Friday, June 19, 2009

Note to Restaurants: In this economy, it pays to make your customers happy!

The other day I had a bit of a confrontation with a girl who works at a restaurant that we frequent. I am NOT a confrontational person, so this got my heart racing more than I care to admit. Basically, I called up our local Baja Fresh to place an order for pick up. I ordered everything that we normally get... steak tacos with just meat and lettuce, 2 fish tacos, chicken tortilla soup, rice, black beans, and cheese quesadillas with corn tortillas. When I got to the quesadillas, the "lovely" girl on the other end of the phone told me that I could only get them with flour tortillas. When I told her that we ALWAYS get them with corn tortillas (at least 20 times from the same location) she told me that it was impossible, they simply could not, would not make them for me with corn. The tone of her voice, the silence in between her brash statements all told me that she clearly thought that I was a lunatic. ( Correct me if I am wrong, you have a stack of flour tortillas and a stack of corn tortillas sitting right next to each other and you are telling me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to make a substitution?) This was the dark side of corporate American dining at its best. I felt like I was talking to an angry robot, impervious to reason. Complicating the situation was the fact that I was on my speaker phone in the car, winding my way through the Hollywood Hills. Thankfully, a higher power took action and disconnected my call. After a few deep breaths, I pulled the car over and hit redial. This time, I asked to speak to a manager. After MUCH apologizing and tushie kissing, I was redeemed. They would be HAPPY to make our quesadilla, as requested. We even got a free order of chips and guacamole out of the ordeal!

I used to help my dad run his restaurant in San Luis Obispo. The very first rule in any business is MAKE THE CUSTOMER HAPPY. And with the economy being what it is, every single restaurant and cafe that is lucky enough to still be in business should be bending over to make everyone as happy as they possibly can. That includes proper employee training. (As in, tell your new hires that if a customer asks for something that you are not sure about have them ask a manager.) There used to be a character on Seinfeld called "The Soup Nazi". This was a guy that served up soup, his way. That attitude may have been chic in the 90's but those days are long gone. If I am willing to go out and spend precious cash at your establishment, I want it to be a pleasant experience. If it isn't, chances are that I will not be retuning with my family. So work with us!

And if you happen to have or are caring for someone with allergies do not hesitate to make your requests. It can be a little intimidating sometimes, but it sure is wonderful to have someone else cook dinner every now and again. And if anybody gives you attitude tell them that your wallet was made for walking!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Food allergies definitely make it more difficult and limits your choices for eating out.

As far as the soup nazi. I actually went there. After that episode aired, was working in the city, so our group decided to try the place. Very similar to how it was portrayed. Long line and outside was a sign with a list of rules, everything was oppposite of the show, like on the show you order on the right and move to left, opposite in the real place. That type of place can only work in NY. The soup was good, but not great for the price paid. Cool to try once.