We’ve all asked for some extras at the restaurants, right? We want malt vinegar instead of white for our fries/chips, we want extra ketchup packets from the fast-food place so we can put them in our fridge, we want 2 helpings of the special dipping sauce at Swiss Chalet. The question the wait staff, managers and owners of restaurants need to ask themselves is – how much is too much? That’s tricky when you live in a culture of “the customer is always right”.
I remember I used to visit a Red Lobster in St. Catharines (this is going back a long time ago…mid-nineties!) and they were always giving away free appetizers or discounts off the bill if anything was a few minutes late or if the customer ever said “boo”. I remember thinking at the time, as I ate my comp shrimp cocktail, that the place must be losing a ton of money.
Anyway back to more recent times, a couple of years ago I took my girlfriend (now my wife) to a new restaurant for Valentine’s Day. We went to Mambo’s on the Danforth. Let me tell you – it was awesome! Great service, great tapas, great mojitos…couldn’t ask for anything more. I immediately signed up for their newsletter to get coupons emailed to me regularly. We went a couple more times and even when they changed some items on the menu and did some reno (I can’t remember if they changed management hands or not) we still came back for special occasions, or when we were feeling like we needed to be spoiled.
Anywho, here is my story that relates to the title: I got an email offer that said if it was your birthday you could come in and get a free main/dinner. I thought that was good, but who eats by themselves on their birthday at a restaurant like that, right? So I emailed back to the owner asking, since my girlfriend and I had birthdays within 8 days of each other, could we come in and both get a free main in one night?
I know, I know – I was being a bit pushy right? But you know what they say – you never know until you ask. I thought I wasn’t asking for that much, since we were returning customers and he would know that from our names since we had signed up for special nights before via internet.
What happened? He never emailed me back. Ever! I guess he felt it was too much to ask, and instead of responding or negotiating with me, he wrote nothing. I felt a bit embarrassed and so we never returned to the restaurant again. Ever.
So the question is now upon you; if you were the customer, waitstaff, manager or the restaurant owner, what would you do? How would you respond to my email/request? All straight-forward and also creative answers welcome!