Welcome to Hotel Ruby Tuesday

March 20, 2008

Where you can fill a feedback form once, but can never leave.

Last night was one for the ages. After a very good salad at Ruby Tuesday, a waiter asked me to fill a feedback form. Nearly everything was ‘good’, a few things were ‘awesome’, two were ‘average’, and two ‘needed improvement’. This waiter takes the form and heads towards the cash counter, but then freezes, like he’s seen something terrible. He hands it to the guy at the counter, who looks at it, mutters something to the waiter, and then smiles politely at me. He leaves his place behind the register and comes to me.

“Sir,” he says quietly (I suspect he doesn’t want to create a scene), “you have not filled in two circles.” I don’t know how I missed those.

“Alright, give me a pen.” I fill one as good, and the beverages as average. He looks at it for a moment and says, “On what basis have you said the beverages are average?”

It’s true. I don’t know why they were average. They just were. They felt average.

“Sir, may I ask, what beverages have you had here so far?”

On my previous visit, a beer.

“Sir, come on. A beer? You give us an average on the beer? Be serious, sir.”

“Nobody takes this seriously,” I informed him in my most learned tone. “Not even Ruby Tuesday in Mumbai.”

“Well, sir, as you wish,” he said, leaving me alone. But not for long, because his superior, the head waiter, appeared with the form. “Sir, kya aap apne mistake ko theek kar sakte hain?” he ordered, rather than asked, thrusting the form and a pen at me.

“Look, forget it.” I put a large cross over the beverages spot and the dessert spot (which I had also not had, but only because they did not seem enticing enough).

He thanked me for this, but said I had failed to initial the crossings. He said, “Delhi will think we did it, and they will want to call you to confirm that it is indeed you, but you have also not left your number with us.”

I initialed it but declined to give out my number.

“But you must,” he pleaded, “or at least an address!”

No, no, no, I told him. I would leave nothing but my name. At this he rose above me and sighed, “As you wish.” He walked over to another gentleman who looked gravely at my opinions, and faults, I realised. I recalled another instance where I was scrutinized this way – early one morning in an Oklahoma airport, I was suspected of knowing too much about Egyptian terrorists.

The grave man was the restaurant manager, and he came by and settled on his haunches beside me. This appeared ominous, for he had the air of someone about to make a case for himself, and go to any lengths to do it. He smiled and reasoned that “the people in Delhi” took this sort of thing very seriously. He would not say it, but implied that my non-cooperation would hamper several careers, most of all his own. “You have initialed here, here, and here, but do you know what they will think? They will think we have crossed these and put ‘RB’ everywhere. Sir, you should sign in their place.”

“Tear it up. Throw it away. Please,” I said, unable to stop laughing.

“I’m afraid we cannot do that,” he cried, showing me that every feedback form had a number, at which I laughed even harder. He was serious, “And no name? No phone number?”

“Please throw it away. They will not miss this.”

“No, sir, that is one thing we cannot do.”

“I will not sign.”

“You must.”

“I will not. Your Mumbai branch does not harass me like this.”

He would not give up. “You rate us on beer? On dessert? For what? And what starters have you had apart from garlic bread?” It was faintly unnerving to have the manager remember an item ordered ten days ago. “Alright,” he smiled finally, and got up. “We hope you had a good meal. And we will see you again,” he said, holding the door open.

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16 Responses to “Welcome to Hotel Ruby Tuesday”

  1. umapathy Says:

    Scary.

  2. Delo Says:

    I never go to RT ‘n i never ever will,even anywhere near it!


  3. […] Rahul has a very strange experience at a Ruby Tuesday. […]

  4. Pooh Says:

    Reminds of the time when I was in Tanjore Sangam with a big group of around 20 people. I filled in average service coz I felt we could have been serviced better. The waiter and the manager came running behind me till the car and asked me 110 questions that I regretted filling in average service. The rest of the gang stood there not knowing what was happening.

  5. Apple Bee Says:

    The hotel staff and management seem like they are part of freak show…not part of restaurant business! I think that’s borderline harassment. I live in US and we have two Ruby Tuesdays in our city. I have been there quite a few times. I was never even asked to fill a survey till date and I love their salad bar.

  6. Patrix Says:

    I’m sure you’ll never go back. I wouldn’t. Imagine hassling a customer for the way he fills out a voluntary survey form. That’s a strict no-no in any corporate manual. I’ll not be surprised if this comes back to bite them in the ass. Perhaps they deserve their ‘careers being hampered’.

  7. mockingword Says:

    I had nearly the same experience in TGI Fridays in Bangalore a couple of years ago. I randomly put “Average” in one of the columns and was ‘grilled’ as to why it was just about average.

    So I told them that I should have perhaps rated them “average” on service too, for they won’t let me finish my meal in peace.


  8. Jeez! wtf! i think we need a sequel, though.. 😉

  9. yugan Says:

    are you serious? you must be kidding. you should have just said ‘get the f out my face’ and left. that’s pure harassment.

  10. pri Says:

    this story has the potential to be made into a fascinating short film.

  11. PK Says:

    I alomst choked on chicken wrap reading your post. That was hilarious but I cam also sympathise for those poor souls.

  12. roy Says:

    ahhh.. dont we all just hate it when this happens…

  13. Dsylexic Says:

    i cant believe they cant fudge a feedback form themselves.


  14. […] writes about a very strange experience at a Ruby Tuesday Restaurant over a customer feedback survey and the staff’s insistence that he fill it according to their […]

  15. Zishaan Says:

    Dude – you should have just changed it. Why not?

  16. Sikander Says:

    Very interesting insight!

    Currently I’m working as a team lead within a major Canadian telecommunications provider. Part of my core objectives are to ensure that my team members are offering World class service to our clients and let me add, that quality assurance is also instrumental in gaining a sustainable competitive advantage in our industry. On occasion we ask clients offer feedback via phone, online or even good old fashioned snail mail; somewhat similar to the feedback forms at Ruby Tuesday.

    It is very interesting to notice the difference in the Indian consumer mindset vs the Canadian consumers.

    Firstly, I’m confident that in Canada, any employee would be very hesitant to approach a client about recently provided feedback. It shocks me to see that you were actually questioned almost immediately and asked to provide the rationale behind your scoring. If I was in your shoes, I would add within the form that I was just questioned about the feedback I provided and requested to justify my scoring.

    Secondly, when soliciting feedback from clients, it is imperative that it be anonymous. The inclusion of a customers personal information would discourage honest feedback. Not to mention, negate the whole purpose of being able to identify any gaps within service to optmize effeciecncy.

    Dont know if I’ll ever visit Ruby Tuesday, but next time you’re there, maybe you can write this for me ” Feedback should be taken in a constructive manner and used to improve current or future processes/services. Attempting to avoid honest feedback by questioning clientelle will only create a false sense of security and is to some extent negligent of the management “.


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