Every workday I buy a take-out salad from the same local restaurant, an affiliate of a national restaurant organization based in Chicago. I recently expressed my dissatisfaction to a customer service rep, who to protect her good name, I've named "K". Following is our exchange:
To: XXX Restaurant Customer Service
Subject: Talk To Us Email
Store Name: Jersey City
Store State: NJ
Listen, I'm pretty sure you are a robot artificial intelligence unit affixed to the website to placate irate customers but, hell, here goes anyway. I am probably responsible for almost $2,200 in annual revenue for this store over the past two years or so. I buy an XXX Restaurant Salad every working day, rain or shine. The combination of ingredients in the salad seems to meet my lunch needs. Notwithstanding the ridiculous price you charge, most of the time I'm happy to pay it.... until recently. Your lettuce sucks. Yes, it's brown, sometimes gooey, tasteless and not at all appetizing. When combined with the other ingredients the greens stick out like, well, like brown gooey, tasteless lettuce. If you purport to serve fresh salads, then by all means, make sure the lettuce is fresh, otherwise, you must remove the word "fresh" from the salad sign and replace it with the word "Wretched." I've brought this up with the manager du jour, Mike. Not sure if he will last any longer than the previous manager with whom I discussed this matter. However, I can't come back if 8 out of 10 salads contain bad ingredients. Today I walked out, went next door to YYY Restaurant and had a very nice cup of chicken soup. Maybe they want my $2,200 this year.
1. I know you guys are not the French Laundry, but come on, either use fresh product in your salads or close the doors. 2. Train the staff to recognize when something should not be offered to the public for consumption. 3. While I hope this is not the case, supervise your store managers not to intentionally put out old or stale food with the view towards improving the bottom line. As you can see, it dis-improved the bottom line here. 4. Act like my spending time to write this matters.
Ok to contact me: yes
First Name: Champurrado
Last Name: Venganza
Send Me Info: no
Sent: Thursday 10/13/2005 1:44 PM
First and foremost I would like to apologize for your recent experiences at my Jersey City location. I am the Regional Manager for this location and would like to thank you for making me aware of this issue. It is my, as well as the companies expectation that all of our products be of only the highest quality. Our guests satisfaction is our top priority and I am extremely concerned to hear that your salads have contained an inferior and unappealing product. I have already discussed this issue with Mike the General Manager and have communicated my standards on product quality which should NEVER be sacrificed for any reason, least of all to save a buck. I will be personally monitoring the quality of the product in this store very closely. If you have any further issues with product quality or service please feel free to contact me directly so that I may remedy the issue as quickly as possible. If you will email me your mailing address I would like to send you a few coupons so that you may get the Signature salad you so enjoy, made with only the freshest ingredients, on me. Again, I apologize and thank you so much for making me aware of this situation.
District Manager NY/NJ
XXX Restaurant Inc.
Sent: Thursday 10/13/2005 2:20 PM
OK, deal. You send the coupons and I'll have my cousin Elvira take the curse off Mike. I'm no expert on running your organization but the food businesses in which I have been involved have thrived in part because one of the basic tenets of service we followed was that new food is better food. Give a guy yesterday's liverwurst and he'll go next door to Moe’s. I'm troubled how you will personally monitor the freshness of the garden greens from way out there in WhiteSoxlandia. Will you utilize real time video feed from your desk? Rely on periodic reports from Mike? Here's an idea, I can consult with the organization as an impartial second set of eyes. Every time I catch a ratty piece of frieze in the mesclun or a blubbery, rubbery swipe of what used to be radicchio in the bowl, I report in. My rates are reasonable, I can bill out at about $320 an hour.
Let me know what you think and I'll send the standard retainer.
Sent: Thursday 10/13/2005 5:11 PM
Although my work address is in Deerfield, I am a proud New York (Yankeeland) resident and am frequently in all of my locations. In my visits to this store in the past I have always been pleased with the product quality. However, as you know "when the cat is away, the mice will play". That is why I always appreciate when guests take the time to let me know how their experience went, as I cannot be in 6 stores at the same time. I do appreciate your offer, but you would make me obsolete, and to be honest I really like my job. I look forward to running in to you in Jersey City sometime very soon. Thanks again.
Sent: Friday 10/14/2005 9:12 AM
While I can accept a little bit of brown on the edges of my mache, I cannot eat in a restaurant that allows cats and mice. Please let me know when the rodent problem has been resolved. I would never do anything to make your position at XXX Restaurant extinct.
I have also received an E-mail from a Heather from your organization asking personal questions. Is she with your staff?
Sent: Friday 10/14/2005 10:46 A
I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed corresponding with a guest nearly as much as I have with you. Never lose your sense of humor, it's great! Heather does indeed work with us although she is based out of Deerfield. I hope she has also been helpful. (That's assuming that you have found that I have been helpful, which I hope you have) I am not sure what kind of questions she has asked but I am sure it is just to build a more complete picture of who our frequent customers are and what they are looking for from us. If there is anything in particular that you found intrusive or confusing, please let me know so I can pass that information along. Thanks
Sent: Tue 10/25/2005 12:44 PM
My lettuce is brown
The green of signature lost
Promises not kept
Sent: Tue 10/25/2005 12:47 PM
Subject: A Haiku
The call has been made
No more brown lettuce for you
Bad product was tossed