I got home last night at 9:30 after a long drive home from Virginia in the afternoon, a one-hour chance to unpack and hug my husband, and a 45-minute there-and-back-again drive to visit my son at parents' night at summer camp. I was tired. And hungry. I walked in and smelled something pizza-y. Brian had just warmed up a leftover piece of a pizza turnover he had ordered while I was away. There wasn’t enough for two. He saw my sad face.
“Where do you want to go?” he asked without hesitation. I suggested two restaurants, and we settled on Keg & Kitchen in Westmont, N.J., a craft beer-centric pub that has several items made from local foods on the menu. We’d been there once before and liked it enough to give it a second shot.
We ordered a couple of drinks and a few small plates, including a small order of ribs. The first two dishes we had were very good, but when the ribs came out, apparently so did our dissatisfied faces. Something wasn’t right with the ribs. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t up to par with the rest of the food we’ve had at the restaurant.
Within seconds, the chef was at our table. He introduced himself and asked what we thought about the ribs. It turns out that after the ribs had been brought to our table, the chef noticed that the next order about to go out wasn't to his liking. He was told that an order had just gone out, and he came out to find the table where the ribs had been delivered.
Now that’s some customer service. As far as I know, this chef doesn’t know I run a South Jersey food blog or that I write for MNN. He’s just proud of what he does, and he doesn’t want any of his customers being dissatisfied with his food.
I wouldn’t have written about the bad ribs, and they probably wouldn’t have been a deal breaker for future visits. But the fact that the chef came to our table, introduced himself, took the ribs off our check, and went out of his way to make sure we were satisfied guarantees we’ll be back at some point.
Keg & Kitchen is located on a street that’s become known as restaurant row in my region. There are many great pubs, restaurants and BYOs within a few miles of each other. It’s hard to choose sometimes. The personal attention we got at Keg & Kitchen helps to make it stand out from similar restaurants just down the street.
It's not that I've never received personal attention like this before at a restaurant. I have, many times. I've also received very bad service or total annoyance if I've mentioned my disastisfaction at some restaurants. No restaurant is going to get it right 100 percent of the time. It's how they handle it when they get it wrong that makes all the difference.
Have you ever had a less-than-satisfactory experience at a restaurant that was pre-emptively taken care of by a member of the staff? Are you likely to return?