Leslie's Omnibus

Sputtering Mad

Apparently the folks at the Capitol Hilton aren't too happy to be on the receiving end of hundreds (maybe thousands? One can hope...) unhappy emails asking pesky questions about why the Fran O'Brien's lease isn't being renewed. If they think the email they sent to me (and it's about as canned as it gets, so I'm not the only one receiving it) is going to placate anyone with two active brain cells, they've got another thing coming.

What did the email say, you ask?
Your e-mail has been forwarded to me, Brian Kelleher, General Manager, of The Capital Hilton. Thank you for your expression of concern regarding the Fran O’Brien’s restaurant.
I emailed you directly, you moron, and I knew exactly who you are and what your title was already. Expression of concern? Expression of outrage, is more accurate.
I appreciate your interest and would like to take this opportunity to respond to you personally.
Liar, liar, pants on fire. You want me and all of my ilk to go away and leave you alone; hence, this canned response. There's nothing even remotely personal about the content of your response. Which secretary forwarded this on your behalf?
For strictly business reasons related solely to the inability to reach a new lease agreement, the Capital Hilton has elected to terminate the lease with the operator of Fran O’Brien’s restaurant at the hotel. This decision was not at all related to the Friday night dinners for disabled veterans but rather a result of lease negotiations that failed. The hotel has offered to host and sponsor the dinner and expressed interest in working closely with Walter Reed so that the Friday night tradition can continue. Furthermore, the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners.
Bull. Pucky. You just don't want the restaurant there.

By the way -- "expressed an interest" is not "have made a commitment." And we see how far being in discussions with you got the nice folks at Fran O'Brien's. Do you actually believe your own bullshit?
The Capital Hilton prides itself on its involvement and support of many community organizations and events and has provided complimentary or discounted rooms to families with veterans in the hospital, donated facilities to military organizations and most recently hosted a meeting for 300 people.
Whoopdeedoo. I'm sure you host lots of meetings for 300 people. Can you be more specific? (I mean, you could be talking about anything from a retreat for nuns to the Man/Boy Love Association, right?)

Have any of these things done anything for the morale of wounded troops at Walter Reed anywhere near the scale of the Friday night dinners at Fran O'Brien's? I think not.

Oh. And has it cost the Capital Hilton anywhere near what Fran O'Brien's has been shelling out for dinners for these wounded soldiers? Giving a room that might not otherwise have been occupied is not on the same scale as opening your wallet and feeding people.
Brian Kelleher
General Manager, Capital Hilton
Sincerely? My Aunt Fanny.

This smacks to me of a GM who hasn't bothered to let corporate know what's going on, and certainly has no idea of how irate the public is. Worse, he doesn't seem to give a good rat's ass. And apparently his PR staff has no influence over his lack of concern.

While Buzz Patterson may recommend going through Hilton's website to email concerns, I have a suggestion to up the ante: call, write or fax Hilton's Director of Corporate Communications directly.

Have stock in Hilton? Even better. In that case, call write or fax Hilton's Vice President of Investor Relations.

Still hopping mad? Here's a list of the Directors -- drop a note to any or all of 'em.

Here's the Corporate Office info.

Have a ball letting them know how badly this entire affair has been handled. You can bet I'm going to!

Update: Here's the letter I'm sending today:

I am writing to express my dismay with the manner in which Hilton Hotels Corporation seems to be handling the closing of negotiations and eviction of Fran O’Brien’s Steak House from the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. Hilton Hotels has long had a reputation for sterling hospitality. It has completely missed the mark when it comes to the handling of the Fran O’Brien’s mess.

I wrote directly to your General Manager, Brian Kelleher, to express my very real concerns that in closing this restaurant and apparently making no provisions to host the Friday night events for wounded veterans from Walter Reed Hospital, Hilton was making a grave public relations error. His response showed a complete lack of public relations skill or training.

So why am I writing to you?

First, I make reservations for my bosses, consultants who travel frequently, every day. I will not be making reservations at any Hilton Hotels for them, or for my own personal use, until and unless good faith negotiations are reopened with the owners of Fran O’Brien’s and with someone within your organization that has some common sense.

Second, I am a blogger. I have attached a copy of today’s post about this mess. Sure, I only get between 30 and 60 links a day… but I’m not the only one blogging about this. The Milbloggers are all over this story, and are successfully pushing for it to be picked up by the mainstream media.

Never underestimate the power of grassroots change agents. We are legion… and we are angry with how people who are trying to do wonderful things for wounded veterans are being evicted from the Capitol Hilton, while no arrangements to offer alternative services have been confirmed.

Shame on Hilton Hotels Corporation


Oddybobo said...

Awesome! I am getting right on that.

t1g said...

Nice job!

Tammi said...

You go girl!!!

I love the fact that the Milblog Conf. ice breaker is there tonite. THAT should be interesting.............