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Friday, April 05, 2013

Importance of Feedback

One of the joys of my life is that I get to keep two of my grandchildren every Friday.  One is three year old Lark and the other is sixteen month old Max (her cousin).  Usually we do some fun activity away from the house in the morning, eat lunch out and return to my house for nap and for the afternoon which sometimes includes construction paper crafts or baking cookies.

Today it was cold and rainy so we went to Fernbank.  Fernbank has a great children's area and both kids really enjoy it.  As luck would have it, many Atlanta schools are on spring break, so the museum was not overrun with kids from school buses, so we had a great time.  Here they are working a puzzle together.

At the end of our Fernbank fun, we often go to Chipotle for lunch.  There's a very close-by Chipotle on the Emory campus, but it is often hard to park there, so today we chose to go to Chipotle in Toco Hills which is about a 10 minute drive from Fernbank.

We went there two weeks ago and it wasn't a great experience.  I didn't see any high chairs so I took both children through the line with me.  This means that when I got our food on a big round tray, I was carrying Max in one arm and balancing the food in the other.  Often at other Chipotles, the staff will offer to carry the food to the table under these circumstances - not at the N Druid Hills Chipotle.  The cashier was chatting with a friend on her cell phone and barely glanced at me.  When I put our food down on a table, I then, with Max still in my arms, went a carried a high chair (and Max) to the table and put him in it, only to find that the safety strap was broken.  With a sixteen month old who is very active and likes to stand up, this is not a safe situation, but we already had our food and just made do with a bad situation.

Today as I imagined the Emory Chipotle, it seemed preferable to give the N Druid Hills location another try.  We got there and I told Lark we would get a table first and then I'd order our food.  I went over and got a high chair.  When I got to the table with the high chair and the baby, the strap was broken.  Leaving it there, I went to get another one.  It too had a broken strap.  I looked at the third one (the last one) and it also had a broken strap.  Still carrying the baby, I went up the cashier and asked if there were any high chairs without broken straps.  Without even looking at me, she said, "The high chairs are over there," and pointed.  "I know," I said, "But all of them have broken safety straps."  She SHRUGGED.

We left and went to nearby Steak n' Shake where the meal isn't nearly as healthy as at Chipotle but at least we could sit down and order and the high chairs (10 of them) all had safety straps that looked workable.

I came home and wrote the following feedback on Chipotle's web page:
I'm a grandmother who keeps my 17 mo. old grandson and my 3 year old granddaughter every Friday.  We frequently eat at Chipotle - the Ponce location and the Emory location - our favorite for service and food is Sandy Springs on Roswell Road.  

Last week we went to the N Druid Hills location.  Unlike other locations, the staff was unhelpful with the children as I attempted to get their food to the table as a grandparent by myself, carrying the baby and the tray at the same time.  Generally the staff will help carry the food when I am alone with two children, but not at this location where the cashier was talking to a friend on her cell phone.  When we sat down, the high chair for the little one had a broken safety strap.  I was very surprised by the lack of help and wrote it off to a bad day, since this has not been true at any other Chipotle location to which we have gone.

We gave the same location another try today with a new plan.  Since the staff was unhelpful, I would put the baby in a high chair with the three year old and go through the line by myself this time.   However, the only three high chairs all had broken safety straps and the staff was remarkably unhelpful.  I couldn't leave the children and get in line to order because the 17 month old would stand up and fall out of the high chair without a strap,  so we left and went to Steak n Shake instead.  I will not return to this extremely unhelpful and unfriendly location although I love Chipotle's food which is so much healthier than other fast food restaurants.  I will choose to go back to the Ponce location or the Emory location, where it is impossible to park, over another visit to N Druid Hills.

I don't know if I'll hear from them, but it makes me feel more empowered in an impossible situation to at least send feedback.  I'll post if I hear anything in response.

Lark at Steak n' Shake:

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