How to 86 Your Customers

When I am not in a hotel, I swing by the occasional chain restaurant for a good meal.  There is one chain that I really like because they have awesome baby back ribs.  The problem is that my wife will only eat one thing on the entire menu.  Here is our experience and a good lesson in how to lose a regular customer.

The server came by to take our orders.  I ordered the baby back ribs that I love and my wife ordered the fish (the only thing on the menu that she really likes).  The server took down the order and left for the kitchen.  My wife and I enjoyed our beverages and a little conversation.  About 15 minutes later, we were wondering where our food was when one of the restaurant managers came over and said ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  The bad news is that we are out of the fish.  The good news is that we have everything else on the menu available.’

I have no idea why they took 15 minutes to tell us that they were out of the fish.  Did they not know this when we ordered?  Maybe they were fishing outback and the fish just weren’t biting.  Who knows.  Anyway, we were annoyed but willing to move on.  My wife requested a menu so she could choose another entree.

Not even one minute later, the server brought on my baby back ribs and held them in front of my face while asking ‘would you like these now or would you like me to bring them back when your wife’s food is up?’  Apparently, the server wanted to see me get a divorce!  I told the server that I would wait and eat with my wife so that I don’t have to sleep on the couch tonight.

The server came back and took my wife’s second order.  A few minutes after that, a different manager came over to tell me that the restaurant was out of fish.  It was almost like they were rubbing it in at this point.  We told him that we already ordered something else.

About 10 minutes later, the server brings my wife’s entree along with my ribs that were sitting under the heat lamp.  They had a nice twice-baked taste to them.  I also enjoyed the twice-baked potato that was now a three-times baked potato.

The restaurant kindly offered to give us a free dessert for our trouble.  We rarely get a chance to go out to eat; a free dessert was not worth the ruined meal.  Needless to say, we have not been back.

Got a bad service story to share?  Add it to our comments section!

2 thoughts on “How to 86 Your Customers

  1. Yes I have a bad service story:
    Recently I stayed at a hotel in a midwestern state 1,000 miles from my home, so I could attend my aunt’s funeral. It was a stressful time for me – she’d died unexpectedly just after my birthday and also after my husband’s emergency hernia surgery. So I travelled alone. After her funeral, my younger brother, who was very close to my aunt, collapsed with a suspected heart attack and had to be rushed by ambulance to the local hospital. They were also many miles from home, and his wife is an invalid. His daughter’s family, from yet a 3rd location, with their four young children, were also there with them.
    After the intense emotions of the funeral, I helped tend little ones so my brother’s family could visit him in hospital. Then after my brother’s health had stabilized, his family went out to dinner somewhere else; but I begged off, being very tired; thinking I’d just get some soup from the food service in the hotel. I phoned down first – although it took 3 or 4 calls before I got the right number – as we have “pre-ordered” like that before at the same hotel chain and never had any problem – so I asked for potato soup. The person who answered the phone said it would be ready in 15 minutes. I waited and went down to the Bistro after 15 minutes – no soup – as the attendant said vaguely that he’d “been busy”. (There were 2 quiet, older customers sitting at the bar).
    Then he reprimanded me for phoning ahead. I waited another 10 minutes while he prepared the soup. I was exhausted and upset; just barely making it back to my room before my relatives arrived back at the hotel…
    I was unhappy to think I had brought that hotel many new customers and then been treated so poorly! (Having had exceptional service at this hotel chain before, I had recommended it not only to my brother and his wife, and their daughter and her family, but also to my sisters and my mother, coming from a 4th location, who had all stayed there).

    Like the “Omelet Chef” article, I feel my experience just goes to show once again how front-line employees are so important.
    (When I realized my $400 mouth appliance was also missing, with a broken case – thank you Housekeeping! I complained by email to the hotel a few weeks after my stay. They offered me a free night – at that same hotel!
    I quickly declined.)

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