Customer Service with a Smile
Recently a friend, Jonathan Rausch, realtor, who I haven’t seen for a while due to COVID stuff, called me to suggest we have lunch together at one of his favorite lunch spots, a New York based bagel restaurant chain with a location near my office.
The last time I was there for lunch was pre COVID and I was happy to see they were still open. Since it is a quick service restaurant we waited on the line to order and Jon pointed to the illuminated menu board to suggest I try the featured sandwich, pastrami on a bagel with an egg on top of the meat. Being an ex- New Yorker I never saw a sandwich built like that on a bagel or any bread as a matter of fact.
I decided to order a pumpernickel bagel with pastrami and mustard only and Jon ordered something on a bagel with cream cheese. We took our seats and waited for the runner to deliver our lunches. Pretty soon a smiling late thirty year old lady delivered our lunches. Nothing seemed out of place as I reached for the bagel that was cut in half exposing the contents of the sandwich. (Wait for it!)
The half bagel was loaded with pastrami and a layer of what I thought was mustard but it was white. Now my eye sight is not so good but I recognize (Wait for it) cream cheese when I see it. Needless to say I was shocked to see a pastrami and cream cheese sandwich served in S. Florida or anywhere else in the world. I have eaten pastrami sandwiches all over the world and never have I seen it prepared with cream cheese.
I was hungry and wasn’t planning to eat the bagel anyway because of my diet so I just took off the half bagel which had the cream cheese on it and ate the balance of the first half. As I ate it, it kept bothering me that someone had to have seen this sandwich in the kitchen and questioned the sandwich maker about it.
Finally I had to say something to someone. I went back to the counter and asked for the manager who was a pleasant forty something woman who I ask the following question to. “When you serve a pastrami and mustard sandwich on a bagel do you usually put cream cheese on it?” At first she thought I was kidding and said “What do you mean?” I explained my dilemma as her face turned red with embarrassment. She asked to see the remaining half which I presented to her.
She looked in horror at the curse of hundreds of years of delis around the world and told me she would make me a new one. I accepted and we had a few laughs about it before I left with a funny story. I could have gotten very mad at this major crime but I realized that the restaurant industry is fighting with employee retention and employee quality. Most places hire, train on the fly and then the employee quits and the process begins again.
The manager did not make excuses she just did the right thing to try and make a customer happy and reduce the damage to the reputation of the restaurant. I wish I had the composure to take a picture of the new combo. Employee training and retention is a subject for another time. For now just enjoy this little story in the heat of the summer of 22.
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