Alan Peppard wrote a story in yesterday’s DMN about a piece on power lunches in the current issue of Town and Country. The magazine sent one guy— a first timer and “a tightwad”– to four spots to see if he was treated like a regular power broker. The four restaurants were The Grill Room at the Four Seasons in New York, The Grill on the Alley (Beverly Hills), Tosca (D.C.) and Dallas’ own, Al Biernat’s
In the aforementioned Town & Country story on power lunch spots, the true value of Biernat’s was hard to judge because Al Biernat did his thing—he immediately befriended the newcomer. “A few minutes after the owner left us, the bill arrived with a stunning 25 percent discount and the notation ‘FOA,’ which must stand for Friend of Al.” Check after discount: $56.72. The experience was similar at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons, where desserts were sent over gratis, “prompting us to wonder if they had somehow been tipped off.” Four Seasons check: $168.76.
I received an email this morning from a female who power lunches frequently. Hear her roar:
As a woman executive, I have lunched at Al Biernat’s a couple of times with clients and have never met Al or received the FOA discount. My first choice for a business lunch is Stephan Pyles, but I’d like to know where your other executive women readers go for power lunches.
UPPITY DATE: I just got off the phone with Al Biernat who shines a floodlight on the situation reported by Town & County Magazine. I can’t find a link to the actual story that Alan Peppard reported on yesterday, but in Peppard’s piece he pulls the quote: “A few minutes after the owner left us, the bill arrived with a stunning 25 percent discount and the notation ‘FOA,’ which must stand for Friend of Al.”
Here’s what really happened. The Town & Country writer was in the restaurant with a good friend and regular customer of Al’s. So as soon as the guy started his faux rant and bitching about service, Al was on the spot. Since he knew the other guy at the table, Al stayed around for a while to shoot the breeze. The real friend of Al’s, who was aware of the 20 percent discount (not 25% as reported by T&C), mentioned it to the waiter and therefore the T&C writer got the discount.
Anybody can be a FOA. All you have to do is “like” Al Biernat’s on Facebook, sign up on their website, or fill in the form that comes with your check. Once you’re on the list, you are notified when special discounts are available.
So phoeey on you, “Mr. Fox.” You didn’t make a full disclosure of the situation.