This CEO Sucks Less: John Pepper of Boloco

Lest we leave you unable to eat food at all, we present this letter from John Pepper, the CEO of Boston’s Boloco restaurants (formerly ‘The Wrap’), which is the very model of how to handle a customer complaint, even when a company isn’t going to be able to address the specific complaint. It was sent to us by the pleased recipient.

The tone of the email is so foreign. It’s almost like Mr. Pepper is speaking to… a human.

Read it all after the jump.

—–Original Message—–
From: John Pepper [mailto:pepper@boloco.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 8:31 PM
To: Ben
Subject: RE: Boloco.com: customer response

Ben,

First of all, thanks for your note. We always appreciate hearing from customers… even if we’ve done something that doesn’t make them happy, it helps us a great deal.

We worried a lot about Roasted Veggies and what the reaction would be. The reason they disappeared in the first place is because so few people actually ordered them, and the amount of prep time and waste (because they’d sit too long and we’d have to throw them out) stopped justifying keeping them on the menu years ago… but because of the few, and outspoken, customers who lived on them, we kept them in place. You are now the 7th person that has written about this loss since we took them off three months ago (not including a handful of our employees who are also quite upset).

From a purely business standpoint, it didn’t make any sense to keep the Roasted Veggies. From a customer loyalty standpoint, however, your note (and the others like it) makes me want to get them back on the menu tomorrow! The challenge we always have is balancing the two… you would be amazed at the number of requests we get on a weekly basis from our customers
– obviously, we can’t accommodate everyone, but we do listen to everyone, and consider what they say carefully.

I don’t know how this will turn out in the months to come. I know I can’t promise they will return unless we start hearing overwhelming feedback that they must. We’ve taken items off in the past and had no choice but to bring them back (ie. Buffalo chicken is best example where it felt like a riot was about to take place)… so far, this hasn’t been one of those items.

I hate to even suggest trying the tofu, if you are in fact a vegetarian. My wife is, and that’s what she gets religiously. It’s not your standard tofu, it has spice, flavor, and people love it!

Other vegetarians will get the fajitas, though I agree with you are far different than the Roasted Veggies.

And finally, others will just get any of the items we sell “as is”, which is to say without chicken or steak. Most of our menu items start vegetarian, and only when you add chicken or steak do they become otherwise.

I am sorry I don’t have the answer you are looking for. To try and make up for this, and to give you a few visits on us to possibly find something else that gets you excited, send me the 16 digit code on the back of your Boloco card (you can pick one up if you don’t have one, and send it to me then) and I’ll add some Burrito Bucks on there for you to use. It’s the least we can do, and maybe you’ll find something that works. If not, we will hope that something we do in the future brings you back to our restaurants – we have sincerely appreciated your business and hope we’ll find a way to earn it back soon.

Cheers,

John