Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Ridgeland Gets Foot-In-Mouth Disease | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Ridgeland Gets Foot-In-Mouth Disease

I received an e-mail from a colleague today—one that was most interesting to say the least. It's not often that you get folks to put IN WRITING what they're really thinking. Especially in management, you're free to "think" whatever you wish, but smart money says it's not good for business to openly make, ummm, "controversial" remarks.

Seems a young lady called Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Ridgeland to reserve a room for her mother's birthday party. Simple enough, right? The request was sent to the sales manager Wendy Partain at the Ridgeland location and passed up the chain to the general manager Andy Nesenson for approval/follow-up. The following was his reply, verbatim:

From: Nesenson, Andy
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 9:38 PM
To: Partain, Wendy
Subject: Fw: Private Dining Request

Another ghetto Sat. Party. They really love us don't they. Especially on Sat. Call her and get her on the books if we have room for Sat. And I will take care of the rest.

Now who knows why Ms Partain left his response in the thread. Was it a mistake? Was she trying to send a message? Well, message RECEIVED. If we needed any more reasons to NOT spend any money outside of Jackson then this is more proof. Another example of someone's dollars not being respected. I suggest you pass this on. An injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. It may seem trivial but we must start with small examples so that we change BIG things. I suggest some calls and e-mails are made post-haste. I'm doing one right after this post. These types of slights, even in jest, even by "mistake" cannot be tolerated. Who agrees?

Below is the entire e-mail chain thats making its rounds via e-mail in Jackson (Editor's note: Personal phone numbers have been deleted.)

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: "Partain, Wendy" [[email protected]]
To: "[email protected]'" [[email protected]]
Subject: RE: Private Dining Request
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 15:32:08 +0000

Hey Ms. Watson,

I received you email about a private dining request for December 11. I do have a private room for December 11, but in order to book the room I need to get your credit card information and expiration date. The food and beverage minimum is $1000.0 for the Oak Room. If you decide you want to sit in the regular dining room there is no food and beverage minimum. Let me know on what you decide so I will be able to put you in our system correctly.

Thanks so much,

Wendy Stringer Partain
Sales/Marketing Manager
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Ridgeland , MS 39157
601-853-2734 Work
601-XXX-XXXX Cell
601-853-2735 Fax

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Nesenson, Andy
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 9:38 PM
To: Partain, Wendy
Subject: Fw: Private Dining Request

Another ghetto Sat. Party. They really love us don't they. Especially on Sat. Call her and get her on the books if we have room for Sat. And I will take care of the rest.

From : Private Dining Planner [ mailto:[email protected] ]
Sent : Wednesday, December 08, 2010 09:35 PM
To : [e-mail missing] [[email protected]]
Subject : Private Dining Request

The following Private Dining request was submitted for MS:

LaTrenda Watson
Email: [e-mail missing]
Home Phone: 601XXXXXXX
Event Name: Vera's Party
Date: 12-11-2010
Time: 0600 PM
Number of Guests: 15

This is a birthday party.

Ruth's Chris Steak House
http://www.RuthsChris.com

Previous Comments

ID
161627
Comment

All, WLBT is running a story at 6pm. Fox 40 is doing one also on their 9pm Newscast. I just got a call from the Clarion Ledger and if you go to the "Boycott Ruth Chris" page on Facebook, youll see that RCS legal has responded and one employee has been terminated already with more fallout to come. #BUYJXN #EATJXN

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-01-13T17:10:11-06:00
ID
161628
Comment

Cheers to Kamikaze and his media blitz. He posted the above blog post yesterday afternoon, and I had to close it until we could confirm that it was real (not that we doubted him, but you have to be sure in our business). Ward's story will be up in minutes. Stay tuned.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T17:11:42-06:00
ID
161629
Comment

Also, we tweeted this, but should post it here. Ruth's Chris corporate told us today that the manager is no longer there. We'll be posting a full statement from them shortly.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T17:13:04-06:00
ID
161630
Comment

