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Know and Honor Your Specials and Discounts

Image of restaurant check with cash on a tray

I will be the first to say that I am not a master chef and that I really don’t like to cook. I often find myself going to the refrigerator, opening the door, staring at the contents (or lack thereof), and shutting the door, just to repeat the process about 10 more times. Usually, I wait until I am at the point where I feel sick from hunger until I actually get serious about either making a meal or going out to get something to eat. Yes, I know this can’t be healthy, but I just don’t find enjoyment in cooking like some people do, and there lies my predicament. Luckily, my best friend happens to share this love/hate relationship with meal times, so she tends to entertain the idea of skipping cooking and going out instead. Unfortunately, eating out can be costly, so we try to eat at restaurants that run specials.

About a week ago, my friend and I decided (in our famished state) to order take-out from a popular chain restaurant that happens to have an early bird special. We both were quite excited because you get an entrée and two sides for about eight dollars, which is about a three-dollar discount off their normal dining hour prices. When we went to pick up our food about 15 minutes later than our pick up time, we ended up waiting for an additional 10 minutes before we were even given our bills. Once I received my bill, I noticed that they had not given me the early bird special and had charged me the normal price. I waited until the bartender (at this establishment, you pick your food up from the bar) was done serving another patron and requested that they correct my bill to reflect the special. The bartender was kind and said that they would fix my bill and the error most likely occurred because there was a new manager on duty and he may not have known about the special. I completely understood and was pleased that they were willing to fix the problem.

A few minutes later, a seasoned manager came over with the newly printed bill and apologized for the mistake. I looked at the bill and noticed that the seasoned manager applied a one dollar discount to my bill rather than giving me the three-dollar discounted special. Before I could catch the mistake, however, the manager had already walked away and made it difficult to dispute the discrepancy. At this point, we had been waiting for over 30 minutes, and I was starving and had a million things to do. I decided that I didn’t care enough to save two dollars and thought that it would be more trouble than it was worth to flag down the manager again and have her correct the mistake yet again.

To say the least, I was extremely frustrated and questioned the competence of the staff. It seemed as if neither the new manager nor the seasoned manager knew the special price, which reflected poorly on the establishment. After having such a frustrating experience, I don’t know if I would order take-out from there again, in fear that I would have a repeat experience. The point I want to make is: Make sure your staff, whether you are in the hospitality industry or the retail industry, is knowledgeable about your specials and discounts, so you don’t lose a loyal customer!

What do you do to ensure your staff is properly trained on discounts, coupons, and specials?