Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haute Topic! What's on My Mind?

When it comes to travel… it’s my thing. And with that comes the opportunity to visit various destinations, properties, restaurants and spas as a guest. Generally, I’m expected to capture a story and tell others about my experience. I write a lot and often I contribute articles without compensation because I love what I do.

When I decided to pick a spot for a girlfriends brunch story idea… I decided to reach out to Concentrics and highlight one of their restaurants in Virginia Highland. So I invited a group of professional women to join me at Murphy’s on Sunday. Little did we know that what could have been a great experience was about to become a rude awakening.

When I arrived at Murphy’s half the party was there and another woman ran late because of “mommy stuff.” But never-the-less we expected a great afternoon of networking and chatting about ways to support one another’s passions and businesses. During the course of our visit there were some things that the restaurant could have done better, improved upon. But I didn’t focus on that… so I thanked Concentrics for inviting me in to sample the brunch.

To my surprise, I received an email from Concentrics accusing the group of not leaving a tip, staying too long and being late. I was not happy about it… so I called them on it. Ironically, the email didn’t mention the long wait to get our order placed, the dish coming out with a raw egg that I made clear I cannot eat or the fact that one of the girls was overcharged by $55 and called to inquire about it, but received a less than professional response from a manager.

Not only was the information wrong about arrival, tipping and length of stay without taking into account our wait, but it was the way they delivered the information. There was no courtesy call to get our side of the story and no sensitivity to an email that “plays into stereotypes about black women” because you accused us of not tipping even though it’s optional. Perhaps, I shouldn’t expect someone who isn’t a woman of color to get that… but there’s always hope.

It’s unfortunate that in 2010, we still have issues that arise out of stereotypes that cause hurt and bring insults when it could have been avoided by simply picking up the phone and talking to me or us. Now, after the fact, the head of the company wants to talk. As my followers, you tell me what we should talk about?

I appreciate the women who were not at Murphy’s, but understand that when you judge one group of black women—you judge us all. And I am so happy to have a network of girlfriends who support me… even if they were not there. We all have shared experiences that remind us of who others think we are without getting the facts straight; we understand the pain that it causes.

Therefore, until I receive a complete and sincere apology, I will not return to another Concentrics restaurant. I ask that those of you who feel the same way… share your story and refrain from patronizing businesses that stir this kind of raw emotion without putting forth an effort to make it right. Concentrics and Murphy’s have an opportunity to show us that we matter, that we are welcome to enjoy a pleasant experience and walk away with a good taste in our mouths instead of something sour.

I’m not the kind of writer who just goes along to get a meal, but rather one with conviction, courage and passion. I’m just one writer with one voice, but collectively we can make a difference.


  1. Well said, Marian. It is very unfortunate the People of Color Still encounter such negatitive "Stereo-typing" in this 21st Century. Kudos to you for Voicing your Opinions so Eloquently and taking a Positive Stand against persistant "Wrong Doings". It will make a Positive Difference in the interim. Blessings Samatra

  2. Very well said Marian. You've said everything that I 'feel' about this situation.

  3. Being one of the influential women in this group that dined in on Sunday, I must say this entire ordeal is unfortunate. I was very prepared after our power brunch to place Murphy's on my premier concierge list for brunch's to experience in Atlanta..however after receiving this news I thought back to our entire experience and felt the service wasn't authentic, yet a decoy to get us to say what was really unreal. Initially, I thought this server is awesome he's really going over and beyond with his service; which is what I look for when i am attempting to recommended businesses in the Atlanta area, however I now know that he was informed of who we were and that his behavior, may not be a true representation of the service that all patrons would receive if they decided to dine there. Ironically, I made that comment to him saying "my only reservation is knowing your behavior is consistent and that ALL patrons receive this same type of service during their dining experience." He agreed and commented that he was was one of the less seasoned waiters on staff. {which wowed me}

    I would not say don't eat or patronize Murphy's because I don't think Murphy's or any of the other establishments under Concentrics is the issue at hand but I would say this...like I say to all business owners...know your people and the people that represent your company. Concentrics needs to know and understand what they did and own up to the fact that they made several bad decisions. If a writer comes to cover your establishment and then takes the time to write about it for all of his/her audience to enjoy then the least you would do is provide a comp meal for the writer to depict his/her own views to the best of his/her ability. A tip is what you give when you have been given extraordinary service. As a waiter your job is to wait/serve to send an email almost demanding a tip takes away my freedom of speech to say how extraordinary the waiter/server really was. In that case the writer should just pay for his/her own meal.

    Furthermore, you know this is an issue that is bothering one of your patrons...tackle the issue..Humble yourself and take the issue head on! The Concentrics head should have picked up the phone when the issue first arose and attempt to resolve the issue so that it doesn't get out of hand, not let her flunky do the work she didn't have the heart to do, then when it went south tried to clean up behind the flunky. Let the client know you care and want to get your hand around the issue.

    Honestly, I would go back just to compare this "less than seasoned" service I received to what it's really like on an every day run of the mill experience. As a concierge owner I have to remain objective and give the facts and not run my decisions based on emotion..so because I haven't experienced all the restaurants under Concentrics It would be unfair to judge..but so far Murphy's and One Midtown Kitchen have just been short of alright! I can't give rave reviews because I didn't experience that..

    I hope that Concentrics gives you that sincere apology because I think if they don't they will only be doing a disservice to their brand!

  4. Sometimes things just need to be said!

  5. Thank you Marian, for Exposing so Effectively, this "Ongoing" Issue, and bringing this "Unfortunate" and Sad Realization of Type-Casting and Unfair Treatment that REMAINS in Our Society today, to the fore-front again. It is So Good that we have Social Media Outlets like this to Voice/Express Our Intolerance of this Ill Treatment of even "Professionals of Color" in this day and time. Keep up the Excellent Work, Lady M. (The "Pen" is Mightier than the "Sword") #JustSaying

    Dr. Sami

  6. Well said, Marian. It truly is Unfortunate and Sad the We still have to go through this "Type-Casting" at this day and time. Thank you for Exposing and Bringing this "Ill Treatment", of even Professionals of Color, to back to the fore-front.
    Thank God for Social Media Outlets like this to allow us to Express our dismay and Intolerance of this type of Mal-Treatment that continue to plague People of Color in this 21st Century. Remember "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword" Keep Doing Your Thing, Lady M. Persistence pays off in the long run.

    Dr. Sami

  7. Girl call it! I had an encounter with someone who asked me a really dumb question... and she must have immediately knew that she offended me...I'll bet she won't make that mistake again..

  8. All I can say is WOW. Concentrics and Murphys should have apologized and refunded her money ASAP. Their lack of response shows how much they value their customers.

    The fact that they haven't addressed the issue is just as bad the the horrible service that you received.

  9. I cannot believe this happened! I agree with Caramel Glam, money should be refunded, apologizes should be given, and a little concern would go a long way!