QUESTION From: Greg in Miami
“I called the police tonight to remove two complaining customers.
I always want to learn to do better at this business, so I am asking your opinions on how you would have handled this situation or how you think I did in the comments.
A couple ordered pick up. They were told it would be ready in fifteen minutes. They arrived 17 minutes after the 15 (so, 32 minutes later) . Paid for their food and left. After a short while they came back and complained that their food was cold, the fries were cold and the chicken was "under cooked" , the guy explained he had eaten all of the fries though and did not expect a refund for them but wanted a refund for the rest.
I checked with the kitchen to see if we had done something wrong that would have made their food cold, had the situation explained to me about the timing mentioned above. I went back to the front and although I believe we did not do wrong I still offered to have a fresh round of food prepared for them.
They insisted they did not want the food remade and wanted a refund. I told them our policy was no refunds, but that I could remake the food or give them a credit for a future visit. It went back and forth about wanting a refund and we don’t give refunds until it got to a point that I told them they were causing a scene and could choose the options I was giving them or they could leave. they chose to continue saying they werent going anywhere until I gave their money back. It got so bad that I finally told them if they did not leave I would call the police and have them removed. And that is what happened.
The police showed up and I asked the officer if we could move outside since they had already disrupted my business enough, he obliged. They explained their piece to him which he told them was a civil matter and they could take me to small claims court, and then he admonished them for not leaving the premises when they were told to do so.
Somehow it came up if I would still remake the food which I said I would be happy to do, but the girlfriend said " You offered us a credit, we'll just take that" to which I replied... I am sorry, but I am rescinding that offer based off the fact that I dont think you and I will be able to have a positive future relationship. The police asked if they wanted the food remade, they said no , and he motioned them to move on then.
Of course there are now two one stars on google (im fine with it, it happens, plenty of good reviews surrounding it) , and of course on her facebook page with her friends she has told her version (even though it was the guy doing all the talking), and they are talking of starting a review war on my ratings. (PS, Ive already shut off facebook reviews until it blows over. )”
If you stand on your principles long enough, they’ll start to really fu@#in’ hurt.
You have to understand that your #1 job is to make people happy.
People like that are the donut weights on the bat you’re taking practice swings with...they just make it easier to deal with the next guests who are likely to be much more pleasant and reasonable.
Most importantly, the back and forth really isn’t worth your time, effort and most importantly - attention that you could otherwise spend on your other guests.
Remember that avoiding fires is better than putting them out and avoiding ones like this costs very little in comparison to the cost of a “scene” or worse…someone with egg on their face (and nothing better to do) taking to social media .
It’s a cost of doing business and I strongly recommend rolling with it.
Like I tell my teenage niece whose learning to drive - “It’s less important who has the right of way because it’s better to be alive than right.”
On another note, when dipping into your empathy toolbox (for those who deserve it and for those who don’t) to resolve an issue, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS finish by offering some form of restitution (in excess of the perceived loss) right then and there - at that very moment. NOT on their next visit. NOT at the end of the meal. Right now.
Whether it’s a refund or additional free food or a validated parking, a round of drinks or a free t-shirt... whatever...just don’t give them the “promise” of fixing it later or make them wait for a resolution.
You can do better than a credit on their next check or a gift card or a coupon.
They’re already there now so fix it now… and then move on to the next guest.
If this is a recurring issue, I’d invest in a hot box and not pack/bag an order until guests arrive.
Don’t let the jerks distract you from making your business a success,