Longhorn Steakhouse Serves Up An Anniversary Dinner To Remember

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.

Rachel writes:

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.

Comments

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  1. CWG85338 says:

    In a country where customer service is rare, this is a truly remarkable story! Congrats on the anniversary, and thanks for sharing good news!

    • jurupa says:

      Customer service is not rare at all. Good and over beyond customer service is rare.

    • TonyK says:

      We all can use good news and am thankful to get this bit this morning.

      Also congratulations to the OP on their one year anniversary. May there be a lifetime more.

      • travel_nut says:

        Thank you both!

        • marsneedsrabbits says:

          Congratulations on your anniversary & may you have many more.

          Thanks for sharing this, too. It’s nice to hear that there are people out there who are willing to go above and beyond for their customers.

          Yay, Longhorn! They’ll get my business next time.

  2. Mike says:

    Holy sh%$.

  3. simplegreen says:

    long horn.. for an anniversary… seriously? Tough times indeed.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Hey, because they picked Longhorn, they had a really awesome anniversary. Rarity, but I’d say they went super above and beyond.

    • Humward says:

      I know! These peasants, I swear — how DO they live? If I couldn’t have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Per Se, I would positively die!

      Seriously, man, Longhorn’s not bad. I’m not saying it’s the damn French Laundry or anything — but it serves a decent meal. I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t knock people — particularly young people just starting out — for not having a lot of scratch. (Unless, of course, you’re buying.)

      • simplegreen says:

        I hate longhorn enough to buy a completely random couple a quality meal on their 1st wedding anniversary. Such a special occasion deserves at least the quality of Outback….

        • cromartie says:

          The steak is better at Outback.

          And that’s basically it. I’d much rather do Longhorn for everything else. Outback was overrated to begin with, and isn’t nearly what it used to be.

          • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

            I beg to differ. Outback does not, in fact, know how to cook a steak to order. I’ve never managed to go there and not have to send it back to be cooked further.

            • Narmical says:

              Maybe you just don’t know how to order. Every time I’ve been to Outback they always double check how I like my stake cooked. I say “Medium-Rare” and they say “Do you want a cold pink center?”. Are you sure your ordering what you think your ordering?

              • chefboyardee says:

                i can verify that outback sucks at cooking *steak*.

                and yes, i know how to order a steak.

              • GearheadGeek says:

                Medium-rare should be a warm red center. If it’s still cool in the center it’s “blood rare.”

          • Mary says:

            I have never, and I mean never, eaten at Outback and not gotten sick afterwards. My husband is the same way. After my last trip when even a pasta dish made me feel ill almost immediately, I gave up on the place.

            For our 1st anniversary we went to M&S Grill, which is higher tier place (part of McCormick and Schmicks) but every year since then we’ve alternated between Pizza Hut and Burger King. We can eat out any time we want, our anniversary is about something else.

        • Pax says:

          ROFLMAO

          Locally, the Outbacks have gone down to Applebees’- and Chilis-level quality (which is to say, “modestly-priced family fare”), whereas the Longhorn is about half a notch higher.

        • travel_nut says:

          I actually hate Outback and have never had a good steak there. But if you really want to buy us a “quality meal”, go ahead and send a gift card our way.

        • mythago says:

          If you ever get a member of the opposite sex to hang out with you long enough to have a first anniversary, come back and tell us how that worked out for you.

    • LINIStittles says:

      Heaven forbid a couple celebrate their anniversary at an establishment that is in their price range!

      Don’t be a tool – not everyone can eat at Smith and Wollensky.

    • Griking says:

      Let this post be proof that some people will always go out of their way to find something to complain about

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        Agreed. I think this poster has his/her priorities confused. It’s really the couple’s business where they eat and if it has some special meaning or purpose, so be it for them.

      • Dean says:

        You wouldn’t happen to like RetroGames, would you?

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        Cf. the comments on the John Mayer ticket scandal.

    • kylere1 says:

      Some of us have positive relationships that do not require the mass expenditure of cash to stabilize via regular holidays. My wife and I could eat anywhere to celebrate our anniversary and still be happy.

