Food

LIVE From Amy’s Baking Company!

So, first I have to admit that I stole the name of this blog post from Ricky‘s post about the same thing, just because I think it’s the perfect name.  Now that that’s out there, let me start the story…

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Amy’s Baking Company.  They are this local Scottsdale, AZ restaurant that got featured on a recent episode of the show Kitchen Nightmares featuring chef Gordon Ramsay.  Basically, in the episode, the couple that owns Amy’s, Amy herself and her husband Samy, went pretty crazy, at least from how it was portrayed on the show.  They got super defensive and plain out mean when people (including Gordon) complained about the food.  It turned into this whole fiasco where staff got fired, Gordon walked out, and Amy and Samy were pretty much left steaming.  THEN the Internet got ahold of it.  Yelp, Reddit, and Facebook exploded with people criticizing Amy and Samy and what seemed to be them retaliating (they now claim they were hacked, but who believes that?).

I first heard about this a few days ago, pretty much the day it became viral.  I woke up to see a post on Facebook from a friend of mine, Dennis, about it.  I didn’t think too much of it, just because it’s a local business and people go crazy on Facebook all the time, right?  And then I started to see more people posting about it.  And more and more.  Wait, this is on BuzzFeed?  That’s when I realized it was now national news.  This was a big deal.

Ricky and I started following the news about it, just because it was such a circus.  Everyone was talking about it, and there was more and more news coming.  We drove by Amy’s just to see it (we never knew it was there before) and they were closed.  For good? Temporarily?  Who knew?  The fake Facebook and Twitter pages started popping up.  And then, a press release.  Amy’s hired a local PR firm and was having a grand re-opening… Tuesday (today) with a press conference beforehand.  Sign us up!  We emailed the contact about reservations within minutes of seeing the press release.  The next day, we got confirmation – we had reservations!  In the meantime, more news… it just kept coming…

“Amy’s Baking Company Hosts Job Fair to Replace Wait Staff”
“Amy’s Baking Company Dumped by New PR Firm”
“Amy’s Baking Company Cancels Press Conference Under Lawsuit Threat”

Where does it end?  A local radio station host, Monti Carlo, did an interview with Amy and Sami to find out their side of the story.  She asked the questions everyone wanted answers to, but still couldn’t satisfy people.  According to her Facebook page, even she is now getting threats from people because she was too nice and didn’t completely tear them down.

So Ricky, Dennis, Dana, and I went in tonight with an open mind.  What would happen?  We figured one of two things: either a complete and total circus, or just another boring dinner.  It turned out to be the latter… just another boring dinner.  And actually, a good one at that.

The four of us that went are all pretty active on social media and weren’t about to let this opportunity pass us by.  It turned into more than we bargained for… I found out even before we went in that Phoenix New Times was passing along my tweets as they happened.  I earned 60 new followers tonight (I’ll let you know how many are gone by morning)!  The funny thing was, the more I tweeted, the more replies I got on Twitter from people that were convinced I was a plant by Amy and Samy and/or the PR firm.  I can’t tell you how much this cracks me up.  Just because what I was saying was positive, it couldn’t possibly be real, right?  I mean, people that live all across the country and have never even heard of Scottsdale much less been to Amy’s MUST be right about them because I mean, come on, it WAS ON KITCHEN NIGHTMARES!  I mean, it was on TV… it has to be true!

So here’s the scoop… to sum up our night, it was honestly great.  I think all of us were a bit apprehensive, but curious (which is the answer to all of you that want to know exactly why we got the reservation in the first place).  The wait staff was nervous, but prepared, and they did a good job.  The food was different, but really good.  Amy and Samy really do have some unique combinations on their menu, but that’s a good thing to me.  I liked the fig and prosciutto pizza.  It was sweet and salty, which to me is a great combination.  Samy was obviously working the crowd, and while Ricky was told by someone we think was one of their PR people that “they don’t like live blogging”, Samy also told us that we could take pictures and tweet about it, while also indicating they really didn’t want any haters.  Which we weren’t there to be… we were curious and honest local residents, just looking to see what Amy’s Baking Company had in store for us.  We legitimately enjoyed all the food, as well as the service.  There was no drama.  Nothing was sent back, because it didn’t need to be.  It tasted good to us (we even brought home leftovers).

