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# Review: Outback Steakhouse (Don't go there if you value customer service)

Blah blah blah, it's a large chain, blah blah blah, fill in consistant but never excellent food type review here, involving getting a steak that's actually medium rare (instead of medium) when I ordered rare, which is pretty good for a californian restaurant.

With that out of the way, we get to the meat of this review, and the part I wish to "get out there." If my experience causes 2 or 3 others to not eat there I'll feel vindicated.

So I was eating there with friends, and I decided to order a Dr Pepper. The waitress told me they didn't have it. My response was, "That's too bad."

To my surprise, the waitress continued. "It's worse, they got rid of Dr Pepper last week for Coke Zero. Now we have Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero."

That got my blood set to a slow boil, so I didn't really realize how upset I was at first. But it ate at me. That was wrong. They replaced a soda that was tasty (if not particularly healthy) with one that contains a known carcinogen. One designed to replace an already successful product (didn't Coke learn anything after that New Coke fiasco?)

I went to outback.com and I sent in the following comment:

   You got rid of Dr Pepper at this restaurant in order to serve coke zero.
   You already have diet coke. Why do you need coke zero? There's no
   difference between the two. They taste the same, they both have
   aspertame, they both suck. That was the last time I go to an outback for
   a while. Hopefully the next time I go to an outback you will have
   regained your senses and I can actually eat there again.

I sent that Friday evening, just before midnight. This morning (Tuesday) I got a response from Patrick Kruk. Mr. Kruk's email signature identifies him as a Joint Venture Partner.

   Thank you for your email. We will be reviewing our fountain selection
   after the current promotion we have partnered with Coke Zero that will
   end in April.
   Patrick Kruk

Oh dear. Mr. Kruk seems to have forgotten basically every customer service rule that has ever been written. He addresses my main complaint without doing a thing to address my anger, or even acknowledge it. In response, I sent back the following, which pretty much says everything I want to say on the matter.


   Thank you for your concern over an upset customer. I'm glad you showed 
   me such concern when I sent out an obviously upset email.

   Additionally, thank you for your condolences over my anger. It surely 
   soothes a wounded soul to see such compassion and understanding.

   Finally, thank you for taking the proper time to respond to me. There's 
   nothing worse than someone who takes 15 seconds to dash off an irrelevant 
   and irreverent response to a customer complaint.

   I'm glad I can feel good about eating at an Outback again, instead of 
   feeling like I have the choice between being "that guy" in the social 
   group and eating at an establishment that has disrespected me as a 
   customer and therefore doesn't deserve my business.

   In short, thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty in 
   providing excellent customer service and customer relations.


   PS, if you're as bad at judging the tone of this email as you were on my 
   last email, everything but this PS statement is intended as sarcasm, and 
   I have no intention of stepping foot into any Outback ever again.

posted at: 2008 Mar 11 15:06 UTC | category: misc | (story link)

Copyright © 2006-2008 Zach White