Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Trip Advisor Worthy Situation, With Irony

As most of you know, we have many "regulars".  These are defined as guests whose preferences are known to us - their favorite table, what they drink, how they like their steak, the fact that they hate beets and don't want them coming near their corn - and we are lucky to have them.   Waiting on customers you recognize and enjoy makes the job that much more rewarding, especially when you get it "right".

Last night one pair of our regulars got it "wrong".  The service they experienced was not just "bland and indifferent", not "rude", it was basically considered no service at all.  The problem was blamed on a failure of communication, for which I took full responsibility, but it doesn't make up for the fact that they told me they felt "invisible".  I was not aware of their disappointment until the end of the visit, but of course by then the damage had been done.  The irony of the whole thing is that this wonderful couple has joked with me about our numerous negative Trip Advisor reviews, and she has threatened to write a glowing one to help with the balance, since they have always been big fans...  Now this.  We were able to laugh a bit last night, he saying that he'd always wanted to be invisible...  Ha.  It wasn't funny and it wasn't what we strive for.

And in some ways, it is ironic because this happened to a generally very satisfied weekly - if not twice-weekly - customer, who generally loves us.  The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard we try, there are going to be times when service is off, and not just for new customers but for weekly supporters as well.  Sometimes because of situations beyond your control, but just as often because you are simply not paying enough attention. It is a fact of the front of the house, just like an over-cooked steak or under-done potato can happen in the back.  What makes you feel worse is when bad service happens to nice people.

As usual, this is one of those things that we will learn from, and try to prevent from happening to any customer, old or new, in the future. Because no one really likes to feel invisible, when they know they are not.

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