Disappointing experience but, eventually, impeccable follow-up

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Kolby398's review of Jamie's Italian

★★★☆☆

“Disappointing experience but, eventually, impeccable...”

Written on: 10/03/2016 by Kolby398 (1 review written)

Update 21 December 2016

See below for full story.  Following my complaint about the initial patronising 'apology' I was contacted by a different person from Jamie's - what a breath of fresh air.  Not only did she bother to hand write a genuine letter of apology to my mother-in-law but she completely understood my complaint.  She reiterated my point: mistakes happen, such is life, but just apologise and make good - don't try to explain it away.  Here is a person who actually understands the concept of Customer Service and Complaints Handling.
We were offered, and accepted, a replacement meal for the whole party which we enjoyed at the Liverpool restaurant.
The Liverpool experience was good: the food was delicious and the staff could not have been friendlier or more helpful.  The Manager was particulary kind and attentive.
Thank you, to the lady in Richmond and to the staff in Liverpool, for restoring my faith in Jamie's.

March 2016
Forgotten meal; undercooked chicken; patronising attitude

What a thoroughly disappointing experience we had at Jamie’s Italian, Richmond last Friday evening (4th March 2016).
I had been there a few years ago and had had a wonderful meal, excellent service and a really great time so thought we should go again as we had a special birthday to celebrate.
Firstly, the whole place looked a little shabby when we went in: no doubt the ‘urban/ distressed’ aesthetic is very fashionable but the chairs they gave us to sit on looked like some scruffy old classroom chairs with metal frames and scuffed, plain wooden backs and seats – not comfortable at all. Already this was a problem for my in-laws who suffer from a bad back and bad hips respectively: we managed to find some chairs that were very slightly padded, so were a little less of a torture to sit on, but that was already a bad start.
We had a very nice waiter; acceptable starters (delicious squid) but then it all began to go horribly wrong.
We had deliberately booked an early table (6.30pm) as my in-laws had traveled down from Liverpool that day and we knew they would be exhausted. The main meals arrived…all except my mother-in-law’s. Eventually the waiter, apologising profusely, came over to tell my mother-in-law that he had forgotten to order her meal. The rest of us had no choice but to begin our meals so already the evening was beginning to feel disjointed.
My mother-in-law’s meal arrived some time later (chicken from the ‘grill’ section of the menu) just as the rest of us were finishing our meals. My mother-in-law took one bite and she could tell straight away something was wrong: it was clearly under-cooked. The waiter was, again, very apologetic and asked if she would like anything else; she didn’t want a thing and it was obvious that the mouthful of ‘gungy’ chicken had completely put her off and had ruined her appetite.
A little later a woman (a manager?) came over to the table and crouched down to speak to my mother-in-law: she told her she had looked at the chicken and that although it was a little pink, that was because it was thigh meat so it wasn’t actually under-cooked. Oh please! My mother-in-law is in her seventies and, we can safely say, has eaten a considerable amount of chicken over her lifetime: she knows what texture cooked chicken should have; she knows when chicken has not been cooked properly and she did not make that judgment just by looking at it - the poor woman took a big, hideous mouthful.
We chose this restaurant because it was part of the celebrations for my husband’s 50th birthday: his family – including his twin sister – had traveled down from Liverpool for the weekend and we wanted to take them somewhere special, somewhere we could guarantee the food would be memorable and delicious. Not only did a meal get forgotten, but then it arrived under-cooked. To add insult to injury, my mother-in-law was then unforgivably patronised and told that, effectively, she didn’t know what she was talking about as the chicken wasn’t under-cooked at all. (I’m damn sure the woman who expressed this view so vehemently didn’t taste it!)
To say that these events ruined our evening is an understatement: what a huge disappointment. They did remove the cost of the under-cooked chicken from the bill but, really, the whole dining experience was a disaster and we all left feeling utterly deflated. The evening was memorable alright, but for all the wrong reasons.
Do yourselves a favour: don’t eat there!

Update 22 September 2016

Following contact with Jamie's in Richmond regarding the above experience, I must say that their 'complaint handling' began impeccably.
Firstly, I was contacted by a helpful, competent and understanding lady and she seemed to listen carefully.
A replacement meal was offered, along with apologies, and I asked them if they would also write a letter of apology to my mother-in-law, which they readily agreed to do.
The so called letter of apology was duly sent: talk about adding insult to injury!  I have never read a more patronising, not to say insulting, missive.  It merely apologised for the way the chicken was 'explained' to my mother-in-law, repeating yet again that thigh meat is pink in colour and it didn't mean it wasn't cooked.  It totally ignored the fact that my mother-in-law judged the meat by taking a big mouthful and experiencing the unmistakable texture of uncooked chicken.

I remain deeply disappointed at the way our evening was deflated on such a special occasion and even more disappointed by the way in which my mother-in-law was unforgivably patronised, not just in person, but in writing too, just for good measure.

The point is, mistakes happen - such is life.  How much easier it is to accept a mistake if responsibility is accepted and a genuine apology is made.  The manager of this restaurant could take a lesson from the waiter who forgot the meal in the first place and apologised sincerely for his mistake.  Just don't pretend no mistake was made, patronise your customers and try to explain away your error.



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