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“I’ll Be Back”…Maybe Not.

My take on a famous movie line sums up my feelings about continuing to patronize an Italian restaurant chain after attempting to place a phone order for pick up. The phone call lasted as long as it takes me to make chicken parmesan because of the number of times I was put on hold while the order taker checked with others at the establishment. I must confess I was asking for a few modifications to the regular menu.

The restaurant rep’s responses are in bold. “Hi. Can I help you?” “Placing an order to be picked up please.” “Okay. Let me get the person who does the take out.” 4 minutes on hold. “Can I help you?” “Yes please. I am placing an order to be picked up. May I have a lasagna?” “Salad?” “Yes please. A Caesar.” “Hold please.” 5 minutes on hold. “Caesar is extra. Do you still want it?” “Extra? It is just lettuce but yes please.” “Next item?” “Marguerita pizza please.” “Can I put you on hold?” “Sure.” 7 minutes on hold. “We don’t make those.” “Okay. Well, it is just a pizza with the marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella slices and fresh basil. You are an Italian restaurant so I assume you use those three ingredients. Do you think maybe the chef could just make one up?” “Let me ask.” 4 minutes on hold. “I asked the chef and we can’t do it.” There were two other examples of “we don’t have that, that is an upcharge or we can’t do that” but I won’t bore you. If I was asking for ostrich carpaccio then I could understand their inability to accommodate such an unreasonable request. I think large chains with their rigid guidelines to ensure uniformity on a broad scale, miss opportunities to showcase that they can still make us feel like we are dealing with a hometown favorite. I am sticking with Enzo’s from now on. He makes all his diners feel special and his veal ragu is to die for.

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Martha Humler

Martha Humler