You Attract More Bees with Honey…A Lou Malnati’s Story
About a month ago, or maybe longer, a few co-workers and I decided to go to Lou Malnati’s for lunch. This lunchtime trip is always a gamble. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy Lou’s pizza on an hour lunch break. The pizza itself can take up to 45 minutes to make, not to mention it’s lunchtime in downtown Chicago. These two ingredients can make for a long lunch. Even if you do get in and out in a timely manner, you always run the risk of over-stuffing yourself with Chicago-style deep dish pizza. While you are at the table, this isn’t a bad thing, however, when you are sitting at your desk, in your office for the rest of the afternoon, you can either a) go into a serious food coma (No really, you could go into an actual coma. Co-workers might feel the necessity to call 9-1-1.) or b) you just feel like the button on your pants will not be able to hold back the dam breaking force from your bulging gut as it digests the massive amounts of cheese, sauce, and buttery crust that you managed to shove down your gullet. At any rate…we decided to order our pizza in advance to solve the time dilemma and willingly accept the fate that awaited us during our afternoon stretch back at the office.
When we arrived at Lou’s, we waited for what seemed to be 5 to 10 minutes for our seat which was not a problem. That’s how it goes at lunchtime. Yet, when we did get seated we were told that out pizza (that we ordered over 45 minutes ago) was going to take another half hour to get prepared. This half hour in addition to the 5-10 minutes we spent waiting for a table lead us to believe that our pizza order wasn’t actually started until we showed up at the restaurant. That kind of defeats the purpose of calling ahead, doesn’t it?
While our server was very nice and personable, he was almost non-existent other than taking our order and bringing our food to the table. He forgot our drinks, he disappeared right after he delivered the pizza, and was MIA when it came time to pay our check so that we could get back to the office.
After lunch, I posted one quick, simple tweet…
Castor_Rated: Went to @LouMalnatis downtown. Pizza was great! Service was not.
Not more than an hour or two after this tweet, I received a message from the @LouMalnatis account apologizing and asking for more information regarding our service.
To make a long story short, by the end of the next week, the regional district manager, Steve Haddon, was calling me to get more details and to apologize for the service issue we experienced. During the phone call, he admitted that he did not know what the situation was with the server but stated that the delay in receiving our pizza was an obvious “failure” on their part.
I had told him a couple of times that the service issue wasn’t a huge deal but that, coupled with the delay in getting the pizza was irritating (especially since we were under time constraints). However, at the same time, everyone has off days, so I also mentioned that this experience, in no way would prevent us from visiting one of the many Chicagoland locations. Regardless, he insisted that he would meet with the managers of the offending location and make sure that these problems were addressed, so as not to happen again.
That was more than what I expected and thanked him for his time and attention to this matter (even though, I didn’t mean to bring this to a DEFCON 1 level). Although the email correspondence back and forth and the phone call apology were more than enough to make up for the lack of service, the manager took it one step further by sending me a gift certificate in the mail along with a full-page letter thanking me for bringing the situation to his attention and that he was confident the same problems will not be an issue in the future.
All I can say, is that I am extremely happy with this level of attention to what was seemingly a minor incident. I want to stress that I love Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. I always have and always will think that their pizza is tops in Chicago. I also want to stress that this post is not to bash or criticize Lou’s for this incident but to praise them for their response which further supports my reasons to rank Mark Malnati and the rest of the people at Lou Malnati’s as one of the best pizzeria’s in Chicago.
This little anecdote not only shows the level of commitment to customer satisfaction that Lou’s strives for but is also a testimony to the importance of digital media/marketing/networking to a business. If the Malnati’s chain wasn’t on Twitter, they would have never seen the complaint and would have never known about potential kinks in the chain.
Kudos to you Lou’s!
A more formal Castor-Rating will follow our return visit.
You can follow @LouMalnatis on Twitter