For past three years, my family and I have enjoyed dining at Logan's, and we have recommended it to our friends, acquaintances, and business associates. Saturday, December 09, 2006, was no exception. We attended a Christmas party, held by my wife's employer, at the Logan's located adjacent to the Spotsylvania Mall in Fredericksburg, VA. My wife had specifically recommended having the party there, because we had simply always enjoyed our dining experiences.
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However, our recommendations have sharply turned as a result of the unacceptable service and attitude of the staff at Logan's at this event. We had a group of thirteen adults, at least five of whom were first-time customers; the remainder of us were repeat, previously satisfied customers. It is also worth noting that some of our party drove 30-40 miles one way to attend the event. We were assigned two (2) waitresses to serve us, one of whom appeared to be a new trainee. It is understandable with trainees that the dining event might not go quite as smoothly as one might like. This young trainee was trying even though she was struggling, and I will not fault any one for simply trying. However, every part of the ordering/serving process took an inordinately long amount of time, and when one order of prime rib eventually arrived, it was sent back due to an error in the potato served, then was never seen again.
Our frustration was building as one small thing after the other went wrong. With our increasing frustration, we asked to speak with the manager. We explained our dissatisfaction to her, including the meal that got sent back never to return. She enlightened us that the prime rib order that had been sent back for correction was mistakenly given to another table. She further added that restaurant was out of prime rib, but she would buy our party member a substitute meal. I mentioned to the manager that we had not ever found the service this poor in any of our many previous visits, to which she replied, from my perspective, in a confrontational tone, 'Well, sir, it happens.' This comment and the tone in which it was delivered was insulting and completely unacceptable.
The manager took our friend's order for a substitute meal, which did not arrive until it was time to leave, and even then, we had to prompt the staff multiple times to check on its status. Additionally, while we were waiting, one of our waitresses brought over a pina colada to the table, which we had not ordered. When we mentioned that we had not ordered the drink, the waitress left it at the table and noted that it would either be thrown away, or we could consume it and it would be added to our bill. Again, this was an unacceptable staff response to their own mistake. The bottom line is our bad dining experience was getting worse, and we were not getting appropriate acknowledgement from anyone in charge that it was unacceptable. I was originally embarrassed for the staff for their poor performance, now I was outright offended.
We spoke to the manager once again about the poor service. She proceeded to pin blame on her staff, rather than take the opportunity to acknowledge that she was ultimately responsible for the poor service, and to take charge to make it right. We then asked for the restaurant owner's name and phone number.
Upon our exit, we received no 'thank you, come again', 'good night', 'happy holidays', 'take your business elsewhere' or any acknowledgement of our patronage from the staff. Do they know where their pay checks come from?
On Sunday December 10, 2006, I made a telephone call to the owner to express my dissatisfaction with the previous night's event. He acknowledged that, from my perspective, the service was unacceptable. At my request, he agreed to have the manager write a letter of apology for the 'perceived' less-than-adequate quality service. I have not received that letter, a note, or even a telephone call from her as of December 22, 2006.
To my great relief, the Logan's regional manager for the area including Fredericksburg VA, was kind enough to call me on December 11, 2006. He offered his apologies for the December 09 event. I say I was relieved because his comments indicated to me that he clearly had the correct grasp that the service on December 09 had gotten too far out of control before management intervention; that is the correct response, not 'it happens'.
The damage is done, and, while the regional manger's telephone call was indeed a relief, the response is too little too late. Logan's has lost my business, and I expect they will permanently lose the business of every member in our party; there are plenty of other establishments that can deliver at least a nominal amount of acceptable service and courtesy.
I e-mailed the complaint to the CBRL investment group and to the Logan's corporate website, and also faxed a copy of the complaint to the corporate office. I have not received an acknowledgement or response from any of these complaints. How's that for customer service?
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