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Comment cards...


Lilija
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Backstory:

Tonight, we went to a local Irish pub-type place, that we've eaten at about 4-5 times since they opened, late last year. The first three times, we were blown away by the food. The attention to detail, the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Simple pub fare, done *really* well, with some knock out dinner specials, like coq au vin, etc. The lunch menu was no less outstanding. Really generous, creative sandwiches, fresh-cut fries... I was thrilled at having a perfect little 'joint' like this open up within a mile from my house.

The third time we ate there...no more fresh fries, standard frozen diner stuff...the service sorta missed here and there...and the portions were shrinking. The 4th time, the food was ok-not-great, and we were starting to notice real shortcuts, and cheap ways out, a fresh berry trifle was made with frozen soggy fiberous berries, and dry stale tasting cake. Prices seemed to be going up? $7.95 for three oversized mozzarella sticks? It's a bar, we were taken aback.

Tonight was *really* dissapointing. My food came out cold, I had fish and chips, their specialty, which I've boasted was the best I had... Fish and chips is lousy, cold. Coleslaw, no longer the fresh, perfect house made kind...now that pre-chewed looking deli-tub stuff...and warm. My husband had a special, and the portion was miniscule and bland, to the point of being almost watery tasting... The appetizer came out not cooked through (cold, again, inside), and we had to send it back...

So, the honeymoon is over, and we're not gonna go back. Apparently, they did the bait and switch, thing. Lured us in with greatness, switched for mediocrity, with the same hefty pricetag.

Today, the waitress said they got comment cards in, it was a new thing! What luck! I snatched up the card and pen, and wrote how I felt, filling the three little lines, and then the whole back... I was polite, and constructive, I promise. My husband talked me into not leaving it, saying they maybe were having a bad day. I still have it, I might go drop it off, tomorrow. I really feel like I should let them know what's wrong.

OK! All that lead in, to this question:

Comment cards, in casual resturaunts. Do you use them? Do you tell them how you *really* feel?

(This was a partial vent, too...dinner really sucked, and I guess it's still fresh in my mind).

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While I don't fill them out every time they're offered, I use them for both compliments and criticism.

Given your steadily declining experiences at this restaurant, I would definitely drop off the card. They need to know that their changes have not gone unnoticed and are not appreciated. A bad day is no excuse - lousy is lousy.

One chain outlet which we used to eat at quite regularly is one of a few test sites for the chain, so they often try out new dishes there. Often, when I ordered one of these, I'd get a special comment card, asking for an opinion. I always filled out all the lines - I guess most people gave an "it was good" or "wouldn't order it again" comment, while I reviewed the dish, what did and didn't work for me. I like to think I was at least partly responsible for making sure the general dining public was not subjected to one particularly awful entree.

I've also used them to good effect at the grocery store when it was apparent that corporate was doing something unusually boneheaded and the local workers were frustrated and couldn't do anything about it. A handwritten card card from a customer carries a lot more weight than staff grumbling.

And yes, I tell them how I really feel - politely and factually, of course. I know from folks who work in customer service that the use of profanity and hyperbole immediately lowers one's credibility.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I do more than fill out the customer cards. If something displeased me, I opt to talk to the owner and chef, directly. God knows I enjoy confrontation.

Same goes if the experience is overwhelmingly positive.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I fill out comment cards when I feel strongly about something, such as a favorite item taken off the menu. I have nothing to lose and might accomplish something by letting them know how I feel.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Yeah, I think I'm going to drop off that card, you folks inspired me. I don't know if it will do any good or not, pull what could be an awesome place out of a steady decline...but it's worth a shot, right?

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Yes I fill out the cards.

Thanks to one card i filled out one restaurant sends me a letter i present during the month of my birthday and my meal is free.

I bake there for I am....

Make food ... not war

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I fill out comment cards when I have had a fabulous experience and when I have had a horrible experience. Fortunately, my horrible experiences have been few and far between.

One time was at a national chain restaurant when our service was horrible and the food was terrible. The wait staff and management looked incompetent, so instead of complaining on the spot I sent in a comment card. I got a nice letter back with a gift certificate, which was smart on their part because I would have never gone back their again on my own dime. I'm still not a big fan of chain restaurants, but I do appreciate this one's efforts to make up for my terrible experience.

I am glad you are dropping off the card, because not only should you have a chance to make your opinion known, but they should have a chance to make things better for you or for the public in general.

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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