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The Impact of Bad Service

Cheeburger Cheeburger logo Tonight we decided to have a quick dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger.  We hadn't been in a while, but from other trips we really like the restaurant.  While we've come to accept the 15 minutes to prepare our food, the rest of the service is great.  You can get just about anything on your burger, get it in any size (1/4 pound up to 1 pound) and they have frings (half onion rings half fries)!  to top it all off they have flavored sodas, about 12 - 15 flavored teas and more milkshakes than you can count.  Plus, one of my teens form church works there, so it's definitely a winner. . . Until tonight.

We waited at least 15 minutes until we ended up finding a manager to take our drink order.  Then another 10 minutes for the waitress to show up and take our order, without an apology.  I had to point to and explain every menu item I wanted to order.  She even messed up our order, but after waiting for the food, we sure weren't waiting again :)  After the order goes in it was another 20 to 30 minutes before the food showed up. We did see our waitress in the meantime though, she came to ask if we were ready for the check, apparently not realizing we had a clear table and hadn't even gotten our food yet.  Sad to say, I was tempted to say yes, but Rachel would have been upset.

Are you getting the idea?  We'd been there 45 - 50 minutes before the food finally appeared. . . wrong.  My burger was ok, though smaller than I'd expected.  Both were overcooked, and Erin's missed a topping.

Not that the meal was bad, and I sure don't want to express that.  the food is always very good, even when it is wrong.  the frings were excellent and Rachel loved dipping her burger in the cheese sauce and eating the applesauce.

I was telling Erin that I (and her actually) are incredibly patient people when it comes to service.  These people work incredibly hard for relatively low pay and extremely high turnover, and most do all that they can to make a meal memorable.  But when we do get irritated, we get really irritated.

I think more than anything I was irritated that a manager didn't come by at all after initially having to flag him down to get drinks and see how the rest of the meal was going.  I was also irritated that the waitress didn't seem to think there was any problem.  We decided somewhat early on that we'd tip low (a very hard decision for two people who tip about 20%), especially if we ended up paying for our whole meal.  Without a manager coming by, and with the time we'd already invested we didn't want to flag one down, we ended up leaving less than 10% (I played with the idea of leaving nothing or 5%, but Erin convinced me to go to about 7%).

So, an hour and 15 minutes later we're out the door.  Truth be told, if this were our first visit we'd never go back.  Heck, I know friends who'd have left no tip, or left before the food came without paying anything.  Thank goodness we have some better experiences with them under our belt.  I'd still recommend the restaurant, though not our waitress Lisa.

The point here though is that in everything we do, we need to realize that others are involved.  When we make someone wait for us to finish our task or wait for us to show up on time, that person will still love us. . . and decide to spend less time with us.


Update: I received an incredibly detailed and apologetic e-mail from the general manager of the Cheeburger Cheeburger we attended.  I talk a bit more about that in my post on Influence so check that out.  Needless to say, they have made me happy and I'm looking forward to my next visit.


Missa said…
Our cheeburger has awful service, everytime we are there, the hostess & wiat staff act like they are reading cue cards and when i answer that I have been here before, they still try to explain the menu to me, even thou i had the same exact host multiple times, no emotion or care!

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