Question of the week: Restaurant make-goods

We will definitely be going back to Bluebird Bistro now.

Over the years, I’ve had several experiences at restaurants where the service or the food quality was so poor, a complaint was in order. In some cases, managers sincerely apologized and tried to make it right by reducing the bill or offering a free dessert.

But not all managers handle problems so well. Some just grumble an apology or casually imply that the only real problem is your unrealistic expectations.

Last weekend, I was having brunch in one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City — Blue Bird Bistro. I’ve been there several times and never had a problem, but Father’s Day morning started off poorly. We arrived just as the restaurant opened and were told they were out of syrup and orange juice, very bad news to those in our party who’d planned on French toast. An employee was running to the store and would return “eventually,” we were told.

But it got worse. Our food took more than an hour to arrive, and once it did, it was all cold. We were grumpy, hungry and late for our next activity.

My sister complained, and eventually, the owner came upstairs to apologize. She offered several explanations and told us she was going to issue us gift certificates for a future visit. She also sent up a round of free mimosas and took 20 percent off of our bill.

Here’s the shocker: She handed us three gift certificates on the way out the door, one for each adult in our party. And each gift certificate was for $50. We walked away with $150 worth of gift certificates, which is more than we spent on the whole brunch.

The experience got me to thinking about other dining disasters I’ve had and the various ways managers have handled them. My question this week: What ways have restaurants tried to make good with you over the years? Have you ever had a situation that was handled particularly well or particularly poorly? And what is your expectation of a restaurant when something goes wrong?

Tell me your story in the comments section below.