I arrived at the diner today to find one of my waitresses on the phone with an upset customer. I had to think fast on this one and went with the waitress who said that the customer had left without paying after she had suggested to her that if she had a problem to pay and then leave me a note. She assured the customer that I always read my notes and contact.
I listened to the customer tell me how our staff had completely ignored them many times even when they stood up and waved their arms trying to get their attention. As I listened, one of our other customers came up to me and began to tell me that what the customer on the phone was telling me was untrue. Meanwhile, the customer on the phone was using some rather unsavory language which just left another mark against her. After she dropped the F bomb on me, I had had enough. "You need to come back here and pay your bill or I will have to call the police", I told her. After hanging up, two other sets of customers came to me and told me that they felt that those customers were just trying to get off without paying.
As I was looking at the bill and waiting for them to come back, another customer came up to the till. "Lyle", he said, "We loved our food and are gladly paying for it!". It really felt good to have customers like that who seemed to love our crew so much that they felt that they needed to back them up also. Of course, you always worry about that one or two that are unhappy but when so many come up and let you know how happy they are, it verifies that the crew is indeed trying to serve their customers to the best of their abilities.
I waited for them to arrive and when they did, I went straight to the counter. Once again, their exaggerations showed me that they were being untrue. That and their continued language was all it took. "It is too bad that you didn't just pay and leave me your contact information. I probably would have sent you free tickets with an apology. But after the commotion that you put on which was witnessed by many of our customers along with your language, I have no alternative but to ask you to just pay your bill.". She then slammed down her card on the counter and said, "Fine, take your payment. I just want to get out of this ------ place." The other person told me that it was his first and last time here. I told them that I was sorry that they did not enjoy themselves and agreed that maybe they shouldn't come back. This seemed to make them even more angry. "You have the ------- restaurant in this town and I will tell everyone I know.". Nothing more could be said. I turned and asked Ted, our cashier to finalize their transaction. "I would love to!", he said, obviously enjoying what was going on.
Afterwards, both Ted and I thanked them and wished them a good day. I did not hear what they said as they left and frankly probably didn't want to. Ted then turned to me and told me that they had been in before. "Well, if they come in again, please let me know as I won't serve them.". "If they do, will you let me tell them?", he asked.
I am so blessed to have a crew and customers who look out for the business as much as they do.