This Cosi Restaurant Is The Best Stalker Ever

Nick orders the same lunch every Wednesday from the Cosi nearest his office: turkey and corn chili. That sounds really tasty, but Nick was unhappy because he wasn’t getting all of the soup he paid for. When his soup cup wasn’t full a few weeks in a row, he sent a complaint through the chain’s website. The area manager sent a nice letter back offering a free meal at any location. Then things got weird. And awesome. The manager tracked him down using LinkedIn and had more soup delivered to his office.

I wanted to share a story today of a company going above and beyond the call of duty.

Across the street from my office in [redacted] is a Cosi Restaurant. Every Wednesday I order the Southwest Corn and Turkey Chili, absolutely delicious on a cold day. The past three weeks for whatever reason I have not been receiving a full cup of soup. I’m picky, but when I order the largest size I expect to get what I pay for, not paying for a large but only getting what would come in a medium size cup. I’ve never written a complaint before but today I had enough and decided to go onto the Cosi website and send an email to their corporate. I didn’t expect much from a big company but I was pleasantly surprised.

Here is the email I sent today…

Hi,

I am writing today because I am tired of not getting what I pay for. I come in every Wednesday to order a Large Southwest Corn and Turkey Chili and the past 3 times I have been my large cup has barely been filled more than half way. What’s the point of ordering a large if I am only going to receive a medium portion? I’m getting to the point where I am going to have to find a new place to get soup. I am a loyal customer and enjoy your items a lot, but I may have to go elsewhere if this continues.

Thanks,
Nick

Granted I am complaining about something so small but for whatever reason I felt I needed to let them know I was unsatisfied. 15 minutes later I received a letter from the regional manager for Cosi..

Dear Nick,

My name is [redacted] and I am the Area Director for the Cosi located at [redacted] I am very sorry for the experience that you had today in our restaurant. There is no excuse for not receiving what you paid for. I will be sure to address this with the managers and the partners of this location to make sure this does not happen to you or any of our guests in the future.

Nick, I would love to have the opportunity to make this up to you. If you would like to come in to have lunch or soup on us, I would be happy to send you out a free entree card to use at any of the Cosi locations. If you would be willing to give us that opportunity, please send me your mailing address and I will send it right out.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I will use the information to make sure your next visit is a positive one.

This was more than nice enough, but here is the kicker. About an hour after I received the email I got a call from security in the lobby of the building telling me someone from Cosi is here to see me. At first I was confused because I never shared where I work but I went downstairs anyway to see what was going on. Waiting for me was someone from the restaurant with a big bag, apologizing over and over and said please call [redacted] if I had any questions. In her hand was my LinkedIn profile she printed out to find me( still kind of weird). Inside the bag was a new soup (very full) but also a big tray of cookies, brownies, and fresh fruit which I shared with all my coworkers.

In this instance instead of telling only one person about my good experience and telling 10 people about the bad, I told as many as I could how awesome of an experience I had with Cosi. I will definitely be back next Wednesday for more soup!

Comments

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  1. tbax929 says:

    That is a bit creepy but also cool. I didn’t know something could be creepy and cool simultaneously!

  2. brinks says:

    If only ALL stalkers came bearing soup and baked goods…

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    people don’t realized how much personal info is out there…and how easy it is to get it…not because of privacy stuff… it’s because people put those info out there!

    • theduckay says:

      Ok?

      All they did was give him some free soup…I don’t think anyone is complaining about it. He probably just thought it was a little weird that they would actually do that, not weird that they were able to find what company he works at (not exactly private information). Most company websites lists their employees names and pictures anyway, I’m sure a quick google search of anyone’s name would take them to that info also.

  4. brinks says:

    If only ALL stalkers came bearing soup and baked goods…

  5. rpm773 says:

    Note to self: The stalking thing goes over better if I keep a bag of cookies or Turkey Corn Chili on me to smooth things over when caught.

  6. Coleoptera Girl says:

    This is definitely awesome and creepy… but at the same time, if you have a very loyal customer who’s been shorted multiple times and decided to finally complain, why not do a quick search on LinkedIn? If they have a profile, awesome. Free stuff. If they don’t, they still get the free entree and perhaps extras when they come in next.

    All I really have to say is don’t put your information on the internet if you don’t want it to be found. I suppose that makes this just awesome and hardly creepy. Thoughtful, more like.

  7. Ask about my easy lay away plan says:

    Excellent! This is how really wonderful customer service works. Cosi managed to take a poor experience and turned it into an opportunity, not just to earn back one customer’s loyalty and trust, but to gather the good will of several more people as well. Nick will be back, and his coworkers who got to eat the cookes and brownies will be more likely to try Cosi the next time they are thinking of going out for lunch.

