Thick as a brick

Some people get to work by walking through a door. I believe the company I am referring to below gets to work by crawling under a rock. Really. Wait until you read this. This company makes Scrooge look like Mother Teresa.

A girlfriend related this story to me: It was her nephew’s birthday, and he liked the dessert special at a particular national chain that defines itself as a brewhouse. Ten adults and one kid out to enjoy an evening. At the end of the meal, my friend told the server she didn’t care for dessert but would enjoy a coffee.

Desserts arrived, and with that, the check went on the table — not the classiest of moves. Then, my friend’s coffee didn’t arrive, and when she reminded the server, his hand went to his head and he said, “Oh, I forgot, but I didn’t include it on the bill, so I need to bring you a new bill if you want coffee.” To her surprise, he added, “It’s policy that we can’t give anything away or I’ll lose my job.” 

I could blog until 2014 on the unprofessionalism here — the use of the word “policy,” no apology, a new check on top of a meal well over $250, victimization on the part of employee and guest, lack of empowerment — ad nauseum. And who knows if he was just an untrained server or this was the company’s actual stance, but this brewhouse left thousands of dollars on the table at that moment in terms of future business.

Upon reflection, the evening did not sit well with my friend. She found the company’s customer service email address online and wrote a letter that was factual and not as emotional as my tirade above. They forwarded the email to the local restaurant manager. Hmmm … wanted corporate office, got local reply.

And the reply from the local restaurant manager did not reference the policy issue about no free coffee (that cost them a nickel) and a secondary check, but how the server should never have forgotten the coffee — she blamed the server in lieu of an apology. After much barter, she offered to send a $20 certificate (again, more cost than the coffee), but my friend and her family shall never return. I believe there is an available domain name for this restaurant group: “Knuckleheads R Us.”

True service comes from the heart … and from there, profits follow.