      Some of you still have that feeling of inadequacy that requires you to prove something.

      • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

        100% in agreement here. Just the mere fact of being together for another anniversary is what is most important (to me, at least). I could have a spicy chicken sandwich with my future hubby and it would still be romantic and meaningful.

      • rickatnight11 says:

        While I agree with your rebuttal, trading smugness for smugness isn’t very constructive.

      • chefboyardee says:

        great response. smugness well appreciated and commenter deserved it. i completely agree with the sentiment behind your words, and the words themselves.

      • CWG85338 says:

        Exactly. We spent one anniversary eating in the cafeteria at Children’s Hospital in Boston, while our daughter recovered from spinal fusion surgery. It’s the reason for the celebration that makes it special, not the venue.

    • Green Beer Day says:

      At least Longhorn grills their steaks…Outback puts theirs on the griddle. Ick.

      • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

        Coming from someone who prefers his steak pan seared, I fail to see why cooking on a griddle is a problem? Besides, when I go to Outback, I want the prime rib, which still has to be roasted, which I ask for Outback style, because I like the seasoning and the flash searing.

        • RxDude says:

          If prime rib “still has to be roasted”, just don’t order it. Get a ribeye – it from the same cut of beef and is cooked to order. Prime rib is a bloody slice of meat carved from a larger, slow-cooked bloody chunk of meat. Any further cooking is superfluous and sacriligeous.

    • Jabberkaty says:

      Wow. I know I should stop being surprised that there are DBs on the internet, but way to be a jackass about a really sweet story.

    • runswithscissors says:

      Were you so shocked that you dropped your monocle?

      Or perhaps so shocked that you had to pull daddy’s gift Beemer over to the side of the road, turn down the Strokes on your 32GB iPhone 4 (that replaced your obsolete iPhone 3GS), pop the collars on your 4 A&F shirts, and tell your “posse” what a loser you just read about?

      Quickly! To the Hamptons to recover at Step-mommy’s beach estate! Vodka coolers for all!

    • Dyscord says:

      Who says you have to spend a lot of money for anniversaries? It’s the occasion that counts. If the couple is happy, then that’s all that matters

    • travel_nut says:

      OP here. Yeah, I should definitely have gone someplace I couldn’t afford and gone into debt over it. Obviously that would have been the better choice.

      /snark

      • Entchen says:

        I think you made a smart choice in choosing a restaurant that you both enjoy and could manage on your budgets. The manager’s response to your letter should only reinforce that this particular restaurant is something special. Happy anniversary!

      • mythago says:

        There are some people who are just never happy and will bitch about anything and everything.

        Luckily, you and your husband are not among them. Happy anniversary!

      • Sumtron5000 says:

        How dare you not put yourself in debt??

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Hey, travel_nut, I’m sorry your post of a truly awesome story got rained on by a douche like simplegreen. You seem savvy enough to know that he’s in a very tiny minority here. On my part, your story made my day!

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      How douchey of you.

  4. digital0verdose says:

    Well played Longhorn, well played. I hope this story gets out there.

  5. laphroaigh says:

    I had a bad experience at the Bellevue WA Ruth Chris’s Steak house- i felt unwell after eating a hamburger there and emailed the manager. He was nice enough to phone back but i was surprised he did not even offer to refund the happy hour burger or to give me a complimentary one……..if i had not liked my meal while in the restaurant (and it tasted fine when i ate it) surely they would have taken it off the bill.

    • kerry says:

      Not likely. They’re notoriously stingy with their happy hour menu.

    • suez says:

      Food poisoning–if that’s what it was in your case–rarely comes on immediately after eating. It’s likely you got sick from something you ate long before eating there. That’s why few restaurants take that complaint very seriously, unless there’s a sudden rash of complaints.

      • outoftheblew says:

        The commenter didn’t state they felt unwell “immediately” after eating. You don’t know if it was 1/2 hour later or 8 hours later.

