Do you have any companies with whom you refuse to do business? It seems a lot of us do, for any number of reasons. How about restaurants where you do not dine? Until the new smoking ban took effect July 2006, there were a few of those in my area that I simply avoided. But what about other reasons, such as lousy service, bad food, or the worst of the crimes, poor cleanliness? Are they enough to make you stay away from a restaurant long-term, and if so, for how long?
Tonight I gave the one restaurant that has remained on my "avoid" list, Ruby Tuesday, another try. Without going into a long diatribe about the incident, let's sum up my last experience there as not at all good, leaving me feeling personally insulted. It was enough to make me walk away for at least a year. After that long, my frustration had softened and my memory had faded enough to let me give the restaurant another chance to win back my patrionage. After two visits, which I felt was more than generous, back to the avoidance list they returned. Fast forward to this evening, about another year later, and my next attempt to see if they'd improved. I vowed to be optimistic and not go into the meal with a grudge. To their advantage, I had good company to keep me distracted from what I would have otherwise deemed a lengthy wait for my meal. The food quality was as good, as expected. Their menu has changed, and while some of the new selections sound good, I do miss the bit of nutritional info they once provided. I suspect someone in Marketing tried that trick and when sales of the 1000 or more calorie higher priced dishes sharply declined, the menus were in for a rapid redesign. The service was the downfall; the waiter had about as much personality as a dull brown brick and had to be chased down for drink refills. If the restaurant had every table full I'd have probably been more forgiving, but with numerous empty tables, why the disappearing act?
Since the food was reasonably good, I'll probably not flat refuse to go the next time family or friends want to eat at Ruby Tuesday. They've got another chance to redeem themselves. If the service remains poor next time, I'll vote with my dining dollars and give them to a more appreciative business.