The Extra Mile

We were having a good time. I vaguely realized that dinner was slow in coming, but it didn’t really matter.

It mattered to our server. She apologized for the delay, made sure that drinks were full and no-one had any unfulfilled needs. For half of our group (11 people from four families) the delay was a moot point anyway – their meal included the salad bar, so they were eating already.

We were on vacation. It was evening and there were no plans to be anywhere. Time was passing, but the conversation was interesting. We wanted to eat, but dinner wasn’t the highest priority.

Then the meals came, for most of us. A little longer wait for some than for others. No big deal, but as I said, it was for the staff at Ruby Tuesday’s in Biddeford, Maine.

Ruby Tuesday’s is a chain restaurant that serves good but not exceptional food at a reasonable price. Until this time I had never had a memorable meal there, or a bad one. To me it is a place to go when you have no particular cravings and can’t think of anywhere else. They have an extensive menu – there is sure to be something you will like. In some ways it reminds me of the Canadian chain Kelsey’s, but I like Kelsey’s food a bit more.

I do know it took 42 minutes for my daughter’s turkey burger to arrive. I know that because our server told us that as she was telling us that the burger was on the house. To her the delay was unacceptable. We hadn’t noticed it was that long – we were having a good time. My daughter knew everyone else was eating, but she was confident her food would eventually show up.

I was impressed. No excuses were offered, so I have no idea what the problem was in the kitchen. That wouldn’t have been my business anyway. Ruby Tuesday’s took responsibility and made things right.

Even more, we were sent away with a sweet taste in our mouths, literally. The manager came to our table and sad we could order some complimentary desserts to share, a token of apology from the restaurant.

I expect good service when I am dining out, but this was more than that. This was restaurant staff going out of their way to turn what could have been an unpleasant experience into a memorable one.

As I said, Ruby Tuesday’s is not my favourite place to eat. I’ll be back though – being treated so well pretty much guarantees it.

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