How to ruin your reputation for 35 Euro, a personal restaurant experience
Last Friday, I had a meet up with friends from University. We have the habit to have about 4 nice dinner parties together. You know, to talk about the good old days at college. This time, we chose for restaurant Caprice. Some of our friends had good experiences, so we all agreed on this location.
Unfortunately, one of our friends couldn't make it that night, something went wrong in the agenda planning, you know how it goes. So, we came in with 11 people instead of 12. The restaurant was packed and atmosphere was great. So far so good!
The moment we mentioned that one of our friends wasn’t there, things went wrong. First of all they didn’t change our table, so we had 1 empty chair standing there. That’s no big issue of course. But then the strangest thing ever happened.
When our first course was served, they didn’t bring 11 plates but 12. So, at the empty seat, there was a plate standing. Can you imagine? When we asked for their intentions, the answer was clear: ‘You said you were with 12, for us you are still with 12. We will serve the food to the missing person and you will have to pay for that!’
We were… surprised by this philosophy. We tried to express that we didn’t really like their customer service philosophy, but didn’t get any response to that.
At that point, we decided to let it rest and not spoil the evening. Conversation would continue later, we thought. At the end of the evening, we received the bill. And indeed… we had to pay for 12 people. Now, the budget per menu is reasonable: 35â‚¬. And we didn’t really care about adding 35â‚¬ to the bill, it was just the feeling of frustration that made us decide to open up the discussion again.
Explaining (in my perception) in a friendly way that we didn’t appreciate the approach and that it is probably not the smartest approach towards customer happiness. Before we could end our second sentence, the bill was thrown on the table. Reaction was ‘All right, I’ll change it, and give me a break!’.
Wording wasn’t bad, but the tone-of-voice was below zero. So, we paid the bill and left the building. Just a few side notes to this story:
- What are your goals with your customer service policies? Do you want to teach people a lesson and show them that they should behave different? Or do you want to keep client happiness high?
- The really bad news in this story? The food was good, really good! But it’s not the core of my story
- One of my friends’ his brother owns a company close to this restaurant. The last three years, the New Year’s party of this company (70 people) was organized in this restaurant… I wonder where it will be next time
- A lot of people around the table are really socially engaged in the town of the restaurant. Just think about it, how much money will you lose because your customer service policy is about ‘These are our rules and you will follow, whatever happens’.
A pretty expensive 35â‚¬ if you ask me!