Throughout the night, as I was live tweeting my experience, I got a LOT of replies on Twitter, and since I knew I would be blogging about it, I left a few questions to answer here on the blog (more room than just 140 characters).  So here they are:

What’s your take on the whole tip situation?

One of the biggest complaints about Amy’s after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired was that Samy was taking the wait staff’s tips.  And no, I don’t think this is right.  But after watching both the episode of the show as well as Monti’s interview with them, I think that the people we see on the show as “wait staff” were actually hired by Amy’s as “food runners” and paid as normal employees instead of servers.  What I don’t think a lot of people know is that servers actually earn less money than normal employees because of their tips.  The minimum wage for servers is much less than the minimum wage for normal employees because they are expected to receive tips.  So yes, while they were not getting tips, according to Samy and Amy, they were getting paid as normal employees.  I’ve heard them say in interviews that Samy was actually the one taking orders pretty much all the time, so he was actually the server and the other employees were just “food runners”.  Is this right?  I don’t know.  But it makes sense to me.  If the employees were making $8-14 an hour as Amy and Samy say, that’s not bad for a part-time employee that’s not a server.  And yes, in the Kitchen Nightmares episode, one of the staff did take Gordon’s order.  But who really knows?  That was one customer, and one customer on a TV show, at that.  Amy and Samy claim that they now hire their staff as actual servers, and that they make $5 an hour PLUS TIPS, which is actually pretty good for a server.

What about the desserts?  Does Amy really make them?

Honestly, I don’t have an answer to this.  What we saw is the same thing you saw on the TV show… desserts in the display case.  We enjoyed our dinner and were so full we brought leftovers home, so we had no room for dessert.

Was I a plant that was paid by Amy’s or the PR firm?

I was not.  I was simply another Internet user that saw all the hubbub, happened to live not too far from Amy’s in Scottsdale, and just wanted to see for myself.  I managed to get a reservation by emailing the PR firm, the same way as they posted in their press release, went there with friends and an open mind, and tweeted honestly about my experience as it happened.

Why didn’t you send something back to see what would happen?

There was no need to.  The food was good, and we had no reason to send anything back.  Sorry, I am not going to lie about my food just to cause trouble.  If there had been a problem with the food, I would have complained.  But there wasn’t.  It was just fine, as was everyone else’s at the table.  And so was the service.  I think this bears a mention here too… I completely disagree with all of the reviews that Amy’s is getting on Yelp and other sites from people that have NEVER BEEN THERE.  To go and post a false review of a company on a legitimate review site that people use to determine where to go and to base it solely on your viewing of this company on one episode of a TV show is just plain wrong in my book.  That’s not what Yelp or any other site is for, and I think that Yelp would agree with me on this one.

I think that pretty much sums it up, honestly.  Now, Ricky is another story… he thinks the whole thing is staged and fake and is just an attempt to go viral that worked.  But I’ll let him blog about that.  Here’s my take.  Yes, Amy might be a little crazy.  And yes, she’s definitely defensive.  Very defensive, and that is what caused most of this whole fiasco.  Kitchen Nightmares came in and ran with that and turned it into… well, a nightmare.  Amy and Samy had a huge meltdown on the show, and it bled over onto the Internet for all the world to see.  And the Internet, as we all know, can be mean.  So it was.  Did they deserve it?  They made some pretty huge mistakes, yeah.  But are they capable of running a successful restaurant?  Well, they have for six years.  The future… remains to be seen.

[I’m hoping to visit Amy’s again in a few weeks after all the hullabaloo has died down, so watch for a follow-up post.  Let’s see how they do when they’re not on their best behavior.]

65 Comments

  • It doesn’t matter if Samy took ALL the orders, which I’m sure is another of their lies (they are both known frauds). Any money left behind that exceeded the total bill, whether as cash or written on a receipt, should NEVER be taken by any respectful owner of any respectable establishment.

  • Wow, you can tell pizza is undercooked just by looking at the melted cheese? Wow, you are really something special.

    I think what is sad is how personal most people are taking the episode. Maybe most of you are waiters or something I don’t know. Anyways, those girls said over and over that they had worked at oodles of places before going to ABC. Obviously, they were fine with the pay, so there must have been many slow times. It’s only when they are on TV that the wage suddenly become unacceptable to them. The way they both acted, it was like they were desperate for attention and pity. Obviously, they weren’t the best workers. If they were, they would not have worked at oodles of places before getting a job at ABC.

