It’s pretty hard to lose me as a customer. I am usually quite forgiving and realize that everyone has their bad days and things can go wrong that are not the fault of the person I’m dealing with. I almost always give a company a chance to rectify the issue at hand and in most instances, they come through. That certainly wasn’t the case with The Cheesecake Factory.
I was on the road and stopped in for dinner. I ordered a salad and burger. I decided to place some of the salad on the burger when it became painfully obvious that the salad wasn’t vegetarian. Mixed among the greens was a juicy, dead moth. While I don’t mind extra protein in my diet in most instances, I’m not in the habit of eating dead moths in my salad or on my burger. I politely called the waitress over and pointed out the extra hors d’oeuvre and asked if it might be possible to get another salad and burger.
At this point, it probably was within my right to be a bit upset as finding a winged critter in one’s food has the effect of kind of ruining one’s appetite, but stuff like this happens. It wasn’t going to kill me and, thankfully, I had seen the intruder before I had actually taken a bite out of it. I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it and demand anything since they weren’t offering any (which I think quality customer service would have done in such a situation) if I could simply get my meal sans the extra added morsel.
I received my new meal and I thought that I would be coming back to The Cheesecake Factory again until I received the bill. For some unfathomable reason, the management found it acceptable to not only charge me for the entire meal, but also for the first salad with the moth in it. As you might expect, I wasn’t nearly as forgiving this time and called the manager over. He said he would take care of it, but instead of bringing back the bill himself, he had the waitress do it for him. When I then asked for his card from the waitress, he again didn’t materialize, but the waitress brought it over to me. For the record, the manager did ultimately comp the salad (the cheapest item on the bill — nothing else), but it was done in such an unprofessional way that it left a huge, bad taste in my mouth.
A complaint to the corporate website has gone unanswered and so The Cheesecake Factory now has some dirty laundry aired out for all to see (and me telling everyone that I won’t be going there again and encouraging anyone I know do avoid that restaurant was well). It didn’t have to be this way if they had provided even some basic customer service for this situation.
If this had been you in a similar situation, what would have been your reaction and what would have you done?
(Photo courtesy of Bob B. Brown)