This is an experience worth noting, particularly since it has happened twice with the same person. It was way back in July 2014 I was approached first to conduct a review of your restaurant, which after agreement and necessary rules/clarification did not materialise, since you decided time was not available or did not want to engage (at least similar that was informed to me) No harm done except a bit of distress with my wife, whom I had asked to accompany me (one of the rare instances) & some inconvenience.
A fortnight back, I was approached again for the same, and in good faith, given that your agency knew the background and issues, I agreed and gave options of dates. After verifying the date and time was confirmed to me, twice over – email and text. I reached on time after driving 1.15 hrs again with my wife, having convinced her to give it a second chance.
Whilst my wife went to use the facilities, I waited near the ante, waiting for the hostess to attend to me, she finally did and I shared my name, the agency name and my reason for being there. Since she gave a blank look (Ninan, I think the name plate said) I asked her to call the restaurant manager. A gentleman came up, and I repeated myself and then was shocked – He began with – Sorry we do not take reservations, it is first cum first served; there is no xxxzzz working here and we do not have any intimation about you etc. The crowning glory was “You must have made a mistake, It could be Yellow Chilli and Not chilli’s. Stunned and now wishing to make a scene, I stepped out and sent a text to the lady who invited me, saying this is not how it works. She called back saying she was 5 minutes away and would get somebody from the restaurant to speak to me etc. I said forget it and waited for my wife, who came and from the look on my face understood something was wrong. We walked past to another restaurant, when some lady called up claiming to be from the restaurant – wanting to 1) Apologise 2) If we were around, could we come back. I said Yes to the first and also said Yes we are around, but Chilli’s does not exist for us.
We had dinner, during which I informed the CEO of the agency who was shocked and again said that the restaurant would call me (I have no clue why and said so).
The next day morning, I get a call from your Business Head who wanted to 1) Apologise for the mistake & the restaurant is at fault etc 2) How can we make it up to you. 3) I would like to meet you in person. My answer was the same – Apology accepted. Chilli’s had never featured close on my radar and now it does not exist. Let’s not waste time meeting and rehashing the entire episode.
I get that you are an established American chain, I have eaten in your restaurant abroad.
I get that you have rules of No reservation, but half your bloody restaurant was empty.
I get that there can be mis communication, but there is no harm in asking a guest to take a seat whilst it is being checked out. Even the most common dhaba, shetty joints do this.
You do not get the fact that, you had invited me and not the other way around.
You do not get that once distressed, has made attempt and humiliation this time around.
You do not get the simple fact that, Service recovery can be managed, not attitude.
And I say this with certainty because, I have always worked in the Service Industry.
There is no question of any recovery, because instead of anger my wife’s disappointment & her saying “We have been together for 27 years, travelled, stayed in different cities, state, country AND rarely have you made me wait for a table, and never have we been humiliated” which cut me to my bone.
So, Chilli’s you will have other customers and they can be served on first cum basis; however you do not exist for me.