Yesterday, on a trip to run some errands, the skies blackened and were shot through with lightning bolts. It was time to seek shelter, and because we were pushing the kids' dinner time, it was time to seek sustenance, too.
Being in a suburban landscape of strip malls, we found ourselves in a booth at an Uno Chicago Grill, a place we rarely visit, watching the trees sway wildly in the wind and watching with trepidation as the restaurant's lights occasionally flickered in the storm.
The food at Uno is OK. It's not the best, nor the worst I've ever eaten. But whoever the manager on duty was last night dished up some top-notch customer service.
When one of our pizzas arrived without the spinach that was ordered, we pointed it out to our server, who happened to be tableside at that moment. He apologized and ran to the kitchen to get another pizza made.
In the meantime, the manager came over to apologize and tell us that he'd he happy to box up the errant pizza, if we wanted, and to, well, apologize again. He was sincere, clearly ready to meet our demands â€“ though we made none â€“ and honest.
(And he was savvy. He couldn't miss the kids at the table and he took the opportunity to make sure we knew that Tuesday was kids eat free night.)
We didn't need dessert comped or a coupon for a free cocktail. We just wanted a pizza with spinach it and it arrived about as quickly as one can.
Mistakes happen and I think in most cases, but certainly not all, customers want just what this manager provided: an acknowledgement of a mistake, a rectification of the mistake, an apology and the appearance that he genuinely cared about our experience in his restaurant.
Maybe we'll go out to eat again tonight. I hear it's kids eat free night.