About a month ago, I went on a Facebook/Twitter rant about a spot called Khan’s Bar & Grill and I received the same response about 10 times over: “What happened??” For a minute I struggled with whether to even give this place one drop of attention from my site, but on this Etiquette Tuesday, I decided it was finally time to share my story.
I was invited alongside another food blogger to visit Khan’s on H St., NE to try their Mongolian bowls. I arrive to a less than friendly waitress who seemed confused when I asked for the Public Relations (PR) representative, which was the person who invited me to the event. Finally, she figured out who this person was and directed me to the bar to wait for the PR contact to finish up another meeting. I sat at the bar and was engaged in some light conversation with the friendly bartender, when the PR contact came out and instructed me that she would have to leave due to a family emergency but assured me the staff would take care of us for the rest of the evening.
After the PR contact left, this is when the evening went rapidly downhill. Once seated outside with the other food blogger, a man who introduced himself as a silent owner of Khan’s came and sat down at the table with us. He proceeded to question us about our blogs, stating “anyone can do a blog” and insulting us before finally closing out his comments with “Is there anything else we can do for you??”. The other food blogger responded by telling him we had not tried the Mongolian bowls, which was the main reason we came to the restaurant. He then retorts “Well, I’m going to have to talk to the other owner, Mr. Lee, because we have extended ourselves enough with the appetizers”. We decided it was time to go. Now.
When we walked in to tell him that we were leaving and would not be having the Mongolian bowls, he told us they would not be extending themselves any further and that we could leave. We asked him why he was being so rude to us where we were invited to the restaurant (*mind you, by this time other patrons in the restaurant were turning around to see what was going on…) and he responded that they did not invite us, rather the PR contact had invited us. We responded by saying “Doesn’t she represent you??” and he simply responded back with “We did not invite you”.
Ok, for those of you who do not understand how food blogging and the media world work, let me break this down for you. The Public Relations representative works as a liaison between the restaurant and the media. They are hired on behalf of the restaurant to act as a representative for the restaurant establishment. The restaurant in this situation did not understand the role of the PR consultant and totally undermined her knowledge and skills as a professional PR representative. If they felt that they did not like the way she was handling the PR for the restaurant, they should have discussed this with her at a later date/time versus resolving the problem by making us feel unwelcome.
In all my years of blogging, I have never received such horrible service and treatment especially where I was invited to an establishment. Blogging may seem like an easy job to those that do not do it on a consistent basis but it becomes a part-time/full-time job when you blog the way that I and many other bloggers do. To be ridiculed and insulted after trekking to the other side of town for some rubbery calamari, dried out chicken wings and $10 Mongolian BBQ, I would not recommend this place to anyone especially to my readers. Usually I would not put this negative energy out on a restaurant but I would not want anyone to voluntarily spend their money in an establishment that does not know how to treat those that were directly invited into their establishment. Who needs that when there are over a 1,000 other restaurants in the District to visit?? Not me.
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- Black Finn — johnnaknowsgoodfood.com | October 13, 2011