A bit of a commercial break

I like free, but some free isn’t worth it.

See, there are a lot of places that will give you free or significant discount stuff on your birthday – usually restaurants. I used to use a bunch of them. Over the years I’ve cut back – not because I didn’t like the free, but because I was disappointed with the places themselves. There are two, however, that… I’m not disappointed with them, and in fact think they deserve a little recognition.

First, there’s Provino’s. Provino’s is a small chain – ten places scattered from Atlanta to Chattanooga. The food has consistently been very good. It’s not a 5-star epicurean delight though I’d have zero hesitation in 3-star and could argue for 4. I have NO hesitation recommending it to anyone who wants Italian dishes. The quality of both the food and the service has never been less than, well, a perfect place for an enjoyable evening. The birthday deal is a substantial discount – enough to make about half the menu’s entrees – free on your birthday. Website here, and the discount (since prices are shown on the menu you can go through) is $12.95.

Second, there’s Moe’s. Now, Moe’s is not Great Food. It’s fancy fast food, to be honest. Yet I consistently expect food I enjoy, and I’ve never had bad service. (Service is a big deal with me, ok? I worked restaurants, and know that more people come back for ok food and great service than great food and ok service — and bad service guarantees no return REGARDLESS of the quality of the food.) The reason Moe’s is getting notice this time is the service. See, somehow my wife’s registration for the free entree (any entree but the fajita free) got turned off. We figured this out when my coupon came and hers didn’t – just a couple of days prior to the birthday itself.

Now, similar things have happened with other places, and the almost universal response has been: “well, re-register. It’s too late for this year’s coupon but at least she’ll get our specials during the year and get NEXT year’s coupon.” Moe’s re-registered her and made certain a coupon hit her email with no fuss, no effort, no snide comments, no “are you sure”, no “You know we’re making an exception” comments, just DONE. Fixed. We had a problem, whoops, not a problem.

There was a tale running around years ago about Rolls Royces that exemplifies this and how uncommon it is. The punchline, after an almost absurd level of effort to get the vehicle repaired, goes, “Sir, Rolls Royces do NOT break down.” As near as I can tell at this point, Moe’s does NOT do bad customer service. Oh – website here.

I’m sure there are exceptions – I don’t go to all Provino’s or Moe’s, after all. But in my experience these two places consistently provide decent to excellent food and outstanding service, and I wanted to mention that to you all.

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