might be surprised to lose even foreigner customers if they find out what they did, because once I as a customer know that you are capable of lying in one thing then you could lie in several other things.  How do I know then that you have a clean kitchen, that you offer me trusted food and drinks and not cheap alternatives, and … and

It is a well known fact that bad words travel faster than good ones.  One angry customer told all his friends and acquaintances about the Sequoia incident and definitely it will cost the restaurant.

Looking at it from a business point of view, you are a restaurant in Egypt where most of the inhabitants are Egyptians and you do not want Egyptians as your customers….Sounds odd?  How many foreigners will visit you everyday compared to Egyptians? Their attitude seems like people who do not want to make money or reputation in the market.
They might defend themselves by saying “Egyptians reserve by phone and I keep the place reserved for them and then they do not show up”.  Well, it is simple make the reservation and put a policy that if you do not show on the exact time of your reservation, it will be automatically cancelled.  So simple and pleases everyone, instead of lying and favoritism.

Just another bad example of DON’TS in customer service.  And I have to blame the restaurant manager.  If he did a good job managing the place and setting policies straight, his employees would never have dared to do that. SO I could say it is an example of bad managerial skills as well.


3 thoughts on “Customer Service double standards!!!!

  1. (Start Sarcasm)

    The restaurant manager is being an excellent manager ensuring top dollar customers visiting his place. He also is playing an ingenious game giving his restaurant the reputation that it’s a highly desired place, attracting more and more people.

    (End Sarcasm)

    I had a feeling something was suspicious with the way they told me they were all booked several weeks ago…

    Boycotting it and telling my friends about it

  2. none of this surprises anyone i know. this, plus the terrible service, is a good reason not to bother. there are countless stories of the ineptitude of the door staff and the management. i was recently called by someone claiming to be in the management team there – he was pissed because in the Croc (which i publish) we wrote that although the setting is amazing the service is abominable. He asked me what right i had to say this and i told him that this was my experience, as a paying customer, on several occasions. he didn’t seem to grasp the concept and offered to put an ad in the Croc! his point was that i should not write such negative comments – of course my point to him was that he should fix the place, not shoot the messenger.
    Unfortunately this is true of many other places we review, and we have been threatened on many occasions with legal action.
    management in so many places is substandard, and, unfortunately, this often includes blatant discrimination. I don’t believe it is discrimination in a racial sense (the place is full of Egyptians) but discrimination in a social class sense (speaking English with a US accent being the proof of class for these numbskulls).

  3. Well, I’m the owner of the story above. So i went with my friends & walked up to the door staff and spoke in English and told them that i have a reservation for 6 @ 7:30. the guy looked into his book then let us in. My friend who was the last to enter saw the guy giving us weird looks .. i guess it’s because i don’t look foreign and i have veiled girls with me. anyways, we walked in, sat down & asked for the manager. the manager came & we told him the entire story. of course i spoke in arabic and explained to him that i lived in the USA. my friend, who knew him through her employer, also explained that this is unacceptable & that she has the Canadian passport & could just use that. he explained that this is unacceptable and asked us about the time we made the reservation so he can find out who took it from us. he then told us that Thursday & Friday are always booked out and trying to get a reservation on Wednesday night is impossible! we told him that we got our reservation at 10 pm on Wednesday just cause i spoke english..he then told us that they give reservations to foreigners because they only stay for an hour or so while Egyptians stay for 3 to 4 hours..of course that wasn’t an excuse to us & we told him that this shouldn’t happen and that we as Egyptians are entitled to same service as foreigners! he proceeded & gave me his personal number & asked me to call him anytime i wanna come and he’ll be sure to give us a table for as many people as we want.. we then told him that this doesn’t solve the problem since any other Egyptian won’t be able to get in unless they have foreigners. he told us that they have a computer system where they save people’s numbers on it in order to give them seats and that they do this in order to maintain the quality & class of people who go there in order to keep the place’s standards as high as possible. the manager insisted that we stay and wouldn’t let us leave and even took us to a nile-side table. i asked him saying “well, now i have your number so i can get a reservation while speaking arabic, but what about everyone else & the people at the company i work in whom i told the story to?” he told me that i’m more than welcome to give them his number and they can contact him for a reservation.

    although i disagreed with most of what he said, the manager was very nice and respectable. he wouldn’t let us leave even though he admitted that if this had happened to him he wouldn’t stay. we actually ended up sitting for an hour or so and our rationale behind that was that we’re trying to solve the problem and bring to their attention an issue that they must fix & not just trying to have a fight and leave empty handed. we believe that by staying and having the manager’s contact number, we can now contact him if this issue does happen again or if anyone has a complaint about the restaurant.

    i must point out though that, as Con said, the service isn’t good. they are very slow and that although the first waiter who took our appetizer & main dish orders was nice, the second waiter who we dealt with afterward was very impatient and we couldn’t get a hold of him to place dessert orders except after around 30 minutes of asking to place an order. this might’ve been due to the fact that they were very busy that day, but on the other hand i’ve been to L’Asiatique (at Le Pacha) on a busy day and their service was beyond excellent!!

    although i will not be going to Sequoia again, if anyone has in problems there please don’t hesitate to let me know and i’ll contact the manager directly. and if anyone runs into this “foreigner” issue again, please don’t let it slide and let us know!! we need to fix this problem because i refuse to be treated as a second-class citizen in my own country! and please, if you face any problems with anything/anyone at any restaurant don’t hesitate to ask for the manager and escalate the problem; we won’t change our reality as long as we stay quiet 🙂

    I’d like to thank Doha for posting the story & everyone else who refuses to succumb to substandard treatment that’s based on race, culture, or any other consideration.

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