Rachel and her husband had an underwhelming first anniversary dinner at the Longhorn steak house. The next day, she wrote to the corporate office to express her disappointment. The local restaurant’s manager quickly called to offer what Rachel thought was a complimentary apology dinner, but ended up being a whole lot more.
My husband and I really enjoy Longhorn Steakhouse, and we have a really good location near us. We don’t have a lot of money, so we don’t go very often. However, over the weekend we decided to go there to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. To make a long story short, the dinner was pretty bad, but not earth-shatteringly terrible.
I was pretty disappointed with them, so the next day I e-mailed corporate to let them know about the experience. My letter was short and to the point; I identified myself as someone who has been a repeat customer many times in the past; and I did my best to describe everything factually. I did mention that we were celebrating our anniversary. I wasn’t expecting much; from my experience, most chain restaurants don’t really give a crap whether your experience was good, bad, or indifferent.
Two days after sending the e-mail, I received a call from the manager of my location. He apologized profusely for what had happened, and asked if my husband and I would come back in for a free dinner, to make up for the crappy one. I accepted and thanked him; we agreed on a time that would be good for us to come in. I thought it was awesome that the manager was taking our complaint seriously and really trying to make up for it, even though in my mind an entire dinner free was not necessary.
When we arrived at the restaurant, they had a special table prepared for us with confetti and candles. I was surprised and thought that was really sweet of them. If it had stopped there, I would still have been 110% pleased with the way they handled things. But while we were eating, the manager came to check on how our food was (it was absolutely excellent, by the way). While he was there, he gave us a Hallmark anniversary card and a gift card to the local movie theater. We were blown away that the restaurant was going so far to make us happy.
After we finished our dinner, the waiter appeared at our table with an anniversary cake from a professional bakery. This was an actual 8-inch cake, decorated like an honest-to-goodness wedding cake, with a fondant ribbon across the top that read “Happy Anniversary [Name] & [Name]”. My husband and I were in shock. We kept repeating, “This just doesn’t happen.” What restaurant, especially a chain restaurant that already as a well-established customer base, cares enough about its customers to go out and buy someone an anniversary cake?
My husband and I still can’t quite believe that the restaurant would go so far to retain us as customers. A mere apology would have been nice; a gift card would have been more than enough to make up for a crappy dinner. But to go so completely above and beyond has me as their loyal customer for life–and singing their praises to everyone who will listen to me.
Sorry to have been long-winded in this, but I really wanted to share such a positive story with everyone.
Anniversary card? Movie tickets? Professional cake? Just goes to show, even the chains can apologize with class once in a while.