December 2017 Ruminations & Ronnifications
As 2017 draws to a close, let me take this opportunity to relate some very interesting stories that have taken place through the years, all of which would be hard to forget:
A while back, we were encountering continued walkouts (aka unpaid checks) in three Ben's locations. And, for months, we tried our best to imitate Inspector Clousseau to find the culprit. After much debriefing, we finally realized that the persons were chain smokers and, by the time they left, the ashtrays were filled with cigarette butts. At that time, we had separate seating for the smokers, so we were able to isolate who it might be. Since I personally spend most of my time at the Greenvale location, we used that spot as “home base” for our detective work. And, we finally determined that it was an older couple who always ordered our hanger steaks (Why not? The food was, in effect, free). On this couple’s final visit to our establishments, the server, the dining room manager and I stationed ourselves by the register, outside the restroom and at the host station. Finally, we caught the culprits and, as I held them in the store, the cashiers were instructed to call the police. What was the response from the customers? "Ronnie, we are such good eating customers!" to which I responded, "Sure, you're good customers ... you never paid for the meals!!!” (And, truth be told, only the Good Lord knows for how long)
In another instance, it was Thanksgiving and we were crazy busy – both in the restaurant and with delivery of Thanksgiving orders. Late afternoon, I received a frantic phone call from a woman who said she needed a whole cooked turkey. I said, "You want to order a turkey, now?" She explained that her cat had eaten most of the turkey she had prepared for the day. Being the customer service person I am known to be, I came through and even offered to deliver the order, never truly believing the story was true. Upon return to the restaurant, our delivery person explained that he had indeed seen the mostly eaten cooked turkey with a bloated cat laying in the kitchen barely able to move. I guess that is what we call a Fat Cat, not a fat liar!
See ya at the deli,
Postscript: Cindy and I look forward to visiting all our long-term (and new) customers in Florida when we travel down. I’ll be behind the deli counter at Ben's Boca Raton from December 21 through January 4.