    Most waitresses I know stay at the same place, because that is how they get big tips. If they stay at one restaurant and get to know many of the people that go there, they can expect big tips from them. If a waitress is jumping from one place to the next, that means she isn’t very good at her job and keeps getting fired or not making enough in tips.

    Now if you say all of those that had positive reviews are plants, then you should also be open minded to many of the customers on “Kitchen Nightmares” might have been plants to. I mean Gordon was so darn nice on that episode. I kept asking myself why he was so nice on this episode when he is normally so rude and nasty. However, with Amy and Sami, he was like an angel. Oh, he was so concerned about the staff and just as nice as could be.

    Do I think GVP was a plant, no. Do I think those older ladies that walked out on the show were plants, no. I do think Amy and Samy needed to learn a lot. Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t. I am thinking one thing is certain though. They’ve most likely by now have learned that the customer is always right. If you act like the customer is not always right, you will be in big trouble!

    • ” If a waitress is jumping from one place to the next, that means she isn’t very good at her job and keeps getting fired or not making enough in tips.”

      [Citation needed], specifically the citation where you know what their previous jobs are, or why they left them.

      “Obviously, they were fine with the pay, so there must have been many slow times. It’s only when they are on TV that the wage suddenly become unacceptable to them.”

      They actually mentioned it wasn’t.

      ” The way they both acted, it was like they were desperate for attention and pity. Obviously, they weren’t the best workers. If they were, they would not have worked at oodles of places before getting a job at ABC.”

      No, they didn’t act anything like that, and the last half of that makes no legitimately logical sense. There is no way you could have deduced that with the information given to you.

      • Maybe you weren’t paying enough attention to the show. Gordon specifically asked Miranda in regards to the order system. She said that she had worked many places and knew how to enter in orders. Actually, the way she acted seemed she had worked at very many places.

        In the same episode, both waitresses were somewhat tattling on Amy and Samy during their one on one’s. They also tattled numerous times to Gordon. Miranda acted like a little mouse around Gordon as though she was such a victim.

        Miranda also stated that she had only been at ABC for about a month, which doesn’t seem very long for all of the sympathy she was trying to gain.

        Just saying that they aren’t the victims they make themselves out to be. If you read many of the reviews prior to all of this, the runners never seemed to even ask about the food or refill beverages. It seemed that was done by Samy. Yes, I think they should have just had regular waitresses instead of runners. However, I can understand where the confusion lies.

        Honestly, I had more sympathy with the other chef that worked there for a couple of years than the two whining food runners in the show. I wonder if they really thought they’d keep their jobs after Amy and Samy saw them bashing the place. Not that they would have still been there anyways.

        Either way, there is no reason for so many to take the show so personally. I am sure there are many restaurant owners out there like Amy and Samy. There are most likely even some like Gordon to. I guess it is OK for him to act the way he does, because he is on TV. I mean how come Gordon can act that way to people, yet when some other average restaurant owners act that way, we are shocked and appalled?

  • Taking employees tips is a FEDERAL CRIME, sweetheart. The Department of Labor has this to say on the matter: A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit. The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. For example, even where a tipped employee receives at least $7.25 per hour in wages directly from the employer, the employee may not be required to turn over his or her tips to the employer

  • Doesn’t matter what their job title or wage or whatever is. If a patron gives a tip to a person, whether its a waiter, “food runner”, hostess, or janitor, that tip is their tip. I don’t get why this is hard to understand and your refusal to wrap your head around this is a big reason why you seem like a plant.

    • I agree. However, when you have someone in there like Samy, it is tough to tell for sure who the tip was meant for. The runners didn’t seem to be assigned to any areas either.

      At least now, maybe they will be more organized knowing who for sure does what.

      As far as prosecution goes, I doubt there is enough evidence to charge ABC with anything. Even many of the reviews online state that Samy asked them about the food and took their order. It would be tough to prove that the runners were really waitresses and that Amy and Samy were acting with deliberate contempt for the law.

  • As an avid Kithen Nightmares watcher, I’ll be honest… I wanted this night to be a circus for you. Not because I wish you and Ricky bad things but because I’m human and any drama that isn’t happening to me is entertainment.

