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Restaurants with "Convention Policies"

 
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:18 pm    Post subject: Restaurants with "Convention Policies" Reply with quote

So the wife and I were up at WonderCon last week, and for lunch we toddled over to Chevy's, a chain restaurant across from the Moscone Center.

Now for the most part (actually, for any occasion) that I've been at a restaurant with sit-down, wait staff service, you get all your food and drinks squared away first, and only at the end do you get the check and pay (and tip).

To my unpleasant surprise, this particular Chevy's had adopted a "convention policy", which was not made clear to us until over an hour had passed since we were seated. It did not really gel until the check was placed on the table, and, thinking it was a mistake, I pointed out we hadn't even gotten our food yet, much less finished it.

So then the waitress explained that, since we were on the patio and had indicated we would be paying in cash (which we thought was a strange question when she'd asked it earlier, but again, not explained why they were asking), we were required to pay for our food ahead of time to avoid the possibility of us skipping out on the bill (had we intended to use a credit card, they would have taken and held it hostage for the same reason).

At that point I politely requested to be billed for the drinks, paid for those, and we left. It's not so much that the service was so slow (though that certainly didn't help), but that I was frankly offended by the policy itself, and would have at least liked to have had it stated up front so I could have found somewhere to eat with less in the way of trust issues.

So exactly how common is this? I had a panel to get to, but my wife and her friend went to another restaurant nearby the Moscone Center that operated in the usual "pay at the end" mode and had a good experience, and I've never had an experience like this at San Diego or Long Beach.

I probably won't feel any less offended if I hear it's common practice around other conventions, but eh... I'm at least curious.
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wrathborne



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh...interesting. I've actually never heard of a 'convention policy' until now. I guess I can see why they'd have something like this set up...Still seems like its a way to keep people at the restaurant longer and make an extra buck or two though.
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Casual Notice
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Joined: 18 Mar 2005
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Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would relate your story to the chain's home office. I doubt that is a company-wide policy but something the manager (or even that waiter) came up with.

It seems especially odd since you guys were probably nicely dressed adults and not teenagers in badly-fitted anime cosplay outfits. Like the wisdom of carding people who buy alcohol and tobacco, there's a point at which you have to assume an adult is an adult.

(This is not meant as a slam on kids, but, come on...we all know who pulls off the lion's share of dine-and-dash scams.)
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it definitely wasn't just made up from the waiter... the manager came out after we requested to pay for the drinks and leave and asked us if everything was all right, and since she asked, I let her know that no, everything was not all right, and in fact, was downright insulting. She reiterated the policy, I told her it was a terrible policy, and I suppose in the end we agreed to disagree. Or rather, I walked away with no intention of eating there again, and every intention of warning others.

Oddly enough, I looked up some reviews (including those of other WonderCon attendees) and no one else mentioned this. So now I want to ask my friend who's been going to WonderCon (and that Chevy's) for years if he was aware of this policy or if it was brand new for 2011.

As for nicely dressed, eh... we were wearing jeans and nerd t-shirts, but it's a freakin' Chevy's, not the Four Seasons. I've been in far fancier places around Cons and been treated well, in exchange for which I always pay my bill and leave a generous tip besides.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2924
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh, yeah, and at this past Emerald City Comic Con there were even discounts at nearby restaurants if you showed your con pass. I didn't go to any though so I can't say whether there was a more negative side to the convention policy there.
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hhammersen



Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL!! I neither hear a restaurant having that "Convention Policy."

Well, I think if they'll continue to operate in such way, I think they won't be able to get customers or have a less customers to come. That's unusual.
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NaarieKermie



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been going to Fanime Con in San Jose, CA for over 10 years and in that time have probably eaten in every single restaurant in the vicinity at least once. I've never experienced anything like that. Some places even have convention deals, coupons and offers that they advertise in our Fanime Guide Book. Most places make you feel welcome, they understand that the con is good for business.

I don't blame you for your reaction. If this ever happened to me I would have felt insulted and embarrassed.
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jpcline



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 291

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint Wolf wrote:
it's a freakin' Chevy's, not the Four Seasons.


"I shall procure my Fresh Mex from a more accommodating establishment...GOOD DAY SIR."
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LukeSurl
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Joined: 24 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of such a thing in the UK.

My experience with the UK's largest con (AFAIK), London MCM, is that the hall is in a dedicated convention centre, and the serving shops are quite used to the hordes.

What they are however is expensive with massive queues. I would strongly advice people attending "behind the tables" to pack lunch, and maybe a thermos of coffee. The added bonus is that you don't need to take a long absence from your table halfway through the con if you don't want to.
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ttallan
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this is well past the date of the OP, but I wanted to add... in my 15 years of comic conventions all over the States and Canada I've never been asked to pay for meals in advance because of a convention policy. I've had gratuity automatically applied when we were in large groups, and frequently had grumpy service, but nothing like your experience. I'm glad you walked out, and that you did so in a dignified manner. What an awful experience.
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this topic rose from its grave. I'm glad to hear this Chevy's was the aberration I thought it was.

It's also a complete non issue for next year since WonderCon is "vacationing" down in Anaheim while the Moscone center undergoes renovations. I suppose they'll go back the year after that. Maybe by then the restaurant will be under new management, or at least will have installed a wall covered in concertina wire around its patio so it's obvious up front how the relationship is gonna go.
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Gual-kun



Joined: 23 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Offensive policy indeed. Here where I live, we have plenty "pay at the end" places and at least, I've never heard of a situation like that one.
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