There's a chain of restaurants in the United States by the name of 'Black Angus.' After eating there one evening I, along with other family members were so disgusted that I wrote the following letter to the CEO (whose address takes one day in the mail to reach). This was mailed out on Monday 11-27-00. As of Wednesday 12-27-00 I've had absolutely NOTHING back in the form of a response. I think this only concludes my theory even more that the customer service at the Black Angus is beyond appalling. Due to the lack of effort that the CEO has put into his reply, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in mid December 2000.
Dear Sir, Madame,
Over a ten-year period Iíve traveled through fifteen different countries. In that time frame Iíve certainly experienced a lot. My eating habits have ranged from eating God knows what in the Outback of Australia to sampling maybe rat or dog in the slums and dirt of the overcrowded streets of Bangkok, Thailand. I mention the above, because the food that I ate in these different places certainly didnít come with standards. I knew what I was in for before I agreed to eat it in any particular place and I certainly
expected no service of any kind.
That was my past! What Iíd like you to do now as you read this story, is to take your mind away from the many distractions that are around you as you read this and to try and put yourself into the following reality. Imagine a night that youíve planned or looked forward to for so many months, in fact maybe even years. Tonight was my Father-in-Laws retirement party. Think about how important it must have been for the wife of a man whoís spent 32 years of his life in one trade. The job line is irrelevant, but Iíll mention it as I want to continue to give you a picture of this particular eveningís events. In this case, my mother-in-law, whose been married to a police officer for the past 32 years, decided to pay for (by herself I might add), and organize alone, a retirement party for husband. All told, she invited 23 guests to this event. Iím sure it must have taken her a lot of time to sit down and decide where she wanted to hold this gathering and what kind of foods she wanted to offer her Ďspecial guests.í In the end her decision was The Black Angus restaurant. (In this case it was the location on Huntington Drive in Monrovia, CA.)
As requested, my wife and I arrived at your restaurant at 6pm. After waiting in the lobby area for five minutes our mother in law came out to greet us. From here we went to a back corner where many tables had been put together to accommodate all of the guests. Feeling self-conscious I sat down and decided to let the evening take its pace, as it will. Now put yourself in the reality that I asked you to earlier. There were three helpers to our table, Ana, Jason and Tommy. My brother-in-law Jeff, whoíd come in for a drink on the night of our wedding, some three years prior, recognized the latter. At that time Tommy was a bar tender, spilling drinks and not knowing what was going on. Now, Iím told he had worked his way up to a managerial position.
Seated, Ana came around and asked if Iíd like coffee, iced tea etc? I asked for a coffee, my wife, the same and my sister-in-law asked for an iced tea.
Like any social event, talking started. After salads etc, the main meals were served. The lack of communication between your employeesís was obviously appalling. Two guests were served the completely wrong meal. One was my wife who sat there for five minutes, not touching her meal until she was finally noticed by one of your employees. Then she was asked what was wrong. Sheíd been given steak, which was not what she had ordered. If this wasnít bad enough, what struck me the most as appalling service was the fact that every person had been served their meal, yet for a total of FIFTEEN MINUTES, my brother-in-law, Jeremy, simply sat there waiting for his chicken (meal) to arrive. A couple of minutes is acceptable, after five minutes I think one starts to feel pretty self conscious when everyone else is eating around them, but fifteen minutes, come on? Just sit back for a moment and put yourself in his shoes. Think about that, one quarter of an hour after everyone else has been served, your still sitting there waiting for a meal that should have been there at the same time as everyone else's. Finally he was served.
Then the next event happened that I will never, ever forget for as long as I live. Iím not one to exaggerate a point, Iíve no need to, but Jeff, (my brother-in-law) looked at me and said, ďYou know what Johnny, I canít eat this!Ē Iíll be honest with you; I had no idea what he was going on about. But Iím pretty used to steak and I asked him asked what was wrong. He simply turned his plate to reveal a one third eaten steak. I swear to you on my Fatherís grave, a man who Iíve got more respect for, than any person who Iíve met or will ever meet in this lifetime. Iíve never, ever, ever seen such an appalling cooked steak in my life. The middle was so rare that you might as well of picked it up from a Ralphís Grocery store refrigerator, cooked it for a seconds and served it. Everybody else had ordered the same kind of steak, and no one had had a problem. (If you want any witnesses to this I can give you four at a pin drop.) My mother-in-law tapped Jeff on the shoulder and asked what was wrong. He turned and showed her the dish. (She is one
of the most amazing cooks that Iíve ever come across might I add) and instantly she said to him, ďthat needs to go back Jeff, you donít want to become illĒ and that was that!
After it had been taken back and had been placed in front of him again, he cut into it. If I can re quote his exact words, ďI canít eat that,Ē and this was followed by him picking up the two pieces of steak and putting them on a separate dish that was basically trash. He was utterly disgusted. ďThatís the end of that, I canít even be bothered to deal with it,Ē he said. The meat hadnít changed at all; it was still just as bad.
By this point I was coming to the conclusion that this establishment was definitely Ďlacking some serious customer service skillsí and definitely a chef or chefís who knew what they were doing?
Everybody of course was eating. The usual chitchat was going on and I noticed that after our meals had been served, at no point did any server come over to ask if everything was all right. Maybe Iím old fashioned but I take my wife out for a meal at least once a week and every place that we go to we are always asked at some point after our meals are/were served, if everything is alright with the meal. This obviously isnít the case here?
By 8.20pm, some two hours and ďtwenty minutesĒ AFTER Ana had asked us what weíd like to drink, my wife and I still hadnít been served our coffee and my sister-in-law still hadnít received her iced tea? Think about that for a moment, over two hours for your drink order to get to you? Beyond appalling, I honestly canít come up with words to describe my disgust! Yet when these items were ordered each of us had looked at Ana directly in the eye and had placed our order.
During the entire course of our meal never once were any of our water glasses refilled. (They were, much later after we mentioned it!) Also, our coffee cups werenít topped up until I asked the waitress for a refill (and requesting for some more cream capsules.) Even then, some five minutes later I had to ask for the (same requested) cream 'again.'
At the end of the meal my wife looked at the guests at our table and said, ďI think we can safely say that the servers in this establishment are pretty poor.Ē Iím not here to give out personal information or criticize, but my wife worked at a restaurant within quarter of a mile or your own earlier this year and she said that that establishment would NEVER have put out such poor and unacceptable customer service, period!
I have tried to put across here a reality from my standpoint. Iíve observed the feelings, outrage and disgust from my family members tonight. If customers overpowered your business, this evening Iíd certainly have more sympathy for your side of the story. My wife and I have worked in such establishments so we can totally sympathize. But Iím sorry; it was pretty quiet at your establishment for the most part of this evening. Also your restaurant had notice way, way ahead of time, of our coming, yet you put two and a maximum of three servers in our corner to deal with a party of 25? Iím sorry, Iím beyond disgusted at what I experienced tonight. What upsets me the most is that my mother-in-law put her trust in your restaurants name! One that to her Iím sure was genuine, confident and trustworthy in doing its job. Yet your customer service was beyond unacceptable.
I have no idea what my mother-in-law paid for tonightís meal. But Iím sure it was a lot of money. A gathering, a social oneness, a one and only event that I bet took her months to figure out.
But I will conclude this story by giving you the benefit of the doubt before I forward this on to the Better Business Bureau and other counter parts who Iím sure would be very interested in hearing such a story. This isnít a threat in any way; I just feel that these events could have been easily avoided if your management and staff had more of an idea of how to run YOUR business.
I await your comments on this matter.
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