Ward just hung up with Ruth's Chris legal once again; their statement is on its way. To be very clear, Nesenson was "terminated," per corporate just now, not just moved from the store or position.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T17:36:51-06:00
ID
161632
Comment

Statement just in from Ruth's Chris franchise owners: "Ownership of Ruth's Chris Steak House in Ridgeland has been made aware of a very unfortunate situation, and has taken the appropriate steps to address the situation. As a result, the general manager of the restaurant has been terminated of his duties. Rest assured, this isolated inappropriate comment does not in any way reflect who we are as a restaurant or a company. Since we first opened for business in July 2008, we have sought a diverse clientele from across the metro Jackson area."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T17:55:32-06:00
ID
161654
Comment

"I do it to insure that the black guest don't feel isolated. His comment represents the thoughts of many in the hospitality industry, this behavior didnt just happen over night, and yes it happens in JACKSON as well." You should not HAVE to do anything any different to serve a black table and a white table. Why is it that when a white manager or server sees a black group come in they immediately readjust themselves and/or ask the black person to wait the table. Is that at all equal and fair? Is that proper or acceptable? I think not. We have three ongoing issues here. One is blatant disrespect and discrimination. Another is the fact that there is a stigma (or fact as you stated) that black people don't tip. The last is a customer service issue. All link together but are different. Maybe the black people don't tip because they are always sent the black server who has a nasty attitude after being told to wait on a table that is not assigned to them simply because they look like the person who is sitting there. That may not be your case as it sounds like you are skilled at being a customer service employee and who doesn't demonstrate an unpleasant attitude. But, I would NOT take kindly to a white person strolling over to me and asking me to do them a favor and wait the table they'd been assigned because they didn't want to wait on black people regardless of what their reason is. Firstly, if it is infact true that black people don't tip there must be a reason for that. I dine often in restuarants and I will be the first to tell you that I tip according to the service I receive. My husband tips regardless of how his service is. Do I understand that in some positions wait staff are paid based on tips? Of course. Do I then expect that they will offer me service that would generate a worthwhile tip? Absolutely. This goes for black, white, chinese, japanese, indian, tall, short, male, female, young or old. Second, I don't appreciate being generalized in this fashion. I don't see anything righteous or acceptable about a person taking one look at a group of people and making a determination on whether or not they want to serve them or whether or not they are going to tip. That is ridiculous and it needs to STOP! Do they come to you when a group of white people come in and say, do me a favor and wait on this table? Fair or no? No one deserves a pass for displaying discriminatory actions towards any individual whether they tip or not. Don't treat me like the customer before me. Treat me according to who I am and how I treat you. If you want a good tip, give good service. If you want a great tip, give excellent servive. Everyone does not fit well into service positions and their demeanor and their work gives insight into that. If I have to call you for my drink glass to be refilled and I can tell it's a slow night or I can see you down the hall chatting with your coworkers, chances are you are not getting a tip from me. If I have to send my food back because your didn't take my order back and now my time has been wasted and my husband has completed his meal before mine, chances are no tip for you. If you smile each time you approach my table or take an extra two seconds to make small talk with me - welcome me to your area, ask me how I am or how I enjoyed my food - not only will I tip you greatly, but when I come back to that restaurant, I will ask for your section so that I can be with you again. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Not like the last idiot who you had to serve and never let someone send you to the "black table" because they don't want to serve them. If they don't then why the hell would you want to. Tell them to suck it up and do their job. Still, they are treating YOU unfairly as if they are above wasting their time serving a table that doesn't tip, but you aren't? That's poppycock! And if they think you can do a better job at getting a tip because they are black and you are black then they aren't good servers. Most BLACK people that I know are going to tip anyway (I don't know many who share my philosopy about tipping).

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-01-14T12:47:48-06:00
ID
161712
Comment

Ruth's Chris is simply a nice version of a cheesy chain restaurant anyway. The steaks are good but you can find good steaks all around Jackson---and at locally owned businesses! Not chains! I'm glad to see that they handled the situation properly but again, let's support our local Jackson restaurants! Not the Ridgeland chain restaurants!

Author
Dave Coleman
Date
2011-01-19T14:33:54-06:00

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