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.