Pizza Hut And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Reader Chris write in to let us know that even though his local Pizza Hut was having a really, really bad day (car accidents, miscommunication, messed up refunds) they went out of their way to try to make it up to him.

Here’s Chris’ letter:

Tonight I was running a little short on time when I got home from work so I decided to order a pizza from my local Pizza Hut online. As always I printed my receipt number and noted the estimated time for delivery: one hour – a little long but I figured it was worth the wait while I could catch up on some other business. One hour rolled around and I was starting to find it difficult to hear myself think over my rumbling guts. When the clock hit an hour and ten minutes I was started to get annoyed, I got up to get the receipt number and prepared myself for an epic journey into the sixth circle of call centre hell when the phone rang. It was the local Pizza Hut calling to inform me that they were really sorry that my order was late and that the driver had had an accident. They said they would be making a fresh pizza and sending it as soon as possible with another driver – no charge. I don’t know if anyone was hurt in the accident but I felt instantly like a heel for not only caring so much about my pizza but for getting ready to call the place and give them a serving just as they were dialing me up to try to make sure I was a happy customer.

Chris
Update:

Simon from Pizza Hut called again, just before the fresh pizza arrived, and advised me that because I paid with my credit card he had some type of difficulty reversing the charges (?) but he insisted that I ask the driver to give me a cash refund when he arrived and left his own number for me to call while the driver was still there if I had any problems getting the cash. When the driver did arrive he climbed our three flights of stairs and breathlessly offered the pizza and said “Sorry” and “No charge.” I could tell he’d had a rough night and asked if everybody was okay, which he said they were. I didn’t ask for the cash because I figured he had a rough night anyway and I thought I’ll let it be his tip when he gets back and finds out the cash was up for grabs. My bad.

An hour or so later, as I finished up my pizza there was another knock on the door. It was the driver again. He had gone back to Pizza Hut and been told that he was supposed to give me a cash refund and was sent back to my place again, cash in hand, He had again scaled the three flights of stairs and was breathlessly apologizing again. I made it quite clear this time that I insisted they keep the payment, which I assume he will pocket as a tip.

Anyway, I must say that this Pizza Hut definitely went way out of their way to keep me happy and I will definitely be giving this driver a nice tip the next time he climbs our stairs.

Chris

That poor pizza guy! What crappy day he was having. Giving him the money was a nice thing to do, even if he had to drive to your house over and over again to get it.

(Photo: Tidewinder )

Comments

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  1. BigElectricCat says:

    Good to know that everyone was okay. And good on Chris for tipping the pizza guy with the refund.

  2. legwork says:

    3…2…1… Chargeback.

    /devilish laugh

  3. Truvill says:

    @legwork:

    I currently hate myself for thinking of the same thing :)

    Regardless, I’m very happy for how this turned out.

  4. damn. props to how they handled this, but definitely not something corporate would have recommended

  5. Toof_75_75 says:

    @legwork: @Truvill:
    I don’t hate myself at all for thinking the very same thing…

  6. ElizabethD says:

    Pizza Hut product = FAIL

    Picasso’s Pizza, Warwick, RI = WIN

  7. graymulligan says:

    Kudos for treating the delivery driver well. Those are the guys that get pooped on more often than not (some times deserving, somtimes not) and it’s good to see a customer realize what a good job a company has done and reward the right person for it.

  8. I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but my aunt used to work as a manager at a Pizza Hut. This allowed me to take a peek at their managerial training; I’m not sure about now, but back then it wasn’t half bad. Granted, their stuff didn’t go into these specifics, but there was a definite sense of “make the customer happy and they will be loyal.” I would not be surprised if this decision was made by a corporate-trained manager who just stepped up their game.

    But this was about ten years ago, so who knows what goes on now.

  9. evslin says:

    Good on them. Note: being forthright and honest with your customer when something goes wrong isn’t such a bad idea.

    And good on Chris for not freaking out and writing an angry missive to the suits at Pizza Hut because his pizza was late, too.

  10. @CaptainSemantics: We’ve had really good service from our Pizza Hut since we’ve been here in terms of serving the customer and making us happy. It’s not the best-run place in the universe and many of the phone and delivery staff are CLEARLY on their first real jobs ever, but they go out of their way to make the customer happy even if the level of service is sort-of uneven and sometimes a little unprofessional.

    Sometimes I feel a little cognitive dissonance between, for example, the not-very-professional phone manners on display and the very eager, helpful phone GUY.

  11. Jules23 says:

    I worked for Pizza Hut for 6 years and this is exactly what their employees are taught to do. If a customer’s order is going to be late, you have to call them. Our Dispatch screen would the persons number if was looking like the order was going to be late. The number one priority for that company is to make their customers happy. I am sure profitability is very close as well, but you can’t profit unless you make your customers happy.

