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Service Is Everything In Restaurant Business

We accuse Synergy Merchant Services’ Vice President of Marketing, John Meloche every now and again of being a “gentle giant”. At 6′ 7″, John is obviously a big guy, but he loves to have a good time, often joking around with members of his staff and other associates at Synergy. But, you wouldn’t want to get him angry!

Apparently, Toronto’s Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar didn’t get that memo. Getting a head start on Valentine’s Day last night, John decided to take his fiancée Kathryn out for a romantic dinner. In order to make sure that everything went smoothly for the couple’s plans for the evening, John called ahead to book an 8:00pm reservation for the swank eatery.

He was sure that he and Kathryn were in for a treat. Why wouldn’t he? The restaurant’s website provided a vivid description of what their patrons would be in store for: “At Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar, we bring you the very best of hardwood charcoal-inspired cooking to offer exquisite food and exceptional service in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We are committed to providing a memorable dining experience to each guest and we make your satisfaction our top priority.”

To John’s dismay, when he and his soon-to-be-bride arrived promptly by 8 for their reservation, they were told that they would have to wait by the bar while their table was being prepared.  A full twenty minutes later, John and Kathryn were finally seated. In an attempt to not let the minor setback in satisfaction ruin the evening, the couple went ahead and began to order their appetizers, drinks and main courses.

If you know John, you know that he’s hungry…a lot. So keeping the big man waiting while he salivates in anticipation of his meal is not exactly a wise choice. Someone should have mentioned that to the staff at Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar. A more than perturbed John didn’t take his first bite of food until minutes past 9:00pm. We’re talking about his appetizer, by the way!

As Kathryn excused herself from the table for a moment, John couldn’t help but stop his waiter, who barely even made an attempt to attend to the couple as they waited patiently to be served for over half an hour. When asked where his food was, the waiter simply replied that the restaurant was having a busy night. Still without food, John questioned when it would be arriving at his table.

The waiter promptly presented an opportunity to speak to a manager. This manager, however, wasn’t much help. A meager “sorry” was offered, but nothing more. Thankfully, the food found its way to the table soon after. But by 9:30pm, John and Kathryn had already spent over 90 minutes in a restaurant that purports to offer “unparalleled service and breathtakingly intimate ambiance (that) set the stage for an unforgettable evening.”

Well, the evening was unforgettable alright. John wholeheartedly admits that the food was “absolutely fantastic”, but the wait to receive it was “ridiculous”. Worse, however, was the indifferent service that was offered to the couple. When your customer service is advertised as “exceptional” and “unparalleled”, it really better live up to its billing. If not, chances  are your customers will not return.

It cannot be stressed enough that excellent customer service is the key to running a good restaurant. That being said, John is more than open to accept the invite of any restaurant owner in the Greater Toronto Area for dining at their establishments.

He will only be too happy to offer his honest opinion about your restaurant’s food and service. He has the belly to prove it!

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