Not quite a month ago, I wrote about a poor customer service experience at the Golden Arches, and what a poor job they did in making it right. Today I’m writing about another negative experience at a different establishment and a manager that went above and beyond what was necessary to make things right.
We recently had lunch at a relatively well-known Italian sit-down restaurant chain. I’m not going to mention them but name but yeah, it’s probably the one you’re thinking of.
We arrived shortly before the normal lunch rush and received really (really!) poor service. We rarely saw our waitress, waited forever for things to be brought to our table, and watched as those around us (who arrived well after we did) were served, enjoyed their meals, paid their bills, and left.
Meanwhile, we sat with empty glasses, fewer breadsticks than we had people, and salads that arrived after the meal. It was frustrating to say the least. We probably should’ve walked out, but we stayed and tried to make the best of it.
The main problem seems to have been that our table was located well away from our waitress’ other tables. We were in the back and she was primarily responsible for a cluster of tables up front. I have no idea why they set it up this way, but everyone around us was received top-notch service from servers whose tables were all located near one another.
At one point, another waitress in the area must have noticed our exasperation because she stopped to ask if everything was okay. When we explained the situation, she said she’d take care of it. She fetched our waitress, who was very apologetic, and eventually got the manager involved.
In the midst of all this, things went from bad to worse. They attempted to fix things by putting in a dessert order without consulting us and then proceeded to tell our kids all about it. They meant well, but we don’t do dessert when we eat out — especially not at lunch — so now we had disappointed kids on our hands.
Note: Yes, I know that some of you might call us ingrates for turning down the dessert offer but we weren’t interested in choking down 1200+ calories of fried dough to make up for a disappointing meal.
When they finally asked us what we wanted them to do make things right, I was exasperated. “I really don’t know. I guess you could adjust the bill. Just do whatever you think is fair.”
And so they did. In fact, they did way more than what was fair.
I was expecting a small discount of some sort. Instead, they comped our entire meal. And they gave us a gift card to get us to come back and give them another chance.
To me, this was excessive — and I told them so. But they insisted and we relented.
Will we give them another chance? Yes, definitely. And hopefully things will go smoothly. I’d much rather have a relaxing meal and pay for it then deal with that sort of aggravation, even if the meal winds up being free.