First off... I always liked Outback Steakhouse, and up till now have probably dropped a few grand in their establishments... but they won't get another dime outta me, and here's why......
Several months ago, I took my youngest daughter (who is 8) to the Outback in Altoona,Pa. We ordered our food & drinks. We ate our appetizers, and then our food came out... a few bites into our meals, my daughter had to use the Ladies Room. It was at the other end of the restaurant, and you had to cut through the bar area to get to it, so I escorted her. We were only gone a few minutes, and when we returned, our table had been bussed (despite the fact that our meals were barely touched, and our coats were still on the seats at our booth).
I saw a busboy (who looked like a cast member from 'Dude,Where's My Car? ') nearby, so I asked him if he'd bussed our table. He removed his Ipod earphones, and said "Oh,man..I thought you guys left.." Our barely eaten meals were still in the top tub of his cart. I pointed to them and asked him if it looked like we were done.. and if the coats in the booth might have been an indication we were still there.
He said "Dude.. I'm really sorry. Let your waitress know what happened.." Plugged his earphones back in & went back to bussing more tables. I told our waitress. She was clearly upset with the busboy's stupidity, and got the Manager. The Manager comes over, and asks "What seems to be the problem?" I explained what had happened, and his response was "...and just what would you like me to do about it?" I said, "How about doing your job...".
He just smirked, shrugged his shoulders & walked away... I couldn't believe it!! The waitress kept apologizing... she couldn't believe it either. I stupidly & begrudgingly paid the bill.. namely because I didn't want to cause a scene.. especially in front of my daughter.. and left.
Since then, I have complained to Outback several times, and get no response of any kind. I'm not bucking for a free meal... all I'd like is some sort of acknowledgement that I'd been wronged. An apology from someone higher up the ladder than a waitress would be nice. From the looks of things, Outback handles its legitimate complaints with the same nonchalant & incompetent manner that 'Manager' handled mine.... Who knows... maybe that stoner busboy is 'Management Material'....
WEBSTER, TEXAS -- I was hired at the Outback located at 481 W. Bay Area Blvd. Webster, TX 77598. I was told to dye my hair because my roots were showing. I said that it was not a problem and that I would have it done immediately. This was on a Monday. I was told to come back on Wednesday at 3 pm to take a test over the menu. I studied and I was prepared. My brother was in town from Indianapolis, so I sent him on a fishing trip for the day since I had this test. An hour before the test I received a text message from the Outback trainer. She was TEXTING, how unprofessional, to "remind me" that my test was Thursday at 3pm.
She sent me a text message saying that was the date all along. I called her because this was incorrect, and if she needed to change the date at least she could have called and told me what happened. She then explained that she was busy and had other plans. How was this my fault? Then, she was irritated at me. I could hear it with her attitude and the tone of her voice. She set the date. I wrote it down when she told me. When I went in the following day to take the test she escorted me to a booth where I could take the test.
Then, she told me again that ** the manager said I needed to dye my hair. I stated that I had just dyed it. I pulled my hair to show her the roots under the light. I started to take the test. I was almost done when ** the manager came out and said that I needed to dye my hair. I was confused so I asked why.
He spoke to me in a tone that I did not care for. He said that my hair was too pink and that no one has the color of red I had in my hair. It had to be natural. I then asked if he wanted it more brown. I was trying to find out if I could still have red hair. He grabbed the test out of my hands, and continued to yell at me. He taunted me saying that, "You didn't even have the job 3 days and you're fired." He was smiling about it. He enjoyed humiliating me. I could tell that everyone there was scared of him.
The bartender that was there hid behind the computer and gave me the I'm sorry look. I was only trying to understand what color was acceptable. He talked to me in a manner that was simply unacceptable. I really needed the job, but I could never work for a person like that.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Glazed Pork loin served less than 1 inch in width. Pork loins are at least 2 to 3 inches in width. When I am not dining out, I am cooking in my kitchen. Pork loin is a favorite of mine. Even in the picture in the Outback menu the pork loin is 3 to 4 inches in width. Seriously, what I received were cubes less than the size of a quarter. How embarrassing! The server actually brought it out.
The cook should have said the store was out of Pork loin instead of creating some pork chop substitute. The server should have rejected the plate. The manager should have agreed the plate was incorrect instead of lying about the size of a pork loin cut. Our meal was $100 and consisted of the glazed pork loin plate, the filet and shrimp plate, the fettucini and shrimp, the salmon plate, plus wine and salads. The meal came out late because the cook was trying to figure out how to create the pork loin from whatever was in the kitchen. I returned the pork loin plate and the manager took it off the bill. UNBELIEVABLE! From Outback?
