Since they opened more than a year ago (and long before they were a client) our favorite brew pub in town – no, favorite restaurant in town – has been Block 15. Except for the first time we went there, when they had first opened and things were quite hectic, the service has been great, the food has always been really good or great and the casual atmosphere suits us well.
But last night, it was warm, Block 15 was crowded and seemed a little warm inside, so we decided to go back to a restaurant we used to frequent in the pre-Block 15 days.
Sometimes it takes seeing how bad things could be before you really appreciate how good they can be.
The service was awful at best from the moment we walked in. They had a sign that said “Please seat yourself” but there wasn’t an open seat in the whole restaurant, so our party of five plus a baby wandered through the restaurant searching for that elusive place to sit before returning to the front of the restaurant to sit and wait for a table to open.
At that point we were told by a waitress or hostess that the wait would be about 15 minutes before a table would be open for us. No problem, we could wait a few minutes. It was, though warm, air conditioned in there.
Just a few minutes later, a large table opened up. Great we thought, we’ll be sitting down in no time, no 15 minute wait. But almost 10 minutes later, the table was still covered with dirty dishes and napkins as the wait staff buzzed about until someone finally stopped to clean the table off for us.
When we finally sat down, it took quite a while for the waitress to stop by our table, and after we ordered the food took a long time to arrive. When the food came, one order was wrong, which she recognized right away and offered to bring the correct side item, but two of us ordered “french dip” type sandwiches but both arrived without any au jus. When questioned on this, it took some convincing to get her to go back to the kitchen to check and see if these meals were really supposed to come with the dipping sauce. I could go on and on: The drinks were left empty for too long, the check took forever to come, it was an overall bad experience.
The lesson here? Any one (or two, or even three) of these things could have happened, and it wouldn’t have been any big deal with an apology and then making it right. But these gaffes continued throughout the evening and by the time the check arrived there wasn’t much of anything that could be done to salvage this bad dining experience.
Who’s at fault for this bad experience? It doesn’t really matter – there were so many people responsible from the restaurant itself for apparently not having enough staff on hand to the waitress herself (who seemed nice enough, just overwhelmed). But the details of the experience were repeatedly overlooked and it ruined it for us. We won’t soon go back and I’m sure our friends won’t either. Contrast this with blogger Chris Brogan’s experience on the same night and you can see the details make the experience.
We might not always do things 100% perfectly – we’re human, after all. But it’s a real eye-opener for us to pay attention to the all the details, no matter how small. If something happens to make your experience less than you expect, we’ll make it right and make sure that by the end of the project all you’ll remember is how happy you are with the end result!