How Much is a Roach Worth?


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In my case, twenty-five percent of the check.

The other day my wife and I went to one of our favorite restaurants. We dine there often; great food, good value and service, a few blocks from our apartment. Whenever friends come in from out of town, this is our go-to-place.

We were having dinner with another couple, when it appeared.  We were savoring our last bite of dessert and had already asked the waiter to bring the check, when our friends pointed out a roach crawling on the wall about 6 inches from where my wife was seated.

Embarrassed, remember the part about our “chosen” place where we bring friends, and a fighter, my wife took her cloth napkin and squashed the bug.  At the same time, our waiter brought us the check. We all chimed, “found a bug and here it is.”  You could tell from the waiter’s face, who knows us well as good customers, that he was not a happy camper.

He immediately took away the napkin and our check as we wondered what would happen next.

Our waiter brought back the bill with a recalculated amount.  There was the original total and the restaurant gave us a twenty-five percent deduction, which had a mysterious code next to it.

We weren’t sure whether the code was to specifically indicate if it was a roach or just generally a bug. We quickly computed that the roach discount was equal to $11 a person. The incident and the resolution happened so quickly that we really didn’t have time to think about fairness or anything else.  Our tip was based on the original amount since the roach was in no way the fault of our server.

Was our customer experience affected?  Of course, and not just for that meal but for the future too.  How could our favorite restaurant still be favorite if we had to be on guard for critters crawling on the wall?  What could have been a possible better outcome? Yes, our bill was reduced, but the management remained silent even if they didn’t want to call attention to our situation to other patrons. However, if they had contacted us the following day, apologized and reassured us that this was an isolated incident and would be further addressed, we might have felt more comfortable about returning.

What would you expect or want the restaurant to do?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Shapiro
Richard R. Shapiro is Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) and a leading authority in the area of customer satisfaction and loyalty. For 28 years, Richard has spearheaded the research conducted with thousands of customers from Fortune 100 and 500 companies compiling the ingredients of customer loyalty and what drives repeat business. His first book was The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business and The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business was released February, 2016.


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