An amazing anecdote from Grant Achatz’s new restaurant

Eater interviewed Achatz’s business partner, Nick Kokonas who revealed this unbelievable story from their newest Chicago restaurant, Next.

There are a lot of people that come into our restaurants and have a really good time and think it’s a good value. If you’re not, why would you want to subject yourself to it? We had a table during the Paris menu that came in and said, “We ordered the wine pairing but I only drink red wine. I’m allergic to white.” And there was a whole string of requests after that. Our manager came to me at one point and said, “Nick, I’m really trying to make this work, but they’re not having fun and they’re starting to bum out the tables around them. Is there anything you can do?”

What did you do?
I walked over and said, “Will’s really trying to make this work for you, but it doesn’t seem to be your type of place. What I’d like to do is end the meal right now, refund your money, and make you a reservation at any other place in this city. And I will pay for it just to get you out of here.” They were jaw-dropped. The table next to them basically spit their food out laughing. And they said they wanted to stay, which is amazing. They looked miserable — one of the things they said was that they didn’t like French food, and this was the Paris menu. The woman also complained about the chicken, saying it was undercooked. There were several things on that menu that could have had some variations, but that chicken was cooked sous-vide. There was no way. And I told her. She insisted, and so did I. The customer isn’t always right.

Have you ever witnessed or heard of a restaurant going so far as to refund and  make new reservations elsewhere for unhappy customers?

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