Never have I had a bad experience until now. The food was cold because the cook was trying to come up with something that looked like pork loins. The manager offered a bull story about the size of a pork loin, adding insult to injury. The cook and the server completely failed to control quality. The manager failed to admit the failure and provide an honest and sincere apology and acknowledge publicly the failure. Either stick with the maintain stays on the menu and stay away from fancy new menu items, or train your people to say they don't have the menu item, or do it right!
I dine out 10 to 12 times per month at $15 to $25 plate restaurants and have for over 10 years. The people I work with and socialize with dine out frequently... I'll be commenting about the poor experience and the declining quality at Outback. Outback has a serious problems! I believe McDonald's went through a decline several years ago and had to return to the basics- to fix the quality of the experience. Learn from their past.
SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA -- On our way home from a family vacation in Washington, DC we passed through Springfield, VA and decided to eat at Outback Steakhouse. We usually go to the one in Greenville, SC so we were happy to find one on the way home. When we went we had a rude waiter and a few other things happen that really got me angry. Not the service we are used to from Outback. Well, when I got home I decided to let the company know because I would want to know if it was my business. I didn't think anyone would care to tell you the truth. I just did it to make myself feel better. Well, was I wrong.
I immediately got a phone call from the proprietor at the Outback in VA. Her name was Donna Rambler and she was the nicest woman I have ever encountered. Wonderful manager! She seemed to really sympathize with my story and truly gave me the feeling she was sorry it happened. I was surprised she seemed so upset by the incident. She apologized for what happened and assured me she would talk to the people who were rude and I believed she would. I hung up the phone not angry anymore, thinking it was just a bad night.
Well, 4 days later I received a box in the mail and it was filled with cookies and brownies, beautifully packaged! I was SHOCKED to see it was from Outback! In it was a letter apologizing again for the service. I also received a comp ticket to go back to Outback on them. Unbelievable! I have never had a company make me feel truly appreciated. We went tonight to dinner and sure enough, everything was perfect. It really made up for the last time.
I thank Outback for having such wonderful customer service and am truly surprised. You don't think companies out there care anymore but this one does. My hats off to Outback for realizing that I will be a customer for life and will tell everyone I know what a great company they are. I wish more companies had customer service like this!
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Ate at Outback Mission Valley, San Diego, California today (April 1, 2009), and the joke was on me. Ordered the basic pasta off the value meal $9.99. There was a chicken add on option of 2.99 more. Asked, how much more for Salmon, was told just $1.00! I said, "that seems too cheap, even if it is $3.00 (the price of the chicken) I am OK with this, however, if it is any more, I do not want the salmon. Instead, just bring me the basic pasta." When the bill arrived, I was charged for the basic pasta plus $14.99 for the Salmon!!! What happened to just a buck. I brought it to my server's attention, and was told that he rang it in this way to save me money.
What???? This did not save me, he apologized and I was told he would correct it. He came back, and took $2.00 off the bill. I told him this does not make it right... he said any more and his manager needs to make the correction. His manager came by, only to tell me that it was my fault for ordering salmon, and that the correct price is an additional $14.99. Then he went on to say he would correct it just this once. He came back with a new bill, that took $7.49 off the bill, but it was still not correct. I paid the overpriced bill, and decided to cross outback off the list of fair good value restaurants.
I do not need to get upset, nor do I need an idiot manager to tell me what the price is, when his servers are ignorant and give out the wrong price. I told the manager to educate the server, but he felt the need to tell me his pricing. In any event, Outback Mission Valley San Diego is over billing - a form of stealing. I overpaid and am totally not happy, that is why I wrote this blog. I know that Outback lovers will continue to go there, so remember to check your bill, and when you are over billed, that is the price you pay for enjoying Outback. There is no value there, they will cheat you if they can - with a smile.
TURNERSVILLE, NEW JERSEY -- On 3/6/09 I went to the Turnersvill, NJ Outback Steakhouse with my wife, daughter & her husband to celebrate my daughter's birthday. I'm a 54 year old, semi-retired male. We first went to the Road House Restaurant but the wait was too long. We decided to go to Outback instead. We had to wait almost 30 minutes to get inside. Right away the problems started. They seated us at a table that was too small for 4 large adults. Also it was unstable and it rocked. I asked to be moved but they said "no other tables were available, take it or leave it."
The start of things to come on very poor customer service. We finally got our food after 20 minutes and my mashed potatoes were ice cold. I waited for a waiter for a few minutes, nobody came, so I took my dish back to the kitchen. After 5 more minutes of watching my family eat without me, they finally brought back the mashed potatoes and they were only semi-warm. The lady told me they have given me the old batch of potatoes first, like I wanted to really hear that comment.
