Friday Night Gripe

Restaurant Surveys
I’ve mentioned before that Shirley and I eat out more often than we eat at home. About twice a month, we eat at some upscale restaurant. About twice a month, we have fast, cheap, food. Is there a better value than The Hat’s pastrami sandwich? Even so, no one’s health could stand having one more than once a month. But generally, we share (split) a meal at various restaurants with entrées in the $12.00 to $18.00 range. Often, these are chain restaurants: Elephant Bar, Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Red Lobster and so forth. But we also have several local privately owned restaurants that we enjoy.
What really bugs me is the high-pressure sales effort that often goes into trying to get us to do some kind of evaluation survey. It’s always at the chain restaurants. Once we had a store manager insist that we call in our evaluation while he stood there. We didn’t call in and we didn’t go back to his restaurant. If I hadn’t aggressively nipped it in the bud, the same thing might have happened this evening. The effort to get us to do even an online survey is generally greater than the effort to get us to order a salad or have dessert. I’ll complain about those sales efforts some other time.
There are several things that tick me off about the evaluation pitch. First, it always comes at the very time we would like to leave the restaurant. We only go there to eat. Second, it is hard for me to believe that Shirley and I are sufficiently objective or properly trained to provide much useful information. Third party auditors, which I know all these chains use from time to time, are always more objective. One chain actually fired one of our favorite servers for not pitching a dessert to a third party auditor. Among the reasons we liked her was that she didn’t pitch desserts all the time. I didn’t like her being fired. I don’t like being harassed to do an evaluation any better.