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Monday, August 23, 2010

Ever Pretended to Be a Restaurant Critic's Relative to Get Better Service?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 4:01 PM

click to enlarge Saying you're our BFF won't move you through the Farolito line any faster. - JUSTIN S./YELP
  • Justin S./Yelp
  • Saying you're our BFF won't move you through the Farolito line any faster.
We read Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer's harrowing blog post about desperate diners masquerading as his relatives in order to curry special treatment at restaurants. There was the story about the "two gals" at The Tipsy Pig:
At one point they said to the server, "Do you know who Michael Bauer is? Well he's my uncle and he asked me to come in and review the restaurant for my blog. I'm going to tell them that this place sucks and that his reviews were wrong." The last straw was when they asked the server for a menu item that didn't exist, and asked, "How hard is it to make a f***ing grilled cheese sandwich?" when they were told the kitchen couldn't do it ... . The management finally had to approach the table to tell them they were unable to accommodate their requests. They got up and stormed out of the restaurant without paying their bill. On the way out, they continued to drop your name saying how "you guys are in deep s**t with Michael Bauer."
Then there was a report from Wayfare Tavern. Just last week, Tyler Florence dropped Bauer an e-mail:
"Not sure if she's a friend or trying to get a table. Funny... We're getting 'lots' of friends of yours."

The possibility Florence went ahead and chummily hooked up the Bauer family impostor is surprising. Were we in TyFlo's shoes, such foolishness would have been grounds for stoning by way of heavy kitchen pots. Still, these tales disturb us, and not just for the sake of the restaurants terrorized by these people or for the irritation Bauer must feel, but because it might happen to us next. We don't have any celebrity chefs or heavy-hitter publicists on speed-dial, but next thing you know, the trend of dropping reviewer surnames will trickle down and there'll be a rash of faux Birdsalls trying to get faster service at El Farolito.

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Andrew Simmons

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