My husband and I seized the opportunity to have dinner, just the two of us, when our teen chose going to a pool party with her peers rather than dinner out with the family--go figure. Since my husband had received gift cards to Cheesecake Factory, that's where we went. (Yes, gift cards from students are a special treat in teachers' families from time to time.)
I am happy to report that we were seated right away, had excellent service, and the food was delicious. But that bit is incidental to the heart of my story.
After dinner we stopped by Seasons 52 to pick up a gift card for my one of my daughter's teachers. Granted, they were busy. It was a little after seven pm. The hostesses seemed to be caught flat-footed by my request.
"I have to get a manager." A moment later. "The manager is speaking to another guest. Do you want to wait?"
My husband was circling the mall in the car.
"Do you know how long it will be?"
"Do you want to have a seat in the chairs over there?"
I did. And I waited. And I waited. And nobody came.
So I left.
Back in the car, I related my experience to my husband. I was willing to let them off the hook. They were busy, and it was during the dinner rush...but he was less forgiving.
"That's just bad customer service."
Off we went to the Lakefront to try again, this time at Petit Louis. We were greeted immediately. The host went right away to find the proper person to help us, who waited on us hand and foot. We walked away feeling like a million bucks.
We still had one more gift card to buy. We decided to try the Tomato Palace, since it was right there.
Again, we were greeted right away, and sent to the bar. The person at the bar admitted she didn't know how to do gift cards, so she sent over to Clyde's, apologizing profusely for the wait. In a few minutes the manager came over, handled our transaction while training the Tomato Palace employee at the same time. He too, apologized for our wait.
We walked away feeling like valued customers.
I realized that my husband was right. It wasn't that Seasons 52 was so terrible. It was that, under the same circumstances, the other two restaurants were so much better.
So this is not a rant about something that went wrong. This is a tip of the hat, a HoCo Holler, to the folks at Petit Louis and Tomato Palace/Clyde's, who got it so very, very right. Thanks.
We'll be back.