Ever since the proof-of-vaccine policy was implemented in Ontario on Sept. 22, staff at many establishments have been dealing with backlash from the public. Hosts and front of house staff are the first to deal with upset and difficult customers.
“I only recently started working at a restaurant, so I didn’t face the brunt of the pandemic, but my coworkers told me how stubborn customers could be sometimes, and so far with the vaccination passport thing, I’ve felt it,” Mena Limsana, hostess at Hibachi Teppanyaki & Bar said.
Limsana started working for the restaurant on Aug. 1 and said she dealt with customers not wanting to social distance on the patio, or in the restaurants waiting area. But now it is worse.
Limsana said she has been lucky, dealing with some really nice and understanding customers, but when customers are running late they are not quite as understanding.
“When we have large groups, they never understand why I can’t just seat them without checking proof of vaccination,” she said.
Limsana says when these instances occur, she calls her manager Asif Adnan to help her. “With difficult customers, sometimes I get an attitude, so I just call Asif to the front to come and help or I wave over to a server to grab him, he’s always a lot more calm than I am in those situations.”
Adnan has been working at Hibachi Teppanyaki & Bar for five years and been the manager for two years. He said he has dealt with a lot of difficult customers but asking customers for proof of vaccination has revealed a new side to people.
“Honestly, I have to say we’ve been lucky, my staff has handled it really well and we have signs posted at our entry to give customers a chance to get everything ready before they enter. Mena has also prepared a statement to send to customers when they book their reservations — this states our policy that we stand with,” he said.
This policy, Adnan said includes their 15-minute grace period for late customers, proof of vaccine requirements with a photo ID along with other important things they need to keep their restaurant running smoothly and safely.
He’s hoping things will get better with the new vaccine verification system. “With the new QR codes, I’m waiting to see if we get more and more backlash, but I am hoping customers continue being as understanding as they are now.”