The worst restaurant in the world or just a bad day: Is customer service really that hard?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I got a slow start to the cottage.  Normally we leave on Friday afternoon, but this particular weekend because of family we didn’t get started until about 11 a.m. Saturday.  Having arranged to meet friends in Gravenhurst to attend the Dockside Festival, we arrived first and it was definitely lunchtime.  Went into Mike’s Bar and Grill Image

and were offered a coffee …hmmm… didn’t really want coffee.  We were told that if we wanted a beer with lunch we needed to go to Rombo’s.


At Rombo’s there was sign outside saying “let us know if you’re sitting on the patio” so I dutifully went inside to let the staff know we were there, and, thinking to speed the process up, to order a couple of Canadian’s to be delivered with the menus.  Nope, I was “shoo’d away” by Debbie, our waitress with “I’ll be out there in a minute” and a wave of her hand.   15 minutes later, my husband went in and he was at least able to order the beer and grab some menus but he also got an abrupt “I’m serving outside when I can get out there”.


When she arrived with the beer and menus, she was surprised that we had menus and annoyed that I wasn’t ready to order immediately.

When she came back…eventually…I ordered the “gyros special” which was on the sandwich board on the street (I’m so naïve about gyros, having never had one, I pronounced the “g” – who knew it sounded like “yearos”?).  Well, that really started her attitude.   “Did you want the fries or the rings with that”, she said.   Surprised, I replied, “the rings”.   To my further surprise, when the bill arrived, the rings had cost an additional $3.95 plus tax.    Well, after lousy service and frankly not enjoying the gyros – no matter how you pronounce it – I went in to challenge the bill.

Wow, that led to an argument and the entire restaurant knew how I felt.

Being I’m in a service industry myself, and knowing that the customer is ALWAYS right, I was astonished at Debbie’s attitude.  She actually shouted at me in front of her manager that I was lying!  Double wow!

But the entire incident brought home to me how important it is to be forthcoming about issues that might arise:  “I’m sorry we’re understaffed and really busy”, “oh, shoot, I forgot your…”,  “oh, dear, that was yesterday’s special, today’s is…but if you’re really set on the gyros, I will ask the manager”, “my apologies that you felt that you were underserviced”.

I thought, If I talked to my clients or their customers the way Debbie talked to me I would have been out of business years ago.

Debbie did herself a major disservice by shouting at me in front of her management and other customers…who knows, she may even have lost her job.  She certainly didn’t get a tip.

The customer is always right, the customer is always right, the customer is always right – and service with a smile isn’t that difficult.

Should have stayed at Mike’s Bar and Grill – beer or not.

Published by J. Liz Saunders

With over 30 years of experience, J. Liz Saunders delivers exceptional office and sales support to a wide range of businesses. More importantly, she does so with creativity. Her ‘can do’, ‘can solve’, ‘can source’ attitude results in the most efficient and effective completion of her clients’ requirements every time. Upon first meeting, Liz’ her most notable quality is her energy. When preparing for and running the Toronto marathon in 2004, Liz channelled this energy with discipline and determination. She uses those same qualities when organizing her many clients and delivering high quality support services in a timely manner. As a virtual assistant, Liz cold calls and generates leads for sales people; researches sites for meetings; schedules appointments and provides client support; offers transcription services, manages broadcast emails, arranges printing, handles basic bookkeeping; writes correspondence, proposals, quotes and invoices for clients; and acts as a call centre taking registrations for seminars. Liz is a certified Virtual Assistant with extensive experience in Microsoft Office. She has a BA from the University of Toronto and studied Fundraising Management at Ryerson University. She has experience in legal services, construction, insurance, real estate and facilities management. Liz builds her business based on trust, quality and a commitment to exceptional results.

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