Cheester: Is There Such a Thing as Bad Publicity?

One of my Cancun favorites, Cheester restaurant put up a post on its Facebook page this past Saturday that sparked quite the controversy all over Cancun’s social media culture:

hola amigos de cheester es de vital importancia que si es tu piensas festejar tu cumpleaños, reunion, posada, graduacion etc debes decirle a tus amigos que mesas mayores a 12 personas esperaras por lo menos 45 min si llegas en horas pico digamos entre 2 y 6 y entre 8 y 10 de la noche y que tenemos un consumo minimo de 100 pesos por persona, mas el 15 % de servicio asi que avisales a tus amigos, esto quiere decir que si vienes a ocupar un espacio y no vas a consumir mejor vayan a mac donalds evitenme la pena de causarte un mal momento SI ESTAS DE ACUERDO CON LAS REGLAS Y SON PERSONAS CIVILIZADAS ESTAMOS EN LA MEJOR DISPOSICION DE ATENERLES ( MESAS MAYORES DE 12 ES CASI IMPOSIBLE DE SERVIR DEVIDO A LA CAPACIDAD DEL RESTAURANTE ) POR SU COMPRENCION GRACIAS Y LOS ESPERAMOS

Here’s my rough translation (complete with spelling and grammar errors):

Hello friends of cheester it’s of vital importance that if you’re planning to celebrate your birthday, get-together, posada, graduation etc you should tell your friends that tables of more than 12 people will wait at least 45 minutes if you arrive during peak hours let’s say from 2 to 6 and from 8 to 10 at night and there’s a minimum bill of 100 pesos (about $10 USD) per person, plus 15 % service so let your friends know, this means that if you’re coming to take up space and you’re not going to eat you’d better go to mac donalds don’t make me have to ruin your evening IF YOU AGREE WITH THE RULES AND ARE CIVILIZED PEOPLE WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SERVE YOU ( TABLES MORE THAN 12 ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SERVE DO TO THE CAPACITY OF THE RESTAURANT ) THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDIN AND HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON

Followers were immediately in an uproar over this statement, mainly due to the mean tone of the post.

I was upset at first as well because it made me feel unwelcome as a customer, but I’m ok with it now for several reasons:

  1. Cheester is and has always been known for its sarcastic, no BS attitude. Their original restaurant even has a list of rules posted, insisting you not be cheap and tip your waiter, no special orders, we close promptly at 11, etc etc. I’ve been personally yelled at by the chef for making a special order, and the chef has also come out to tell my friends to stop using their Blackberries at dinner (haha). They have always been known for their acidic humor and everyone just thought it was funny, so why should they be expected to change now?
  2. If I read over this carefully, they’re actually pretty good rules and advisories.
    • The restaurant is VERY small, and doesn’t fit groups of 12. Thanks for the heads up.
    • Yes there will be a wait, especially for groups. Cheester doesn’t accept reservations and is always packed. Again, thanks for the heads up.
    • Automatic 15% service for large groups is standard for pretty much every restaurant.
    • $100 pesos minimum… I think this is a bit high considering Cheester dishes each cost around $100 and are meant for 2 or more people… but I get their point that you can’t just be sitting there taking up space.

New anti-Cheester Facebook groups have been formed calling for boycotts, and many are using the hashtag #CheesterSucks on Twitter.

Cheester has since posted 3 apologies on its Facebook page.

What do you think? Did they cross the line this time? Should they have to apologize? Is this good or bad publicity for Cheester?

Juan, Viri, Jorge and me at Cheester a few months back

Tell Us Why Mexico Is Awesome

As most of you know, I’ve been working as a Community Manager with the Mexico Today iniciative for several months now, sharing my articles right here on my blog.

Today I’m excited to announce that Mexico Today has launched their Social Magazine on their Facebook site, which now has over 15,000 followers!! Seriously, how cool is it that there are so many people out their who share my passion for Mexico?

From here on out I’ll be posting my Mexico Today articles directly on to the Mexico Today Social Magazine. (But don’t worry! You’ll still be able to catch my usual blogging stories on weekend trips, funny quotes from Jorge and cat feces right here, as always! We like to keep it classy.)

The best news is that now even YOU can post your Mexico stories! Just “like” the Mexico Today Facebook page if you haven’t already, and it’s super easy to share your articles and links.

On top of that, by contributing you’re eligible to win a $500 gift card… and let’s be real, I suspect we could all use $500!

The newly launched Mexico Today Social Magazine on Facebook profiles stories and submissions from leading Mexico bloggers and influencers, including the 24 Mexico Today Ambassadors.

This innovative tactic pushes the envelope of what is possible on Facebook, leveraging community participation from fans to produce a dynamic and evolving, socially-curated online publication. The intent is to create a grassroots movement by allowing submissions from those who are interested in Mexico’s culture, the Mexican economy, Mexico’s environment and more.

Help shape the conversation about today’s Mexico. The Magazine accepts not only short links, but also longer blog posts. Submit your content today to enter a chance to win a $500 gift card.

Check it out here to read Mexico stories from other travelers and expats, or to post your own. Either way, it’s the perfect place for daydreaming about your next vacation!

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Mexico Today

Anyone who reads my blog knows just how much I love Mexico. It’s a beautiful country filled with incredible people and amazing natural resources. Regular readers have seen me get very frustrated whenever Mexico or Cancun come under attack from the media. For the last week or so, my Mexican and foreign friends here in Cancun have been talking a lot about a recent article by MSNBC Travel called “Time to Say Adios to Mexico Travel?” The article refers to Cancun as an “increasingly violent hotspot” (ha!) and even includes a poll asking readers if they’d travel to Mexico. 72% said no. That makes me so incredibly sad.

How on earth are we going to convince 72% of the population that Mexico is, in fact, a safe country? How can I get them to see what I see when CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, etc, are out on a smear campaign to post sensationalist stories to draw in readers? Over the past few years, Mexican and expat bloggers alike have been fighting back by commenting on articles and voicing thoughts on their own blogs, but our voice has been relatively small compared to the powerful media we’re up against. The frustration of defending something you love so much only to have few people believe you is very disheartening.

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide stating the folling:

“I’m writing today on behalf of the Mexico Tourism Board’s Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico initiative, to invite you to join the Mexico Today program.  The program will empower writers like you to share Mexico’s true stories with the people who need to hear them the most … Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico, is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day.”

How could I say no?

I’m proud to annouce that I will be working with Ogilvy and the Mexico Tourism Board in their Mexico Today program, along with many other Mexico bloggers! I’m so excited that we finally have the voice and the resources we need to accomplish what we’ve been trying to do for a long time now.

While this is a paid position, everything that I write will be my own opinion. I’ll be meeting up with most of the people involved in the Mexico Today project this weekend on al all-expenses-paid trip to Oaxaca, and I can’t wait to get started! I’ll give you all the details on my trip as soon as I get back next week. Click here (or on the badge on my right sidebar) to visit Mexico Today’s Facebook page.

If you love Mexico as much as I do, I hope you follow along with the Mexico Today team as we try to reclaim Mexico’s reputation for what this country truly is: a fascinating place with incredible beauty and a warm, unique culture.

Once the dust of Mexico has settled on your heart, you have no rest in any other land.” -Anita Brenner, Mexican author