A tale of two eateries
August 7, 2008
I know that restaurants can’t control for everything that affects a customer. But the way they respond to problems makes all the difference in a dining experience. Two quick examples.
First, what not to do: We are dining at Lulu’s midweek at 8:30 p.m. (my husband, my 85-year-old parents and me). Our entrees do not arrive, and after 45 minutes we finally flag down our waiter, who tells us that the chef left, ill, and they are trying to find a replacement, but our food will be out any minute. After another 15 minutes of waiting, we find the manager and get the same explanation. Finally, our food comes, and there is no apology, no attempt to make things right, even after we ask for some type of compensation. We leave feeling frustrated by the lack of caring about customers, vowing not to return.
How to do it better: The next week, we are dining at Willow Creek Bistro, same four people, and three entrees come instead of four. The trout plate is missing. Again we flag down the waitress, who is apologetic, rushes back to the kitchen and then comes with bad news: There is no more trout. My father frowns and says he will do without an entree.
The waitress sends the manager, who kneels down to speak with him at his eye level and says, “Please let us bring you something. The chef is so sorry, the entree will be fully compensated. We want to make this right.” My father chooses another dish, and, as a further act of caring, the chef sends out four desserts, again with no charge.
Guess who will return happily to this restaurant?
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Silver Spring, Md.