        • failurate says:

          Given the general wide spread of time from eating to sickness, it’s difficult to prove without a doubt what the source is.
          We all want to blame our food, but I am just guessing our own dirty hands are fairly often the cause.

  6. crazybeaver says:

    Um, Special treatment? Ever see French Toast with no sugar like in the movie road trip.

    • hmburgers says:

      Yeah–you’ve seen “Waiting” I’m sure… we all know how much the staff respected that manager… so even if the store manager wanted to go on his little happiness tirade, you can be sure that he was bitching out the staff in the backroom about how this could have happened…

      5 second rule on their steaks for sure…

      But you know… much like Farva eating his spit burger, as long as it takes good and I don’t know about it, I don’t give a shit.

  7. wackydan says:

    I’ve had great meals there and not so great. Could have depended on the location.

    Last meal I had at one was sub-par…

    That said, one just opened here not far from the house, and after reading this story I’m compelled to go give them some business.

    Way to go Longhorn.

  8. zigziggityzoo says:

    Dayum. That’s pretty freaking awesome.

  9. Ken V says:

    Wow, Well, if all else fails next time I go though the states I’ll look for a longhorn and see what it’s about.

  10. melcat says:

    Where I work things similar to this happen once in awhile. In our busy tourist town people get really impatient especially kids who are promised they can go play mini golf next door after dinner. A group in my section had a decent sized party so their food was taking awhile and I sent the manager over to check on them. He ended up calling over to the mini golf place and paid for the entire group to go over and play (both courses) for free. But like I said, this happens only sometimes.

  11. swarrior216 says:

    Wow that’s really nice of Longhorn.

  12. bhr says:

    I am a big fan of Longhorn. Their desert sampler is pretty nice for a group of people, and the prices and quality are decent for a chain steakhouse.

    /may be biased, I once got a $2200 “consulting” check from them for spending a couple days helping them open a new locations.

    • chuckv says:

      Nice of you to disclose that. I’m only in college, but I’ve had a couple of professors tell the class that they own stock in a certain company when we were discussing them.

  13. skitzogreg says:

    Yeah, I almost deliberately want to stop and eat there now, just for what they did for that couple.

    • yusefyk says:

      I’ve been there a few times in trips to the States. They are easily the best chain in America. Good value and fine service.

  14. humphrmi says:

    Holy cow! This story has inspired me to look up the nearest Longhorn Steakhouse in my area, and we’re going to eat there this week. Kudos!

  15. Michaela says:

    I know that this experience was great, but I would have been so embarrassed by it! A free dinner is enough for me; everything else would’ve made me feel bad for the initial poor review.

    • qbubbles says:

      Same here. I dont need free food, just as long as they know that it sucked and should do better for everyone, and not just me, would have been my intention of complaining.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        I would have been crawling under the table! That being said, awesome job by Longhorn. I’ll have to see if they have any in my area.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I wouldn’t have been. The couple has every right to be proud of having achieved a year of marriage! They shouldn’t be embarrassed to have a fuss made over that.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    great job – it’s been a long time since we’ve had a good above & beyond on here. glad to see some people out there still understand the importance of great service.

  17. Big Mama Pain says:

    Phew! I was hoping this would be a totally bad write up. I worked for Longhorn right after graduating from culinary school, begrudgingly, because it was a chain restaurant. I was astonished at how well this chain is run; ridiculously high standards for cleanliness, customer service, and food. I did not stay there for very long but have been a customer ever since, and recommend it to people who prefer the chain restaurant brands. I am absolutely not surprised that they went above and beyond-manager’s pay revolves a lot around very complicated projections they make based on customer satisfaction. Woo hoo!! Great story

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      I feel the same way about The Cheesecake Factory. I served there for awhile, and I actually will still eat there. Their management is really hard-core on keeping everyone happy.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        So let me understand this. The both of you are complaining that you had to work hard based on high expectations from your employer? LOL. Unbelievable. Are you kidding me? Please inform us when you get your new “career” in order again so I can avoid poor food and service in my future where you work.

