Monday, April 23, 2012

Wasabi on Daniel Island Review

This story is lengthy - but I need to tell it. My experience needs to be shared.

Typically my girlfriends and I get together for a girls' dinner (and wine!) one night during the week at least twice a month if we can -- it's a great time to unwind, gossip, and catch up with one another. Usually we go to one of our fave Asian fusion spots, Bambu.

However, last week, one of my girlfriends had heard that Wasabi on Daniel Island has ladies night on Wednesday nights with a half off bottle of wine promotion. So we all decided to give it a try.

Another friend of mine suggested I check out Restaurant.com for a coupon - she had used it at another local restaurant and had gotten a pretty good deal. Lo and behold, Wasabi had a coupon on Restaurant.com that you could buy for $10 to get $25 towards your meal. After I purchased, it then showed all of these stipulations - i.e. only one per table, cannot be used towards alcohol, can't be combined with other coupons, etc.

"Well ok", I thought, "but surely I can use it towards our total bill or something to save us some money..."

Wasabi is small, but has a pretty cool atmosphere - my initial impression was this place was pretty cool. We were seated at our table and started (of course) by ordering our wine. I ordered a bottle of Pinot for me and another of my friends to split. The waiter immediately said, "That's a good Pinot, but the such and such Pinot is only a few dollars more and tastes very superior." I thought, WTH, and ordered the one he 'recommended'.

The other girls at the table ordered their wine - again, our waiter suggested more expensive wines, suggesting they tasted better. One of my girlfriends was like, "Um, no." And I said to the waiter, jokingly, "Nice try on the upsell there." He didn't crack a smile.

The girl I was splitting the wine with had found a coupon on Wasabi's website that said 15% off her meal. Hmm..I had a coupon too from Restaurant.com...so we both pulled them out and asked our waiter if we could both use them.

No. Only one per table.

Then I was told if I wanted to use mine on the entire table, the only way he could do it was to total up the entire bill, take off the $25, then split the remainder of the bill (including alcohol) evenly among us...meaning some of us would be paying more than what we bought. After some back and forth with our waiter..I finally said, "Nevermind... I'll just have to use this later I guess," and I put my coupon away. However, my friend was assured, she could use her's on her meal.

Next we ordered our food...one of my friends was ordering sushi. She asked the waiter, "I can't decide between such and such sushi and such and such sushi -- which one is better?" With great bravado, our waiter said, "Actually, the such and such and such sushi is FAR superior tasting and..." My friend cut him off and said, "No thank you, that's not what I was asking...I was asking between the two." He then recommended the more expensive roll.

When he walked away we all looked at each other and agreed it was so awkward and we felt like our waiter was swindling us.

The food came. It was really good... which is a shame that this review is negative, because the food WAS very good. Compliments to the chef...and only to him.


Fast forward to getting our checks. Oh, and what do you know... if you have five or more people, an 18% gratuity is added to your checks. For only a group of five? Really?

My friend pulled out her 15% off check. The waiter said, "Oh, I'm sorry -- you can't use that coupon with alcohol."

My friend: "The wine is on her (pointing to me) check. I don't have any alcohol on my bill."

Waiter: "I'm sorry, you can't use that coupon at the same table as someone using the half-off bottle of wine promotion - you can either use the coupon at the table, or take advantage of the wine promotion."

WTH? We all exchanged looks.

My friend: "That's interesting, because the half off bottle of wine promotion is promoted ON THE COUPON."


Sure enough, literally right below the '15% off' text on the coupon was a promotion for Ladies Night and the half price bottle of wine.

The waiter insisted. So we insisted we needed to talk to the manager.

Manager walks up.

Manager: "I'm so sorry ladies, but the Restaurant.com coupon cannot be used with the half off bottle of wine promotion. A manager who worked here two years ago signed us up on Restaurant.com and ever since we've had such issues with that. I"m so sorry."

Me: "We're not asking about that coupon...I already got burned and now an unhappy customer....which, I would suggest you get OFF of Restaurant.com if you keep having problems - because it's making unhappy customers like me! But in the meantime, you can make things right and let my friend use her coupon."

