Sunday, October 21, 2007

1 Tip For A Successful Restaurant: Seat Your Damn Customers

Hooters has the best chicken wings. A couple of month ago, I had their Daytona Sauce. It's their Three Mile Island with a BBQ Sauce glaze. I convinced some friends last night to go and try it out. Now, if you’re ever in a city with a Hooters, I recommend checking it out - provided you don’t find girls in orange short-shorts offensive. But what I do like about Hooter’s is that the place has a certain energy about it - perhaps all the testosterone-laden men ooogling over the women!

All kidding aside, Hooters is festive and the waitresses are usually on their toes when it comes to customer service. In the dozens of times I’ve been to a Hooter’s, I’ve always received great service. But their franchise in Burbank, California leave a lot to be desired. Actually seating customers when their are tables open would be a good start. I was ticked off big time, so much, that I got pissed off enough to fire off a complaint to them on their website.

Here's the content of my online form complaint...

This has happened 3 times. Your Burbank, CA store is one of the worst run in the country. I arrived (like I've done previous times) at 6PM and was told there would be a half hour wait. I counted and there were 40+ people standing outside, and 11 tables empty inside. After 45 minutes and talking with a friend who had been waiting an hour, I decided to find out what was up with the "half-hour wait" your hostess promised. I was then told it would be another half to 45 minutes! Say what? They hadn't sat mre than 7 or 8 tables in that time. In looking around I counted 7 open tables. I asked to contact the manager, Greg Gutierrez and was told they would go get him. After 10 minutes, he came out. And by the way, the hostess told me to stand outside while I waited. I refused. Your manager, Mr. Gutierrez told me that they were short staffed, on a shift change and "really busy." How can you be really busy with 7 tables open? This has happened to me the past 3 times I've gone to this Hooters. The service and attitude of the people are extremely poor. The hostess told me she was "really busy" but had the time to chit-chat with another waitress who had answered the phone with a reservation from a guy named "Freddy" (who must be a regular) becuase they then BLOCKED OUT a table as the waitress said that "they should just call that Freddie's table." That ends it for me and this store. It is the worst Hooters in your franchise system and I hope you do something about the problem. This has happened to me 2 previous times and I will not go myself, nor reccomend to anyone that they visit this store. The Pasadena store, which appears much busier, never has waits this long or have I been treated like a second-class citizen as I have been at your Burbank store. By the way, after my complaint, and talking with the manager in front of the hostess, she began telling people the wait was an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes. It's sad to say that this store does not meet up to the standards of other Hotter stores like my favorites in Pasadena, CA and Melbourne, FL. Please feel free to contact me and I hope you give some attention to this complaint.

Nere's their automated response...

Thank you for contacting Hooters. This is an automated response. We appreciate your interest and look forward to replying to you shortly.


Now that the Burbank area is getting more crowded with more and more options, being "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" may not cut it. Service actually matters. Might Hooters go the way of Coyote Ugly? There are certainly plenty of budding entrepreneurs eager to snatch up Hooters' prime real estate. If Saturday night's horrible experience is any indication of the norm at the place, it may not be long before they get their chance.

I'm going to keep you all up to date on this one...I'm hoping for some free wings or something!