The Worst Restaurant Tweet Response. Ever.

June 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm 7 comments

The title really is true. As a community manager who happens to manage a restaurant chain’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, I was appalled at the response I got from a restaurant I recently tweeted to.

I’m always fearful of being the customer that tweets something bad about a product/company because being a community manager, I’m often on the other side of this anger. However, I decided my complaint was just.

For me, I take each social media complaint about my clients very seriously and personally reach out publicly and privately to mend the situation. I even go above and beyond to delight and surprise people who probably expected to hear nothing. Their sometimes utter shock at the speed and quality of the response is the best part of my job.

But, I can’t say the same was done for me.

On Friday night I went out to a new restaurant called The Pinyon, excited to see what they had in store. My boyfriend ordered some ribs, and received a plate full of burnt meat that was no where near “fall off the bone”–as the waiter had boasted to us while we ordered.

We we’re a little annoyed (how do you mess up ribs that bad?!) so he re-ordered a new dish that was just edible enough to eat. Having worked in the restaurant business as a hostess, server and now marketer, I know that when something like this happens, a manager should come over to your table, apologize, and maybe offer a complimentary dessert or drink to win the customers back over. It’s unbelievable how little gestures like this can turn a guest’s experience around. (This has happened to me numerous times and it’s always impossible for me to leave angry after!)

We got nothing. No manager visit. No complimentary drink. Nada.

Then, when the check came, and we found out the second dish we got was $21.00 (for barely edible) and it wasn’t comped for us, we we’re less than impressed. (since we had to order it because the first dish was so bad even a dog would scoff at it, seriously). It was time for a tweet!

Here’s what I said: (I was a lot less harsh than I wanted out of fear of being too mean. UGH. Lesson learned.)

Here’s where The Pinyon could have surprised me, swept me off my feet like Cinderella with a tweet offering to make it up to me. Something like “@socialmel Let’s make this right! We’d love to send over a complimentary dessert certificate so you can chat with us & enjoy a perfect meal.” Who knows, something LIKE this and my frown would’ve turned upside down.

But, no. This instead.

REALLY? Did they really just say that?! This was the WORST response they could have ever had. I told them I got no “love from a manager” and this is how a professional, supposedly “innovative American food” restaurant responds? From a customer service perspective, this is wrong. It’s like they were specifically trying to annoy me, like a tiny stab back at me. Unprofessional. Rude. Not funny.

Is a child tweeting for them? Obviously whoever is tweeting wasn’t hired to run their social media, I know this. But if you put someone in front of your Twitter account, no matter how many followers you have, it’s so important that they are competent, respectful and customer service oriented. (duh, right?) Not everyone knows this.

Having a sense of humor and playfulness in your responses to customers is very important. But it’s doing it in a tacful, tasteful way that makes a brand great.

I’ve taken a step back for a second, too. I understand that there are people (who are crazy) that might argue that this tweet was genuis, a “tweet with great brand personality” or an interesting way to defuse the situation. But, that’s just silly. It made me even MORE mad. They completely disregarded my complaint and threw me under the buss. Not a good feeling.

Maybe I’m overreacting. But, everyone else puts brands on blast when they deserve it…so I thought it was my time to shine.

How would you have responded?


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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Zach  |  June 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Wow that restaurant is a joke…hope they read this article!

  • 2. SALBORTZ  |  June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    i will tell all my friends not to go, great social media article S

  • […] my angry rant about The Worst Restaurant Tweet Response. Ever, I had to give you a little […]

  • 4. BlackLOG  |  June 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I Wouldn’t as I’m way to wordy for tweeting. At least with a Blog you can get a good head of steam and a proper rant…
    In the UK our levels of service can be so bad that your experience actually looked polite….If I complained my food was too dry in the UK I would expect it back with spittle…. It’s why we Brits put up with bad service for fear it will only get worse…

    • 5. ilovelovee  |  June 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Wow–that’s crazy! I guess we’re a little spoiled here in the USA. I think that since I’ve been on the other side working in the restaurant industry and now working as a customer service/social media manager for restaurants, I’m very sensitive about service and treatment. I try and go above and beyond to give the best service and it’s hard to see such an opposite reaction. However, I will definitley think twice next time I complain for fear of “spittle” (spit?) retaliation. 🙂 So glad you stopped by!

      • 6. BlackLOG  |  June 28, 2011 at 12:00 am

        Hats off to you for posting a decent size reply. One of my favourite parts of Blogging is the comments….. So many bloggers take the comments they receive for granted and make no reply. The only exception for not having to reply to all comments are the bloggers who get hundreds of comments (I’m blessed that I’m not cursed with this particular malady….he types through slightly gritted teeth*.) or for comments which just say “I love your blog” (again I’m blessed and I actually mean this one, I don’t get many of those )..

        * I hope that most of my readers are the strong silent type it’s either that or they just haven’t worked out how to comment….

        I think the reason that I would not send back food in the States is your gun laws….If it’s legal to shoot people for Knocking on your door (I’ve seen the documentaries from your much admired Michael Moore**) what is it legal to do to someone for sending back food….

        ** Although he does paint a picture of a UK full of umbrellas and Tea drinkers….for the record Mr Moore I don’t own an umbrella or drink Tea (mainly because it keeps being watered down…..)

      • 7. ilovelovee  |  June 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

        You’re so welcome! I love meeting people through the blogging world and exchanging ideas. I do like Michael Moore–but, he’s a bit one-sided! Trust me, no one is taking out a gun after you complain your steak is too rare–at least I hope not! I will definitley take a look at your blog as well. 🙂 I actually had cousins that lived in England for a while and I used to drink tea with them! But, I don’t think everyone there drinks it…don’t worry. 😉 So glad you’re reading my blog and I look forward to reading yours.

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A marketing gal's journey through life as a young professional. The storyline includes heart flutters, hiccups and happiness along the way...with one big spoonful of creativity in each chapter. I'm also the founder of Young Women in Digital, a Boston-based group for digital marketers to mix and mingle at pressure-free, fun events around the city!

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