A Story of Steak and Customer Service

by Kevin on January 5, 2010

Last Saturday my wife and I began the celebration of our wedding anniversary. The actual anniversary date isn’t until the middle of this week and we made plans for this weekend and next weekend to celebrate.

We made a reservation with the same restaurant I mentioned in The Steak Dilemma.

They were running a promotion in November and December: if you bought a $100 gift card by December 31st they would give you a $20 promotional card to use in the month of January. Since we have made this meal our annual tradition and the bill comes to around $120 with the tip we went ahead and picked up the gift card.

We ended up buying the gift card on our way back in to town from visiting our families for Christmas. We pulled into the parking lot more than six hours from when we first got into the car. The car is packed full of stuff and our dog Maggie is in the backseat. I ran in, bought the gift card, made the reservation, and ran back out to the car.

Needless to say we were pretty tired and we had a lot to unpack when we got home.

One problem.

We lost the $20 promotional card and the receipt. Of course we didn’t think to look for them until about an hour before our reservation tonight.

The discovery that we had misplaced this “free” extra money resulted in this expression on my face:

We scrambled. We looked and looked… couldn’t find the gift card.

I said a few choice words under my breath, took a deep breath, and resigned myself to the loss.

It Never Hurts to Ask

I told you how to negotiate on Craigslist.

I showed you how we saved $500 on our refinancing costs by negotiating.

I saved $146 by negotiating with our television service provider.

Bottom line: it never hurts to ask for a discount or some other “help” from a business.

As we walked into the restaurant and I gave them our name for the reservation I mentioned the missing $20 discount card. The Maître d’ said he would see what he could do, and that was that.

We continued to enjoy our meal. During the middle of stuffing my face full of amazing steak a waiter stopped by, slipped me the card, and said it was compliments of the Maître d’.

A couple of words… a simple question… saved us $20. I also give credit to the restaurant — one would expect great customer service from a high end restaurant, but they could have just as easily said “Sorry, you lost the card. Your loss.”

Are you still afraid to negotiate? Still afraid to ask? Why?

{ 2 trackbacks }

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Megan January 5, 2010 at 10:00 am

That is AWESOME and a great example of “above and beyond.”

What’s the name of the restaurant? If I lived in your area, I’d want to patronize a restaurant with such great customer service.

(And congratulations on your wedding anniversary!)

Kevin January 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

It is actually Flemings, so it is part of a chain… but a good chain.

Jon Smith January 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm

As someone who works in customer service, it’s great to hear stories like this! And even better to drive home the point that it never hurts to ask. One of my 2010 goals is to negotiate savings on some of our expenses (cable, telephone, etc.) or switch to a new provider if we can.

I’ve never been one to negotiate until recently when I started hearing success stories like this. Thanks for sharing, and happy anniversary!

Karen R January 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Good for you! Happy Anniversary!

Shannon Lutz January 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Thanks for sharing! That is great!!! One of my high school teachers gave me the same advice 15 years ago, and it has never failed me. Happy Anniversary!

Walter January 6, 2010 at 5:41 am

I oftentimes wonder why asking is a rather difficult task. There are many factors that I have in mind but you are right, there’s no harm in asking. 🙂

Megan January 6, 2010 at 8:41 am

I think some people are afraid to ask because they think they’ll look greedy/entitled/rude. This is why I try to start my requests with “Would it be possible….”

Golfing Girl January 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

My golfing buddies and I do this often. We gather 3 foursomes together to play on a certain day, then call around to different courses in the area. We ask about their rates and then ask if it’s possible to get a “group rate” if we agree to bring 12 people. Almost all courses will cut us some kind of deal when they hear we’re bringing a large group.

Liz January 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I just tried to negotiate yesterday with Frontier Communications after I opened my phone bill and found my internet service will go up $230.00 a year ( second year of contract) they did not want to hear it so I said fine when the contract is up I will cancel my service internet and land lines. And so it goes.

Len Penzo January 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

Good for you, Kevin! You have proven that it never hurts to ask.

Here’s a quick example of the flip side to that…

Three weeks ago the Honeybee and I picked up some food to go at our favorite Mexican restaurant down the road. When we got home, they had given me the wrong meal.

Flash forward to last week: We went back to have dinner there. So the Honeybee mentioned what happened two weeks earlier to the manager.

You know what he did? He said, “Huh!” and then he just shrugged his shoulders – as in: “Ha! No soup for you!”

This guy basically told us to get bent. Imagine that, my very own local version of the Soup Nazi. LOL

Will I ever go back? Yeah. Unfortunately (or not), the food just can’t be beat.


Len Penzo dot Com

Megan January 8, 2010 at 8:07 am

The time to speak up was when you got home and realized you had the wrong meal. The manager could have been more apologetic, but he must not have thought it was that big of a deal to you if you are only mentioning it two weeks later.

On Christmas Eve, something similar happened – I ordered two pizzas from a favorite restaurant. One was correct, the other had the wrong toppings. I called the restaurant within 2 minutes of receiving the pizza, and the manager was extremely apologetic. Instead of getting a new pizza right then and there (we were all hungry and didn’t want to wait the 30-45 minutes for the new pizza to arrive, and the pizza with the correct toppings was actually pretty good), I now have a credit for a free pizza the next time I order.

Len Penzo January 8, 2010 at 8:31 am

You’re right, Megan. The time to complain would have been at the point of discovery – but I wasn’t willing to make a return trip to the restaurant to complain.

End result: no soup for me. (If I was the Soup Nazi I aouldn;t have given me any soup either.)

Len Penzo dot Com

Jimmy Kibler January 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Good Idea.I always get extra and the reason is that I ask what discounts or promotions are available.

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