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Swiss Chalet and the take out fiasco that broke the camel’s back

It pains me that the first time I’ll write a negative post, it has to be from someplace I used to love so dearly.

I worked at this restaurant while I was going to university. Back then, the management was tough on quality and service. We were told that a customer was not to want for anything, that they were here spending their hard-earned cash and we were to treat them with respect and the way we were expected to be treated.

Sadly is not that way anymore.

I’ve been there a few times since then, and the service and the quality have been going steadily worse. It’s not just one time. In this year, I’ve gone to the restaurant about 5 times, and ordered take out at least 3 times. Every single time, something has gone wrong with our meals.

But hey, I’m loyal, and most of the time, it was little things, like food coming late, forgotten items, no refills, slow service, food not being to par, etc. Most of the time I shrugged it off and let it be.

But last night, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I ordered the festive special for take out. For those of you who are not familiar with this, it’s a quarter chicken with a side, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a small pack of Linden Chocolates. Cheezy, I know, but I look forward to this every year. I told you I was loyal. I also ordered a side of their chicken spring rolls.

The order came 45 minutes later. The fries were cold, the chicken was dry and the spring rolls were greaser than ever. But what really, really upset me was my missing holiday special add-on. I paid for this! I finally had enough and was mad enough to call the customer service hotline. The guy who took my call was nice enough, and he told me that another holiday add-on will be delivered to me. But “since it’s late, if it doesn’t get to you today, CALL US TOMORROW”. Ok. who’s the customer here?? Why would I want stuffing and cranberry sauce by themselves THE NEXT DAY? Whatever. I was really mad by then, so I just said fine. Turns out that the guy did show up the same night, while I was in the bathroom, so my husband answered the door. Guess what? cranberry sauce, stuffing, NO CHOCOLATES. Seriously? Really?

I called the hotline again, and they were closed for the night. I called again this morning, and a nice girl answered my call. I told her that I was a loyal customer, that I’ve been going to this particular restaurant for almost 15 YEARS, that I hate to complain, but enough is enough! So wanna guess what her response was?

They will give me a $5 credit for a holiday add-on for my next meal.

Maybe writing this blog has spoiled me – maybe eating in some of Vancouver’s best and worst restaurants has given me a bit of perspective. But I know that this was not right. You mean to tell me that 15 years of patronage is worth $5 to this people? I felt like crying.

And then I got mad.

I told this very nice lady that her offer was not acceptable. That the minimum they could do, was to refund me for last night’s fiasco and an apology. She told me that she had to check with the restaurant manager. To make a long story short, after waiting on hold awhile, I ended up with a CREDIT that expires in 60-days, for the price of my meal last night. (minus taxes, delivery and tip, of course).

Will I ever use that credit? Right now I’m saying no. Has Swiss Chalet lost a customer? I would go with yes on that one.  Will they give a hoot? Probably not.


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