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Patrick David's offers solution to gift card complaints

Original post made on Oct 27, 2010

People who bought Patrick David's gift cards at Costco can't use them at the restaurant, but at least they can get their money back. Recently, a number of people complained that the restaurant, now under new ownership, had rejected the Costco cards.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 5:21 PM

Comments (32)

Posted by P
a resident of Blackhawk
on Oct 27, 2010 at 7:19 am

I question why it took a quantity of burned customers with the gift cards and a possible litigation over the new owners' heads (an added expense out of their pockets) to get them to resolve the problem. I would think that just one burned customer would have been enough for an owner to be concerned enough to resolve a problem. There are too many resturants to choose from in the Bay area to not have to go back to the resturant that burned people; also a reputation of a business does spread like wildfire. I now hestitate to go to the resturant again just because it took too many burned customers to get the problem resolved.

Posted by DanvilleGuy
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 7:46 am

The refunding of gift cards purchased at Costco (IF you have the receipt - who get those when given a gift card and keeps them?!)is only part of the puzzle. We have several gift cards that were bought directly from the restaurant before they changed hands. Given as a gift, there is no receipt, and since they are not Costco, we have no recourse. It used to be our favorite restaurant, now it is on the "No Fly" list!

Posted by anotherburnedcustomer
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

I agree with Danville Guy. We were given a $!00 gift card purchased directly from Patrick David, and when we went to use it we were denied, being offered a measly discount on an overpriced bottle of wine. Not only was it insulting, but it glaringly showed the stupidity of the new owners to burn bridges with "former" loyal customers. Al Sisto, and other owners, don't be stupid, honor the gift cards purchased directly at Patrick David's and take the loss personally to maintain your restaurants customer relations. Yes, it will cost you money, but there are ways to offset the impact, perhaps by dividing up the credit (lets say $100) over 4 visits to assure the customers return knowing full well they will spend well over $25 per visit. In addition, you could state that a customer receives the value of the gift card when they purchase double the amount, to ensure you are close to covering your costs and are, at a minimum, making a good faith gesture to loyal Patrick David's customers in the community. Come on guys, be creative, I am sure you can think of a better resolution that benefits everyone, not just your pocket books! Danville is a tight knit community, everyone knows everyone, and there are numerous amazing eating establishments to choose from when dining out. Don't make yourselves the target of negative feedback, or you will get burned.

Posted by Rhonda
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

I agree with everyone. I was told my gift card was no good over the summer so I tossed it. I have not been back to Partick David's since. I felt burned too and avoid eating there. Good luck with anybody ever buying a gift card again from Patrick David's again!

Posted by DanvilleWoman
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

This problem has been going on for many months and it is just now being posted that Patrick David's will refund the gift cards from Costco. It was a huge hassle to get my money refunded. I had to return to Costco two times because Patrick David's was very slow to answer the telephone to confirm if the card was used or not. Finally, I sat at Costco and dialed on my own phone until someone answered the phone. Costco was very apologetic and cooperative and refunded my money with a Costco gift card after they received confirmation of the unused card.
Patrick David's has lost my loyalty forever and I have passed the word around to all my friends who dine in Danville. This restaurant is definitely on my "DO NOT GIVE THEM BUSINESS" list.

Posted by Danville Resident
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

Service in Danville seems to have gone by the way side for many businesses, even in this tough economy. I agree with everyone here that business owners should be doing more to keep their loyal customers. But instead, it seems they take customers for granted cuz there are others with $$ in our community that will simply pay regardless of service. I for one am loyal to those who give good service and Patrick David is no longer one of the businesses I will visit.

Posted by oh!riley
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

Given that the money received for the gift cards went to the previous owners, I can understand why the new owners can't afford to honor all PD the gift cards that are currently in circulation. From previous news reports, it sounds as if the previous owners used the gift cards as personal currency/barter for hair cuts, etc. I think the new owners would have been better served to have changed the restaurant name in order to cut all ties to the financial messes of the previous owners.

Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:15 am

This is very interesting to read this now, as others have mentioned, since this has been occuring a long time. I too attempted to use a Patrick David card that was purchased at the restaurant this past June and was told that their computer was down and they couldn't take the card "at that time". This was a birthday dinner for a friend and it was pretty embarassing to have this happen. It turned out, after some "conversation" that they honored the card for half of the value (it was given as a $100 gift card so they honored $50.)

As a business owner, I don't understand the mentality of the "customer NOT always being right". What happened to that belief??

Indeed there are some local businesses that act as if they are doing their customers a favor and those do not get re-visited by me, but there are still some wonderful local independant proprietors that treat their clients like "gold".

As most of us are aware, the mark-up on food is pretty large so to not honor a gift card is truly cutting one's nose off to spite their face.

Good luck PD!!!

Posted by Freckles
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 9:17 am

All I can say is this has been going on for at least 9 months. I enquired with the better business bureau and 7 on your side and they said the laws concerning gift cards are more complex than we are led to believe.

It is very embarrassing to give a gift card to someone and then feel compelled to call them and tell them to not use it because it has no value. Even worse, they go to use it at the restaurant and then they get stuck with the bill. It's bad enough when I went to pay my bill and gave the bartender the card and he said, "Oh we are not accepting these anymore." I should have just walked out, but like a good citizen I paid my bill. Sorry, but there should have been a BIG tacky sign saying, "We are not accepting gift cards." This sign should be visible to all patrons.

Posted by member
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:08 am

We also lost the value of a $100 gift card purchased at the restaurant. I small sign near the front door explaining that gift cards were now invalid (and the reason) would have made the experience of eating there a little more palletable. Sitting down, munching on some bread and ordering a cocktail, THEN being told that gift certificates were not valid is the wrong way to handle this situation. We stayed, ate a delicious meal, but will never go back! We felt swindled and used. Too bad, as the food was (and always has been) quite delicious.

Posted by David Barlow
a resident of John Baldwin Elementary School
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

Sadly another trendy restaurant in Danville while we have to go to Walnut Creek for a good burger. Bring back Flakey Jakes or bring The Counter here (now in Walnut Creek). I could care less about organic ingredients---give me a big burger!!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

Wow- glad I'm not a business owner in Danville, you guys are tough! Sounds to me the new owners should have changed the name,and left the liability with the old owners who, by the way, received the money. Without knowing HOW MUCH the outstanding gift cards were for how can any of you pass judgement as to what is the best business practice for them? Oh, that's right, YOU are the customer, and are ALWAYS right!

Which you may be "right" in this case, but I just find it interesting, that those who have money always think they are entitled just because they spent money. Apparently it is a risk to buy gift cards from someone who may go out of business- who would have thunk?

With this negative publicity, it sounds as if it's a no win situation for the new owners and employees. It also sounds like the new owners could have handled the situation differently (At minimum put up a sign that they weren't accepting the gift cards).

Posted by Michele
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I wonder if all the negative comments were from business owners themselves? HMMM??? Times are tough and if you are a business owner then you are probably just trying to stay afloat right now. I am sad to see so many people throw stones at a local business who is just trying to get started. My husband and I had our anniversary dinner at Patrick Davids the other night. We had a delicious meal, the ambiance was wonderful and the people were courteous and very service oriented. Thank you to Patrick Davids for providing a great place for my husband and I to celebrate our special day. We will definitely be back!

Posted by danfromdanville
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm


I'll assume you didnt have a $100 gift card rejected at your wonderful dinner or else you'd be fumming like the other "business owners" on this board.

Posted by Spencer Larsen
a resident of Danville
on Oct 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm

A good friend gave us a gift certificate to Patrick David's, but we were informed it would not be honored because of change of ownership of the business. We paid for our meal, but regretted the waste of our friend's money, although we have no intention of telling him.

The previous owner sold the card weeks before selling the business, obviously aware of what was happening, and obviously pocketing the money from the sale of gift cards. It would have been better, I think, for the new owner to have been able to collect money for the presented cards from the previous owner. The previous owner may be pleading bankruptcy, but it was nevertheless dishonorable to collect money for cards that he knew would never be redeemed. It's an unfortunate black eye for a new business.

