Wednesday, March 12, 2014

C for Customer Service

When Lily and I lived in Ontario, we used to frequent restaurants...frequently. With Lily's side hobby of being a food critic, we would often go with a fairly critical eye when we were out. Of these, there were a select few that we called favourites. To rank in our top five, a restaurant had to have a combination of excellent attributes; namely, food, and service. Atmosphere was also important, but if a restaurant lacked that but had great food and amazing customer service, we could live with that.

Fine dining has not yet found its way to the Northern locale of Baker Lake, but there are several (3!) establishments that provide regular mealtime offerings. We visited one of them today to celebrate our neighbour's birthday. To say that this eatery's interpretation of customer service met none of our needs is like saying a person in the path of a tsunami is likely to experience moisture.

There were six of us, and the dining room was sparsely populated. I asked for a clubhouse sandwich with a side caesar salad, and could they bring me the salad to start? Of course. I received my starter salad. I also received my side salad with my sandwich. I was salad-heavy at that point. One of the other guests ordered a hamburger, minus the lettuce. She got plenty of lettuce...in the form of two caesar salads. Another guest ordered a hamburger and asked for fried onions instead of raw. He got raw, of course. Lily ordered a grilled cheese and chef salad. She got a grilled cheese and caesar salad. There was a lot of caesar salad going on tonight. The birthday boy ordered soup and a sandwich. He received the sandwich first....long after the rest of us were finished eating, and only after reminding the staff he hadn't eaten yet. The soup arrived later. I asked for a refill on my water, and my water glass was taken away, never to be seen again. Actually, that reminds me that my plate was taken away while I was still eating the last few bites of my sandwich...table clearing is obviously a top priority.

On the plus side, the food was good, if a little expensive, but you come to appreciate that fact up here. The service was baffling, but with only a couple of restaurants to choose from, chances are good we will be back there eventually, since sadly, this is one of the better places in town. Perhaps next time I'll ask them to hold the burger - I might just end up with a double patty. :-)

Some days, I cannot wait to return to Ontario and re-acquaint myself with excellent customer service. Today is one of those.

-J

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