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Dec 23, 2008 09:33 PM

What's the best "extra mile" a restaurant has done for you?

What's the best experience you've had with a restaurant that's gone the extra mile. We talk often of bad services and experiences that we've had, and often forget about restaurants doing the extras.

Last week, I had dinner at George. The food and service was good throughout the night. It had been snowing, so there was a nice snowbank seperating the sidewalk and my car parked on Queen Street. But when we left, the staff at George had actually shoveled a path to my car.

I thought that was a nice touch.

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    1. Bistro 990 made a note that it was my father's birthday, so when we finished our meal, even though we did not order dessert, the waiter delivered a plate of desserts, free of charge, with Happy Birthday written around the rim of the plate. I was very touched by that.

      Another great birthday happened at Carmen's Steakhouse in October. The food was disappointing (I've eaten better steak at The Keg, what does that tell you) but the service was impeccable. I did not recall mentioning to the waiter when I made our reservation that it was my mother's birthday, but obviously I did because when dessert was brought to the table, candles were put in each dessert, and the two waiters sang Happy Birthday with our guests. The waiter was just very hospitable and wonderful.

      Yesterday, a friend and I stopped for dinner at Jack Astor's at Yonge Dundas Square, to fill out stomachs quickly before returning to the mall for last minute shopping. Our waiter, Curtis, could not have been friendlier, more helpful, or charming. Just a great guy to have serve us.

      Generally speaking, the food at a restaurant may not be five star or palatable to the more critical Chowhounders, but if the service is great, I keep returning because it's just so nice when wait staff make patrons feel welcome and comfortable.

    2. My SO at the time and I used to frequent a sushi place in Yorkville - Yorkville Sushi, it was aptly called. The sushi chef Sam and the owner, and the lovely waitress named Joy always made it a wonderful experience for us. We were treated like family on every visit. I shed a tear when it closed a year or two after opening.

      At a special meal at Scaramouche, I noted to the host how much I loved the walnut bread when he came by to clear our table. A few minutes later he returned with a whole loaf, hot from the oven.

      This is a nice, positive thread for the holiday season. Good idea, stonedtoronto!

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I was dining at Nico's Ristorante in Windsor with three colleagues for dinner. I had a craving for Garlic Bread but was disappointed to not see it on the menu. I casually asked the waiter if by any chance they had Garlic Bread - he stated unfortunately it's not on the menu, but responded by saying he could ask the Chef to make some as they have the ingredients. I did not want to cause any disruption so I politely declined his nice offer. We ordered our entree's and were enjoying a drink, when the waiter dropped off a plate of Garlic Bread for the table to share and mentioned that it's on the house.

          I found this to be a wonderfully kind gesture and really went above and beyond. To this day, it's still the best Garlic Bread I have had the pleasure of tasting. They used fresh mozzarella, and a wonderful blend of garlic and butter on toast.

          I can't wait to return for another meal.

          1. New high end restaurant in FFD and the jfoods were meeting another couple for dinner. Jfoods arrived and were seated at a 4-top when the cell phone rang. Other couple had a family issue and could not make it. jfood approached MOD and told him other couple could not make it and if they needed to reseat at another table he understood. MOD told him to stay. Server was not pleased.

            So server fired the app and the entree at the same time and two bites into the app, the entrees arrived. jfood told the server that they were not ready and actually wanted about 15-20 between app and entree. Sure as shootin' as soon as the apps were cleared the entrees were placed in front of them, now almost cold.

            Jfood calmly walked over to the MOD who was in conversation with a lady (staff) and explained what happened and told him to please give jfood the check for the apps and they would leave and return when all was a bit better. He returned to the table.

            Turns out the lady was the owner and came over to jfood and apologized to both him and mrs jfood and told them she would serve them personally and that if they did not mind she would also tell the chef to plan to have the table ready in 20. In the interim, the owner brought over a selection of cheeses for the jfoods to eat.

            Needless to say the entrees arrived on time, perfectly prepared and absolutely delicious.

            Now the fun began when the owner came over and told jfood the entire meal was comped. A very friendly negotiation ensued because jfood insisted that they pay for the meal and the owner refused. Sorta a bizzaro discussion. They finally agreed on a number.

            Needless to say jfood has been back multiple times, has sent tons of people there and feels that the restaurant is part of the family, and he believes the owner does as well.

            It may not qualify for the extra mile, but boy this was the best customer service jfood has ever experienced.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              wow thats amazing. on your subsequent returns was the surly waiter still employed?

              1. re: jfood

                I used to be in sales and it was kind of gospel that it's a lot harder to win back a dissatisfied customer than to keep an existing one. And to carry it a step further, when we receive either unusually good or bad service, we tend to tell others about it. So the owner won your loyalty which has created plenty more business, I'm sure. And that surly waiter? Well, I wish he'd been my competition when I was selling. I'd have laughed all the way to the bank :)