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Strand Day 12

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A rather unexciting day in Strand today. Did some shopping that had to be done. Walked along the beach and had a steak for dinner at the local Spur’s.

When I said I trusted those restaurants last week, this trust was only for their steaks. We had a few problems with the service this year. Not that people were unfriendly or anything – they just forgot to serve our starters and went right to serving the steaks. Of course we could’ve just sent them back but who would do that? Extra waiting for starters when you’ve already had a steak right in your reach. So we just told them to forget about the starters and let us have the steak only. That was no problem.

When eating there today, we ordered some starters again. And when they didn’t appear after a while, we started joking about whether they forgot about our starters once again. After some more waiting… our steaks arrived and my mum told the waitress that this wasn’t the first time they had forgotten our starters. So a bit later the head waitress or manager or something arrived and apologised a lot. And she kept coming and serving our table for the rest of the meal, making sure everything worked. She also told us to make sure she knew we are there the next time we came there so she could ensure we’d get our starters.

They really take customer service seriously, I started thinking. Being one of the people who like eating in peace rather than being constantly cared for and looked after, I even considered it slightly overdone in that place. Shit happens, people apologise, people make sure it doesn’t happen again, the steak is good anyway. No big deal.

But they considered it a big deal anyway, as we learned when we ended up walking out the place without having to pay for the entire meal. Now this is quite cool in a ‘free meal’ kind of way. But it’s even more puzzling, at least if you are from Germany, where I couldn’t imagine this happening (to this extent). But after a bit of watching telly over it, I thought it makes sense. It’s probably the best thing a business can do to earn your trust: telling you that they actually care so much about your wishes that they won’t take your money if they can’t fully fulfil them.

(I assume we could throw in some cold business analysis here and discuss how this is just about profits, but I’ll stick with the fuzzy feeling for the night, thanks.)

March 13, 2005, 23:35

Tagged as country:za, south africa, travel.

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