    That being said, your review of the night turned out pretty much exactly how I imagined it would really go.

    Knowing you in real life, I know you weren’t a pawn placed by Samy and Amy. That just isn’t Sheryl. So, I appreciate your honest feedback. I look forward to your follow-up in a few weeks. 🙂

    Lauren

  • “One of the biggest complaints about Amy’s after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired was that Samy was taking the wait staff’s tips. And no, I don’t think this is right. But after watching both the episode of the show as well as Monti’s interview with them, I think that the people we see on the show as “wait staff” were actually hired by Amy’s as “food runners” and paid as normal employees instead of servers. What I don’t think a lot of people know is that servers actually earn less money than normal employees because of their tips. The minimum wage for servers is much less than the minimum wage for normal employees because they are expected to receive tips. So yes, while they were not getting tips, according to Samy and Amy, they were getting paid as normal employees. I’ve heard them say in interviews that Samy was actually the one taking orders pretty much all the time, so he was actually the server and the other employees were just “food runners”. Is this right? I don’t know.”

    Samy and Amy admit in the Monti interview that the waitress waited “4 or 5 tables” in the Kitchen Nightmares episode. If she waited those tables, she is entitled to those tips, under federal law. Paying an employee more than minimum wage is not a valid reason not to pay them the tips that federal law entitles them to. Samy and Amy are stealing the tips.

    Also, it’s a farce to say that Samy waits all the tables. HE DIDN’T EVEN WAIT YOUR TABLE, by your own admission! A waitress waited on you and Samy entered the ticket into the system, because he thinks that is a way around having to pay out the tips. I hope you put some cash in your waitress’ hand.

      • He never did wait all the tables. By Samy and Amy’s own admission on the Monti show, the waitress depicted waited “4 or 5 tables” during that Kitchen Nightmares scene, therefore she is waitstaff entitled by federal law to tips.

      • It was still a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and they deserve to be hit with a class-action lawsuit for the practice. Employers are not allowed to garnish tips, period. Defending this practice, especially based just on the information we already knew about the situation, just casts YOU in a bad light. Either you’re doing it because ABC wants you to (either as a friend or through their PR), or you’re extremely naive with questionable ethical standards. People are giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming the former. You’re no favors to your credibility by continuing to defend them in this regard.

  • Knowing you in real life, I find it hilarious that people think you guys were plants. hahahaha internet people are funny. 🙂

    • What’s so hard to believe? Sheryl get’s publicity and page views by writing an eyewitness account from inside ABC during the grand reopening. For access, she agrees to publish a friendly, positive review about the experience, and defends Samy and Amy’s illegal business practices at the same time.

      If Sheryl did this for money or exposure (and she did) it still makes her a shill.

      • Honestly? I had no intention of blogging about my time at Amy’s and could care less about page views. I simply went because I was curious. After getting such a large response on Twitter, that’s what made me decide to blog about it. Whether you believe that or not doesn’t really matter at all to me.

        • What really tipped me (and everyone) off is the defense of the tipping. Why on earth would you publicly defend and excuse that? No one in their right mind would justify stealing servers tips.

          Nothing here indicates that you are morally bankrupt or stupid enough to believe that an owner stealing unwitting customer’s tips intended for the staff is reasonable behavior. You must be benefiting in some manner…

        • “” The four of us that went are all pretty active on social media and weren’t about to let this opportunity pass us by. “”

          Saying this and then claiming you weren’t going to blog and don’t care about page views…? That’s why people don’t think you sound genuine.

          I don’t think you sound like a plant, just another unemployed blogger who wants fame while pretending to be humble

      • I didn’t say it’s “hard to believe.” I said it’s hilarious. And it is. Because I know Sheryl and have known her for years, and she isn’t getting paid to blog about restaurants. 🙂

      • 1) I pride myself on having a variety of friends from different backgrounds who believe in various things and have different personalities from one another. I’m sure you have plenty of shady friends who do really stupid things. Everyone does. That said, Sheryl is not a shady person who does stupid things. She’s a girl who likes to blog about her experiences.
        2) Her post didn’t come across as defending anyone, in my opinion. It came across as her explaining what happened as honestly as she could. And when it comes to the tip question, she said up front that she didn’t think it was right, and then offered what she could come up with as a possible explanation for it being that way. Like, “I think this is wrong and shouldn’t have happened, but this might be why it happened.” There’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.

