One year ago this past week I had a less than stellar experience at a restaurant I frequented every Thursday evening for four years. When I asked for the manager, that evening, and explained the pork entr?e was not cooked properly as it was bordering on rare, she did offer to “add more fire.” However, the hour was late and I didn’t have the time to wait. When the check was presented I had been charged for my drinks- two ice teas and the salad I had eaten.
That certainly rubbed me the wrong way. My policy has always been if there is a major problem with an entr?e the dinner check is “on the house.” I also make sure that everyone in the kitchen and the dining room hears about it and the loss that it cost all of us I outlined and explained the following day at the pre-shift meeting. I would also keep a running monthly tally of how many entrees were “on the house” due to error.
I would like to add at this point the evening I had the bad pork experience was not my regular Thursday night visit, it was a Tuesday night. Unfortunately for me the restaurant’s executive chef and my regular waitress were neither there on this particular night.
The decision was made that night to ban the restaurant for one year. I have banned many a customer from my restaurants in the past. But never have I initiated the reverse ban. My wife thought I had lost my mind. My friends, who would visit and expect to have dinner at my favorite place, were shocked when I explained there was a reverse ban in progress. I’ll admit I missed the food and the staff that had become more than waiters, chefs, hosts and busboys. However, I needed to invoke the ban for a few reasons; I needed to change my routine, I needed to see if anyone at the restaurant got the message, and, I wanted to calculate the loss to the restaurant, the staff and the owner.
Upon my return last Thursday evening the ban was officially listed- one year to the date. And here are the numbers: Each week I spend an average of $52.00 on my Thursday evening dinner. Multiplied by 52 weeks the number was $2704.00. On at least six occasions a year I would entertain another couple at the restaurant for about $200.00 a visit. Another $1200.00. At least once a month I would have dinner on a Saturday night at the restaurant for another $600.00 for a total of $4504.00. Add a 20% gratuity and the total loss to the restaurant was approximately $5400.00.
The point here is not the fact that the pork was bad. The moral is how to deal with problems that occur at every restaurant across the country. Remember the entr?e and appetizer and dessert and wine list and service and ambiance are all only showcases for the next experience. You are only as good as your last dinner service, and when you make a mistake you need to have a policy in place to ensure customer satisfaction.