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Manager's Handling of Minor Problem

Some years ago a friend and I used to go to a chain restaurant for our weekly lunches. They had a nice appetizer selection so we'd get 3-4 and a dessert—actually a little more expensive than an appie, 2 mains and dessert—but we got a variety and were happy.

The last time we were there the waitress forgot to ring in our order. When we told her to go ahead with it, she again apologized and said that they'd be comping our drinks (just a couple of pops).

As we were having dessert, a manager came by and dropped a coupon on our table with a "Here." It was for $5 off a subsequent visit with a minimum purchase that was a little higher than what we usually spent.

We saw that this was in lieu of the comped drinks and when we asked our waitress about it she said, obviously embarrassed, that the manager had decided this was more appropriate.

This got my Scorpio up and I got really annoyed, to the extent that when she came to get our payment I handed her back the coupon with a "We won't be coming back so you just hold on to this."

Now to be clear: we were NOT expecting anything for the delay. We were pleasantly surprised when the waitress offered. And I'll admit that I overreacted (I was going through a bad time and was overly emotional) but I'd like to know what people think of the manager's actions and how he handled the (what had been a really minor) situation.

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    1. I would have told the manager "our server told us she was comping our drinks since she forgot to put the order in. Is this a little something extra?" Maybe she didn't tell the manager she had already offered you a comp.

      2 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        You're right, this is exactly what I should have said, had I been thinking clearly.

        1. re: boogiebaby

          she also may have not told the manager the truth about forgetting to send your order.

        2. imho, if the manager knew what the waitress had promised, and then decided not to comp the beverages, the guy was a real dummy.

          either he didn't think it though before he made his move or he didn't have the capacity to think it through.

          in any case, he risked and lost regular customers--a sin in the restaurant business.
          it's bad enough to lose regulars for the normal reasons.
          to lose them over something like this is really stupid.

          possibly the waitress overstepped when she said the beverages would be comped, but the manager should have backed her up on this even if it was a misstep.

          the variable food cost of two pops to a restaurant is miniscule.
          good regular customers (ones who order full meals and tip appropriately), on the other hand, are priceless.

          1. As you said the minimum for the coupon was ' a little higher' than your normal meal, thus probably 5 off 25 or more, l am guessing here. This seems like a more generous offer than the a few sodas as perhaps the manager had not seen the extent of your check that day and thought he was doing you a favor.
            Regardless, life is short, you really won't go back to a restaurant you obviously like for a dollar or two ? Wow.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              i've seen good-paying, and good-tipping, customers lost for less.
              once i saw a customer lost because the customer, having ordered a full meal including beverage and dessert, was charged an up-charge for some additional sauce and he got so irritated that he never returned.

              i absolutely agree with Delucacheesemonger that if i were the person in your position, i would have shined it on.
              but as a person who has managed restaurants (a grueling and thankless job), i understood that one of the main components of my job was to keep the regular good-paying and good-tipping customers happy enough to come back again and again.

              if you have to throw a couple of soda pops at the problem to make it ok, so be it.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I already admitted that I overreacted. I'm sure I would have gotten over it and returned but the location closed down shortly afterwards.

                The $5 was actually less than the cost of the drinks and because we would have had to purchase more than usual in order to meet the minimum, it would either have had no effect or ended up costing us money.

                1. re: Jasz

                  maybe the schadenfreude you can derive from the closing of the restaurant will compensate you enough?

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Oh it certainly did!

                      Plus, we ended up trying new restaurants.

                2. Wow. From the OP, this happened "some years ago". It must really have struck a chord with Jasz for her/him to be raising it on an internet discussion board so long after.

                  In spite of the manager being less than gracious in attitude, it looks to me that the coupon was a more generous compensation offered to customers who were regulars, than just a comp of the drinks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Harters

                    My sister's customer service comment triggered the memory—I've not holding a grudge :)

                    And as I said, the coupon was actually worth less than the drinks would have been and might have ended up costing us money.