        • I can’t say that I do have shady friends who do stupid things. That sounds to me like a good reason not to be friends with a person.

          Anyway, she went on to qualify the statement statement with: “Is this right? I don’t know. But it makes sense to me. If the employees were making $8-14 an hour as Amy and Samy say, that’s not bad for a part-time employee that’s not a server.”

          Saying that it’s “not bad” to be cheated out of tips that you’re lawfully entitled to through the shady practice of calling a server a busboy and assigning them tables anyway. That isn’t a rebuke of the practice, it’s tacit approval or apathy at best.

        • Not going to keep commenting here because I honestly don’t care at all about this restaurant, nor will I ever probably go to Arizona at all, let alone eat there. But to clarify your point, “Saying that it’s ‘not bad’ to be cheated out of tips…”

          She didn’t say that it’s not bad to be cheated out of tips. She said that $8-14 per hour is not bad pay for a part-time employee. When I worked retail, I made $7/hr. Waitresses typically make below minimum wage. $8-14 is clearly above minimum wage – much higher pay than waitresses earn. So the point she’s making is that if they were really getting paid $8-14, that’s technically not waitress pay. It’s higher.

          That said, it’s obviously true that owners should not be getting the tips. That part is clearly illegal. Tips generally are given to folks who make far below minimum wage, though. That’s the point of tips – money given to people who make miniscule wages to get them back up to making minimum wage. It’s not to add to the wages of someone who already makes minimum wage.

          If those people were not making $8-14 an hour, fine. If they were hired on as waitresses, fine. They legally should’ve gotten those tips. If they were hired on as hourly employees with $8-14/hour pay, I’m not a lawyer or anything, but I think in those cases businesses can legally tell their employees that they aren’t allowed to accept tips at all. So nobody would get the tip, including the owner. I think that’s probably how it should’ve legally gone down in that situation. So yes, Samy and Amy should be held legally responsible for breaking the law in that way.

          That’s all I have to say about that.

        • No, it isn’t higher. It’s often lower. That’s the point. As others have explained, and as anyone who has worked on a waitstaff can tell you, tips at a restaurant with prices like ABC’s can make anywhere from 15-20/hr in tips alone. The employer is, by federal law, allowed to take a “tip credit” against the wages of employers who are regularly tipped by customers. Waiters aren’t tipped BECAUSE they make less than minimum wage, they can be paid less than minimum wage BECAUSE they are tipped, by convention. It is the prerogative for an employer to take this into account when setting wages.

          You seem to have the same fundamental misunderstanding as Amy, Samy, and Sheryl to about the Fair Labor Standards Act. This tip credit does not apply “in reverse”. Nor does it apply only to specific professions. Employees must report tips to employers so that they can be reported to the IRS. An employer cannot legally prevent you from receiving a tip if you are given one. They can’t tell them they aren’t allowed to have them, they can’t deduct it from a paycheck, the only thing they can do is set your wages lower in the first place if they know you will regularly get tipped. You can tip your garbage man if you want to, and the employer can’t legally interfere.

        • 1) I said multiple times that it wasn’t legal for the owner or employer to take the tips.
          2) $8-14 an hour is higher than $2-4 an hour.
          3) Employers can legally forbid their employees to accept tips if they make over minimum wage.

      • I. Would. Like. For. All you. To. Know i. Feel. So. Bad for. That girl Katy she. Was doing. Her job and. She get fired for no damn reason. Poor. Little. Girl. I. Think both. Of. The. Owner need anger management. They. Dont. Know. Nothing about. RestauRant management. Stupid people

  • It is so blatantly obvious that you are working in some capacity for the restaurant and/or their new pr team, that this whole blog is laughable. I’m not going to parse out everything in your article that points towards a lack of objectivity (because it is saturated with positive bias), but I will point out one such example. The server on the show is shown TAKING the orders, and then being forced to relay them to Samy so that he can enter them into the pos (which points towards a possible case of, “cooking the books,”but I won’t get into that now). She even has to go as far as digging an order out of the trash to prove to Samy that he entered HER order in incorrectly. This clearly demonstrates that she is not simply a food runner and, consequently, is entitled to tips. However, this is all probably a moot point anyways since Samy is in the process of being deported for his past criminal involvement in drug dealing and extortion, crimes that have led to him being banned from entering France and Germany.

