A month and a half ago, I wrote about how I had started to do Google Reviews. Well, six weeks later I am still writing them and I have already received my first “payoff” for doing so.
The only thing that went wrong for Sidney and I in Las Vegas last month, except for losing a small amount of money, was a pretty bad dining experience. Our last night there, Sid made reservations at Benihana. We both really enjoy hibachi and wanted to try the “granddaddy of them all” when it comes to that style of restaurant. I am not exaggerating when I say that my wife was over the moon excited to eat there.
Unfortunately, our visit to Benihana turned into a major snafu. I won’t get into the particulars (you can skip to the next paragraph for the link to my Google Review) but our reservation wasn’t honored, the hostess was extremely rude, and we didn’t even get to sit at the grill once we were seated hours later.
I am usually generous when it comes to Google Reviews. I heap praise rather than dish insults. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my more than 30 reviews. But I couldn’t hold back with our Benihana nightmare. Although written in a diplomatic tone, I did outline our evening and air out our frustrations.
A few days after I wrote the review, the restaurant replied to my review. The restaurant rep who responded apologized and asked that I visit a link to provide more information about our visit. I went along with it and answered questions about the date, time, and other details from that July night. I then forgot about it.
A couple weeks ago, I looked down at my phone after driving home from Pullman to a missed call from a Las Vegas area code. A voicemail was left so I curiously tapped the message and listened. It was one of the managers from Benihana. The voice on the other end asked me to call the restaurant back at my convenience and ask for April Silver.
I called back soon after I listened to the voicemail and the staff connected me with April. She thanked me for calling and mentioned that she read my review (ummmm…yeah…about that…). Before I could answer to what I wrote she genuinely apologized for our bad experience and started asking questions about the hostess we encountered that night and other details from our visit. She mentioned that they received a lot of complaints from that particular evening and shared with me the fallout from it.
April then turned the conversation toward “making it up” to us. She asked if we were locals. Nope. She asked if we had a Benihana location near where we lived. No. She asked if we planned to return to Vegas soon. Nah. After we struck out with those three questions I did suggest that sometime in the near future we might find ourselves in a location that has a Benihana restaurant and that we would be willing to give it another chance. “Great” she said and asked for my mailing address.
Yesterday in the mail I received the below letter and gift cards. Each gift card is good for $20. April mentioned in the letter that if we return to Vegas and visit the Benihana restaurant on the Strip (the one we went to) that she would make it special for us.
Not going to lie, we were disappointed in pretty much every facet of our first Benihana visit. But it was therapeutic to have the option to write out our qualms in a Google Review and then to be contacted by management added closure and vindication.
Thank you to Benihana and April Silver for making this right. It goes a long way with us. Don’t Blink.