Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Complaining about your food... Our Zizzis complaint...

Italian food is said to be healthy from a 'natural' point of view. All food is cooked fresh and contains wonderful flavours.

When I go out locally and I dont mind indulging in a few pasta carbs then I go to zizzi's. Now even though this is a chain the food is cooked fresh and is great for a special treat.

Our first visit to Zizzis was not a great one,we had just moved into the area and were starving after a hard day of moving boxes. We had our meals and half way through my mum found a piece of a plate in her food? I think that was enough to put us all off our meals.

The second time we visited we waited over an hour and a half for our food. When we got our mains it was the wrong order so after another 20 minutes we received our order BUT it was cold. The waitress acting very stroppy to us and we had a really bad meal yet again, so we wrote a letter of complaint to the manager.

He was most apologetic and kindly offered us a free 3 course meal and bottle of wine if we came back. We took this offer up (I mean who wouldn't) I have to say the meal was perfect, its a shame that we had to complain to get such great service. We were so impressed although the meal was free we left a £20 tip.

I think this went down well as now everytime we go in there they remember us and we get free desserts or coffees. My question is should we have to complain or moan to receive a great meal now a days. This has happened to us several times but we have been too polite to complain.

If we were in Italy the Italians would not serve food unless it was floorless.

In the states if we complained they encourage it as they want to serve great food to earn bigger tips.

So is it a British thing? Are we too scared to complain?


Anonymous said...

A brilliant post Rach, and one I agree with. We are a nation of complainers thats a fact, but far too often people forget to put pen to paper when things go really well.

I too have been to Zizzi's on two occasions with work in Norwich and both times it was awful and bad service with staff attitudes contributing to the problem.

Its not for me! I wouldn't have gone back for a third time - you done well and it worked out great for you.

We went to a Spanish Tapas in Great Yarmouth which was dreadful. So much so I had to complain. We had a party of 45 people so we packed the small restaurant and everyone had poor service! The staff were dreadful and the food rubbish and cold and not enough of it! I left an 'all you can eat' tapas feeling hungry!

I complained to the manager and never got a reply. So I didn't go back. Shame really as the place had potential.

Rachel Ducker said...

Sorry to hear that perhaps you should try a follow up letter?

Duckey x

Zion said...

Words cannot quite express the chaos we experienced at our staff Christmas meal on Thursday at the Zizzi branch in Exeter. I can't even began to convey the many things that went wrong! And words don't often fail me, since I'm an English/language teacher in a secondary school! I have eaten at many restaurants over the years and have never experienced such decorum before.

To list just a few of the issues we had here:

1. We booked the £19.95 Christmas meal at Zizzi with the knowledge that it would come with a glass of champagne each, the price of which was apparently included in the menu as listed here:

However, at the end of the evening we were presented with a bill charging is £119 for the champagne! The manager of the Exeter Zizzi branch insisted that we pay it, but I don't believe that we should have done so. I have suggested to Zizzi that they make it clear on their website and Christmas menu that the £19.95 price quoted does NOT include the price of the champagne even though it is listed as part of that menu. I believe this is false advertising and I will be following it up with the advertising bureau that deals with such matters.

Zion said...

2. Due to the apparent confusion caused amongst the Zizzi staff regarding veganism, I went into Zizzi on the day of the meal to clarify that they would, in fact, be able to provide us with suitable meals and a dessert. I was told that the matter was in hand, and that Zizzi staff would 'buy any dessert for me, at my request'. I gave them an easy option by asking for Swedish Glace ice cream, as it is available in the local Sainsbury's store not far from Zizzi. However when I arrived for the meal at 7pm I was told by the manager that no one had picked up the dessert, so they'd bought sorbet from M&S for us instead. I said that this was fine. Then the manager told me that my meal and my husband's meal would be 'refunded due to all the misunderstandings we'd had regarding our meals'. I thanked her for this, and told her that we had already paid a £10 deposit each, and she repeated that this would be refunded. It then came to the dessert. My husband and I were given sorbet along with everyone else, which we trusted and ate before realising that it was actually the same sorbet being eaten by our peers: NOT the special vegan sorbet bought especially for us. I hoped that it was a vegan option anyway as we'd been told by the staff that it was vegan when it was given to us- my colleague having reiterated to them that our desserts 'were the vegan ones', we were assured also. Imagine my dismay when I returned home and perused the list of ingredients on their website: it clearly states 'Sorbet contains milk proteins.'
I.e. NOT suitable for vegans! After all the fuss they made about it being vegan, I was momentarily appeased- and as a result of this trust my husband and I have had our core beliefs violated. Imagine if it had been an allergen we'd been dealing with and not an ethical life choice- what then? We'd quite possibly be suing them for hospitalisation. I am currently seeking further advice regarding what should be done about this.
Further, after the bill had been paid (it did not have my meal and my husband's meal listed on it), I went to the manager for the refund of our deposits. She said she'd 'get us the money', however she then began conversation with a table of customers for almost 10 minutes before I decided to interrupt her, since our colleagues had already gone onto the next location, but she seemed very surprised to see me and stated that my 'colleague who had organised the meal was meant to return the money to me'. I believed her of course, but when I went on to the pub and asked said colleague for the money, she said that Zizzi had kept the ALL the deposits, and that if she refunded the money to me then it would have to come out of her own pocket, as they'd had trouble covering the meal anyway due to the unexpected cost of the champagne. She also said that the manager had told her that the whole reason that my 27 colleagues were charged for the champagne was to make up the price of my husband and I not paying for our meals (which I don't believe even makes sense). This in reference to a refund we hadn't even asked for, which was offered to us as an apology BEFORE our dietary requirement had even been violated. Nice.

I could go on, but I've wasted enough time dealing with this ridiculous debacle already.

I've emailed the Zizzi HQ about this, but not sure what to do next. Any ideas on what I CAN do?


Rachel Ducker said...

Zion, it sounds like you had a terrible time! On more than one occasion which I am sorry to hear, it is such a shame that your social occasions can be spoilt by food establishments. I have been back to a zizzis since in Norwich and the 02 arena and had no problems. I guess everyone has an off day due to staff etc... but in your case this was misleading and I would keep on their case until you are refunded in some way!? Let me know how you get on best of luck Duckey x

Transcience said...

Thanks Rachel.. I'm working on it, but they seem to be ignoring me now! :( Zion x

Greg said...

It is disappointing that the saying 'the squeaky wheel get's the grease' seems to sum up the state of affairs in the high street chain restaurants. I've had of similar problems in the Prezzo restaurants but, as with you, everything was fine after a strongly worded complaint letter and now we enjoy a meal there quite often.