  • Sheryl, Great review! Maybe we can go together when I get back in town. These comments are pretty hilarious. Spy! Haha…

  • Good on you for your integrity! It may not have been the catastrophe some people were hoping for, but in reality, this is pretty much what I expected. I think Amy was completely thrown off by all the cameras during the show, which is why the food was undercooked. Do I still think she’s crazy? Yep. Do I think the restaurant is viable? Yep. These aren’t mutually exclusive things. Thanks for going and sharing with us curious lookie-loos last night, and I’m sorry you’re catching crap over it!

    • You defend a person who was abusive to other people, and berated a poor young girl for merely asking a question. Do you have no ethics? Have you taken even a college ethics course?

  • You’re awfully forgiving of the tip situation. Have you ever worked as a waitress? Even if they were listed as “food runners,” it was incredibly deceptive and dishonest of Samy to let customers THINK their tips were going to the wait staff. If Samy didn’t want them getting tips because they were food runners, he should have posted NO TIPPING ALLOWED signs. And in one of the many posts on Amy’s FB page a waiter chimed in and said that working five tables (assuming $5 tips per table and about an hour turnaround) he could make $25 an hour in tips in addition to his base pay.

    This bias toward forgiving the restaurateurs’ (both of whom have criminal pasts) sins is why people are convinced you’re a plant.

  • Customers leave tips in the expectation that the tips will go directly to their server. Perhaps their will be a tip-sharing arrangement among servers, or with bus staff, but customers clearly do not expect their tips to go to the owner.

    Whether he paid the “food runners” adequately or not, Samy was dishonest with his customers in allowing them to leave tips under a clearly incorrect understanding. This isn’t surprising, since his wife is a convicted fraud and Samy himself apparently has a criminal past.

    Your “more on this tomorrow” explanation of the tip situation is just sad. Oh well. A paycheck is a paycheck.

  • I find it hilarious that the people of the internet think you’re a plant. I guess it pays to know you in real life!

    I do want to make one point though…

    If the wait staff was taking orders, which it shows in the episode that they are, and the tips are left for them, they’re entitled to them. Not the owners.

    • No one is suggesting she’s a “fictional” person. But that she entered into some sort of agreement with Amy’s to defend their shady practices.

  • I think most of you commenters missed this part of my paragraph about tips. I do say at the beginning: “One of the biggest complaints about Amy’s after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired was that Samy was taking the wait staff’s tips. And no, I don’t think this is right.”

    • And then you use the word “but” (code for “please disregard everything I just said”) and go on to defend the tipping situation. This is why we are responding.

    • After that you go on to qualify your statement with: “Is this right? I don’t know. But it makes sense to me. If the employees were making $8-14 an hour as Amy and Samy say, that’s not bad for a part-time employee that’s not a server.”

      Which is a defense of the practice, or at most apathy towards it.

    • So you’re sticking to this huh?

      Sheryl, you have aligned yourself with two people who have done prison time for fraud, drug trafficking, extortion, and who knows what else we don’t know about yet.

      You have gone as far as defending a practice these convicted criminals engage in that is actually a federal crime. They are actively being investiged by the Department of Labor for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

      These people are hated by everyone. There is no self-respecting person out there defending them or their business practices. People all over the world are unified in their disgust of of these horrible people.

      They have absolutely *no* redeeming qualities.

      The food looks disgusting.

  • I think a couple of factors play a part in your appearance as a plant. First, there were two women who had intended to go and live update. The PR firm cross-referenced their Twitter accounts and canceled their reservations, so they were only able to get a distanced view. This goes along with ABC’s insistence that no media be present. They didn’t seem to want anyone live updating.

    Second, the PR chick tweeted earlier in the day that she’d be the bitch drop kicking anyone caught blogging during the event. Twitter was expected to be ablaze with updates, but that wasn’t the case. Reports came in that people were told not to use their phones, and of the handful of people who were live updating, most had “social media consultant” in their job description. Some are associated with the PR chick on Twitter.

