Monday, October 11, 2010

From Bad to...Better

This is a tale of a bad lunch gone right.  Not something you encounter every day!

I recently had lunch at Famous Dave’s with my boss, his mentoring student, and my co-worker (Kim).  My boss (Jim) had a coupon for $10 off a “Feast” that fed 2-3 people.  The coupon was attached to an ad that had a picture for said “Feast”.  So he figured out that if we all went out, ordered the “Feast” & used his coupon, we could have a nice lunch for just $6 each.  Perfect plan.

When we arrived at the restaurant, sat down, ordered our drinks and proceeded to order our “Feast”, we encountered a problem.  Not a minor issue either.  The waiter informed us that the picture on the ad with the coupon was for a larger “Feast” than what the ad’s price proclaimed.  Nowhere on the ad did it specify that the “Feast” that was pictured was NOT the “Feast” that came with that price.  A small blurb under & off to the side of the picture declared that the larger “Feast” was also $10 off, but it didn’t say that the larger “Feast” was what was pictured.  This ad was very misleading and confusing.  And frustrating.  So my boss ordered the smaller “Feast” & another lunch plate of food, hoping that would be enough for all of us since the larger “Feast” that we were expecting would be double the price we had anticipated.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  This wasn’t the longest amount of time I’ve waited for food at a restaurant, but it began to feel like it.  And our waiter basically disappeared after bringing us our drinks. (On my boss’s recommendation I ordered the sweet tea.  Amazing!  Not too sweet, just right.) 

So far this wasn’t the most inspiring of lunches.  And though our waiter had not been outright rude, he hadn’t been the most helpful or sympathetic either.  But along came our food (finally!) and it appeared bigger than we had been expecting from the waiter’s previous description.  At first we feared that he’d brought us the bigger “Feast” by mistake, since that whole discussion had been confusing.  But he confirmed that it was indeed the smaller “Feast”.  So we dug in.  I began to suspect that perhaps he’d been a bit more generous with some of the portions than normal, especially with the corn muffins (which are fantastic, by the way).  I’m pretty sure the smaller feast comes with 2 and we’d been given 4, plus the one that came with the added lunch plate.  All of these muffins were a benefit to me, as I’d been thinking I might have to cough up some change to purchase an extra one since that’s my favorite part of any Famous Dave’s meal.  (And no, corn bread / muffins are not the same as regular bread in my book at all.  These corn muffins especially, since they’re sweet & moist.) 

From this point on, we all consumed generous portions of delicious food and had very stimulating conversation.  (I always enjoy lunches with Jim & Kim and Adam - the student - is a great addition as well.  Lots of laughter usually ensues.  And tales of fishing, which is an entirely foreign activity to me.)  Our waiter made numerous appearances to check on us, which was a pleasant change.  At one point, my boss even voiced our intrigue over the extra corn muffins and our waiter confessed his generosity in providing extra for us.  When it came time to leave, we were all cheery and content.  I had dropped a tube of chapstick under the table at one point during lunch, and was unable to find it.  When we were leaving, I tried glancing under the table but was still unable to locate it.  (I cannot be without chapstick!  If I have to go somewhere without my purse, I pocket my keys, my phone & my chapstick.)  Our waiter saw this and came over to actually move the benches and crawl underneath the table himself.  (It should be noted that this was after the check had been paid, too, so nothing was “in it” for him.  And their benches are quite solid and hefty.)  He was able to retrieve the lost item, something that wouldn’t have cost me more than $1 to replace, and gave us a pleasant farewell. 

It should be noted that right after we ordered, having had the coupon advertisement fiasco, there was discussion of contacting Famous Dave’s or asking for the manager and complaining about the false advertisement.  And it should also be noted that due to the quality of service during our lunch and after, no such discussion took place afterward.  (Though my boss said later that he still intended to call the company on principle about the advertisement due to the “bait & switch” sneak attack.)  This waiter did an almost impossible feat – he completely changed a negative dining experience into a most pleasant one.  Kudos, my friend!!

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