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Worst Customer Service Ever! Swiss Chalet

Published January 31, 2011 - 16 Comments

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t generally bitch and complain about customer service.  It usually takes a lot to piss me off, and even when that does happen, I just shut my mouth and carry on.  And eventually sit down at my computer and blog about it!

Today I went to one of my favourite family restaurants, Swiss Chalet.  I brought a friend with me who isn’t typically a fan of the place, but I convinced her that it wasn’t nearly as bad as she imagined it was.

Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve never had such poor customer service in my life.  I’m not just saying that.  It’s true.  Our server, Dale (hey, I call ’em as I see ’em), was completely uninterested in us, rude, and unprofessional.  I don’t exactly have a real high bar when it comes to what I consider to be “good” customer service.  If the server is friendly, checks back to see how things are, fills my water, and wishes me a good day… that’s pretty much standard for good service.  Of course, I’ve had EXCELLENT service which goes above and beyond that, but I’m satisfied with good service.  What we received today (well, technically yesterday, as it is now after midnight) could only be classified as poor service.  I was not happy.  Not happy at all.  I considered speaking to a manager at the end of the meal, but my tendency to bite my tongue prevailed.

So I filled out their customer satisfaction survey instead.

First, please understand… I am not someone who complains about poor service on a whim.  I have never filled out a customer survey form negatively before this, but my experience today was so poor, I feel that I must address it with someone.

I have never received such poor service anywhere.  Generally I love going to Swiss Chalet.  The food is very good, and I feel that I get great value for what I pay.  Today I brought along a friend of mine who generally does not like Swiss Chalet as much as I do, and by the time we walked out of the restaurant I was embarrassed for having brought her there.

Our server was curt, unprofessional, and rude.  He made no attempt to act friendly toward us.  He did not check with us once to see how things were.  He barely paid attention to us.  He somehow managed to set one of the finger bowls down on the table too hard, causing the water to splash over the table, and my friend and I. Worse, he didn’t realize that he did it, because he wasn’t even looking at us when he set the bowl down.  When we asked for something to clean the table with, he told us “Oh well, it’s only water”.  There was no apology.

My friend was not satisfied with her salad, and asked for it to be returned.  When he brought another one, he did not give her a fork, and simply walked away.  He did not come back to the table to ask how we were doing.  I eventually got up and took a fork from an empty table.

When I paid for the meal with debit, he handed me my slip, and turned and walked away.  He did not thank us.  He did not wish us a good day.  He did nothing.  My friend and I felt as though we were an inconvenience to him.  I was so embarrassed for taking my friend there, and know that I will never be able to get her to come back to that location with me.  I question whether or not I plan on going back.  Certainly I will NEVER allow myself to be served by that individual again.

As a last note, I have always enjoyed bringing my small children to Swiss Chalet.  I am so glad that they were not with me this time, because I would hate for them to have witnessed that kind of rude behaviour, and think that was acceptable in any environment.

I am quite dissatisfied, and have been discussing this with friends through Twitter and my blog www.whataboutstephen.com.  I want everyone to know that the restaurant is generally an excellent place to eat… but after today’s unfortunate experience, I suggest people think twice about going there.

Stephen Belyea