Posted by Karla
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

I was given a $100 gift certificate purchased directly at the restaurant. When I found out I could not use it for a dinner for six I was planning for my husband's birthday celebration, I asked what my alternatives were. As it turned out, we were compensated by no charge for corkage (two bottles we brought in) and two desserts. Okay, it may not have been exactly equal, but I felt the new owners were doing all they could to take care of us without losing us as customers. They are in a tough spot and had they changed the name, they would have lost customers. Had they continued to honor the cards, they would have lost revenue. Sometimes you just have to be a little more understanding and figure out what you value more . . . a wonderful meal with terrific service and a wonderful bartender OR to squeeze every penny out of an experience you would otherwise miss. If you'd prefer the later, as they say at McDonald's . . . "have it your way" and do just that.

Posted by what?
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 9:11 am

What are you talking about Karla?

Recession or not, a $100 gift card is no different than $100 cash.

Do you "value" a gift by a family member to have a nice meal?

Some people here work for a living and every dollar earned is actually earned.

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

Michelle, Karla and Spencer:
Thanks! You give me hope that there are a few decent souls out there, who can see the overall picture, and are not so hellbent on "their own" hard earned money that they can't compromise for the better of everyone!

Posted by Dina
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 8:10 pm

We went to Patrick David's the other night to use a gift card we had purchased from Costco. They told us the same thing - that the card could be returned to Costco. We left the restaurant without eating and went to Costco. Costco said they are losing thousands of dollars on the deal and that Patrick David's has not returned their phone calls and has been a terrible business partner. I won't be returning to Patrick David's and I'm glad we left before eating there.

Posted by Dina
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Also, the title of this post "Patrick David's offers solution to gift card complaints" is misleading because while the solution might work for them (and customers who purchased at Costco), it is costing Costco a lot of money. Patrick David's should be ashamed of themselves for passing the buck back to Costco. The title of the post is too generous toward Patrick David's. In my opinion, they have earned the negative publicity.

Posted by anne
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I just found out about this problem. I agree the new owners should have changed their name to avoid confusion...I also feel they should honor the cards. Apparently Patrick David is still the chef there. One can only wonder what the business relationship is. The fact that Patrick David was selling cards only weeks before the "new owners" took over smells like fraud to me. I will NEVER return.

Posted by InAlamo
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

It seems to be that the BEST solution would have been:
1) New owners go to costco and pull all gift cards being sold.
2) New owners accept gift cards from customers without a word and
then simply collect them all and sue previous owners for amount owed.

If I was the new owner, I would have done this. Instead of throwing
my customers in the middle of a fight between myself and previoud
owners, I would have handled it as I described above.

OK -- so new owners do not believe in doing it the way I would have.
But, honestly, if the new owners themselves were honest AT LEAST they should have put the signs warning about it in the restaurant and not stiff the people AFTER they finished dinner.

Looks like BOTH the old and new owners are dishonest. Also, I find it hard to believe that new owners did not realize/understand the outstanding gift card liabilities when they bought the business. It is hard to believe that new owner did NOT KNOW that gift cards are being sold at CostCo (for a business he was buying). I am sure that a reasonable transaction would include these liabilities and account for it in pricing for business.

Based on that, it seems to me that the new owners are dishonest and are simply using the excuse that "business was sold" to not fulfil their obligations.


Posted by ex Patrick David patron
a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

Dina, your right, this headline is incorrect period! It should read "Costco offers solution to gift card complaints after Patrick David's refuses to honor them"!
To all of those in support of the poor Patrick David owners who would rather burn all of the gift card holders who did nothing but try to support their business, shame on you! A business with good ethics would handle the situation as fairly as possible for all parties involved, not just themselves. Costco, on the other hand, has gone above and beyond taking a direct hit with this whole mess, but you better believe Costco customers will value the fairness of doing business with them. Don't be so naive as to think the new owners had no knowlege of the gift cards sold, when a business is purchased everything is revealed, and if not, there are legal procedures to handle the problem, not ripping off the customers who keep your business succesful. Very stupid on Patrick David's part!
Thank you danville weekly for printing the article that is now exposing Patrick david's new ways of doing business to everyone. Funny thing is, I am sure the new owners of Patrick David's submitted this article to shine a good light on themselves as they ride Costco's coattails of good customer service practices. Unfortunately for Patrick David's the residents in our cummunity are not fools.

