Those of you who have dined with me may have noticed that I am not afraid to reward good service, even handsomely, when it is deserved. It’s all about service. The mark of good service is not the absence of problems but rather how a problem is dealt with to ensure customer satisfaction. A problem is an opportunity to shine in the darkness of the situation.
Luna Grill at Dupont Circle failed this simple test of customer service.
My brother and his wife were in town and I told them not to eat at their very expensive hotel restaurant when they were merely steps away from Luna Grill, which had been so inviting and good on previous occasions. The three of us got there, drank coffee and ordered food.
Problem #1. When our food arrived, the potatoes I ordered did not make it to the table. I gently reminded the waiter that I had ordered them, figuring it was an easy mistake to make. “We don’t have potatoes,” the waiter responded. I pointed to my brother’s plate and suggested that apparently they did have potatoes, since my companions both got them. The waiter left in a huff and quickly brought my food. Weird but true.
Problem #2. My sister-in-law reached the bottom of her coffee cup and found some trash plastered to the bottom of the inside of the cup. When we told the waiter, he quickly removed the offending cup and brought her another cup of coffee. No apology, no offer to comp the coffee, no sending the manager over to apologize. Nothing. Basically, it seemed rather routine to this particular waiter. I guess that’s normal for Luna. Want trash in your food? That must be the place to go.
Problem #3. The waiter disappeared toward the end of our meal and we had a hard time getting our bill. Then I had a hard time getting my credit card back. I was about ready to go behind the bar to retrieve my card when it was finally delivered to me.
Luna Grill certainly did not meet my expectations for cleanliness or service. Will I be back? Probably not. It’s not hard to keep customers happy. Just give them what they order, apologize if something goes awry and generally be attentive. That’s all it takes. This isn’t rocket science.
If you work at Luna Grill and got a pretty low tip on Saturday morning, that was from me. Yes, I left a tip for bad service, but that was just so you wouldn’t think I forgot, had I left what you really deserved.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs