Yesterday I had a great late lunch at a Korean restaurant here in Dubai. Tonight, I went there for dinner, expecting food as terrific as the day before. Sadly, it turned out to be a disappointment.
I went for their flagship set menu. Soup, noodles, deep-fried shrimp, deep fried dumplings, marinated beef and sashimi (raw fish). All to be washed down with premium Saudi non-alcoholic beer.
The sashimi had not thawed (had been frozen). I had to wipe the frying fat of the dumplings. The meat was of a bad cut. I had to remind the waitress to bring rice.
The soup came in when I had nearly finished with my meal, so I refused the soup. This was the worst Korean meal I have had. And I told them so.
Lots of “I’m sorry sir” from the waitress, and she assured me she had told the chef (which I made clear that I expected her to do).
I paid the full amount on the bill, and was never offered a discount. I refused the fruit salad that was being brought in after my complaint. I am not sure whether this fruit salad was an attempt of service recovery or if it was something they would bring in anyway.
So, what lessons can be learnt from this exercise? As self-appointed restaurant consultant, I will make a few suggestions.
* Establish what a staff member can/can not do when a customer complains
* If you offer something complimentary in an attempt to compensate, express this verbally prior to delivering the compensation. (for example: “I’m very sorry we did not meet your expectations. I have informed the manager, and we/I would like to offer you a dessert as our apology. Would that be acceptable to you?”)
* Make sure to ask the customer once during the meal if the food is ok.
Most customers understand – and will even accept – when things go wrong. What they won’t accept is the business not trying to put things right.