        • user765 says:

          when did they say that? re read what they wrote

          • psm321 says:

            The “I was hoping this would be a totally bad write up.” is what confused me at first, and might have confused him too. I’m still not sure what that was supposed to mean.

        • danmac says:

          Reading comprehension FTL…neither poster begrudged their employer for high expectations…one worked begrudgingly because it was a chain and he/she had higher hopes upon graduating from culinary school (read into that what you will). The other just pointed out that Cheesecake Factory has very high standards and he/she is still a customer. Neither indicated that they quit or were bitter about their employers’ high standards, so your flaming is completely unwarranted and mean-spirited.

        • TheGhostshark says:

          Wow, nowhere near what they wrote.

  18. sirwired says:

    Really, chains are not necessarily a force of evil. If the company trains its managers well, hires good ones, and gives them the authority (and funds) they need to to their job, they can provide a superior experience to a non-chain. (though of course that isn’t guaranteed) Why? Because resources that might otherwise go to menu development, small marketing campaigns, branding, etc., can instead go towards food, service, payroll, etc.

  19. Sardis says:

    Guess I should have complained about my last longhorn experience.

  20. MacGyver says:

    For our anniversary dinners, I call the restaurant ahead of time and make reservations, tell them it’s our anniversary, we want the best table, wine, whatever. It’s amazing what kind of service you can get if you just ask!

    • scoccaro says:

      agreed, we went to a ruth’s chris for a birthday and told them ahead of time and they did a great job of really making us feel special.

  21. brotheryang says:

    I must say i am jealous. when i complain on the rare occasion i get the to bad so sad we couldn’t care less story. Nice to see you were treated well.

  22. Sudonum says:

    They opened a new one here in town, it’s been packed since it opened. The wife and son and I went over to try it out. I’ve eaten in them before while working on the road. I always thought it was a pretty good chain steakhouse, same as Outback.

    The meal was terrible. The steaks were cold, we sent them back, they came back cold and over done. Didn’t want to send them back a second time as we were in a hurry. They forgot my sons side dishes, had to remind the server…. twice. The whole experience was terrible, not what I expected from previous visits to other locations. Responded to the survey on the receipt, and wrote an e-mail, never received a response.

    For contrast, stopped at an Islamorada Fish Company (Bass Pro Shops, I know, but we were starving and there wasn’t much else around) while on a road trip, great food, great service. Stopped at a different one a month later. Totally different experience. Responded to the survey on the receipt. Got a call from the district manager and a certificate good for dinner for 4 at any of their restaurants. And I was impressed that the manager really wanted to know what went wrong and what I thought they could do to improve. I told him to have the staff at the good location cross-train the staff at the bad one. They’re about a 4 hour drive apart.

  23. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    I would love to have a cake that literally read: “Happy Anniversary [Name] & [Name]”

    Although my wife would probably be less than enthused about it…

  24. bleigh says:

    Longhorn is awesome for a chain restaurant. They’re usually so packed when we go. A Wednesday and a 30 minute wait.. the service is always great though. Way to go Longhorn for being exceptional..

  25. bradanomics says:

    Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow.

  26. Hirayuki says:

    We usually have wonderful food and impeccable service at our local Longhorn. The one time our experience was less than stellar and worth complaining about, the manager immediately assigned us a different server whose job was specifically to give dissatisfied customers some extra TLC. She even wore a different color shirt. Our dinner got a lot better at that point, and we’ve had nothing but lovely meals with them since. I’m happy to see they’re not afraid to take the “fixing” even further.

    • cromartie says:

      I’m with you. I had bad service at one, once (and my wife and I usually eat at one once every other week) and sent in a complaint. Got a call from the manager the very next day and a gift card for a free meal with a letter of apology from the DM.

  27. solmssen says:

    Really, this doesn’t feel the tiniest bit sarcastic to anyone? “Oh, I am sooooo sorry!” Tickets and a cake are cheap, irony is priceless.

    • yevarechecha says:

      OK, I’ve finally met someone more cynical than I am. Impressive.

      No, it didn’t have that feel at all.

    • Pax says:

      Obviously, you would have been impossible to please, period.