    • dwtomek says:

      The goodwill goes much farther than that. I have never heard of a Cosi prior to reading this. Now, based on this alone, if presented with the opportunity to try them out I absolutely will. Generally you can’t buy publicity like that. In this case, it cost some soup, some baked goods, and a few minutes on google. That’s value for your dollar right there.

  8. sirwired says:

    Did he ever actually mention this problem to the store, or did he let it happen several weeks in a row, decide to skip the store, and go right to corporate?

    • lxa1023 says:

      Since it was right across the street, he probably got it to go, and then would find out he was shorted when he was back at his desk. So it was probably easier to just to write an email.

      • tooluser says:

        If you contact a company online it almost never goes to the store. This idea that one can’t follow the correct procedure of complaining directly to the corporation — that instead one doesn’t have a valid complaint unless and until one has vetted it through all possible layers and combinations of bureaucracy — is asinine. I can’t imagine where people get that idea, except perhaps incompetent franchise owners who regularly get beaten up by their corporate bosses for poor service.

  9. HammRadio says:

    I’m assuming he doesn’t check the soup until he returns to the office… but i might have checked on week two before I left the store…. Good job on Cosi on going above and beyond… However, I look forward to the future Consumerist article where the stalking of a customer turns out poorly…

  10. The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

    While I’m glad Cosi went out of their way to fix it, I’d write back, “Just because I wrote you doesn’t mean I want you to show up my office.”

    The other day I had a recruiter call me for a position I’m hiring for. I didn’t have the time to talk to them and I tried to be polite but they wouldn’t give. So finally I hung up. A few minutes later the recruiter started following me on twitter. Kinda made me not want to do business with them.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Really? You’d put a cookie-o-gram in the same category as someone harassing you when you asked them not to? *I* will take your free cookies Mr. Grumpypants.

      • RandomHookup says:

        I’m not sure that following you on Twitter is really harassing you. Depends on how the recruiter handles that. There are ways to limit who follows you on Twitter, if it’s that sensitive.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Looks like it’s time to try to disprove the old PR saying “any exposure is good exposure”, using the recruiter as a test case. Tweet about what a PITA they are.

    • elangomatt says:

      I complained a while back about something at McDonalds, and all I gave them for contact info was my email address and home address(the home address was required, or I wouldn’t have given it to them at all). I specifically didn’t want to have to talk to anyone on the phone since it was a pretty minor issue. There was even a box on the form that asked how I wanted to be contacted and I marked email. Every day for about the next week, I got a voicemail from a McDonald’s manager (in very poor English) asking me to call them back to talk about my problem. She must have looked my number up in the local phone book or something since I didn’t give my number to them.

  11. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    This sounds like a business one would want to patronize.

  12. The Porkchop Express says:

    Ah, [redacted] in [redacted]. I remember he sent me soup once, not cookies though.

  13. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    “More soup for you!”

  14. t2fastspin says:

    I’ve never heard of the COSI in Redacted. Since the one here in Toledo changed hands, the only one I know of is in Columbus.

  15. eeewing says:

    FYI: The pic heading this article is NOT of a Cosi restaurant (that would be here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cosirestaurant.jpg); rather, you’re showing the COSI (Center of Science and Industry) building in Columbus, OH.

    And the interesting sidenote for trivia buffs: the aforementioned building is also the old Central High School, where the 1984 film “Teachers” was filmed.

    • Velifer says:

      Sadly, there’s more science education and interesting stuff going on at the restaurant these days.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Holy crap I forgot about COSI, that place used to rock when I was a kid and living in Ohio. They used to do demonstrations with static, liquid nitrogen, all the cool stuff kids would love.

      I’ve heard that place went really really down hill since the late 90’s.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      HA! Thanks. I actually had no idea.

  16. MichaelRyanSD says:

    Ehh, I’m going to go with awesome and NOT creepy, if you have a PUBLIC profile on a social networking site, then the regional manger used a little bit of brain to go above and beyond. People have this concept that their are somehow entitled to privacy on a SOCIAL NETWORKING website on what we use to endearingly called the WORLD WIDE WEB.

  17. GJaunts says:

    I love you, Cosi. I really do.

  18. scottboone says:

    Calling this Cosi manager names -creeps- me out. Since when did “creative” become “creepy”? It sounds like somebody was thinking, used PUBLIC social media information in a very nifty way to fix a situation in which the customer walked away thrilled, “I told as many as I could how awesome of an experience I had with Cosi.” At no point did the Submitter use the term “stalker” or “creepy” of even allude to be being bothered AT ALL for them having looked him up.

    Isn’t that what we should be APPLAUDING? They didn’t hire a private eye and go through his trash! They simply looked him up on google, LinkedIn, whatever. And in doing so created a massively positive experience. Such a shame to then call them names. So sad, Consumerist & commenters.