Posted by teacher
a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I split the gift cards into two $50 gifts for teachers. I am very upset at how Patrick David has handled this entire situation. They have lost my support. They knew what they were getting into when the bought the business. Is Costco going to allow the teachers to return the cards when they have been split?

Posted by Hard Working
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2010 at 9:10 am

True some employees received benefit - yet still others were paid via gift certificates for several long events worked - which like customers are not being honored -that is truly not fair treatment for them employees. they worked the hours in good faith and those should be honored. This is truly sad. The new owners shoul have been full diclosure up front.Disappointed

Posted by Ex Danville Patron
a resident of Danville
on Oct 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm

After seeing the Patrick David's gift cards at Costco last year, I remarked to my husband that whoever buys these cards will be very sorry one day. I had heard from many people that Patrick David's owed money to many vendors and wasn't paying their bills, just pocketing the money that came in from the restaurant and catering jobs. I'm sure many vendors and investors lost money when Patrick David's abruptly closed the new, much anticipated Event Center in San Ramon. Shame on Laura and Patrick Schoolcraft for such irresponsible business practices.

When the new investors took over, I'm sure they refused to assume the debts Patrick David's had incurred over the years. They should have just bought the assets and started with a new new name, but in the same location. Then this wouldn't leave such a bad taste in people's mouth!

Posted by Norm
a resident of Danville
on Oct 31, 2010 at 9:28 am

Poor business acumen. Either change the name - fully , not smoke and mirror tweaking as was done OR honor the name and implement a solution. Good will destruction at its finest.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Louise and Michelle - you appear suspiciously like spokespersons for PD's (wolves in sheep's clothing?). Louise, in particular this sentence of yours intrigues me:

"I just find it interesting, that those who have money always think they are entitled just because they spent money."

The implication that everyone in Danville has plenty of $? Just those who purchase gift certificates for PD's?

Yes, if you spent money on a gift certificate, most would feel entitled to the benefits thereof. It tends to go with the territory.

Posted by Margie
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm

According to sources at Costco, the "new owners" are actually investors who supposedly will let Patrick David buy back the restaurant. He is still the chef there and is trying to keep his wedding/catering business in San Ramon afloat. Apparently he over-extended himself in trying to expand the business and that, along with a very expensive lifestyle, led to many money problems. The gift card situation should never have happened as he knew very well that he was in over his head. This is a serious act of fraud and should be treated as such. Don't let him get away with this!

Posted by InAlamo
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 3, 2010 at 1:07 am


"According to sources at Costco, the "new owners" are actually investors who supposedly will let Patrick David buy back the restaurant. He is still the chef there and is trying to keep his wedding/catering business in San Ramon afloat. Apparently he over-extended himself in trying to expand the business and that, along with a very expensive lifestyle, led to many money problems. The gift card situation should never have happened as he knew very well that he was in over his head. This is a serious act of fraud and should be treated as such. Don't let him get away with this!"

If this is true, then essentially the whole "new owner" scheme is to simply get rid of old debt (e.g., filing a business bankruptcy without actually doing anything) including all the gift cards. Once the "new owners" have fended off all debtors, they will simply pass the ownership back to Patrick?

Posted by Anne
a resident of Danville
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:19 am

The old owner clearly knew what he was doing & did not disclose the situation. Probably sold the restaurant for a fortune leaving the new owner stuck with a big monetary surprise. Simple, but sad. Everyone involved should take legal action. Just my opinion.

Posted by Yuck
a resident of Danville
on Nov 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

My husband and I went there last March-with a reservation-and was given a table inside that had patio furniture chairs. After a gentle comment-they moved us to a "nicer" table. I ordered soup, my husband a casear salad, and we both we appalled. This place sucks. The food is horrible. Consider yourself lucky to NOT eat there. There are so many better food options and values in Danville. Bridges, The Peasant and the Pear, and Mangia Mi are a few of my favorites.

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