I have to say that a story in the New York Observer (from Reddit) caught my eye for a reason other than the account of cockroaches falling on people eating at Blue Ribbon Sushi in Soho in New York City. People eating said that the insects dropped from the ceiling and one crawled up the leg of a diner. Here is the thing I thought was most amazing: the owners of Blue Ribbon Sushi reportedly addressed matter by offering to charge only half for the meals of the affected customers. Really? Cockroaches fall around the plates of your customers and crawl on the tables and floors and you offer a half-off meal? Please tell me that this is a false report by the Observer.
Eric Bromberg, co-owner of Blue Ribbon Restaurants, insisted that “Once we knew we had an issue, we scheduled our exterminator to come that day, as soon as possible, and we waged war. After many hours we found the source — located next door — and rectified the issue. The entire restaurant has been thoroughly searched and cleaned and we are moving ahead with service as usual.” Well, Mr. Bromberg, something tells me that this was not a spontaneous event but, putting that aside, you might want in the future not to charge customers who were required to eat in your restaurants while cockroaches fell like Cherry Blossoms around their sushi. It sounds a lot like you are only half-sorry when you charge them half price.
I am always astonished by the response of restaurants to insects. For years, we ate at the Tachibana Japanese Restaurant in McLean. We loved their sushi and were almost weekly customers. When we found a roach on the floor, we dismissed it and told the management. However, in a later meal (years ago), we found an actual roach in the glass of one of the kids. When we raised it with the waitress who quickly removed the drink and mentioned it to the manager, who did not seem at all alarmed or embarrassed or apologetic. We have never returned. It was the response of the manager that destroyed any trust in the restaurant and its preparation of the food.
It would seem a small expense for restaurants like the Blue Ribbon Sushi to cover the entire cost of such a meal if this report is accurate. By treating the appearance of pests with food as something that only represents a partial reduction of price, the restaurant conveys a disturbing attitude of what is views as minimal service for its customers.