question archive Martin Hagadorn swore under his breath as he pulled into the parking lot of Xavier's, the upscale restaurant his wife, Francine, had chosen for her birthday dinner

Martin Hagadorn swore under his breath as he pulled into the parking lot of Xavier's, the upscale restaurant his wife, Francine, had chosen for her birthday dinner

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Martin Hagadorn swore under his breath as he pulled into the parking lot of Xavier's, the upscale restaurant his wife, Francine, had chosen for her birthday dinner.
"What did I tell you, Fran. Every kid in town is is here tonight for a fancy dinner before the prom," he grumbled. "Are you sure you want to eat here - and tonight? We could always come back next week when it's not so crowded. Besides, I brought Charlie Rogers here for lunch last week, and it wasn't all that great. I haven't been impressed the last few times I've been here with clients."
"But today's my birthday, not next week;" Fran replied. "I'm not asking for much, Martin. This is my favorite restaurant, and I've got my heart set on the Maine lobster. I'm sure you'll find a parking spot around back."
The back-parking lot was eerily dark; a light was burned out. Fran stepped out of the car, then gave a yelp of surprise and dismay.
"What's wrong?" Martin demanded, hurrying to her side of the car. Fran was shaking her foot.
"I didn't see this can of pop someone left in the parking lot. Now I've ruined my new suede pumps," she explained.
Martin was still grumbling about the lousy lighting as they entered the restaurant. He strode up to the host's station, while Fran dashed to the rest­room to clean her shoe. He was still waiting when she returned.
"Is our table ready, dear?" she asked hopefully.
"I wouldn't know. There doesn't seem to be anyone working here tonight," he said, craning his neck to try and spot the host, who was seating a large party of teenagers in formal attire. "See, I told you this was a bad idea."
He finally caught the host's eye, and she hurried over to greet them. "Hagadorn, party of two, 8 o'clock," Martin barked.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Hagadorn. I see you're here for pleasure rather than business this time," said Monica, the host." I'm sorry about the wait. I've got your table already in the smoking section"
"Non-smoking, you mean," said Martin. 'I specifically asked for non­smoking. My wife's very sensitive to smoke.'
Monica knew there were no available tables in non-smoking, so she suggested that the Hagadorns go to the bar for the 20-minute wait until a table was ready. Martin looked disgruntled, but Fran tried to make the best of it.
"That's a fine idea. I can start my birthday dinner off with a glass of wine," she said as they sat down in the dusky bar. She ordered her favorite, a white zinfandel. When the bartender brought her drink, though, it was not what she had ordered.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, that's, my mistake," said the bartender. "Let me bring you another glass-on the house." He returned with her drink as well as the bill for Martin's Rob Roy. "I'll take that whenever you' re ready, sir," he said.
Martin looked at the bartender in surprise -usually the bar transferred his bill to the dinner tab. But he paid, nonetheless. Nothing' s gone right yet, he thought, except for Fran's free drink. He excused himself to check on the status of their table.
"Is the table ready yet?" he asked Monica. "It's my wife's birthday, and I'd really like the rest of her evening to be special, if that's not too much to ask."
"Certainly, sir, I understand. Your table will be ready in a moment," said Monica. She started to jot down "Hagadorn -birthday" on the log to remind herself to tell their server to present them with a complimentary cake, when the phone rang. l wish the other host hadn't called in sick to­night, she thought as she answered the phone. After she hung up, she noticed that a table was free and went to get the Hagadorns.
When Richard Merrill, the manager, glanced over the log a few minutes later, he saw that there "'as a couple celebrating an anniversary, and an 18th birthday for one of the prom-goers. I'll have to stop by those tables, he thought. Just then, his attention was diverted by a commotion near the kitchen. Monica was attempting to seat an older couple at a table near the swinging doors, and the gentleman looked near apoplexy as he loudly refused the seats.
"Is there anything I can help you with, Mr. Hagadorn?" Richard asked, sizing up the situation and smiling reassuringly at the host. He spotted a table near the window that had yet to be bussed. "We can have that table ready in a jiffy, sir," he said, striding over and starting to bus the table himself. If only it wasn't prom night, we'd have more bussers on duty to speed things up, he thought.
