Tommy, June 14 2021

What Would YOU Do?

It’s not easy to run a bar or a restaurant. 

Between paying the bills, ordering the supplies, hiring, training and managing the staff, dealing with unreasonable customers and the social media police it’s remarkable that so many people get into the profession. 

I think about that when I have dining experiences that are “less than ideal.” I’m not a complainer, by nature, and I’d never berate an employee unless they were downright rude. I know that human beings can have bad days. I even had one once. So the question is, if you DO have a bad or unpleasant experience what should you do?

Complain and not pay?

Yell at people?

Ask for the manager and dress somebody down in front of them?

Post bad things on social media?

Tell everybody you know not to go there?

Do nothing at all?

What should you do?

I’ve always thought about two things. First, if I owned the place what would I want the customer to do?Second, if my daughter was the employee who messed up how would I want the customer to handle it?

Sounds pretty simple.

The Wingaddicts have been to well over 100 restaurants since we started in February 2020, and met most of the owners during our travels. A few of them didn’t care much about us, but none of them was a jerk. Not one. Many of them have become friends and, in fact, that has been the very best reward thus far.

So it disappointed me immensely when I had a very bad wing experience the other night. The worst ever.

My wife and I were out on Saturday and while driving home, she wanted to stop someplace for wings. We were coming back from New Haven and it being Saturday at around 7:30, I considered what places we might actually be able to get into without a reservation. I picked a spot where we had shot an episode recently and were treated to six awesome flavors. The owner and the GM had been great to us, the place was right on our way through, and there were tables available.

I ordered steak tips and tacos (believe it or not, I don’t eat wings for every meal), and my wife ordered seven buffalo wings. The server was helpful and friendly, the atmosphere was very nice, there was even live music outside. Then I hear it. “These wings are terrible.” Now I’ve been married for 27 years so I don’t automatically believe her. In fact, it annoyed me at first since I was the Wingaddict who picked the spot. But then I tried them. The flats were edible, but the drums were meaty and way undercooked. The wings were also under-sauced and the bleu cheese (made in house) was gross, like almost spoiled-gross. We left four on the plate.

We didn’t say anything at the restaurant, but I was troubled by this experience the whole way home. Surely I’m not going to call out the restaurant and give it bad publicity, but I also have a responsibility to the Wingaddicts who follow our recommendations. If we shot an episode praising somebody’s wings and then somebody followed that lead and had the experience I just had I’d be mortified.

Had it been my first time there (it was actually only my second), I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t go back. For that reason, I’m going to share my experience with the owners from a constructive angle. They need to know that the quality was way off that night and that they really need to teach their kitchen staff to keep that A-game on all the time. Just one bad night can cost you a lifetime customer. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But you already know this.

Owners, keep the faith. We know times are hard.

Wingaddicts, do the right thing. You know times are hard too.

Wings up!

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