    So your rave review, without the slightest of complaints, seems oddly out of place; much like the 5-star reviews on Yelp and the claims of “hacking” from ABC in reference to their social media accounts. @JimmyNova noted that there seemed to be many invited guests, who were not being charged for their meals, seated around him. So, perhaps it was a mix and not the complete sham many of us came to believe a few hours in. Either way, your review doesn’t have the ring of truth to it.

    Maybe that’s the burden ABC will have to bear now, though. They think every negative review is part of a plot to take them down. And now the public will believe every positive review is simply fake. Funny how life works that way.

    • I honestly can’t tell you much in reference to the other people that were told not to live update. I was never told that. My boyfriend did say that when he was signing his release form to be filmed, a lady (we must assume a PR person) told him they didn’t like people live blogging. That’s all she said. And then Samy did come over to our table when he saw all 4 of us with our phones out and say that we could take pictures and tweet, but just to be honest and think for ourselves. I think the PR company was probably trying to keep people from doing it, but I think Samy also DID want people doing it, in hopes that they would do exactly what we did, which was to actually have a GOOD experience and tell people about it.

      I’m not a social media consultant or anything associated with PR. In fact, I’m an unemployed computer programmer who is in between jobs and starting a new one (AS A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER) next week. I saw all the Amy’s hoopla and was simply curious. I wasn’t planning to blog about it at all until I got the response that I did on Twitter last night. Then I almost felt like I had to.

      I honestly don’t understand why so many people think that I MUST be PR, that it’s not possible that Amy and Samy simply were on their best behavior and did a good job last night. I mean, it makes perfect sense to me that they did. They’ve had the restaurant for six years, they must be capable of at least doing an ok job running it or it would have gone out of business by now. I think they do some things completely wrong, and that that came out in Kitchen Nightmares and then they made it worse by having a meltdown about it. But I think they can run a restaurant at least to an adequate level, and last night they had plenty of coaching from REAL PR people on how to do that the right way. So why wouldn’t we have a great experience? This is why I want to go back in a couple of weeks and see if it’s the same kind of experience.

      You are right, though, in your last paragraph… I like it and it bears repeating: “Maybe that’s the burden ABC will have to bear now, though. They think every negative review is part of a plot to take them down. And now the public will believe every positive review is simply fake. Funny how life works that way.”

      • At this point I believe you weren’t a shill, but people will still be suspicious because only select people got Twitter privileges, and the preponderance of PR types (identified through Linkedin, Facebook and Google) that WERE there creates the impression that this reopening was just staged with friendly shills and is not remotely a realistic portrayal of any changes. The biggest problem people have had with Amy and Samy all along is their combative, “customer is wrong” attitude and their ham-fisted attempts to lie (no one remotely believes their social media were hacked) instead of coming clean, apologizing to the public and making a sincere effort to do things better. Lying to people knowledgeable about social media and hacking and such just insults our intelligence and creates even more animosity. They’re still Doing It Wrong.

      • What threw most people off is not the fact that you gave their food or service a decent review — I don’t think most of the people perturbed by them are food fanatics or whatever — but their theft of tips specifically meant for servers who TOOK their order, not meant for the owners.

  • Curious… did you ever meet Amy, Samy, the PR guy who fired them, or this Kinsey Schofield person before entering the restaurant yesterday evening?

    • Nope. Never. The only one I’ve even met now is Samy. I saw Amy in the back but never spoke to her, and I don’t even know who Kinsey Schofield is. I can guess from the replies that I’ve gotten from other people to my tweets that she must be a PR person for them.

  • Just an fyi to the people who are commenting about your independence and objectivity, anyone who was in fact planted as a social media shill, would have to have entered into some type of non-disclosure agreement. This agreement would include language which would specifically address not talking to any professional or personal acquaintances about said arrangement.

  • 1) I don’t think you were a plant, but I think you got exceptional service because the owners knew about you and your blog. I also think you’re a little naive, and will defend people who are nice to you specifically, instead of taking an objective look at their behavior.

    2) Calling the servers “food runners” is a blatant attempt to justify not letting the servers keep their tips. It doesn’t matter if they didn’t take every order–they still brought the food out, made sure the orders were correct, and handle the customers’ questions and complaints. They’re servers.

    3) Keeping employee tips is illegal.

    4) Not notifying customers that tips were going to the owners instead of the servers is shady. I know I wouldn’t leave a tip for the OWNER instead of the waitress; I’d just keep that tip money.