The Hagadorns stood in the middle of the dining area, abandoned by the host, who had hurried back to her station to greet more patrons. The manager called a busboy over to help him finish preparing the table, then was called away to deal with a situation in the kitchen. The couple continued to wait, until another bus person, assessing the scene, hurried over to escort them to their table.
"Please let me seat you. I hope you haven't been waiting long," Marco chatted cheerily. "Here's some water and a basket of bread for you. Andrea will be your server tonight. Can I get you anything else?"
"We're finally getting the attention we expect when we come here," muttered Martin to the busboy as Fran smiled her thanks to him. Marco forgot only one detail-the menus-so the brief bright spot in their evening soon flickered and died as they waited in vain for their server to notice them.
"Andrea, table 26," hissed Marco as he passed her on the way to the kitchen. She sauntered over and smiled pleasantly at Martin and Fran and asked if they were ready to order.
"It's kind of tough to order without menus, don't you think?" snarled Martin. "Don't bother," he said as she started to fetch some. "We're hungry and we know what we want. Give my wife the Maine lobster special and bring me the veal marsala. French dressing on the salads and start us off with the stuffed mushrooms."
"Yes, sir," Andrea said. "What a crab," she whispered as she passed Marco on the way to the kitchen, nodding toward the Hagedorn's table. "Wonder what's wrong with them."
Martin started to cool off as the food began to arrive. The stuffed mushrooms were perfect; and the salads were delicious. He ordered a carafe of wine, and even that was correct this time. Andrea noticed that "the crab" was smiling as she cleared the salad plates. Well, he seems to have gotten over whatever was bothering him, she observed.
She went to the kitchen to pick up their orders and saw only the veal marsala. "Where's the Maine lobster for table 26?" she called.
"We've been trying to find you to tell you· we' re out of lobster," said the chef. "Someone forgot to mark it on the out-of-stock board." Andrea glanced at the 86 board. Someone had hastily scrawled "lobster" on the bottom of the list, but she knew it hadn't said that when she had checked it earlier.
"Oh, great," said Andrea. "I'm not dealing with this. Where's Mr. Merrill?"
Richard listened to the server's explanation, then approached the table. "Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Hagadorn. I'm, sorry to have to tell you this, but we're all out of the Maine lobster because of our prom crowd. We do have lobster tails, though, and I would be happy to have the chef prepare our surf and turf special for you- -on the house, of course,:' said Richard.
Fran threw down her napkin. "I can't believe this!" she cried. "All I wanted was a nice lobster dinner and we've had nothing but trouble! I don't know whether I even want to stay here anymore." Seeing the manager's earnest face, she tried to calm down. "Okay, surf and turf. I'd like the filet medium rare."
Richard placed the order, then continued with his other duties, convinced he'd picked up the pieces of what could have been a bad scene. If he'd checked back, he would have learned that the "medium rare" filet came to the table well done. Fran, too hungry to fight about it, ate what she could and left the rest. She was subdued as the meal ended without even a little slice of cake to acknowledge her birthday. Usually Martin made certain the restaurant knew it was a special occasion. Oh well, nothing else had gone right. What did I expect? She thought.
When the server brought the check and asked how everything was, Martin blew his top with a tirade that brought Richard Merrill running from across the restaurant. "I can't believe you have the audacity to ask that question!" he yelled. "I have never had such lousy service in my life, and this has got to be the worst birthday dinner my wife, has ever had. This will be the last bill I ever pay in this place because it's the last time you'll ever see us here! And I'm going to tell my friends and business partners, too. You'll never hear the end of this disaster!"
Richard was astounded. All this because of a bad table and no lobster? What could have gone wrong?
Answer the following questions:

-Outline what went wrong with the Hagadorns' visit to Xavier's? Identify at least 10 (there may be more) service recovery opportunities that were missed by the restaurant staff. For each missed opportunity you list, provide a solution that could have prevented or minimized the problems experienced by the Hagadorns.
-Explain how the manager should respond on the spot to recover with the Hagadorns?
-Determine what steps does the manager needs to take to develop a strategy for ensuring quality guest service and service recovery.



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