As a person who did their time in both food and retail I have to say some of my recent experiences with New Era, Bob Evans and Bahama Breeze have been less than desirable.
Lets start with New Era. I recently ordered this hat from their online store and knew it would be a few days before it would arrive in the mail. A weeks goes by and still no hat which I thought was a bit long but hey no biggie. I check the tracking and it says its been out with USPS for delivery for 3 days but has not been flagged as being delivered. Now that is odd. I then call New Era, they then tell me to call the post office and take it up with them.
Now I have been a New Era customer for more than 10 years, what should have happened right here is they immediately ship me the same hat via Fed Ex only and ask me to return the first one if it ever shows up. This would have been a much better and more satisfying user experience. Instead after several phone calls to the USPS and failed call backs I wound up still having to reach back out to New Era. Eventually after 3-4 different phone calls I got a manager and was issued a refund due to the hat being out of stock currently. A great way to treat a 10 year plus customer.
Lets move on to Bob Evans. The following Saturday morning I decided to take my wife and daughter out for a quick meal at Bob Evans. We got there before 9 am which beat the morning rush. Our waitress then promptly takes our order and comes back with our drinks. She then missed one water and never refilled the cream for our coffee the entire visit.
When our food came out it was sloppily placed on the table and our bill was given with it. That is right our bill was given at the time our food was brought out. Mines as well say eat this and get the hell out. Her only saving grace was she did give my daughter a complimentary cookie on our way out but it was still sub par customer service.
This last experience takes the cake. My wife’s friend recently had a birthday part at Bahama Breeze. There were a total of 14 people that showed. As expected it takes a while for any restaurant to handle a party of this size. So it took about an hour for us to get to our table.
Now I am thinking it’s all good from here and we begin to order drinks and appetizers. As we do so the server asks everyone who is together to give us separate checks at the end. It makes total sense. Everything is going fine and we proceed to order our main course.
As the food begins to come out I wait patiently. Myself and one other fellow are left waiting watching the other 12 people eat. We waited an extraordinarily long amount of time before the waiter said “We are a little behind and will have your food out as soon as we can. I am sorry.”
With that I figured no worries another 5-10 mins tops. What he failed to say was either he never put in the order for our food or the cook never started it. As I sat there waiting and watching the others eat I began to get very frustrated so much after it got to about 30 mins I made my mind up I wasn’t going to pay for the entree.
Finally a waiter brought out my entree, when he did our table began to clap as it was a sigh of relief. As he placed the plate in front of me I told him “You do know I am not paying for this…” This waiter who was not our main waiter looked confused and said “What?” I then pointed to the other end of the table where some other couples had already finished their meal and were placing the left overs in to-go boxes and repeated “I am not paying for this…”
He then proceeded to get the manager which came over and confirmed I would in fact not have to pay for my entree. Now you may be thinking, Jim this wasn’t so bad and you got a free entree out of it but we haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet.
As I speedily scarfed down my entree we started to gather our things. Some people were going bowling afterwards and had lanes reserved. We finished with about 45 mins until Bowling started, plenty of time to make it you say… not quite.
We waited and waited and waited some more for our check. Finally after about 30-40 mins our waiter came over with a long receipt and a box of pens. He then asked us to circle and number the things that were together. So not only after not putting in our order properly and waiting an unfair amount of time we then had to do this. Even after we did this I got a check with only my entree which was supposed to be FREE! I about flipped the table but my lovely wife calmed me down because our drinks, appetizer and her entree weren’t on the check. I usually like to be fair but after 3 hours and two attempts to get our order right and you still can’t that is on said restaurant. Besides we had a kid at home to get to.
In closing I am extremely disappointed with the experience some business’ today settle for giving their customers. It is appalling. Just like in the digital space of Ux our the user/customer’s experience matter, maybe even more in person. I can only hope my most recent experiences were just a blip on the radar and not a sign of things to come.