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The Value of Customer Service

March 28, 2010

Many times, my partner and I have eaten at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Scottsdale. The experience has always been a memorable, delectable taste delight, which has kept us coming back. So, last night, after a few hours of sitting outside on the lawn of the new Sage court concert venue at the Marriott Hotel at Desert Ridge, listening to the Chicks-with-Picks Chick-stock concert, we noticed that there was a Roy’s Restaurant inside. We immediately flashed back to those wonderful experiences of the past and decided we’d go inside and have some of their awesome sushi as we sat out on the patio and continued watching the concert.

We were greeted with a warm, “Aloha,” as we expressed our desire to the greeter, and with a big smile, she told us to go on outside and have a seat, that the full menu was available on the patio. And so we went out the door she indicated, excited about finding a warm spot near the fire pit or at least under one of the outdoor heaters.

We were dressed for sitting outside on a cool evening – sweat shirts and sweat pants and tennis shoes – not exactly in our best, upscale outfits, so perhaps that accounted for the poor customer service that we were met with once we tried to find a seat- but in my book, our attire should not have mattered if they had any concern about our business. First we went to the fire pit, but noticing that all of those seats were taken, we looked around at the many empty tables as we decided where we would like to sit. As we moved chairs out from a table in view of the stage, a waiter came over to us and sharply told us that we couldn’t sit down. Surprised, I asked why not, and he said that the table may be reserved. Now, rather than making us feel like unwelcome vagabonds, wouldn’t it have been better at that moment to let us sit there while he checked? I challenged him, and explained to him that we had been told we could sit outside and that the full menu was available, letting him know we planned on ordering food. Another waiter came over and told us that we had been misinformed and that we needed a reservation to sit outside.

At that moment, as I looked around at several empty tables, I started to feel really unwelcome and decided that they didn’t need my business or my money, and headed back towards the door that we came in – but it was locked from the outside! So the only way back into the restaurant in order to leave was to squeeze around several of the inhabited tables to the doors on the other side of the patio, which we did. We were met at that door by a waitress who nicely asked us if we would like to be seated, but she was joined by the manager, who apparently was more concerned with proving that his waiters were right than making us happy, and he repeated that they were correct about not letting us sit out there. Why couldn’t he have just let the waitress seat us? By that time, I had totally had enough and felt myself putting a black tally next to Roy’s for future business, never mind just for the evening. There was no attempt whatsoever to make the misunderstanding right, except by that one waitress who was quickly overridden by the manager. Kudos to her for trying, but unfortunately, the damage has been done.

Roy’s, you may have good food, but you have a lot to learn about taking care of your customers.

My partner and I went back into the Marriott and enjoyed a lovely time sitting at a comfortable couch eating very well-made sushi and drinking quality sake from the Vista Lounge. The wait staff was impeccably gracious and were well-tipped. Between concert costs, drinks, and food, we spent close to $200 at the Marriott last night – and Roy’s didn’t get a penny of it.

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