    • The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

      Just because information is public doesn’t mean it should be used as such. I’m sure the name of the manager is public, and most likely, the address of their home is too. Would it be creepy for the OP to show up at the house to talk to the manager about the issues?

      • Conformist138 says:

        house =/= office building lobby

        • The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

          Ok – what if the manager came to the guy’s gym? Put a note on his car? Got there and found out he wasn’t there, and instead went to his desk and put food on it? Maybe the manager could have waited at the OPs kid’s school if he couldn’t find where the OP worked?

          Any company that would go out of its way to find where I live or work and to come there announced and without prior permission has violated a “social contract” to me. In this case, the terms of the contract are “I go to your establishment, I buy food, I leave.” The manager changed that relationship and the contract without respect to the customer.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Nick himself said it was “weird” and Consumerist just ran with it. Proof you can’t have a little creative fun at your job.

  19. Portlandia says:

    I love Cosi, but after eating there a few times I seem to be always left with this weird aftertaste. I’m not sure what it is, but had to stop eating there. I do love their flatbread though…

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Are you that guy who doesn’t tip? Tee hee hee…

  20. TonyK says:

    Had this happen to me just recently on Angie’s List but my outcome was not so good.

    We left a less than favorable review because the business we were trying to work with would not return calls. Angie’s List kept bugging us to put in a review so we did, noting the business did not return our calls.

    Against the policies of Angie’s List, the company found me and called my house to complain about our review. I called and complained to Angie’s List but they did not seem interested so we canceled our Angie’s list subscription.

  21. neekap says:

    Being from Columbus, I was confused by the article picture as well. There’s actually a sandwich chain called Cosi that’s completely unrelated to the COSI science center that us Ohioans are familiar with.

    • RedOryx says:

      I thought I was going crazy looking at that picture. I’m from Cleveland and haven’t been to COSI in at least 10 years, but as soon as I saw that picture I was sure it was *that* COSI and not whatever thing they are talking about here.

  22. tungstencoil says:

    One of the few things I miss about living in the DC area is Cosi.

  23. conquestofbread says:

    I had the opposite experience at a Panera Bread a few months ago.

    I went in to a location near my work for lunch and the soup was mostly broth, with a huge puddle of broth on the tray, soaking my bread and napkins.No time to complain because I needed to get back to work.

    I wrote an online complaint, and the manager wrote and offered to send me a voucher for a free meal. Still waiting 3 or 4 months later. I haven’t been back since, and won’t on principle.

  24. BeerMeBeerMan says:

    We got COSI one time for a company lunch and had it delivered to the office. Once we started unpacking we noticed that we were missing chicken, bread, soup and a couple other things. We called their store over and over again and no one would pick up, so someone from the office drove to the store to get the forgotten stuff. They fixed everything for that day and said that next time we do an order for our office, its on them. The following week they gave us free lunch for 10 people. Frustrating at the beginning, but they made it right in the end.

  25. shufflemoomin says:

    Why would he email corporate after not being happy for days on end? Did you [redact] the part where he just called the restaurant to ask for an explanation or tell them he wasn’t happy?

    • elangomatt says:

      I don’t know if this is the case for Cosi, but many fast food type places encourage you right on the receipt to go to their website with questions or problems and to take the survey to win a gift card. I personally don’t see a problem with him going to the website without talking to the store first. I just hope that the higher ups at corporate don’t blow it out of proportion and start firing people over a simple complaint.

  26. do-it-myself says:

    I

  27. Sensical says:

    I had something similar happen to me at a restaurant. I sent an e-mail after having a bad experience with the hostess…and all of the sudden the manager came to my table to apologize.

    I have no freaking clue how he knew it was me who had sent the e-mail.

  28. failurate says:

    The quickest way to a man’s heart is an upward stab right through his stomach.

  29. GrandizerGo says:

    I have noticed that many places are doing this now… McD’s Large fries would fit in a medium container, the large drinks are 3/4 of an inch or more from the normal filled line.
    The thing that is funny about the drinks is that I SEE them in the drive through, the machine filled the cup properly, but the server tilts the cup over to drain a bit out! I ask them not to do this when I can, but most of the time the window is closed and they are not looking out.

  30. Mike says:

    “studies have shown” (translation: I think this is true but I can’t prove it at the moment) that people have a higher opinion of business that has a problem and addresses it well, than they do of a place where they have no problems. This is a good example of a company turning a negative into a positive and getting the right kind of press to boot.

  31. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    all my stalkers bring me cookies.

  32. iesika says:

    I used facebook to find someone who’d lost a wallet, once, so I could return it. Now I wonder if she thought I was creepy…