  12. RBecho says:

    Having been a pizza driver I can only say those tips are very much appreciated, and if you get known as the person that gives good tips, drivers will go out of there way to get to your house quickly, and first if they are doing several runs at once.

    It totally pays to be nice to the delivery guy.

  13. This tale shows the value of quality management at a local store. Obviously the manager was committed to keeping his/her customer happy, and took the appropriate steps to do so! Good for him/her.

    *can’t we just invent a gender-neutral pronoun already? I hate the him/her thing. So cumbersome.

  14. sn1per420 says:

    I’m not a big fan of Pizza Hut’s pizza, but wow, that’s more than I’d expect from pretty much anyone nowadays.

  15. sn1per420 says:

    @InfiniTrent: their?

  16. erratapage says:

    What fabulous customer service. I’ve had good luck resolving problems with Pizza Hut in the past (distant past), and it’s good to know that a company was willing to go to these lengths to make a customer happy.

  17. stephenjames716 says:

    just think of all the gas that poor kid wasted…

  18. @sn1per420:

    their?

    I think “their” is grammatically incorrect in that context, even though people do use it that way – any grammar nazis around who can chime in?

  19. woodenturkey says:

    i miss the old pizza huts that you could go and sit down and eat in. there is only one left that in know of around here, and unless you want some crack as a topping i would suggest not going there.

  20. @InfiniTrent: Go check out Language Log, they have a ton on “singular they” — grammar nazis tend to get all over “singular they,” but the truth is that the “singular they” is in Shakespeare, Austen, Chaucer, virtually every English translation of the Bible including the King James, Lewis Carrol, Lord Byron, Wm. Thackery, Jonathan Swift, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Doris Lessing, C.S. Lewis …

    I admit the singular they grates on my grammar-nazi nerves in certain situations, but the fact is that any grammar-nazis who are all uppity about singular they just don’t know very much about the actual English language, its literature, its history, or its usage.

  21. katylostherart says:

    good people.

  22. BigElectricCat says:

    @woodenturkey: “unless you want some crack as a topping i would suggest not going there.”

    Where is this fabled restaurant of which you speak?

  23. LoSpaz says:

    I love the headline on this story. And good on Pizza Hut, too.

  24. MissTic says:

    So THIS is the balance to my horrible alternate universe experience with Pizza Hut. My driver didn’t have an accident but he did get lost and give up. I had to call back twice to tell them. Turns out, the driver was new and didn’t speak a lot of English. Sadly, I was double charged for the order.

  25. @Eyebrows McGee:

    Go check out Language Log, they have a ton on “singular they” — grammar nazis tend to get all over “singular they,” but the truth is that the “singular they” is in Shakespeare, Austen, Chaucer, virtually every English translation of the Bible including the King James, Lewis Carrol, Lord Byron, Wm. Thackery, Jonathan Swift, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Doris Lessing, C.S. Lewis …

    I admit the singular they grates on my grammar-nazi nerves in certain situations, but the fact is that any grammar-nazis who are all uppity about singular they just don’t know very much about the actual English language, its literature, its history, or its usage.

    I’ll take a look at – I never had much in the way of formal grammar education (mainly picked it up through reading a lot) but I always thought saying “The lawyer should pick up their bag”, using “their” in a gender-neutral pronoun sense was incorrect…hmm…

    What did we know before the internet?

  26. HeartBurnKid says:

    I will say this about Pizza Hut — their pizza is middling at best, but they do know how to take care of their customers. Domino’s, OTOH, is both crap pizza and crap service (though it’s not the worst of either I’ve ever had).

  27. Thain says:

    @InfiniTrent:

    “Their” is currently considered to be formally incorrect for gender-neutral usage, but it was previously considered completely appropriate. The British Parliament deleted the use of “They” as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in 1850 ([www.damninteresting.com]). They argued that “He” could be used as the gender-neutral pronoun, with the usage implying both male and female, but, of course, this didn’t happen. Instead, usage of “he” became a justification for policies that were discriminatory toward women.

    So, if any grammar nazis (besides college professors) try to tell you “they” is an unacceptable gender-neutral singular pronoun, just tell them you are revolting against the British Parliament and throwing your hat in with Shakespeare =P

  28. Raziya says:

    Good job for doing the right thing…especially since the driver got into an accident! I hope he was all right, and hopefully the other guy shared a bit of your cash with him to cheer him up. :)

  29. Buran says:

    @ElizabethD: Can we leave the “if it’s not a hole in the wall no one outside a five block radius has heard of” BS at the door?

    That said, my local Pizza Hut used to suck — once I placed an order and they cancelled it on me saying “our driver got arrested”. No offer to have someone else bring it. No offer to comp it. No “we are waiting on a replacement driver”. I had to pick it up myself — and now that I think about it I think they didn’t take the delivery charge off, so I had to pay to use my own car and my own gas because they didn’t do their damn jobs!