  • To be fair, the interview done by Monti Carlo really was one giant circle-jerk. Just because she was on a TV show with Gordon Ramsay, she starts identifying with Amy and Samy and sympathizing with them. If that were the case, she should have known (and they should have known, too) that doing an interview was going to violate their non-disclosure agreement and put them in hot water. Guess that’s just karma kicking back on them.

  • Hi.

    I’ve known Sheryl for 6-7 years. In that time we tried to be friends but for the most part we tend to butt heads. Her boyfriend drives me nuts. In that time I’ve seen her get excited about things that are more high profile and attend events like this. For instance once we thought Lady Gaga was going to show up at this bar, so we went. Anyway, I guess Sheryl and I are friends, but I know we tend to get on each others nerves. I say all this because I want you to get it that, well, I don’t feel like I HAVE to defend her.

    When I read this I knew it would piss people off because they don’t know Sheryl. She and I tend to not agree on much, though we are both avid Lost fans and we used to watch BSG together. But a lot of the time what she says rubs me in a certain way because she has a way of saying things that leave it too open.

    Sheryl is not an idiot though. She is aware a law was broken. She does not think that’s ok. She wanted to go to the restaurant because she and Ricky like hoopla (who doesn’t?). They go out like every night. She isn’t a plant. She probably doesn’t even own a plant.

    She’s not defending these people. But she didn’t want to buy into the media’s portrayal. She doesn’t think it’s ok to treat people like dirt. She’s not BFF with these people. But she is willing to give people a redo. She is interested in social media, in special events, tv, etc

    That’s what I took from the blog. You are reading into the open spaces too much and judging her character without knowing or fully understanding her intentions.

    Y’all act like she did something wrong.

    Go get yourself a life. It’s not that heavy.

    • Your so-called “unbiased review” here… Yeah, we met this lady before we got in for our reservation. The reservation she used was ours. My boyfriend and I both emailed to get one, and ended up with two. So when we talked to her and she said she didn’t have one, we gave her the name to use to get in under our later reservation. We had a conversation with her before we got in and found out she was a pastry chef that had applied at Amy’s a couple years ago and did not get the job. So I’m not really sure I’d consider her “unbiased”.

      • This other review posted by M. Heenan to Crazy Amys Baking Company facebook page (which has since been taken down) mentions a couple that were live tweeting.

        Your companion Ricky was tweeting glowing reviews that were retweeted.

        I pasted the relevant quote from the review below. Is the couple mentioned in the review you and Ricky?

        “One of the first people to get in at 5pm gave an extremely glowing review via twitter of their whole dinner and encounter with Samy. The PR rep was monitoring twitter at that time and allegedly they said live tweeting wasn’t allowed. However, the rep had no problem retweeting the positive reviews from that blogger. After reading several other blog reviews of the night, I determined this couple were a “plant” and their dinner was likely comped for the positive reviews.”

        http://i.imgur.com/UMz2GUM.png

        • I’m sure this couple was probably us. However, as I’ve said several times, we were never told not to live tweet, our meal was NOT comped, and no one there had any inkling we were bloggers or on Twitter beforehand. We simply actually had a positive experience (I know, it’s SO hard to believe, apparently) and we tweeted about it. Which is probably why we were not told to stop and why they retweeted us.

      • For some reason there is no reply button on your very last comment.

        Anyway… OK I believe you. I, as well as most everyone else, am just so truly appalled by these people that we can’t, and won’t, accept anything remotely positive about them what-so-ever. We find stealing tips intended for staff absolutely inexcusable, and rightfully so.

        On yelp there have been more recent accounts of people’s less than positive experiences dining (or in many cases simply attempting to dine) since the grand reopening.

        I look forward to reading your next review. If you don’t have a bad time I’m going to be mad 🙂

        • You know what really pisses me off? (And Shane, this has nothing to do with you) All the people that have written a review for Amy’s that DON’T EVEN LIVE IN ARIZONA. Unless you have been there, you have no right to write a review on Yelp. That’s basically just lying in my book. I don’t agree with Samy and Amy’s tactics, but I went with an open mind to see how they did. And the one time I was there, they did just fine. Which I (unlike everyone else, seemingly) was not surprised about, given all they’ve been through recently.

Leave a Comment