Friday, January 16, 2015

Roza, A Thorny Meal

I have to tell the truth. My meal at the popular Roza kosher meat restaurant was a very "thorny" experience. It wasn't just the menu that didn't tempt me or the nothing spectacular food. It was the disgraceful way the staff treated us.

Now for the story.

We had gotten a coupon for a "free meal for two" a few months ago. We don't live in Jerusalem and we pretty much never go out to eat together. I can't remember the last time my husband and I went to a restaurant, just the two of us. Last year we also got a coupon for that restaurant and never even tried to use it. But this week after meeting up with HaDassah and friends, we walked up to Roza, on Rachel Imenu just off of Emek Refaim.

The day before we went, my husband checked the coupon and saw that it was only good for two months, so he called the person who gave it to him and was told that it would be honored, "No problem." But just to be safe, we showed it to the waiter before ordering to ask if what we'd get for it. He brought it to someone in charge and told us that it was good for ns250. If we had been told it wouldn't be accepted we would have left the restaurant, and my husband would have returned it to the person who gave it to him. We would have eaten someplace else, like at home.

It was a cold night, and I enjoyed sitting under the heater. So we chose a meal, which wasn't easy. Nothing appealed to me. My husband got their Roza Schnitzel and I had lentil soup which wasn't bad and some sort of grilled chicken on "stir-fried noodles."

The prices of the actual meals wasn't high, but besides my husband's dish they didn't automatically come with side salad, which annoyed me, since most or all good restaurants in Israel give a side dish of salad with a main course. There also wasn't bread, which wasn't the end of the world for us, since we try not to eat bread with a meal except for the Shabbat challah. I barely nibbled the noodles. My husband had some of them, and still by the end of the meal most were left-over. Stir-fried in most Israeli places includes lots of vegetables, but not at Roza's.

Since we did have ns250 to spend, my husband ordered a glass, of white wine, even though it cost more than what I spend on a whole bottle at Rami Levy. I took this picture before he sipped it. That's right, less than half full, and it tasted just like the same wine we buy. I also ordered their Corona beer from a bottle (after seeing how stingy they were with the wine I didn't want them to pour it) which came open with a slice of lemon.

And then we paid with the coupon and left a tip. But just as we were leaving, we were accosted by the manager who said that our coupon was worthless and we had to pay with money. We were treated like criminals even though we had specifically asked beforehand if the coupon was good. He said:
"The coupon is worth ns250, but since it has expired it's worthless."
I countered with:
"Then we should have been told that when we asked in the first place. Either it's worth ns250 or worth zero!"
We were forced to pay, and I promised to write about their awful treatment of us.

Now, please remember that I work in retail, and if we make a mistake and have the wrong price on a shelf, such as ns50 instead of ns100, we charge the customer ns50 and then quickly change the sign. And if a food item at Rami Levy or clothes at Yafiz has the wrong-priced sticker and the barcode shows more on the computer, the customer will be charged according to the sticker, if the discrepancy is pointed out. Also, all cashiers have a special pen to mark bills to check for counterfeits. If a counterfeit bill is found in the money accepted on a shift, the cashier pays. The same rule, if the cash is short. So here, in this busy restaurant, they made a mistake by telling us that the coupon was worth ns250. They were profiting tens of thousands of shekels that night, so the ns250 would not have made any appreciable difference to their profit margin. If they had been nice to us, I would have written a nice review, trying to point out the good parts of the evening.

We had not meant to steal from them and shouldn't have been treated like thieves. They made the mistake in giving us the wrong information. OUR MISTAKE WAS WALKING INTO THAT AWFUL RESTAURANT. Never again!

PS Two Jerusalem restaurants I wrote bad reviews for don't exist today. It's not that I have such a powerful blog, but bad food and bad service do take a toll on one's reputation.


Ima2eight said...

I am so sorry that you had such a negative experience. I want to add that I have been to ROZA in Gush Etzion several times since its recent opening, and I have had the OPPOSITE experience!!

Not only has the food been delicious and the service excellent, but last night they did make a mistake. The waitress who erred admitted it, the manager came over sincerely apologizing (having personally fixed it) and then gifted us all a round of hot cider to make up for the trouble. I was very impressed. While the menu is presumably the same (or close) and therefore the food must appeal to me more than you, I hope Roza Gush Etzion is around for a long time to come. What a difference a good manager can make!

Batya said...

A different branch means different management. I'm waiting for an apology from the Rachel Imenu one. And it should be very generous considering the disgraceful way they treated us.

YMedad said...

As was pointed out to me by a friend to who I related our story (and btw, my place of employment returned to me the expense [but not the tip we left]), what would have happened had I not had a credit card or checkbook with me? Would they have called the police? I also told the employee, 'please, think twice. the Begin Center stands behind this coupon. doesn't that count for something?'

Batya said...

The Begin Center and all others should stop dealing with them.

Isser said...

As a former chef and food service professional I agree with most of your review. However, your complaint about the wine is unjustified. The price one pays for a glass of wine in any restaurant is always more than the bottle price in a store. It's called mark-up and that's one of the areas they make a lot of money. There are certain restaurants where you can bring your own bottle but they will charge an "opening fee", since you are effectively taking away their profit. If you don't like their prices you can eat (and drink) at home. That's what I do because I am usually disappointed by most of the restaurants here. I cook on a higher level than them.

Isser Coopersmith

Anonymous said...

They are also known as disrespectful to their own staff, and don't pay the waiters fairly ,specially the new on in the Gush!!

Batya said...

Isser, the coupon was a gift. It's clear that the bulk of their profit is from the drinks.

a, sorry to hear that. I feel for the staff.

Batia said...

Whoa what a nightmare. Thank you so much for warning us never to eat there. I rather eat at home at least I know what I am getting. I am so sorry that you had to go through this horrible ordeal. And it's really bad when you are hungry.
Sometimes even if the food is bad but they have friendly waiters who try their best to make people happy. Then it's still bad but you feel better.

Batya said...

It was awful being lied to by the management. At least the place that had given us the coupon returned the money to us.