It doesn’t matter whether it’s a fast food restaurant or a diamond resort, restaurants have been getting my brother’s order wrong his entire life. He’s allergic to dairy, which is an issue given that his favorite food is hamburgers. Over the years, we’ve concocted every possible way of saying, “Just the meat on the bun. No cheese, no condiments, just the patty,” but when we check under the bun, nine times out of ten, it’s covered in cheese and we have to send it back. By the time they return with the correct order, the rest of us are almost finished with our meals.
There are many ways that businesses choose to handle errors on their end. From ignoring the oversight to compensating us for the meal, we tend to remember the restaurants at both extremes of the spectrum. It’s the unexpected act of going above and beyond to make it right that earns our loyalty.
While we cross off restaurants on the bottom end of the spectrum, vowing never to return, there are those at the top end of the spectrum that have the potential to become multi-generational go-to eateries because of one simple thing: unexpected acts.
We recently went to a new local burger restaurant to celebrate a couple of birthdays with friends and family. As happens with the majority of places where our brother orders a burger with no dairy, they delivered a cheeseburger. When we brought it to their attention, they were very apologetic and remade his order correctly. We appreciated this, and didn’t expect anything more.
When the bill came to the table, however, we were met with an even more pleasant surprise: they had taken my brother’s lunch off the bill entirely. We immediately went to the front desk and booked our reservations for a holiday party we were planning; we were looking for a venue, and because of the great business practices at this restaurant, we found it.
It’s this kind of service that creates customer loyalty and positive word of mouth. No matter how restaurants treat their customers, poorly or exceptionally, it will be remembered and passed along to others as a reflection of the business’s character. In a competitive market, word travels fast and customers travel faster. Initiative, respect, generosity and gratitude toward the patrons directly influencing their success are often the difference between a company’s longevity and brevity.
“Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you—not because they are nice, but because you are.” – Marc and Angel