After we go out to a restaurant, my wife or I usually try to visit the website for the restaurant we just ate at and let them know how it was. This is good feedback for them, and often results in free food for us. I’ll share the results as they come in, but here are a few recent ones:
Applebee’s – We went with another couple (and my daughter) while on our way to get a 3D ultrasound. It was awful. Very slow, cold food, no refills – everything. I don’t know that it was our server’s fault, as she appeared to have a LOT of tables to handle. Still, it sucked.
We had e-mailed them a few years back after our last visit there (we’re not big fans) and knew what to expect – a phone call with a semi-apology, laced with a “get over it” attitude. We will – bye-bye!
Sweet Tomatoes – I’m not sure if this is a national brand or what, but they should be. There is one right near our local CarMax, and we stopped there after we traded our Jeep Cherokee for a Ford Windstar. (side note: power sliding doors on a minivan are FUN to play with).
It was great! I had been there before, and it’s never disappointed. Granted, it’s essentially just a big salad bar, but their customer service is exceptional. After we sat down, the following people visited our booth:
– A woman to take our trays
– A women to bring a plastic fork for our two-year-old
– A woman to refill our drinks
– A man asking if we needed anything
– A woman passing out free, warm, chocolate chip cookies.
Given that great performance, I felt I had to e-mail them with a “great job!” kind of e-mail. In there I also mentioned that I would really like to see some of those little ham strips in the salad bar, kind of like they have at Ruby Tuesday’s.
A few days later, we got a personalized letter in the mail. They thanked us for the compliments and explained that they’ve had ham before from time to time, it never was very popular, but they’re always considering different items and would keep that in mind. On top of that, they sent us two gift certificates for free meals!
Now, I expect businesses to give me some free food if I had a bad experience (and if they still want my future business). However, to give free food just because I complimented their service is beyond exceptional.
Props to Sweet Tomatoes. We’ll go often.
I might visit visit Applebee’s again in a few years. Maybe.