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glenn

i wanna be comp'd!

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How prevalent are "good customer" comps? This is an embarrassing question having worked in restaurants for over a dozen years, but then again, I'm not a regular at many places.

I've been going to one place since the first week they opened (about 5 years), have been a regular (2 or 3 times a month) and referred a bunch a people. The staff knows my wife and I as well as the owner who always nods hello, which is out of character for him. Not once have I been comp'd for anything. I'm not the type looking for a freebie - actually, one time I agonized over whether to return a glass of wine because it sucked, not to mention had cork in it. I did. Not that I care about the money so much, but it would be nice if some appreciation were shown. A sincere "thanks heaps for your patronage," would also be acceptable as far as I'm concerned. And I don't mean the robotic, "thanks, come again" as we're leaving. I know a comp is not mandatory, just wondering if this is typical or not.

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I understand how you feel. There is a store here in Santa Cruz with a specialty (which I will not name). I have sent literally hundreds of people there, and they know this. The owner's never offered me anything for free. I've been shopping there at least ten years, and I have brought them gingerbread cookies at Christmas many times.

It's just how he is.


Edited by tanabutler (log)

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i've been extremely regular a a few restaurants over the years. at some i was comp'd (glass of wine while waiting for a table or after dinner, extra dish here and there, a lot of "try this, what do you think" type dishes mid-dinner, etc). at others i wasn't comp'd. i never felt slighted when not comp'd. i'd feel more slighted if, perhaps, it wasn't acknowledged that i was a regular, but that usually wasn't the case as the owners/staff would remember me and always seem pleased that i was returning.

freebies are only nice if i actually want them. otherwise it's an obligation of sorts, and i can understand why some restaurants don't bother.

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well, one of the restaurants I work at they named a dish after a frequent diner and one after his wife. Funny thing is, I don't know if I have ever seen the guy pay for anything there.


"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

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The only places I've ever had something comp'd were places where I bring my running club. But, when I go there, I warn the owner/manager, and we go in and drop several hundred dollars (keep in mind, we're gutter snipes, so that's a hard night at an establishment, even if we have a large run that day). That being said, I've got 2 comp'd beers in my life. Ever. Never a meal, yet.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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The restaurant doesn't owe you anything. A warm and sincere thanks is plenty. They COULD give you something once in a while, and it would be nice, but you certainly can't expect it.

Would you expect the GP you've gone to all your life toss in a free physical once a year to say thanks? Or the mechanic you visit faithfully to give you free services at Christmas?

A lot of small businesses just don't have room built in for that.

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It's my experience that people always want something for nothing. One of my long term clients had me change her type of personal chef service and then balked at the price I wanted. I don't know how people expect me to take LESS money for giving MORE food. I end up taking money from my own pocket weekly to serve her...but she's such a good client, and so nice that I do it anyway. No more Ms. Nice Guy with new people though! Nuh-UHH!

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I've only ever been comped at very high end restaurants. It's never expected; it's always a surprise. I think that's best.

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I've been comped at a lot of places, but I don't really know why. Well, at Amma I did: Suvir and Hemant being the extraordinarily generous souls that they are.

I think I get very enthusiastic about great food, and the owners have just been kind. (And this was even before I started photographing the food.)

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Expect nothing and you won't ever be disappointed. :cool:

So true! :wink:


KathyM

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The Chinese restaurant where my friends and I are regulars comped us once, and we didn't like it. They just brought over some corn soup, when we had already decided to order a different soup, so we had to be polite and eat something that we didn't want.

However, being regulars there gets us a higher level of service, as well as the ability to order off - menu. We can still get our favorite dishes that were taken off the menu years ago (lack of popularity, except in my group, apparently!). They know our tastes, and really take care of us, and we can't ask for more than that.


“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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i was once comped a fancy dessert for no reason at a place i'd never visited before. the smiling owner-chef emerged from the kitchen and deposited it on the table. we had no idea why. then, just as i was about to tuck in the manager scurried over and took it away. apparently it was someone else's anniversary and the chef/owner had brought the comped dessert those regulars were getting to the wrong table. we did get a whole bunch of free apologies after that. but no dessert. now, that's classy.

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The Chinese restaurant where my friends and I are regulars comped us once...

However, being regulars there gets us a higher level of service,...They know our tastes, and really take care of us, and we can't ask for more than that.

Same here. We got comped after I came back to work from a long illness. First lunch back the owner took the bill from use and said the meal was on him and, "glad you are back and well."

I'd rather get the better service than a free something.


Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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i was once comped a fancy dessert for no reason at a place i'd never visited before. the smiling owner-chef emerged from the kitchen and deposited it on the table. we had no idea why. then, just as i was about to tuck in the manager scurried over and took it away. apparently it was someone else's anniversary and the chef/owner had brought the comped dessert those regulars were getting to the wrong table. we did get a whole bunch of free apologies after that. but no dessert. now, that's classy.

Should have stuck yer spoon in it.


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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A lot of small businesses just don't have room built in for that.

Exactly, and what do you do for a living? Ever give your customers something for free?


"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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A lot of small businesses just don't have room built in for that.

Exactly, and what do you do for a living? Ever give your customers something for free?

i think this type of thing goes on in many many industries.


Edited by tommy (log)

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Things you commonly get for free from all sorts of businesses that would equate (not necessarily monetarily, but in good will towards customers) to a complimentary amuse bouche, drink or dessert from a restaurant:

  • - Dentists: toothbrushes, toy chest items for kids
    - Banks: Lollypops, free toasters or other items for opening an account
    - Shoe Stores: Balloons for kids, shoe horns for adults (the tongue like thing to help you slide on loafers, is that what they're called?)
    - Art Gallery: we bought some artwork and were given an autographed copy of a book about the artist's work
    - Car Dealer: last time we leased a car there was a stuffed animal and a bottle of champagne (decent, not great) inside the car upon delivery
    - Hair Salons: frequently offer a beverage, like coffee or a glass of wine
    - Realtors: my mother always gives customers a very nice housewarming present

You get the idea. I was going to say Department Store Makeup Counters, since they frequently throw in a free lipstick or something like that when you buy something. But the idea of this list is that these are things that these industries do to instill good will in their customers, so coupons and advertised specials don't count.

Oh, I just thought of another example: Mechanics. My mechanic usually does some aspect of the job on my car gratis. Last time we blew the fuse on the radio, needed an oil change and a headlight replaced. We paid for the oil change, the fuse and the bulb, but no additional labor. It's stuff like this which makes me trust him to handle the more expensive repairs.

So, while I don't think that Glenn should demand or even expect a comp, it isn't unreasonable to think that as a regular the restaurant should acknowledge his business. However, the Murphy's Law of goodwill comping is that if you do expect it, you'll never get it. It only comes to those who are innocent that it is even a possibility.

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At the indian restaurant that we frequent the owner almost always sends two snifters of Grand Marnier over to the table, just when we are ready to get up and leave. We have become very innovative in our attempts to hide/dispose of/eradicate the nice gesture which we really have no interest in drinking.


Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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At the indian restaurant that we frequent the owner almost always sends two snifters of Grand Marnier over to the table, just when we are ready to get up and leave. We have become very innovative in our attempts to hide/dispose of/eradicate the nice gesture which we really have no interest in drinking.

:laugh:

the same thing has happened to me at indian restaurants. i think it's tied to tradition, although in my experience it has been brandy or something like that...which i had no interest in.

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There's a place in town we frequent about every other week, for lunch and a couple of rounds of margaritas. We've been regulars for a long time, and we tip well. We always get excellent service, choice tables, and strong drinks.

About every third time we go, the mgr sends out a guacamole and chips on the house. About every fifth time, he buys us a round of drinks.

We'd go even if he didn't do this, but it's nice to be appreciated.

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My local Starbucks comps me my quad americano every couple of weeks or so; the bar my bro and I frequent pours us *really* stiff drinks (as in 2.5 ounce 'singles' of Talisker) and comps us anything non-alcoholic. But I think my favorite perk is at Starbucks again - if they notice me waiting in a long line, they sneak my quad in and have it waiting for me at the register by the time I get there.

(This does me no damn good on a day I want an iced tea, but those days are few and far between anyway :laugh: )


Todd McGillivray

"I still throw a few back, talk a little smack, when I'm feelin' bulletproof..."

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I think generousity is a personal trait, there are some that have it and some that don't. I am always surprised and delighted to be gifted with anything.

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We were weekly diners for several years at a local Italian restaurant. They started sending us a large platter of tomato, cheese, lettuce and olives as a comp at the beginning of the meal. While we appreciated this gesture we preferred to order our own appetizers and ended up ordering less because of the comp. Before that, they used to send a complimentary small glass of sambuca to the tables of regulars with their espresso. For some reason they stopped. Too bad, we really appreciated that comp!


KathyM

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Like birder53 my hubby and I are regulars at our local Italian cafe. We frequent it about 6 times a month. Husband usually orders a cappucino and most of the time it is comp'd. We really don't expect it to be, and are pleasantly surprised when the owners do it. Our most appreciated effort, however, is when the owners will make something for us that is off the menu or not a special for the evening.

Sometimes when they do that another diner will see our plate and ask for the same meal. I don't know if it's a pain for them to do this, so it's not often that we'll ask for a special dish.

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