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Word of mouth works!

A month or so ago, I was on Cliff Roles’ radio show and he and I got into a conversation about service at local eateries in Sarasota. I chimed in about my experiences at the Word of Mouth restaurant on Osprey Avenue saying that I’d stopped going to the restaurant because of the repeatedly very unfriendly welcome my guests and I always received.

photo courtesy of WOM website

photo courtesy of WOM website

I wasn’t the only person who felt that way — I knew a few other folks who’d had similar experiences and were just kind of either suffering in silence or avoiding the restaurant altogether. The food, we all agreed, was always very good, and the location can’t be beat (even if and when the crowds are big!).

But still, I refused to go back because, honestly, the servers all ranged between indifferent, to acting like they were doing patrons favors by waiting on them, to being flat-out shocking in their rudeness. In fact, one day, the person who approached the table I was at (with others) was so rude and unfriendly, we actually got up and left the restaurant without even ordering. Yes, it was truly that bad.

Look, I’ve been a waitress, a busgirl, a cashier, at restaurants many times in my life. I know how hard the work can be, so I’m not expecting blue birds singing and little Miss or Mister Sunshine to greet me at a restaurant, but basic civility is required and a smidgen of warmth and appreciation for customers is the little extra that keeps people loyal and coming back.

Cliff, who is a big fan of WOM, said he’d never had a bad experience there, but that he was going to pass my comments along to the manager or owner whom he said he knew.

So … it’s with pleasure that I report that I returned to Word of Mouth on Osprey again this past weekend — after having passed it by for nearly six months, and lo and behold, the welcome and the service and the attitude was completely different!

The very employee who’d been the one to cause my party to leave the last time I’d been there, greeted my guest and I — with a smile and a welcome. That same person waited on us as well and the service was great and friendly throughout. It was a completely different experience and a great one. And, on top of all that, the food was sooooo yummy. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed the brunches there.

Now, was this a great example of word of mouth getting back to Word of Mouth? Did Cliff Roles, who had told me on air that he was going to mention my experience to the WOM management, indeed pass along my feedback? And if so, did management take it seriously enough to pass the feedback along to the servers, and if so, then, did the servers in their turn take it seriously and get a little attitude adjustment? If so, I guess word of mouth really does work. And if so, I have a new and healthy respect for the management and the servers — because it can be awfully easy to dismiss criticism or shrug it off — especially when you’ve got a restaurant that is routinely full up with patrons. It takes guts and character to say, hey, this is good to know even if it’s only one person who feels this way, and let’s do something about it.

Or maybe, it was just serendipity — ? I don’t know, but whatever caused the change — I was very appreciative, and based on this recent experience, I’ll be back to WOM … and for those of you who wrote to me after that on-air program to say you’d had similar experiences at WOM, I hope you’ll give this local business another try too.

Is it Sunday yet?!

Posted on August 18th, 2010Comments RSS Feed
2 Responses to Word of mouth works!
  1. Mmm, eggs benedict, champagne, and you..

  2. Again real smooth JW……………… MC would rather take the cats to breakfast then have you leering at her over eggs benedict.:-)


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