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Friday, August 8, 2008

When a Treat a Becomes a Tragic Situation

Don't you just hate it when this happens? You're tired. You've had a full day. You decide that instead of cooking, you will treat yourself to take-away from one of your favorite restaurants (in our case, On the Border).

You order. You arrive - it's actually ready when you get there, so you give the food prep person an extra tip out of gratitude.

It smells sooooo good in the car. It takes all of your willpower to not break into the bag and steal a bite (particularly since you've just been at the gym and are now starving!).

Home at last. Food plated. Bites taken.

They messed up the order. A spicy beef chimichanga is a spicy chicken chimichanga. It is not what you wanted.

After a spat, you both decide that it's neither one's fault that the error occurred and you should stop bickering about the situation. You call the restaurant. They tell you that you ordered the chicken.

A spat ensues again, this time with On the Border.

They promise to have the manager call you. You go to bed 3 hours later, without a call.

On the Border, and Brinker International, are going to share in our unhappiness today because we are still very unhappy that 1) they messed up the order and 2) blamed us for the error and 3) refused to talk to us about it.

This almost always means one thing - bad management at the store level.

We just wanted an easy meal for dinner - a little treat! Instead, we had the wrong food, an argument and went to bed grouchy.


  1. Friday Rant and Rave:

    In case anyone wants to avoid this particular place given a description of the service we did NOT receive - it is the On The Border at 75 in Plano.

    They will not get another dime of our money-and I am partucularly angry because I was listening as Shannah gave the order on the phone and specifically remember her saying spicy beef.

    Now, my mother was in the restaurant business. I still remember how she treated customers and would strive to make the customer happy.

    Last night-I wern't happy, or amused. Let's get something straight. Being a Christian does not make you a doormat. If it does - there is something wrong with how you are applying your Christianity in your life (not the belief itself).

    $29. We spent $29 on dinner. The plan, however, was to have 4 meals (2 each with lunch next day). That is $7.50 a meal for those keeping count. Still pricy? Maybe. But doable when you want good mexican food you enjoy. Better than $29 for 2 meals and throwing away some food. So we make it work.

    Here is the maddening thing-I hate their chicken. I love certain things and hate certain things almost everywhere. But guess what? I have that right. I am the one with the money. I do not have to like it all, because this is the USA and I have choices. So, when I come to your place of business I have made a choice that you should honor. That does not make you a doormat either-but that is NOT what happened here.

    Plain and simple-I understand the misunderstanding. Shannah said "spicy beef." There is no such creature on the menu. If you look at the menu it has two options for the chimichanga-"Spicy Chicken" or "Ground Beef."

    So, when Shannah said "Spicy Beef" the female on the other end heard nothing but spicy and ran with it. Then, when we call - she said that, "She clearly heard Shannah say Spicy Chicken."

    By the way - I know that we have asked for "Spicy Beef" before and not had this happen ever before-but I looked at the menu and discovered that this is a likely possibility-but that is all a mute point!

    The issue is this-when we call and say that our order is wrong-the answer is NOT that we screwed up.

    In addition-one thing you NEVER EVER EVER do-because this will supremely piss me off so that I will say nothing but bad about you until I die!!! Sorry,, I am not.

    You never tell me you are going to call me back to resolve it and fail to do so. Now I am more than done with you-I am just getting started with you and whoever is above you.

    Seem harsh? Rememeber than they have my money, accused me of screwing up (thereby saying I am lying) and broke their word. So, three things...

    1. I will never give them my money again.

    2. I will tell anyone and everyone about this for as long as they are open-until they make it right.

    3. Brinker should be thankful for people who report this kind of crap because, it helps them deal with bad management.

    Think about it. As pissed as I am-I will not walk on anyone here-just tell the truth. There are plenty of people out there who would throw a hissy at the manager and at Brinker in such a way as to discredit themselves and their complaint. By telling the truth-I actually help their business, if they listen. Enough people do that-management changes, one way or the other.

    You see, fellow Christians, telling the truth really can help-even if the truth is not happy news. It is not about forgiveness or grace. Those things cover HOW you handle things. Not whether you do it or not. Otherwise, Jesus would never have cleared the temple with a tool of "lesson learning" in his hand.

  2. Obviously still unhappy....

    I am sending them a letter today.

  3. Letter to OTB and Brinker:

    8 August 2008

    On the Border
    1505 North Central Expressway
    Plano, TX 75075

    Restaurant Support Center
    Brinker International
    6820 LBJ Freeway
    Dallas, TX 75240

    RE: Unsatisfactory meal and service at Plano On The Border August 7, 2008

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Over the years, we have had the pleasure of patronizing your restaurant many times. Consequently, our expectations were high last night when we stopped in for to-go service. Our expectations were not met.

    There are three problems that I would like to mention. First, our order was filled incorrectly. We ordered steak fajitas and a beef chimichanga. When we collected our order, the On The Border to-go staffer, Heather, verified that we had ordered fajitas and a chimichanga. It wasn’t until we arrived at home and began eating that we discovered we had received a spicy chicken chimichanga rather than beef. Unfortunately, out of your many delicious menu items, we do not enjoy your chicken dishes.

    Second, when we called to talk to the manager about the order mix-up, we spoke again with Heather. At first, she told us that we had ordered the chicken, not the beef. She later admitted that the error was hers, as she thought we’d asked for a “spicy chicken” when we had actually asked for a “spicy beef.” I do appreciate that she took responsibility for the error – mistakes, after all, do happen. However, there are some aspects of this that should be corrected for future guest interactions. I believe that she should have verbally repeated our order to us when we initially called it in and then should have gone over our order specifically (type of fajita, type of chimichanga) when we collected it. As well, it in general is better to avoid creating hostile guest feelings when a complaint is called in – blaming the guest for an error is not a good way to begin a discussion.

    Finally, Heather said she would have the manager call us as soon as the restaurant slowed from peak service time. By 10 pm, two and a half hours after our call, we went to bed. A day later, we’ve still not received a call. Again, in a restaurant of this quality, we expect to management to be attuned to providing good customer service, before, during and after the sale.

    I regret feeling compelled to write this letter of complaint. During these current economic conditions, we eat out less often and choose more carefully where we go. We thought we’d made the right choice last evening. We hope it was just an off night.


    Shannah A. Hayley

  4. Shannah,

    I am very sorry and disappointed for the service that you experienced last night. I just became aware of the situation because of your blog. I feel horrible that you were treated in this manner by someone that works for me. I want to make this right for you and your family. I am at the restaurant tonight all night and would love to talk to you if you would give me the opportunity. Please call me at your convenience at 972/881-2257. Sincerely,
    Kevin Moore General Manager On The Border Plano Texas

  5. I am totally impressed and will retract my statement about not spending money at that OTB-given the posting here by Mr. Moore. I do not know how he found out-but regardless of the final outcome, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was not aware about this situation and desires to make it right.

    We do not ask much really, not even a refund necessarily-just want to make people aware when things are not good and when we get mad about bad service--if they care to hear it - but I will more than forgive when someone tries to make it right-especially in a public forum.

    We will be calling tomorrow.

    More later...

    Hats off to Mr. Moore, however he found out-and we hope to see our friends at OTB Plano!