Restaurant Allows Customer To Bring In Big Gulp, Then Shames Her About It Online

You might think it crass or crude to bring a 7-Eleven Big Gulp into a fine-dining establishment, but if a restaurant lets you have that huge cup o’ soda at your table, do they then have any standing to call you out publicly?

That’s the question being asked of a Seattle restaurant that not only allowed a customer to bring in outside soda but where a server actually directed the customer to a nearby 7-Eleven so she could obtain a soft drink… only to then turn to Facebook and Twitter to mock her.

The customer makes her case in this story on SeattleMet.com [via Eater].

She explains that she doesn’t drink alcohol and that the non-booze beverages offered at one particular restaurant were not to her liking, so she’d previously been allowed to bring in Coke from outside.

On a recent visit, she was sans cola and asked the server where some could be purchased. The server pointed them to a nearby 7-Eleven, where they purchased some Big Gulps and enjoyed them with their $400 meal.

The customer says she even left a larger than usual tip because she knows that restaurants often depend on selling alcohol to make a profit.

But then later that night, the restaurant’s Twitter feed and Facebook page posted a note asking diners to “please refrain from bringing 48 oz Big Gulps to dinner. It just looks bad. #nogmo #nohfcs” (the hashtags presumably reference opposition to genetically modified organisms and high fructose corn syrup).

The customer saw this and was less than pleased.

“I understand that it is his restaurant, that he wants to maintain the ambiance and doesn’t approve of GMO’s or high fructose corn syrup, but he had so many choices of how to handle the situation that didn’t involve calling us out in a public forum,” she wrote, pointing out that the server could have said no to outside beverages or could have poured the sodas into less garish drinking glasses to get the big plastic cups off the table.

Her husband called the restaurant, where the chef apologized and deleted the postings; he even offered them a gift certificate.

“I was just stressed,” the chef explains to SeattleMet. “I got a little freaked out when they came in with these Big Gulps, and I should’ve addressed the situation directly.”

That said, the chef still maintains that the customer should have known better.

“But I don’t understand why you would walk into a farm-to-table dining room with Big Gulps!” he says.

The fact of the matter here is that everyone involved in this incident made mistakes along the way. Anyone who claims to dine regularly at upscale restaurants should have known better than to bring back large Big Gulp cups to the restaurant. It’s not like the 7-Eleven only sells Big Gulps; soda is available in many, less obvious containers. The server should have volunteered to pour the large drinks into less garish vessels.

And there was no need for the chef to take to Twitter and Facebook to rant about one single customer; I doubt Big Gulp cups are a problem plaguing Seattle’s fine-dining establishments. He could have just spoken to the servers and other staffers to clarify his policy on outside beverages.

Had he done that, we wouldn’t be writing about this incident and his restaurant’s Facebook page wouldn’t be peppered with equally mean-spirited feedback from people who have heard about this story.

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  1. webalias says:

    Did the restaurant really “shame” her? I don’t think so. They didn’t use her name or identify her in their Facebook post; they asked as a matter of policy that customers refrain from bringing in Big Gulps. That seems reasonable, and the customer’s behavior seems extremely tacky. But perhaps I should follow her example with respect to my own personal preferences. I don’t much like Heinz ketchup, the brand used by many restaurants; I prefer an organic brand. So maybe I should bring my own ketchup bottle the next time I dine out. As for salt, I prefer the Sea Salt I buy at Costco. So I’ll bring my own Costco-size bottle of salt, too, and set it smack in the middle of the tablecloth. Unless, of course, I don’t like the restaurant’s tablecloths, in which case I’ll also bring my own. How dare a restaurant owner be annoyed by any of this — ketchup to me is like wine, etc., etc.

    • charmander says:

      I agree with you. She wasn’t “shamed” because she was not named in the Facebook post. There was no photo. She needs to get a grip.

  2. Naskarrkid says:

    I wonder if they offer any soda at all. If they do, then she should drink it and move on, but if not, I’ve read that there are organic soda fountains. I can’t be the only one that thinks its weird for a restaurant to not offer sodas. Hopefully that’s the issue, and not because she likes Brand A and all they have is Brand B.

  3. CommonC3nts says:

    What kind of crappy restaurant has $400 checks for just a family, but has no pop???
    They actually make customers bring their own pop as they are too lazy to provide some 20oz bottles that they can stock in their fridge. They can stock non-HCFS pop like diet or that stevia pop.

    I also think it is arrogant of them to say a big gulp looks bad?? I am pretty sure it just looks like a big gulp. People need to stop being so damn sensitive especially when it comes to paying customers, especially rich paying customers that pay $400 for one family dinner.
    90% of working american’s make less than $100K a year. Just about everyone in the US is low class. There are not many “high class” people in the US so if that is who they want to cater to then they will most likely go out of business pretty quick as they will have very few customers.

    Next time they should be like “Since you pay $400 for dinner I will get you whatever pop you want.” That would be classy.

    • charmander says:

      At a nice restaurant, a Big Gulp in a plastic cup from 7-11 is ALWAYS going to look bad.

    • Alecto67 says:

      If you read a bit further down, you see it’s a farm-to-table restaurant….not much soda is grown on a farm.