Sunday, November 25, 2007

"The customer is never right!"

Location: Ontario, Mississauga
Industry: Restaurant
Company: Montana's Cookhouse
After coming from a late event, my family and I decided to go for some good food at Montana's Cookhouse in Mississauga at Courtney Park. We have gone to this location since it opened and thought to be pretty loyal customers. The past year, they have disappointed us more and more, but we thought we would go back because the food is usually pretty good.

We got into the restaurant and weren't even greeted. We stood there like idiots for about five minutes. Then, somebody finally seated us (8:00pm). Because we were really hungry, we all knew what we were going to order in the car, so we closed the menu right away and waited for our server. I waived my hand at the hostess and asked, "Hi, would you be able to get a server for me?". She immediately responded, "I'm not your server". The server came, greeted us politely, and wrote our order down (At this point, I could tell that this server was a trainee because they usually memorize our orders). At 8:15, our drinks were brought to the table. We sat and talked, and as my mother just finished saying "I'm getting hungry, where's our food?", I looked at the clock only to realize it was 8:45pm. I looked for anybody who worked there just to ask the status of my meal.

Here's where it gets interesting. I found the Manager on Duty and asked "Hi, I was just wondering if you could just check the status of my food.". And he said, "Sir, it won't be ready because you just sat down". I replied, "Uhmm, no, I got here at 8:00. We ordered at 8:05.". He said, "No, you didn't. You just sat down five minutes ago". I said "Excuse me, I was here at 8:00. Do not try to second guess me. All I want is to know that my food is coming. Why is it that people who have arrived here after my family have their food first?". He said, "Ok sir, I will check for you. But just know that I think you sat down only a few minutes ago". - HE IS A MANAGER! WHY ALL THE TALKING? It seems like his philosophy of the customer service business is, "The customer is never right".

He returned only to tell me that my order was only submitted five minutes ago. At this point, I was ready to pay for the drinks and leave. He assured me that it was coming soon. In ten minutes, our order was out. He came to our table and said, "Thanks for your cooperation" - might I add, it was extremely condescending.

Our original server came by and apologized. She was extremely sincere so I said, "It's ok, thank-you for your sincerity. You're doing a good job". She was the only sincere personnel we encountered since we arrived.

I'm not trying to say, "Don't eat at Montana's!". But I have been in the customer service industry for 5 years. I have also been in the hospitality industry for 3 years, plus 1 year of chef school. And what I learned was, even if the customer is wrong, you have to treat them like they are right. And moreover, "The customer IS always right". If you want business, this should be your prayer.

My family and I have NOT returned to ANY Montana's since and we don't plan to ever go back.


  1. That is horrible service! You were way too nice, and I hope you didn't give the waitress a tip. I would of paid for the drinks - and before leaving, yelled at the manager so that everyone can hear that he is a complete F'ing a'hole! I just can't believe you stayed and gave them your business.

  2. I wouldn't doubt if that "manager" horked and spat in your food. I would of just walked out, and not of even paid for the drinks.

  3. That definitely is horrible service...I would've walked out and gone to eat somewhere else! The only time though that I believe the customer IS wrong when they swear, become condescending or rude, or throw things at the staff that works at the establishment. (I also work in hospitality and you can't treat things that customer's do as ALWAYS being right, because there is no such thing). Just thought I would clarify.