Blow-You-Away Service? Believe It.

I’m a nut about good customer service.  I strongly recommend 1st Choice AMS, the great people at Jimmy Johns on Alpine Hwy in Lehi, and now I have a new fave as well.

My good friend Jonathan and I went to lunch today and chose the American Fork Olive Garden as our spot.  There’s a story behind that.  But one thing at a time.

We got there, got right in, had to wait maybe ten seconds, and our cheerful waitress Laura showed up and gave us a thorough rundown of the menu.  Mentioned some new stuff there.  Pointed out a couple things.  She was professional.  We ordered the soup, salad and breadsticks, which is what I go there for, and Jonathan got the spinach-artichoke dip as well.  She told us it would be about 7 minutes, and asked if we wanted our other stuff first.  We did.

She was back in about 2 minutes with the other stuff.  Cheese on top?  Don’t mind if I do.  I love the Toscana, and Jonathan is into the Gnocchi, so we munched on that and the breadsticks and generally, Laura was right on top of us the whole time.  She was within one minute of her prediction on the dip, too.  Which was also excellent.

We were never without breadsticks – one of my pet peeves about Olive Garden is that I run through the breadsticks too fast.  Not too fast for Laura, apparently.  Clearly, it was not her first day on the job, but she also went out of her way to make sure we were having a good time.  And we told her we noticed that.  We like to do that; I believe that if you praise something, you get more of it, and if you criticize something, you get less of it, generally speaking.  So we told her she was doing a great job, because she was.

Then we get the bill.  And inside it is this:

Okay, NOW I’m going to have to see the manager, who was Darren today, and tell him how impressed I am with Laura (and, frankly, I shouldn’t forget Colleen, either), and that she’s underpaid.  So he comes out, and we chat, and he tells us she’s getting free dessert for making us so pleased.  We part amiably, then Jonathan pulls out two gift cards to pay.

“Know where I got these?” he asked me.

“No,” I said.

“From right here,” he said.

This Olive Garden was hit by a car just last Friday.  It went through the wall into the bathrooms and could have seriously injured a huge number of people (fortunately, it didn’t).  Of course, the restaurant was then closed for repairs.  But during the closed period, while they were furiously rebuilding, anyone that came to Olive Garden to eat, and had to be turned away, was met in the parking lot by the waitstaff, who thanked everyone graciously for coming, then gave them gift cards to let them know how much the restaurant appreciated them coming there, even if they couldn’t now get a meal.  I bet the restaurant even paid the staff to be there, which is a huge deal for many of them.

Unbelievable.  Service like this, appreciation like this, even the very tiny act of giving the waitstaff little cards on which they could write thank-you notes to the patrons are signs of a truly exceptional business.  Everyone there deserves applause, and a great share of our patronage now and into the future.

Go see for yourself.

13 Responses to “Blow-You-Away Service? Believe It.”

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