    • cluberti says:

      Wow. Debbie Downer much? The folks at said Longhorn (sounds like the manager or owner) went way above and beyond what would be considered good service on a bad experience. And yes, a gift card. tickets to a movie, and a small cake are cheap, and it goes to show that you don’t need to spend an outlandish amount to make a difference in customer service.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Oh yeah, that manager really showed them by giving them a bunch of free stuff. How very ironic
      that they should get free desert and tickets on top of a free meal.

      THAT is sarcasm.

    • Marshmelly says:

      Wow. No, I don’t think anyone else felt that way.

      And tickets to a movie surely aren’t cheap these days.

  28. NotYou007 says:

    When I asked for the rest of my steak to go they had run out of to go containers. They had to run to the local Olive Garden to obtain them. Longhorns and Olive Garden are owned by the same giant corporation as I was told by my waiter. So I had to sit and wait.

    I was not impressed with Longhorns at all. I’ve not been back and if I have to eat a giant chain I would rather have Outback or Texas Road House.

    • PencilSharp says:

      Wait a sec, 007… The Longhorn staff actually sent someone to the nearest Olive Garden to get a to-go container for you… probably not next door… at no extra cost to you… and you grouch about the wait?

      No witty or snarky comments; I can’t work up enough indignance this early, just… Dude…

      • Pax says:

        Yeah.

        Most other places would have just said “Sorry, we’re out of to-go boxews”, and he’d’ve just been S.O.L. – instead, the LongHorn he was at sent someone _probably_ several miles away to get more of them. At, as you observe, no extra cost whatsoever.

        • NotYou007 says:

          If you walked outside and looked down the street you could see the Olive Garden. Would have taken 30 seconds to drive there.

          • Pax says:

            Not any any of the Longhorns or Olive Garden’s _locally_, no, I couldn’t. There isn’t a Longhorn within eyesight of an Olive Garden anywhere in the Lowell MA / Nashua NH area, that I have yet seen.

    • cheezfri says:

      They went to another restaurant to get your to-go container and you’re not happy about it? Most places would have just said “Oh well”. Most places I go to run out of something, usually my favorite food. And they just say “Oh well”. Once I ate at a Red Robin and they ran out of tomatoes. But they had an employee run over to the nearby Sam’s Club to get more and make sure we all had our proper meals. That’s service.

  29. dustindmw says:

    The cake part is kinda weird, this whole story is just a bit off sounding. idk

    • grimJack says:

      yeah, i agree. this story bleeds BS IMO.

      • mythago says:

        Yes, in the real world, nobody is ever nice and there are no happy endings, just like in your bleak internal landscape. Better?

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Really, you two? I’m sad you live in a world that’s so horrible that the idea of a few people being nice to a couple other people is completely unimaginable.

  30. larkknot says:

    I have to say that I’ve almost ALWAYS had good customer service at any of the various Longhorns I’ve been to – and I

  31. FrugalFreak says:

    I had a recent disappointment at Logan’s Roadhouse with a takeout order. I left the details on their Facebook page describing the problems. Regional manager called me and sent me a free dinner card. I plan on trying to get another to go order under a different name to see if it remains the same or if it was just a rare glitch in service and quality. It was my very first visit, I will try this a second, hope it won’t be my last.

  32. Pax says:

    Wow. There’re a few Longhorns near us as well, and we absolutely LOVE their food. It’s just a bit out of our usual price range, so like the OP, we don’t go there _often_, but we are repat customers.

    Hearing such a tale of amazing customer service about someplace we actually go is just WONDERFUL, though. :)

  33. WayneB says:

    Talkin’ ’bout Longhorn
    and them pan-fried steaks
    Get on out and get one
    no matter what it takes…

  34. GTB says:

    Jesus. I don’t even know what to say about that. My bitter consumer heart just grew 3 sizes today.

    Incidentally: Longhorn generally has average-to-good steaks, but their steak sauce is crazy good. I buy the stuff by the bottle.

  35. Mackinstyle1 says:

    I am going to go out of my way to eat here the next time I’m in the States.

