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To a national restuarant chain know for its “cheesecakes”…learn from your mistakes….

Seldom do I write about a specific person or business in this blog. My intent is to teach business owners how to best manage and market their businesses. Today, Mother’s Day, I experienced one of the most inexcusable restaurant fiascos in my life. The following is my story:

My daughter, husband and grandson invited my wife and me out to breakfast after church. She selected the restaurant knows for its cheesecakes,  knowing that my wife enjoyed one of their breakfast dishes.  We arrived around 10:35 am and were seated at 10:45 am. The waitress took our order within the first 5 minutes; we visited and shared stories in anticipation of a good breakfast.  We got our coffee and water and waited for breakfast. By 11:30 we had not been served. Our waitress came with more coffee and said our order will be right out, they were just “arranging it”. At 11:40 a “manager” came by our table and said our order would be “right out”. He implied that it was our waitresses fault since she was new.

At 11:45 we were all served except our daughter. The manager came back and said her order would be right out. At 11:55 someone else came and asked her what she ordered. At noon they brought her the wrong order. (Her order was an egg white omelet with vegetables). Two managers, we were told, were personally making her the “right breakfast”

Another young man came by and verified her order. At 12:05 pm the “manager” came back and said that he was having the executive chef make her breakfast, and this time it would be done right. At 12:20 my daughter told our waitress to have her breakfast boxed since everyone else had finished eating. (She still had not been served)  A “manager” appeared again and said it was being boxed as they spoke.

At 12:30 pm another person came out and said that her omelet was “lost”. The entire family was getting upset, but were still polite.  By now, she had waited for her meal for over 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The final action topped it all: my daughter told the man, not our waitress to forget her breakfast. At 12:40 pm they brought a bill to our table which included the breakfast she did not receive.

My son-in-law took the bill and told the “manager”  “I respectfully ask you not charge us for this entire meal” and handed the check back to the manger. He took the check and my family left. This entire ordeal took two hours. Tables around us were aware of what was happening and shared their displeasure and concerns.

This lack of care spoiled  Mother’s Day for our entire family. The manager should have come out and not charged for the meal and perhaps included a coupon for a future free meal or???  My blog averages over 12,000 readings a month.  In addition, word of mouth stories about this will not be complementary. One event may not cause much harm to a large chain, but if it is repeated many times again, who knows.

The lesson here is the importance of customer service and knowing what to do when a mistake first occurs. Making up excuses in order to place the blame elsewhere will eventually cause some degree of harm. At the bottom of the job ladder, accept responsibility when you make mistake. In management, either as an owner or manager, own up to mistakes, be truthful and a lot of future hurt can be avoided. In this instance, we spoke to over 8 different employees, each blaming someone else for the mistakes and telling the customer, us, what we wanted to hear.

The number one managerial productivity problem in America is, quite simply, mangers who are out of touch with their people and out of touch with their customers.   Tom Peters and Nancy  Austin

Nick J. Petra  CFP

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