Lots of people travel alone, right? I mean, you can’t take your family on every business trip you go on. So you can imagine my surprise when on a busy Monday afternoon, a Chili’s in the Milwaukee airport refused to seat me in order because I was by myself.
After waiting twenty minutes for a nonexistent hostess to show up, a waitress finally decided to take seating tables upon herself. She asked if there were any three tops (random?), in which case the guy behind me delightfully raised his hand. So, she sat him and his two friends around a tiny table in the back meant for two. Then, she sat the couple that had cut in front of me. By now, my patience was running low as I stood in my heels, coming straight to the airport from a meeting. Still, I waited.
Then, the waitress pulled my last straw → she sat the couple behind me and, in the most unauthentic manner, apologized that I would have to wait longer to be seated. To which I responded, “This is not how you seat a restaurant. I am not eating here”, and left.
There are many problems I have with this greedy waitress seating tables based on how much tip she would get out of them (who knows, my bill could have easily surpassed the two top’s). However, that is for another post.
Usually reluctant to be negative on social media, I decided this was an issue worth reaching out to Chili’s about. I immediately Tweeted this:
And I was pleased to see them immediately Tweet back this:
As if this instant response from a large restaurant chain was not enough to impress my social media self, I received a response to my email by 9AM the next morning apologizing and asking me to send my address.
This is how social media should be used, as an extension of customer service that allows the customer to feel like they are being heard right away. Now, it will be interesting to see what providing my address gets me, but also to see if Chili’s actually reaches out to this specific restaurant location in Milwaukee.
If a coupon sent to me is the end of the line, then they are still missing the crucial step of using social media to improve the quality of their business. The location mentioned also needs to know what happened, and needs to know that it’s not okay to ignore travelers by themselves. You never know who that lonesome person might be. Next time, it could even be the CEO of Chili’s himself, and I would hate to see the reaction on his face after a waitress applies the same treatment.
Kudos for now, though, to the extremely efficient Chili’s Social Media Team. If Chili’s can respond this quickly, any company can.
-Marji J. Sherman