  36. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    … and then she woke up.

    I went to find the closest Longhorn Steakhouse but d’oh! the closest one is like 1500 miles away. How come all the good places are out of reach?

  37. BoredOOMM says:

    Too bad that we do not have the location. My one and only visit to a Longhorn caused me to never want to go back.

  38. Norvy says:

    So, um… what was wrong with the first dinner? Or has cake bought your silence?

  39. outkastz says:

    I know where I’m going for my anniversary

  40. anjinash says:

    Imagine that, a POSITIVE customer service story for a change. Isn’t it sad that these are the exception and not the rule? You would think that these businesses which live or die by their customers, would ALWAYS be going out of their way to create positive buzz like this. Sadly, with chains especially, they know their business will keep going on so why even bother trying?

    This reminds me of one of the few positive customer service experiences I had, in this case with online electronics store Newegg. I ordered several hundred blank CDs and DVDs from them and after a week I still hadn’t gotten the order. Since Newegg typically had orders on my doorstep within 3 days at worst, I e-mailed them and they shipped out another order with no questions asked and even sprung for express delivery.

    So when the original package did indeed arrive (tattered and beat up from the postal system, no doubt) I contacted Newegg to inform them and offer to send back the extra discs, they told me not to sweat it and let me keep the second box free.

    Such a small thing for a bug company, but it made me a customer for life and here I am passing along the positive word of mouth.

    Point being, it takes so little for these companies to do right by the customer and the rewards are a more trustworthy brand that doesn’t need huge ad campaigns, as the happy customers pass along the good word to friends and family. You can’t buy that sort of good karma. Yet most businesses would rather ban you for life for even daring assert yourself upon bad service.

    We don’t have a Longhorn near where I live, but if we did I’d make a point of going there after reading this. Perhaps this site could use another section for POSITIVE stories for a change, so we can support the companies that do right by their customers.

  41. jiubreyn says:

    WOW! Just….WOW! That story means there’s hope for the rest of us. :)
    That’s awesome that they got to celebrate their anniversary in style, albeit a little late.

    Good times.

  42. energynotsaved says:

    I had a dirty iced tea glass at Ted’s Montana Grill and a poor response to my complaint. I also sent off an email. Corporate called me. They apologized, asked if they could use my complaint in their management training and they sent me a $50 gift card. Some corporations really DO want to be successful and responsive. The creator of Long Horn’s also started Ted’s.

  43. Dre' says:

    Wow, that is awesome, way to go Longhorn.

  44. Cyniconvention says:

    My only experience at Longhorn was the one by the Mall of Georgia–pretty good, we don’t have them in VA.

    But good on this manager for going a&b thec of d.

  45. quail says:

    Great customer service that goes above and beyond is the best sort of guerrilla marketing. You know that couple’s story will bring in at least 5 other couples they tell their story to within their own circle who have never stepped foot in the restaurant. With it appearing here, on Consumerist, the chain will see who knows how many more new customers.

    Kudos to that manager and may others take note from his actions.

  46. MarkSweat says:

    Re-defines “above and beyond” service.

  47. Dethzilla says:

    Best story I’ve read… what a way to start of my day.

  48. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I want to know where this is. The Longhorns around here could benefit from a few lessons from this location.

  49. BugBlatterBeast says:

    To Longhorn Steakhouse: I have never heard of your chain, but this awesome story got me to use your store locator. Unfortunately, there are no franchises in Nebraska, but I’ll be on the lookout for you during my travels. WTG!

  50. grimJack says:

    Shill.

