My friend and I had looked forward to this catch-up lunch. The restaurant was busy even though it was only 11:30.
Upon sitting down, I informed our server I wanted to buy one of their special “free pizza with gift card” deals. I gave her my credit card and she said she’d be right back while we looked over the menu. She returned with my credit card saying there was a problem validating the gift card so she’d try it again after she put in our orders.
We placed our order and continued chatting. Ten minutes later the server appeared saying they were still having trouble validating the gift card. My friend informed her she had to leave in about 45 minutes so was hoping our orders would be out soon. The server was cheerful and said no problem. Another ten minutes passed and still no meals. We flagged down the server and she said the computer froze when they tried to validate the gift card so our orders may have been lost. She asked what we wanted again.
She came back with the free pizza certificate and said they were giving up on my gift card. We asked about our meals and she said she’d check. They arrived about 10 minutes before my friend had to leave. She could only finish about half, so she asked for a take home box and our bill which we’d like to split between our two credit cards. The server apologized and returned quickly with the box and the check. My friend was now getting anxious as she needed to leave any minute.
The server returned with our two credit card slips. My friend began to sign and discovered both were run on the same card — mine! I told her to leave and I’d take care of it. She did. But the slips were already totaled with no room for a tip. I dug in my purse for enough cash for her tip.
I gathered my belongings and stopped at the reception desk to speak to the manager. I said, “I know you’ve had computer problems today, but I thought you should know your server put both halves of our bill on the same card and there’s no room to add a tip.” She said, “That’s my fault. I ran them. I tell you what — you had a lot of patience with our screw ups, so how about lunch on us?” And she ripped up both credit card slips.
She did the right thing. Our server was friendly and tried to be of service, but the computer hamstrung her. Yes, she could have checked on our order earlier to discover it had been lost in the system. But there were a lot of problems with our lunch.
What would your staff had done given similar circumstances?
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