May I take your order, please?

I’ve never worked in a fast food establishment before, unless you count my coffee shop that stayed open for about 13 months in 2001/2002; but after 40+ years of frequenting them, I am convinced that I could offer some valuable customer service training for the employees of these venues!  My husband went through the drive-thru at our local Wendy’s last night (there’s only one Wendy’s for miles, so YES, it’s “THE” local Wendy’s).  Anyway, I had been so pleased as of late with the service we’d been getting until yesterday.  When the Wendy’s first opened, they rarely got our order right, and when you’d question or complain, the workers would become indignant.  After the 5th or 6th straight time of going through this same routine, I was livid.  I pulled up, got out of my car, and went inside, asking for the manager.  I always begin any such complaint with something positive, but in this case, I couldn’t think of a thing, other than to say “I really like Wendy’s food, and I am a very loyal customer, but…”  After that complaint, I was pleasantly surprised that service seemed to improve, until yesterday that is.  A.J. ordered and when the girl quoted him a price that was clearly not correct, he said “Wait, I said I wanted a chicken value meal,” to which she replied, “That ain’t what you said!”  Rude!  I mean, whatever happened to “The customer’s always right!”  Give me a break!  I love Wendy’s food… I really do!  But lately, I have not had good experiences with the atmosphere or service at many of the chain’s establishments.  There’s a Wendy’s on St. Charles Avenue where my husband and I used to have lunch regularly, but the foul language that was used by some of the employees as they bantered back and forth behind the counter was beginning to spill over into the dining room.  That same Wendy’s never has an average room temperature of more than 30° Fahrenheit.  We asked one time if they could turn up the A/C and were rudely told “No!”  At one of the Metairie Wendy’s, our problem is that, without fail, as soon as they ask “Can I take your order?” they turn their backs and start getting other orders together or talking to the other folks behind the counter.  Then they turn around and say “What was that again?”  UGH!

I don’t mean to pick on Wendy’s.  I can tell you all the problems I have had with the 10,000 or so other restaraunts we’ve visited (okay, I’m exaggerating.. we really don’t eat out as often as it sounds).  Wendy’s just happens to be on the brain because of yesterday’s occurrence.  I think the problem with customer service these days is that the folks working the counter are there because they have no other options… NOT because they are particularly talented in that area!  But the way I see it is, you get hired to do a job and whether you like it or not, you should do that job, to the best of your ability.

On the flip side, our company Christmas Party was held at Zea’s on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.  It was AWESOME!  We had a private room, a buffet of food that was to die for, and our own personal server (David).  Special thanks to David, Mina (the party planner at Zea’s), and the rest of the crew there for making the night a great one for us.  It was super enjoyable.  We have frequented Zea’s since I started working in the area back in 2006.  We had lunch there at least one or two times per week.  The reason we kept going back was the amazing service.  Our regular waiter, Michael Short, was the best.  We’ve never had better service from anyone else.

I challenge you to DEMAND good service!  Comment to the management (in a calm and constructive way) when you’ve had bad service, but also let them know when you’ve had good service.  Most of the restaurants have call-in numbers on the backs of their receipts… they WANT your feedback.  Give it to them!