Hard Rock’s Customer Service Crumbles

In an economic time when a customer is your most valuable asset, bad customer service is like a cancer.  If a manager at the Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City is representative of the health of that business, then that restaurant’s prognosis is terminal. (But thanks to the intervention of the assistant manager Todd following my post on Hard Rock's Facebook Wall, it looks like the restaurant might be on road to customer service recovery.  More on that in a future post.)

During our dinner this past Saturday, my wife’s purse was stolen…or at least that’s what one restaurant guest attempted to do. Thanks to a very observant and quick thinking young man at the next table, my wife’s purse was retrieved intact.

The tables were very close together.  A middle age couple apparently squeezed between the tables.  We didn’t think anything about it because customers and wait staff were doing it all the time. But the would-be thief managed to kick the purse out into a clear spot where she could bend over to pick it up.   Fortunately the young man at the next table observed the woman carrying two purses.  He bent over and asked my wife if she had had a purse on the floor.  When she noticed it was missing, the young man in his late 30s or early 40s ran after the woman.  My wife followed and I followed her.

Our friends at the table notified the waitress, who in turn notified the manager.  The manager supposedly called security and police but neither ever showed up.  After a short run down the boardwalk, we confronted the woman who acted like she didn’t know she was carrying this second purse.  Of course, my wife’s purse looked like a suitcase compared to the other one she was holding so an innocent mistake wasn’t likely.  She handed the purse back with all the contents intact but still no police or security.  She and her friend took off and we returned to the restaurant.

Never did security or the police or the manager ever come to our table to follow-up or apologize for the inconvenience.  Worse, no one from the restaurant even thanked the young man.   We notified the waitress that we wanted to pick up the couple’s check.  She seemed surprised we would offer to do that.  I’ll notch it up to youth and lack of experience in these matters, but one might think that a staff with good customer service skills and training might report that to the manager and suggest the restaurant might want to do something for their customer “hero.”  But no, they just ignored it.

Following the return of the purse, we resumed our dinner and for the next 45 minutes waited for security or the manager to visit.  Nothing, nada, not a peep.  Before leaving the restaurant, we asked to speak with the manager. She told us that “we handled the situation well and thought we wanted to keep it private.”  Yea, right.  When we told her that we paid for the guests’ dinner who chased down the thief, she told us, “she would have offered to pay for their drinks, but not their dinner.”  Of course, she did neither and didn’t bother to reimburse us either.

In the next post early next week, I'll highlight a few of the lessons a business like Hard Rock Cafe can learn from our customer service experience. But before you read them, what advice or comments would you share?


Ira S Wolfe