Raise the Bar, Not Your Voice, in Customer Service
I sneak out of the office around 11am to beat the lunchtime rush at Fresh & Co, a salad, sandwich and soup shop in New York.
I walk in to the brightly lit, clean room, lines short and salad bar freshly set up. I am greeted by the cashier, welcoming me to their restaurant.
I order a Kale Crunch salad but ask the salad rep to hold the “crunch” (they put pita chips in it otherwise). She then realizes they are out of two ingredients for this salad, mint and goji berries.
Me: No problem!
Salad Rep 1: Sure! No problem! You can substitute something else in it’s place. What would you like?
I choose feta cheese.
We continue on, having a nice chat about how our days are going and then…
…barreling out of the kitchen comes another salad rep, who rushes over and raises her voice at the rep making my salad:
Salad Rep 2: “No, the feta is $1 no matter what!”
Then, she peers up at me, begins to point and says:
Salad Rep 2: Ma’am, listen, the feta is $1. We absolutely MUST charge you for this. It’s our policy and we will be charging you.
The woman making the salad and I look each other. She rolls her eyes. My mouth drops.
Me: It’s fine–I’m not making a fuss about it. I was told that it would be substituted for items you don’t have.
Salad Rep 1: Plus, she doesn’t want pita chips so it’s fine. We’ll waive it.
She looks at me reassuringly and nods, smiling.
Salad Rep 2 continues on glaring at me while saying:
Salad Rep 2: No, charge her. This is ridiculous! We HAVE MINT! It’s just downstairs. I’m so frustrated that they make us open our salad bar without all the ingredients. I want what to make sure our customers are absolutely satisfied!
She then runs away, down into the back and apparently downstairs.
I stand with Salad Rep 1 and she rolls her eyes again and tells me:
Salad Rep 1: It’s fine, no extra charges. Here’s your salad! Have a great day!
I take my salad and begin to step away when Salad Rep 2 runs back over and yells:
Salad Rep 2: WAIT! I got you the mint! Come back!
Me: Ah okay, well thank you for going to get it…
She then throws a few leaves of mint into the salad and they chop everything together.
Salad Rep 1: Well you got the mint but what about the goji berries? Did you forget to order them again?
Salad Rep 2 doesn’t respond or even acknowledge Salad Rep 1.
Then, as if this never even happened, she walks away to another part of the salad bar to organize ingredients.
I take my salad and left.
While I do enjoy this salad place (it’s delish!) this odd experience definitely took things to a whole new level.
Salad Rep 2 didn’t understand that Salad Rep 1 had replaced the ingredients and offered to waive the usual $1 fee for the item I selected. While this isn’t exactly raising the bar, it definitely was the best route to take to serve the customer. However, Salad Rep 2 pointing and yelling at me about a $1 fee was pretty ridiculous. And, this doesn’t seem to be anything new for Salad Rep 1 as she rolls her eyes like she’s seen this one too many times before.
In general, even if I had asked the salad rep 1 to replace the item and waive the fee, it still doesn’t deserve any voice raising.
I will probably still go back to Fresh & Co in the future, but I will be on the lookout for Salad Rep 2.