Saturday, November 13, 2010

You Know It When You See It – Kudos to Cuban Pete’s Restaurant in Montclair, NJ

Sometimes it seems as if good to great customer service went the way of the dinosaur; yet every now and again you see a glimmer of what good to great customer service looks like and more importantly feel like. I had such an experience this past Friday night.

Earlier on Friday two of my co-workers recommended that I go to a restaurant establishment in Montclair, NJ known as Cuban Pete’s. They both spoke highly of the food and forewarned me that it could get crowded. True to their description, the restaurant was indeed standing room only. My wife Yvette and I proceeded to find out how long the wait would be and was told by the maitre d' that it would be a forty five minute wait. Based on the number of people standing around, forty five minutes seemed to be reasonable, so we decided to wait. We patiently waited and waited and waited without our names being called to be seated. In the mean time we witnessed couples who had entered after us be seated in a relatively short period of time. The owner asked why we were still waiting and we told him that we had not been called as of yet. He then checked the list and as it turns out an oversight had occurred and our names were skipped as the maitre d'  had continued to move forward, in fact she was on the next page. This is where the great customer service came in. The owner of Cuban Pete’s felt so terrible that he told me and my wife that our dinner would be on him. He said that he would pick up the tab for our having to wait longer than we were told because of the oversight of the maitre d'.

It was an extremely wise business move and great customer service gesture. While it cost him sixty dollars for the meal, it brought him much more in public relations and word of mouth. He had the business insight to know that we would share our bad experience and drive customers away instead of recommending his establishment as I am now doing as evidenced by this blog post. I am indeed sharing my wonderful experience with others who I highly recommend to patronize Cuban Pete’s at 428 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, NJ. The food was as excellent as promised by my co-workers. I had the Red Snapper and it was so good. While I was thanking the owner for his generosity, he extended his generosity even more with a fifty dollar gift certificate for a future visit. He was a man of principle. Yvette and I could truly feel his sincerity and he apologized profusely for the error and our extended wait. In these times, gestures like that are rare but when you think about it, it makes extremely good business sense.

Certainly good customer service is so badly needed and desired that when it is experienced it is acknowledged almost with disbelief ("I can't believe I just received great customer service"). My fraternity brother Herman “Skip” Mason who is the General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., via Twitter posted “Shout out to Detroit Marriott Room service for prompt service! Healthy breakfast turkey sausage, egg whites, fruit and wheat toast. Pardon me...” Once again because good customer service is so rare, the need was felt to acknowledge it. Good customer service ought to be the rule and not the exception. Kudos to the owner of Cuban Pete’s for his principles, sincerity and good business sense. If you are in the Montclair, New Jersey area I encourage you to dine at Cuban Pete’s- 428 Bloomfield Avenue - Montclair, NJ. (973)746-1100/ (973)746-2100. My wife and I will certainly be going back.

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