HONOLULU (AP) — Negative feedback on a customer comment card has landed a Honolulu diner on a “no serve” list at a Japanese restaurant.
Dave Young recently learned he’s no longer welcome at Tanaka of Tokyo’s three Oahu restaurants. Young, 59, of Makiki, is one of 17 on that list, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported last Monday.
Industry officials and restaurant executives told the newspaper they are unaware of other higher-end restaurants keeping such lists. Restaurants can legally refuse service as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, ancestry, or disability.
In September, Young’s remarks indicated the staff seemed overworked and the server had too many tables. He wrote similar comments in 2008. He said the comments weren’t offensive or insulting. He had submitted positive comments in the past.
But company President Chester Kaneshiro said that “it seems like whatever we do, we can’t satisfy him.”
“This was not somebody I wanted to expose my staff to,” said Richard Tanaka, owner of Tanaka of Tokyo Restaurants Ltd.
It didn’t make sense to single out a customer for submitting comments when feedback is requested, Young said.
Tanaka acknowledged that Young’s comments in 2008 were warranted, and it was why when he returned in September, he was placed at the best table with the restaurant’s best chef and server. The restaurant serves teppanyaki dishes in which a chef grills food at the diner’s table and entertains them with talents such as food-flipping and knife-skills.
Six other customers shared the same table and all rated the service as excellent, Tanaka said.
The company uses a database with details tailored to VIP customers, including favorite wines, birthdays, allergies, and tipping history. Tanaka said he began keeping a handwritten VIP list more than 25 years ago and that it was moved to the computer database in the 1980s.
He attributed the database as a key factor in the success of the restaurant, which has won a Hale Aina award for Hawaii’s best Japanese restaurant for the past four years, Tanaka noted. (end)
Information from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, www.staradvertiser.com.