We went out to dinner last night with another couple. When we got to the restaurant, a cool little Turkish place with great food and suspect service, it was still pretty crowded. We found a spot at the bar, watched a little of the Oklahoma/Fla State game, and figured we’d have a drink while we waited for a table to free up.
About fifteen minutes went by, and no one even came to ask us if we wanted a beverage. But gratefully, someone finally came and told us a table was ready. Woot!
So we sat down and waited for our “dining experience” to begin. And we waited, and waited and waited. We watched the bus crew clear a few other tables, and a waitress slowly bring checks to other tables. By now, it had been close to 30 minutes and we were no closer to a meal than when we walked in.
I decided it was time for “action.” I got up from the table, walked up to someone I was pretty sure was the owner, and said we’d been waiting a LONG time at the bar AND at a table and we hadn’t even gotten so much as a menu and a glass of water.
Moment of truth!
The owner was remarkably apologetic. The manager said he would serve us himself, and then, after a conversation in Turkish with the owner, told us our drinks would be on them. I am pretty sure they also threw in a free appetizer.
As usual, the meal itself was fantastic. We stuffed ourselves and I made sure to go back to the manager before I left to thank him for taking such good care of us after our initial wait.
Here’s the thing: the owner and manager, in an instant, had the option of making me a bigger fan of their establishment, or putting me in a position where I probably never would have returned. But, in order to do that, they had to swallow just a tiny bit of pride and be apologetic and conciliatory.
When you find yourself at the crossroads of ego and customer service, do you turn left or “right”…?