New Restaurant Sets New Standards for Hospitality:
“You no like our prices. Get out! Go someplace else!”
Marco’s comes to Ravena
Ravena. May 19, 2016. I had eaten at Marco’s new location several times prior and thought it would be a good place to have my breakfast meeting. All the other times I had ordered from the regular menu but when I entered I noticed the “Specials” menu on the counter at the entrance. I stopped to read it and was shocked. I called a heavy-set, middle-aged, dark-skinned woman over and pointed out several of the items saying, “I just want you to know that these prices are way higher than your competition. You’re new and won’t attract business like this. Haven’t you seen your competitions’ prices?” Her response was, “You no like our prices. Get out! Go someplace else!” She walked away several times but returned shaking her finger at me and muttering something in broken English. I happened to see Marco looking out of the kitchen area and beckoned him to come out. He came out and said hello. I explained to him that I didn’t really appreciate the woman’s behavior when I was trying to be helpful, and I told him that she is the worst thing that could happen to his business next to high prices. His response: “We give you a lot of food.” I didn’t respond to that one. What would be the use? When I asked who the woman was, Marco responded, “She my wife.” I learned later that the woman, Maria, identified as Marco’s wife, had recently returned from El Salvador, which is the reason I had never seen her before. She apparently has a reputation for being a real bitch, which I can vouch for. I stayed only until my guest arrived and we then left for the Medway Café, where the food is good, service is friendly, and the language is English…well, nearly. If you want normal portions (contrary to what Marco thinks), high prices, and a heaping helping of Hispanic abuse, Marco’s is the place to go; otherwise, try the Medway Café, which has been serving good homestyle food for almost a century; the Silver Spoon for very friendly service, very good food and a clean environment, or the Ravena Diner, for clean modern surroundings, good food, friendly service. I’m not into paying for foreign abuse even if it is served with salsa and taco sauce.” [Name withheld because we did receive permission to use the writer’s name by the time of publication.}
We wanted to be very careful before we published this report because we believe that anyone who is self-employed and trying to make it in a new location should be given a fair chance. But we do have several burning questions about this situation.
Marco’s get’s very low grades on “welcoming attitude and hospitality.
First of all, we would reasonably expect that a new business in an area that is served very well by at least three other establishments —each offering pretty much identical products, diner food — would make every conceivable effort to attract customers, including competitive prices, improved service, and a welcoming attitude at the very least. That doesn’t seem to be Marco’s business plan at all. According to reports and our own investigations, Marco’s fails on all three points: prices are higher, service is marginal, and, well, according to our reader, Marco’s get’s very low grades on welcoming attitude and hospitality.
As we mentioned, we did our own research, and we visited not only Marco’s but three local competitors in the same business: the Medway Café, Ravena Diner, and Silver Spoon, and did our own price and hospitality comparisons. At each establishment we took identical items from the normal menus used at the time of our visit and compared them to the Specials prices on the Marco’s specials board at the time of our visit. The results are shown in the table below.
A good dining experience is far more than price and has to include the environment, quality of service, employees’ attitude and manners, and food quality, etc. Many times we’re willing to overlook shabby decor or even a bad day in the kitchen if the personnel are friendly and welcoming. Somehow the human element in the hospitality industry far outweighs the other elements. The food could be the best in town and the ambiance and decor beautiful but if the staff are nasty or snooty, the whole experience isn’t worth a nickle. That’s a lesson Marco’s has to learn; otherwise they can plan to go belly up in a very short time.
We didn’t have the shocking experience our reader reports but then we didn’t comment on anything when we visited Marco’s. We did notice a hulk of a woman matching the reader’s description who seemed to think she was very important and eyeing us strangely, but she didn’t approach us. We’re assuming by the reader’s description and her bizarre behavior that the hulk must have been Maria. Our server, a young fair-skinned blonde girl was very pleasant and attentive. But then that’s the minimum we’d have expected. We still have to recall the creepy look of the hulk, though.
Our reader continued in his/her report that the rude woman, shaking her finger in his/her face while the reader was talking to Marco, commented: “You don’t know me! Hundreds of people love me!” Yes, Maria, hundreds of people love you! They’d love to see you go back to El Salvador…No doubt Marco would like that, too!