The disappointment of a failed experience – something fishy going on….

When an experience fails, it is sometimes more than a brand kissing and making up. It’s a story that a family cannot tell. It’s a memory that was spoiled by disappointment.

The promise was simple – Fresh fish in the local harbour restaurant where we had it many times before … The delivery was short of a disaster.

It started with a blackboard warning that the hake is only available as part of a combo of calamari and chips…. We missed clue number one. The blackboard did however not state that you would get frozen fish, really really mature frozen fish.

The front of house waiter barked at us and interrogated us on whether we had a reservation. If not, we would have to sit on the deck. I dropped a few f-bombs but ignored clue number two….

After an hour of not getting food, I enquired where our order was since I am becoming a bad mother, now barking impatiently at three hungry kids. After five minutes, very oily frozen, fried fish arrived. They could not have cooked this in 5 minutes, clue number three.

I then requested that the manager joins us for lunch to tell me how the food tastes, I was told there was no manager and the owner was out. I requested to see the most senior person and was asked to go down to the bar, essentially to make a scene at a packed bar and embarrass the staff there.

The end result is we did not pay for the poor quality food, we embarrassed a few of the staff, had a waitress in tears.

Now I have a terrible story, some shame around not accepting this but the bottom line is, I will never go back there! I cannot risk another bad memory with my kids. I cannot risk having a waitress in tears, who had no control over this since she does not make decisions in the kitchen.

This experience is a result of a sequence of poor decisions:

  • Profit over passion – let serve frozen fish instead of actually taking fish off the menu for the day, or doing our planning so we know we have fresh fish.
  • Lack of ownership – no manager or owner in sight.
  • Lack of pride in what they cook – I bet you they will not eat what they cook.

This experience speaks of a total short-term outlook in a small town where people talk and vote with their wallets. This is the 5th restaurant in 5 years that opened in this spot. I wonder how long this one will last. What sadness in an opportunity missed to take pride and delight.

Please don’t serve your customers’ frozen experiences disguised as the real authentic thing!

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