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Do you think I should have been comped?

Situation: Lunch today with my 8-month pregnant friend at a chain BBQ place that's adjacent to a large shopping mall.

We picked the spot for it's atmosphere (air conditioning and kinda dark). We placed our orders and 10 minutes later, the smoke alarms started going off. It was an extremely loud, intermittent beeping with flashing lights.

Our server was extremely kind and apologetic and said it usually take a few minutes for the fire dept. to come turn off the alarms. Understandable and we were going to wait it out (the fire station is a block away and we figured it shouldn't take them very long)

The loud beeps from the alarm was at a painful decibel and we both had to cover our ears. About 5 minutes later, our food arrived. I tried to eat my salad - but the noise was just too much. All the while, the restaurant was being to get quite smoky to uncomfortable levels and I was concerned about my pregnant friend inhaling all that smoke. We decided to take our plates and head to the patio outside - but there were no shaded tables and it was a hot afternoon (easily in the 90's today). So, we stood by the open door to get fresh air and asked for containers to go - figuring we'd take our food and eat in the food court at adjacent mall.

Since it was so unpleasant that we had no choice but to leave, I was surprised that our meal was not comped. But, not wanting to stay in the noise or smoke, opted to not bother to wait around and discuss it.

So - as we tried to salvage the meal (which was basically impossible - there's something about a wilted salad that's been sitting in styrofoam for 15 minutes that's just unappetizing..). I got to thinking that I should go back and talk to manger about it - but I didn't and now I'm annoyed at myself for not doing so.

Do you think management should have taken a more proactive approach (it's not like they weren't aware what was occurring) or do you think I'm out of line for thinking the meal should have been comped?

What would you have done?

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  1. The key is the fact that the waiter said "it usually takes a few minutes for the fire department" meaning It Has Happened Before.

    I probably would have gotten up and left immediately, not waiting for food. And once they realized you were obviously uncomfortable (YOU took your food outside - they didn't offer to do it for you?); Yes, you should have been comped.

    1. I agree with Carrie218. They should've comped you and your friend. That would've been the best way for the restaurant to ensure your continued patronage, in my opinion. I can't imagine you'll want to return to that place, given how they handled it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: homecook1

        I totally agree with whs and you too homecook1. I'm an eastecoaster and I would have been brawling all over the place. And it's not too late. Listen, 'Oracle' you need to call them and go off. That is ridiculous and over-annoying. Hey, if you want I'll make the call for you.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I thought fire alrams meant that you need to evacuate quickly and safely...and come back at a non fire alarm moment for your meal at your convenience, on the house I would suspect, for your inconvenience. Also, as the server indicated it has happenned before, you would think that they would have preprinted coupons.

          1. Absolutely you should have been comped. It's a chain...write to the head office and explain. I am sure they will mail you at least some sort of coupon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shopgirl

              Shopgirl: "It's a chain...write to the head office...they will mail you at least some sort of coupon."
              Why is that o.k. because it's a CHAIN???? Why,chain or not, call the restaurant and speak with a manager directly. I know chains get bashed a lot on CH. I am guilty at times. But, I don't hate chains, nor would I treat a "bad" situation different at a chain restaurant then a neighborhood restaurant.
              I think it is very disappointing that a lot of people take advantage of the "chain" restaurant trying to get food comped. A lot of times after the fact, and not giving the restaurant the opportunity to redeem themselves. I realize this also is the case with privately owned restaurants as well, but then again usually people aren't going around saying oh complain! I'm sure they comp you something.