As we ate the table rocked back and forth every time someone cut their steak or chicken. I was so upset, I hardly ate anything including the semi-nuked mashed potatoes. No one came buy to offer any apologies or attempted to remedy the situation.
My daughter was so upset, she walked out of the restaurant crying. I then asked to see the manager and his name was **. Where did you get this guy at? He was and is the worst customer service person you could have hired. I told him of all my troubles and he only offered me 2 free appetizers on my next visit. I said "next visit, I'll never step foot in another Outback restaurant again in my lifetime." I said "the least you should do is comp the dinner free of charge and give my family another free dinner on the house. Then maybe I could re-evaluate this chain."
He then told me I have a rotten attitude and to stop talking and listen to him. He didn't want to hear my side of the story. He said we are done talking and to leave his restaurant. I was so upset when I got home I called the restaurant and asked to speak to ** again and I told him I was contacting my Chase Credit Card company and reversing the charges of $95.00. He started hollering at me again and said never to come back to his restaurant again. You seriously have to investigate this manager and provide counseling and therapy. How can you ever hire a cruel and demeaning person like this in the public eye?
NASHVILLE - RIVERGATE AREA, TENNESSEE -- Last night, my partner and I went for dinner at Outback in the Nashville, TN Rivergate Area (Madison). We were seated in the smoking bar area. As soon as we sat down and ordered a beer, the table of two men beside us started making crude comments about gays. We are both professionals and were dressed as such. We weren't being "gay", flamboyant, or causing a scene. But the comments continued and increased in intensity as the minutes passed and we became more and more uncomfortable.
The salads arrived, the waitress asked if we needed anything else. Not wanting to provoke the table next us, we quietly said "yes". Anyone in the restaurant would have known otherwise as the table beside us had already raised everyone's brow more than once or caused bar patrons to turned around to see who was yelling such slanderous remarks. At one point the man primarily responsible, turned around and looked at me and asked if I was using my fork and could he have it. For why, I do not know. But I said I was going to use it. He turned back around and said "**!" No one from the Outback staff ever approached the table or asked them to keep their voices down.
The comments continued from the table beside us. (At that point I unlocked my cellphone and had 911 ready to dial.) Before we could finish our salads, the man next to us yelled "G.D. Homosexuals" across the bar and a young mother, who was taking her child to the restroom, gasped in horror and snatched her child into the restroom. Just about that time our waitress came by and we told her to ask the Manager to meet us outside.
Leaving our beer, salads, and undelivered entrees behind we went outside and waited. When the Manager finally appeared, we informed him of what happened. He said this is the first he had heard of it. We told him that the verbal gay bashing had gone on for nearly 40 minutes and it was escalating to the point we became fearful, didn't want to provoke a hate crime and decided to leave. He had no excuse for his staff nor did he seem to care much. In hindsight, we should have probably filed a police complaint, but I'm glad we didn't stick around and become a hate crime victim.
44124, OHIO -- I've been going to the Outback in Lyndhurst, OH, for a while now, since I live in the neighborhood. They have consistent problem with preparing well done steaks and it seems that there is no cure for it. For some strange reason, it's always "bleeding" and red and rare/medium rare, but never well done. Looks like their cooks have serious issues with comprehending what well done means. And this time we went to celebrate my birthday, and it was a disaster (as usual).
I had to return my steak, and then I waited for 15 min, and then they bring my steak back and it's all burned. And I ordered a 16 oz steak, and what they brought back was about 8 oz (I guess the other half of it burned completely). By the time they brought it back I wasn't hungry anymore anyway, so I canceled the whole order, and the waitress got all mad. So we had to wait another 20 min for a desert.
Everybody else was OK since they ordered pasta and chicken, and I was all upset since I ended up eating bread and salad. And I have to deal with this pretty much every time I go there. Why cannot you leave the steak on the grill for a few extra minutes and get it done right the first time??? Oh, and try to make sure you don't hire psycho waitresses, that would be helpful too!
TAMPA, FLORIDA -- Tampa (Henderson Street). Dec. 27 found hair in salad, and Manager saw it and comped $9.99 of $78 total bill. When my family was not with me I called and told him I was surprised he did not comp entire bill. I could have loudly complained as the restaurant was at full capacity, but opted to keep it low-key. He credited another $21 to my Visa but I feel the entire $78 should have been comped.
Also, my guests were hesitant eating their own salads, and the one that ordered a Cobb Salad didn't even finish half of it as she lost her appetite! While Manager said this compensation was standard in the industry, I immediately found examples online where other Outback Managers comped the entire meals for hair in a sandwich and also a salad -- and their total bills exceeded $100. Comments or Feedback -- is this acceptable?