Manager: "Yeah...I'm so sorry, the Restaurant.com cou..."

Me: "Her coupon was printed off of YOUR website...and the wine promotion is printed on the coupon. That's false advertising if you can't use the two together. Why would you offer 15% off, then entice someone to come in on a Wednesday on the coupon...and then not honor the coupon?"

Finally, after more exchanged back and forth, the manager finally said, "Oh..well yeah...she can use that coupon," in a tone like "duh...why didn't you just ask that to begin with".

All that for 15% off....but it was the principle of the matter.

After we paid our bills, we were finishing our wine....we never saw our waiter again. I guess after he got paid he decided there was no need to grace us with his presence.

We left and once outside all agreed that the experience was uncomfortable and "no wonder that place is empty..."

After sharing this experience with some other friends of mine, I heard other similar stories. One friend had a coupon for Wasabi and went to get a to-go order and use the coupon. They told him that it was a dine-in only coupon -- even though it was written no where on the coupon. When my friend pointed that out to them, they just said "Yeah we know it's not on there, but it is dine-in only...".  So my friend sat down at the bar... ordered food...when it arrived, he then asked for his check and a to-go box. Lol.

I think it's safe to say we'll be returning to Bambu for our fail safe girls' night dinners -- especially since on their Thursday ladies' nights they offer $3 glasses of house wine.....all night.... no stipulations. I shouldn't have to read fine print or think so hard when using a coupon or promotion.

Wasabi, you need to quit using these shady techniques to pull people into your restaurant for them to only find out they've been tricked into showing up... because you're only getting one-time visit customers.... AND you now have word-of-mouth.

Again, it's a shame because the food was really delicious.

So... does anyone want to buy a gift certificate to Wasabi for $5 that gives you $25 to spend there (plus lots of fine print)? I'm willing to lose $5 I put towards the gift certificate so I never have to go back to Wasabi again.

Cheers!

11 comments:

Jenny said...

LOL! No thanks. I think I'll find somewhere else to have some wine!!

By the way, just got back from Charleston yesterday and love it already! Can't wait to be there!!

Kelly said...

That'a bummer :( I've eaten at the Wasabi downtown and the one in Summerville and haven't had any problems, however, I didn't try to use a coupon there either. Ever go to Tsunami? They have several locations and are very good as well :) Bambu is always a good choice though if you know its good and they have great service, which I know they do.

Carly said...

Ugh that's a pain. I've heard of a few places changing the rules on the restaurant.com coupons. If it's bad for the restaurants, they shouldn't have signed up in the first place. Don't guilt me for wanting a discount.

Also, Bambu is one of my fave sushi places, y'all are making the right choice going back.

megan said...

That's so annoying. I've heard a lot of restaurants & customers having issues with Restaurant.com.

Melissa Wagner said...

wow! I have a $500 (not kidding) gift certificate to restaurant dot com. I bought it a week before Christmas for $30. A friend who uses that website said how wonderful they are and they use them weekly. WELLLL, just like you, every restaurant WE LIKE, has the same issues as what you experienced. I still haven't used the first GC. I am taking it as a $30 loss. Live and learn. Darn! :)

Chassity (Look Linger Love) said...

Gahh, what an awful experience. Sorry to hear, and thanks for sharing it.

Janna said...

Thanks for the review- I am helping plan my cousin's bachelorette party in Charleston, thinking I will skip that restaurant to even think about! :)

Glitterista said...

That's just awful! Glad you have your trusty fall-back place for future girls' nights!

Natalie said...

I've never been to Wasabi--guess I'll find somewhere else for our sushi fix! (And I've never tried Bambu, but after your mention of it, I think the hubs and I are going to have to try it!)

Miss Chelsea said...

I can't believe places have the audacity to act like that nowadays with the economy the way it is. IMO they should be bending over backwards to please the customer!

Jordan McKnight said...

Three coupons for one meal? Isn't that a little bourgeois for a Charleston girl?