Restaurants need to focus on good service

You would think in this day and age, when finances are hard for everyone, and in light of the many TV programmes providing advice on running food establishments, all establishments would ensure their customer services are top notch – it is an easy win, and a damaging loss to get this wrong.
We recently patronised the Pheasant in Admaston, and the experience was so disappointing I sent them an email afterwards:

I am sorry to advise you that you lost the regular custom of my extended family and friends last night. We have been eating regularly with you for the last few years on an ad hoc basis, dropping in without booking on average at least once every six weeks, as has my daughter and her boyfriend and several other members of the family. I have always been a good customer and paid at least a 15% tip in each case to the waitress. Our average bill before tip has been consistently over £70. Last night, we took a detour on the way home from the cinema in Shrewsbury specifically for a meal at your establishment.

There were four of us and we all ordered two courses and some drinks. (Interestingly, my 19 year-old daughter, who ordered first, was snapped at by the waitress for trying to give her main course order as well as a starter order.)

My younger daughter (17) and I both had Steak and Ale pie which we found too salty to our taste, although we had not had this experience with these before. We both ate less than half of these dishes, even with the help of two soft drinks each, and the waitress noted this and asked if everything was alright. We advised her of the problem. She said she would let the Chef know.

She did not apologise, she did not return with any feedback, the duty manager did not come to see us, nor did the Chef. Some time later, we were offered the desert menu, which we declined and we asked for the bill. We had to chase the bill up and when it did arrive it was pretty much flung at us. I went to the bar to pay.

When I was paying at the bar, I was asked if everything was alright and again advised that it was not. At which point I was told that the Chef had tried our food and not found a problem and also that he had not done anything different to what he normally did. Again there was no apology, reduction in the bill, or any other customer service consideration.

Never before at a “first class place to eat” (to quote your website) have I experienced such a poor and dismissive attitude to customer dissatisfaction. I am impressed that in these difficult financial times you are doing so well that you can afford to offend customers so easily.

I shall be writing up a review in due course accordingly.

I am pleased to report that they replied quickly, which somewhat restores my faith:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with regard to the last night.  I am very sorry your meal & service was not up to our usual standard.  I was on duty last and was not told of any problem, if I had I would have certainly come to see you.  Could you please tell me which table you sitting at so I can investigate this matter further as I am not happy that my staff are snapping at customers and will take it up with the waitress concerned.  As to the steak & ale pie again I can only apologise and assure you that I will be speaking to the kitchen.
I sincerely hope this does not put you off coming to us again and as a gesture of good will I have attached a voucher that entitles you to 2 free main course meals on your next visit.  As you say in these difficult times we should not be upsetting valued customers.
Once again I can only apologise & please let me know your table number and I will get to the bottom of this.

I have thanked the owners for the quick response, provided the details requested and advised them that we shall return in the new year when things are a little more quite.

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