  51. KevinReyn says:

    Longhorn has some serious class. The food can be hit or miss just like anywhere else. I like to do the random acts of kindess (pay it forward) thing a lot and was at a Lonestar a while back. There were a couple of local Sheriff Deputies sitting having lunch. I called the waiter over and told them that I would be picking up their check and that I would like it to be anonymous. Everything seemed to be going fine I enjoyed my lunch which was pretty tasty if I remember. However when the waiter brought me the checks it appeared I had the wrong check for the officers as there was a stiff drink included on the tab. I called the manager over explained what I was trying to do but then decided what the hell I would buy whoever’s lunch this was and be done with it. I saw a young lady having dinner with her elderly father, stand up, look around looking for someone she may have known who bought her lunch. She had that I cant believe someone is doing this look on her face which is what I love to see. Anyway long story short. The manager came over a little bit later and let me know that he really respected what I was trying to do and the way I went about it that he decided to pick up the check for the officers and rather then just simply putting it on the house he made it clear to them that it was another patron who had wanted to buy their lunch. He did it anonymously as well!!.

    It works folks, random acts of kindness do propagate themselves. Try it sometime it really makes you feel good.

    • Rickdude says:

      I’ve only tried out the anonymous random acts of kindness thing a couple of times… I appreciate your reminding me because on those occassions, I have been amost giddy afterwards (I don’t think anyone I know would even think to use that term to describe me, but that’s how I was).

      One time in particular, I laughed to myself all the way.

      Seriously, thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll pick up someone else’s tab this weekend.

  52. moyawyvern says:

    There is a Longhorn probably a half mile from my house. It is always busy, even at unusual times. I have never eaten there, despite living practically on top of it for 10 years. I might have to give it a try now. Not that I really eat steak, but if they can make a mean burger, I am cool.

  53. Nidabriz says:

    Quite impressive! *thumbs up*

  54. lvixen says:

    Though it seems above and beyond, maybe it wasn’t the chain per se. The free meal, probably. The rest, card, tickets and cake, maybe it was the manager who thought to do that on his own. Everyone knows that people will talk more about a bad experience than a good one. By going over the top, he’s hoping to make up for all the negative press they had already received.

  55. Clyde Barrow says:

    Well congrats on your 1st year together. As for Long Horn it was really cool of them to do this. The LongHorn that I go to is very good and their ribeye is about as good as a steak can be. I am always pleased with their dinners and staff. FYI: This restaurant is located on M-59 in Shelby Township, MI.

  56. Retired Again says:

    HOORAY for LongHorn. Have two couples to treat so will go LongHorn instead of Outback.

  57. CalicoGal says:

    This is a great story!
    The last time we were at LongHorn, our soups took so long to come out that our entrees came out right after the soup-
    we were a little annoyed, but the runner didnt just plop our entrees down and disappear– he took them back to the kitchen to keep warm.
    The waiter bent over backwards to make sure my husband knew that if his rare steak was too done to be sure to send it back!
    Even the manager came by and gave us his card and was adamant to ensure that my husband’s meat was not overdone.
    We didnt need any compensation for it, (hubbys steak was phenomenal and did not need to be sent back)
    but their customer service oriented attitude was very refreshing and commendable.

  58. goldilockz says:

    Great story :)

  59. ryan444123 says:

    Longhorn has always been good to me. However,with chains you are in the casino of management. Good management or bad management that is the question.

  60. NahWukkers says:

    Well played Rachel. You hear so many stories of disappointment with chain restaurants that it’s easy to think they’re all bad.

  61. Jabberkaty says:

    Okay. Now I have to go to Longhorn…

  62. jeremybwilson says:

    Good on them.

  63. ahleeeshah says:

    And I thought Macaroni Grill was impressive for sending me $20 in gift certificates after complaining about a meal.

  64. trey says:

    wow… I have always liked Longhorn Steakhouse, this makes them look like the guys on the superpages commercials with the capes. way to go.

  65. HeatherLynn30 says:

    WOW. I’m amazed. There needs to be a new word for how Longhorn treated that couple – customer service doesn’t seem adequate. What a sweet story!

    Happy anniversary!

  66. Blueberry Scone says:

    I like reading stories of companies going above and beyond for their customers; it adds some levity to the dismal news I read all day. Can we have some kind of contest so we can vote for the best company in America?

