Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Friend?

I need to preface this story with a little back ground. With the warm weather, I often stay up late, keeping the windows in the house all open to try and cool the place off just so I can get to sleep. Thursday was one of those hot days and I was up till about 1 in the morning, on Friday.

Judy had her Doctors in the back room so she went in early and left me sleeping in the bed. Our cashier was a young man of whom we really like who has been working for us mainly as a back up busser or cashier for a couple of years. Jake and his brother, Zach both work for us and come from a very great family background and are very good students. Jake did not really want to work this morning as he has another job down in Sunriver that he needed to do in the evening but I talked him into it or, I guess you could say, bribed him with one of his weaknesses, food.

He was taking the place of our main cashier who is dealing with an acute family issue. Judy and I have always tried to place family first so we are trying to let him have as much time as he needs to deal with his issue.

So, with that groundwork laid, Judy got to work and they got slammed. Normally, we have plenty of room in our main dining areas but it filled up and Judy began taking customers in the back room.

Everyone was hustling just to keep up and Jake received a call in order for an Eggs Benedict. Jake didn't really know much about Benedicts but took the order and hung it up. Normally, Judy, I , or one of the other waitresses would be the ones finishing up to go orders but as busy as they were, Jake had to do this one.

On Benedicts, I always have the cooks wait until the last minute to sauce them with the Hollandaise. Hollandaise breaks easy and we want the very best presentation so it goes on just before we serve. Jake was unaware of that and put his order together and it was picked up.

Jake soon received a phone call from a very upset woman. She yelled at him that we had just ruined her husbands birthday. A confused Jake took the call and apologised and tried to explain how he was unaware of the makings of the dish but the woman was not impressed. She said that she was on her way to get her Hollandaise.

Judy called me and asked me how I felt about her giving the woman a free meal certificate for having to come back and I told her that it was a great idea. The hollandaise and meal ticket awaited her return.

I arrived around 11 or so and we were still busy and beginning to transition between breakfast and lunch. Judy realized that the hollandaise was still there so she asked me how I felt about her trying to contact the woman using caller ID. My initial thought was why bother. I get so irritated at times when someone like that screams at the help especially when they apologise. Judy reminded me of what I had always taught her of how to let it go and attempt to save the customer. I told her that if she wanted to do the foot work and call the woman back that it would be fine with me.

I went out to the office and began some paperwork when Judy came in with all of the information including their address. I was surprised to see the name was a person that I had considered a friend. I pretty much know his entire family, his dad plays poker with me nearly every Monday, he has played quite a few times, and I used to work with his sister years ago.

I told Judy that he was a great guy and I was sure that the problem was just his wives as she was the one doing the talking. "If he had a problem, he would have called me.", I said. Judy told me that the woman was still not impressed even after she called and apologised and I told Judy how proud I was of her attempting what she did.

I pretty much put it out of my mind after that but did ponder on it some in the afternoon. If we only made one mistake during that busy time, I could live with that.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was surfing the net last evening around 10 or so and found the following story on Craigs list of Rants and Raves:

Date: 2009-07-17, 10:12AM PDT

Good morning Americans,its my birthday,so we ordered breakfast from JAKES DINER (fully knowing its hit and miss anymore there)and they forgot the hollandais sauce for the eggs benedict.So their cook told us over the phone,it didnt come with hollandais sauce. Im sorry Lyle,but I feel me and my family and friends helped trough the years ,starting from the old location with all those 2 and 3 am sober-up breakfasts.And anyone who is from this town knows what im talking may still be thankfull for my dads 5 dollar donation per week.....but youve seen my last.With all the people out there unemployed,finding good help is no excuse.

I sat and stared at the screen not believing what I had just read. I sent him an email of which I cannot reveal without revealing his identity but lets just say I did not show any anger. I even finished it off with, Your Friend, Lyle.

I went into my bed room and noticed that Judy was not asleep yet and made the mistake of telling her then instead of waiting until the morning. Later, before I closed up the house for some much needed sleep, Judy came out and joined me. It had hurt her so much that she could not sleep. We talked for a while and then both went off to bed.

Now, I sit here in my office staring at the address and the ticket that Judy wrote up for the free meal. I just cannot decide if I want to send it off or not. Do I hold it as his words could keep someone who has never experienced us from coming in or do I follow through because Judy told them she would send it. These are the thoughts that run through my mind as I prepare for another hopefully busy Saturday morn.


jules said...

craigs list is like watching a car crash, i find the posters so negative and petty-but can't look away. i would not send the certificate, the gift to this customer would have been good had they not tried you in the court of petty public opinion. every restaurant deserves a second chance, people make errors. save it for someone who deserves it and keep doing what you do well.

Frank said...

My friend, had a wonderful time over pizza with you and Davey last night, and I know your heart...and desire to do right with your customers, whom you respect and care for.
Sometimes, the reasons people are impatience or grummpy or demanding or critical has "nada" to do with Jakes.
Sometimes they are just that way.
Just that you care about their opinions and want to make right a mistake shows your integrity.
Don't let one critique ruin the 1000's of positive comments, and the 1000's who are blessed by Jakes. (Including me :)
Keep on keeping on being positive and caring; and remember what an influential person in my life says, "No worries."
And here's to wishing many of God's blessings to fall upon you and yours.

Beth Anne said...

You should send it off. You are a man of your word and when these people cool down, they may come around to common sense. If not, well, you tried and that is what will let you sleep at night.

Keeneye said...

Grrrr - these kinds of things just make me so frustrated. I completely understand how upset you must have been.

A mistake is just that: a mistake. It certainly wasn't done on purpose.

If missing the hollandaise sauce was enough to "ruin" his birthday, it sounds to me like he needs to find more activities. To take all of the time and energy to write negative things on an anonymous forum -- well, I'd just write him off. He's certainly not a friend.

The customer is not always right.

diner life said...

Funny post comment to this. Last weekend, the exact same thing happened. The cashier was busy and the greeter put the order together.

The woman came in the door and we had her hollandaise boxed up and ready.

Judy gave it to her with an apology and I was behind her with a free meal ticket. The greeter than came over and appologised while close behind was the cashier who would normally put it together. The woman was overwhelmed. She said, "Wow, what accountability! It was just a mistake and everyone makes those.".

Anyway, she walked out a happy camper which is what we want.