Update: Soon after this experience, and prompted by all of my awesome readers, I contacted Chili’s via their Twitter account. They really went the extra mile to make things right, and I appreciate it. Check out my follow-up post detailing what they did. Thanks for caring, Chili’s.
Saturday, my wife and I had an exceptionally productive day and we decided that we wanted to have a little night out on our own. We have two kids and it’s not always an option to dine out without them, but it was late on Saturday and my wife decided to see if her family could watch the girls while we went out. The night was a go, and we headed off to find a nice quiet place to relax, talk and eat a nice meal together.
We normally go for the local restaurants for many reasons, but my wife is pregnant and you never know what a pregnant woman will crave; this time it was Chili’s restaurant, so we headed there.
As we got there, we could see it was pretty packed, but decided to go in anyway. We were told it would be a 15 minute wait so we put our name down and sat down to wait. When we leave our kids with a sitter, we both know that the maximum we can ask someone to sit our kids for free is about an hour so we never go too far, or plan anything too big on a whim like this but a 15 minute wait would fit perfectly into our plan to be back in an hour.
Question: Would you have waited 15 minutes for a table?
15 minutes came and went, then 25 and 35. Finally we were seated at a table that had clearly been cleaned in haste. Our waiter came by five minutes later, took our order then disappeared for 20 minutes, finally returning with our meal; an appetizer we decided to share as we had already been there almost 50 minutes and just wanted to eat quickly and leave at this point.
Question: Would you have waited 35 minutes for a table?
To our dismay the food was inedible. It was improperly cooked and looked disgusting. We couldn’t even eat it and when the waiter came by, another ten minutes later, to ask how everything was, my response was filled with dissatisfaction. The waiter picked up on this and asked what he could do, giving us the option to get a discount on our meal or order something different. I decided instead to bring our entire experience to the managers attention. I let the waiter know. He left only to quickly return, telling me that the manager was in the kitchen doing the cooking and it would be a few minutes. We opted again to wait.
Question: Have you ever asked to speak to the manager at a restaurant?
When the manager finally appeared, I told her about our experience. She listened, apologetically, to what I had to say, but when I was finished, she just walked away without saying anything at all.
I have rarely ever spoken to a manager about things like this. My wife and I are very tolerant. We know that people make mistakes, restaurants get unexpectedly busy and normally instead of bringing it up, we simply don’t return for a while after a bad experience but this was over the top and the managers response to my complaints left me puzzled.
After a few minutes sitting there wondering whether I would be served another plate or the discounted bill, the waiter returned and told us that we were cool. We thanked him and left hungry, disgusted and truly disappointed that our very rare evening together without the kids was ruined.
What do you guys think, was I wrong to complain about our evening? What do you parents out there do when your kids are with a sitter? (keep it clean please 🙂 )
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