  67. LRM216 says:

    I am not surprised. I too frequent Longhorns and am always very satisfied with their food. I did use another Longhorn’s other than the local one I usually go to, and had an unfortunate dining experience. I called the restaurant to speak with their manager to relate a series of mishaps and to let him know why I would not be coming back to this particular site, only to have him literally beg me to please come back in for a free dinner for two (anything we wanted) so that he could show me how they “normally” operate and that my less than stellar original dinner, would be just a mere memory. He was correct. I had a wonderful dinner and dining experience. They truly do aim to please, should something go wrong. I give them great kuds for that, especially in this day and age.

  68. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Wow this is AWESOME. It’s so good to hear stories on the brightside like this. Way to go, Rachel and Happy Anniversary!!

    I have to admit I thought this was gonna take a turn for the worse…

    • brinks says:

      Me too. I thought it was going to turn out horribly.

      Consumerist articles rarely end this well.

  69. samchon609 says:

    Its kind of easy to turn up the service for customers when you know they are coming.

    Thats why food critics are usually anonymous, and try not to get their photos taken.

    As a restaurant owner, you can tell the staff, try your best with every customer, but you can’t please everyone on food.

    But you can do your best on service with every customer.

  70. PupJet says:

    Yay! For once in ages there is good news. I’ve eaten at a Longhorn before and they had good food there (yes, pricey, but still good nonetheless). I sympathize for the issues you DID have, but I think with that they went above and beyond!

  71. tommyalf76 says:

    This is an awesome story! Companies screw up but the real test of customer service is what they do to correct the problem. Long Horn could have easily just given them a free meal or a gift card and moved on…. However you can see that they really put some thought and effort into this and that’s the real difference here! Good to hear customer service is alive still.

  72. Johnny Rotten says:

    Somehow I feel the urge to blame the OP for something…

  73. Thyme for an edit button says:

    What a great story!!

  74. KDO says:

    Maybe they’re improving customer service overall. We eat there whenever my in-laws are in town. Last week my husband and father-in-law both ordered steaks, both overcooked. They not only replaced the steaks, but comped them also, and a manager visited the table twice to check on us after that. We’ve never had a bad experience there, but we’ve sent steaks back before and never had them replaced and comped.

  75. Jula says:

    That is very rare for a chain restaurant.

    There is an Indian restaurant around here, the owner is like my second grandpa, he pretty much adopted us all. He hugs everyone when they come in. On my birthday he had a birthday cake for me and a bottle of wine.

  76. pkrbacker says:

    booyah! this is how it’s done!

  77. consumerd says:

    as someone that is going to hit 5 years this year, this is a good one for longhorn!

  78. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Wow. I think they just retained and gained a lot more than just the OP’s business.

  79. consumerd says:

    The longhorns around us are usually not that bad.If they are I haven’t really noticed, and the wife hasn’t complained. Now smokey bones… that’s a different story.

  80. hmburgers says:

    Food is generally good there, haven’t had any problems… glad to hear they “took it seriously”… the good PR doesn’t hurt either :-)

  81. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Okay, that’s awesome. WTG for stepping up for the customer!!!

  82. lawgirl502 says:

    HOLY Sh*T. I am shocked. So, did you take the manager home that night? Seriously, after someone does all that, I feel indebted…

  83. Stannous Flouride says:

    Based on this sweet story I’m going to try and find a Longhorn Steakhouse near me and if there isn’t I’ll make a point of looking for one in my travels.

  84. BustedFlush says:

    That’s awesome. For a chain steakhouse, Longhorn is hard to beat. They’ve got a strawberry pecan salad for summer that is really quite nice.

  85. Blow a fuse? I can fix that... says:

    Wow. Talk about above and beyond.

  86. sjsutton says:

    How do we really know this played out for real? This could easily be a planted story by someone in Longhorn corporate. It’s a little too far fetched for me to buy.

  87. Julius Seizure says:

    I hate the cynic in me. Has anyone verified this story? And even if true, what a great yet cheap viral marketing campaign. I’m a product of the world I live in. I yearn for the days when I could take things at face value.

  88. proscriptus says:

    Nothing to do with the chain, everything to do with a manager who truly understands customer service. Alright, a little to do with a chain that gives him that kind of leeway.