    I should have complained. They’ve improved a lot since then, so maybe someone did complain and somebody got smacked.

  30. Buran says:

    @Buran: throw “it sucks” before BS. EDIT BUTTON PLEASE!

  31. Annika-Lux says:

    @woodenturkey: There are plenty of sit-down Pizza Huts. It must just be your area where they only have storefront counter-service ones.

  32. @InfiniTrent: “I always thought saying “The lawyer should pick up their bag”, using “their” in a gender-neutral pronoun sense was incorrect…hmm…”

    There was this moment in history (round about the 1800s) when the elites decided that English grammar needed to mimic Latin grammar as closely as possible, partly because Latin grammar was only AVAILABLE to the elite and it therefore marks an excellent class divider — are you over-educated enough to use English in non-intuitive ways, ways it doesn’t really function “in nature,” merely because someone decided this was “the right way”? Good, you’re one of the cool kids.

    Rejecting singular they is part of this; so is the prohibition on split infinitives. (You CAN’T split infinitives in Latin, it’s literally not possible; they’ve ALWAYS been split in English, sometimes because it’s the only clear option, often because grammatically English lets us place particular emphasis in that fashion.)

    Anyway, in my own formal writing, I never use singular they. I’m too overtrained. (I used to copyedit — NO SINGULAR THEY.) But singular they is perfectly legitimate and it’s how the language ACTUALLY FUNCTIONS and has since, like, forever.

    The Latin infection isn’t limited to English; Latin has such a nice and clear grammatical structure that educated geeks everywhere applied it to non-romance-languages, such that when I went to learn Hebrew, we were learning Hebrew parts of speech as if they fit the Latin system. Which they sort-of do in a very broad fashion, but a lot of specifics DON’T fit the Latin grammar, and it’s a totally crippling way to learn a non-romance language.

    It’s a helpful way to learn the basic structure of a language, and see how subjects and verbs and objects fit together and make analogies to one’s native language, but when we get to the fiddly bits, pretending it all works like Latin falls all to pieces.

  33. KIbbit says:

    @sn1per420: I spell it the same way all the time – no grammer nazi here :)

  34. Thorny says:

    In Hawaii, Pizza Hut was voted best pizza by the readers of the local paper. I wonder if it was a pity vote?

  35. julieannie says:

    @Thorny: The Pizza Hut in Maui has an ice cream stand out the back of it. I wonder if it was a vote for the ice cream.

  36. Buran says:

    @Annika-Lux: Most of the sit-down ones have disappeared here in St. Louis but one or two still remain. Same seems true in the Pompano Beach, FL area.

  37. Here in Metro Detroit, there are plenty of the sit-down style Pizza Huts. It’s great, because they have the buffet often for $7.99.

  38. Ragman says:

    I remember way back when the Pizza Hut was the most dimly lit restaurant we went to. Half of your light came from the red glass candle on the table. They’re down the list on my preferred pizza, but I did like the surroundings. Wonder if eating pizza in a dimly lit restaurant after playing the video games had any influence on my interest in computers.

  39. WolfDemon says:

    I currently work at a Pizza Hut and this is something we would do. The thing you should know about the Online system, is that it does not link up with store computers at all. It can tell you it will be about an hour, but it really doesn’t know because all of that stuff is not determined by a computer. We look at the delivery screen and see how many deliveries are there. The online system can’t do that. When the order prints it just prints in the kitchen and one other place. There’s no way you know if we’re out of a certain type of dough (if there weren’t enough prepped for how many we sold) or if we’re out of a certain topping. There are even times when the order doesn’t print at all and the person either calls in or shows up and asks for their pizza and nothing is made, though the ticket is in the system. Never order online with Pizza Hut because it has too many flaws.

  40. smackswell says:

    @legwork: @Truvill: @Toof_75_75: That’s the most unethical thing you could do in this situation. I pity you.

    Why does it seem like so many commenters are just out to scam people?

  41. Kounji says:

    They’re actually building new sit down restaurants. They’re the Pizza Hut/ Wing Street Restaurants. So you can actually sit down and have a pizza hut pizza now. I’m happy to see that they are back. Though the wings I had are really not worth the money especially with two wingstops the next city away.

  42. elisa says:

    I’ve never seen a sit-down Pizza Hut in my area. However the Pizza Hut in Hong Kong that I went to once was AMAZING. Great pizza, great service (yes it was sit down), strange-but-good flavors…They should try some of those flavors here!

  43. Overheal says:

    well now thats nice to read next to all this depressing tripe bleeding out of other companies. I think I’ll remember to insist on pizza hut the next time we order out. Their boneless wings are a treat anyway!

  44. creamsissle says:

    This is a far cry from my last experience with delivery from Domino’s, where the driver didn’t even exit his car. I’m used to going downstairs to pick up my order, because most drivers can’t/won’t bother using the intercom to dial my apartment, but this was a new low.