Saturday, April 19th 2014

We Got Free Gift Certificates From TGIF

by Mr Credit Card

It was 4pm on Saturday afternoon and we still have an errant to run. We promised ourselves we would get to Best Buy to purchase our SLR camera & video camera or we would not have them in time for the kids Halloween celebration. Plus, the special discount offered by best Buy is for 5 to 8 Oct only.

For dinner, I suggested that we (2 adults plus 3 kids-8,6 &4 yrs old) try the food at Cheesecake Factory at the King of Prussia Mall but my 6 yr old really wanted to try ribs at TGI Friday – which we go regularly. Hummm, sounds good too. So we ended up there.

We didn’t have to wait long to be seated because many in front of us opted to sit at smoking section so it shorten the queue for us. While waiting, we looked over the menu as we were hungry and was hoping to make our ordering easier. However, we waited for a long time & no server came. So, waving my hand at the staff, a gentleman with tie (not in uniform) came over and said OK – he’ll get our server. After for more than 5 minutes, our gracious server appeared and appologised that there was a confusion and she is will taking our orders. I told her that the kids are very hungry so please serve their meals first. My 4 yr old ordered spaghetti, my 6 yr old ordered ribs & the oldest child ordered pizza. We ordered a 3 course special which is $16.99 – the baby back ribs with shrimps, loaded potato skins & dessert. I ordered the steak salad.

The ice tea, apple juice & chocolate milk came. The kids were happily drawing, coloring, decoding, connecting the dots. When they finished, the food still hasn’t arrived.Then we waited & waited & waited. Meanwhile, my kids were drinking like mad and you know how that hurts appetite. They were also starting to get restless. Finally we see our server & waved her over. She said the kitchen is very busy – indeed, the dinner crowd was probably at its peak. I was losing it & told her it is not acceptable that a kid’s spaghetti (only has sauce on it – not even meatballs) takes so long. I said I understand the ribs & pizza will take time but cannot believe that spaghetti needs as much time. I reiterated that I specifically requested for the kids meals to served first. The least they could do was to bring out the spaghetti first. Our server apologized and said she will go to the kitchen to check our order.

Finally, the kids spaghetti came – surprisingly small portion, which is OK by our standard. (so we don’t need to waste or doggy bag. At lunch, the portions always seemed larger) Minutes later, the kid’s ribs & pizza came. Our food came out subsequently.

Now, on the flavor of the food. My steak in the salad was so salty. Then, my husband gave me some of the baby back ribs and it was very dry with hardly any glaze on them. We didn’t even finish our food. When our server came to check on us, I hesitated giving her my honest opinions. I was just too tired & “resigned” to bad service and food – just wanted to go home & open a can of campbell soup. When she came around to take our order for dessert, I hinted that the baby back ribs was disappointing, certainly below our expectations. (I could not even bother to mention how salty the steak salad was. She realized that we didn’t eat alot and said she felt sorry we were let down. Shortly after, a tall man with shirt & tie came by & apologised for all the service hiccup and for the baby back ribs which were too dry. He was very sincere about it and said “he will take care of it”. We didn’t know what he meant but was glad that management is aware of the poor service & food quality we experienced. I worked as a hotel sales persons for many years and always embraced constructive feedback.

When the dessert came, our server brought us the check & informed us that they have removed the baby back ribs entree to compensate for our bad experience. That was a very nice gesture we thought. Minutes later, the manager who came to apologize to us gave us 2 gift certificates – valued at $15 each – as another gesture of goodwill ! I told him he didn’t have to do it but he insisted and wanted us to come back again.

I am always hesitant at giving feedback to service personnel (for fear that they take it the wrong way & retaliate) but at the same time I believe it is the only way they will ever know if they are delivering the right standard. Of course we have to be reasonable and provide constructive feedback and give compliments where it is due to. I remember the last time we were at TGI Fridays in late Aug for lunch and I ordered a pasta with seared salmon. I requested that my salmon be medium rare & the server said she will pass on the request to the kitchen but please understand that they are not “gourmet” chef in fine dining restaurants. She and I laughed & I said I would not raised my expectations. My food came and the salmon was exactly the way I wanted it – raw in the middle. Yummy indeed ! I gave them heaps of compliments on the spot.

Overall, I would say we are still happy customers at TGI Friday’s – King of Prussia, PA. Kudos to all the staff there who worked so hard.

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