McAlister’s Deli COO Responds To Bug In Customer’s Food Incident In Tyler, Texas
Last week, we told you about a story involving a local restaurant which got blasted on social media after a customer complained about a "bug" in her food. As always in this day and age, the reaction and outrage was swift on the socials. Rarely do we ever hear a company's response to a situation like this, but we received an email from a member of the McAlister's Deli management team explaining their response and their point of view and we wanted to share it with you.
The Saga Began After A Woman Found A Bug In Her Food That Was Delivered
A Tyler resident says that she ordered a "Veggie Spud" from McAlister's Deli via a third party delivery service. But when her food arrived, she says that she found a "roach" in her food and posted a photo of the dead bug to Facebook which then was shared to the infamous "Tyler Rants & Raves" group. The customer says she contacted the restaurant manager who told her "things like this happen" and then she claims she was told that it could have been the "third party delivery service" at fault.
Criticism Was Quick And Severe
There were a lot of comments about this story with many taking sides and trying to figure out who's to blame and who needs to be held accountable while others shared their own experiences. At one point, a person claiming to be a marketing director for McAlister's Deli jumped into the comments in an attempt to resolve the issue.
On Friday, We Received An Email From The COO of The Company That Owns The Tyler McAlister's
After our story began making the rounds, we received an email from Stephen Lee, the COO of The Saxton Group which runs the Tyler franchise. Stephen is a Tyler native who started his career with the Saxton Group at the McAlister’s in Tyler over 22 years ago. In the email, Mr. Lee acknowledges that the company "feel(s) incredibly bad for this Guest and are taking every step possible to prevent it from happening to anyone else."
An Investigative Inspection Was Conducted On January 28th
Mr. Lee went on to add that in response to the complaint, they conducted an inspection with the assistance of NET Health who found no violations and the inspector was unable to find any evidence of infestation. The company also said that for "added assurance" they alerted their pest control provider and the restaurant will receive a non-standard, emergency service visit soon.
"Our manager’s response to the incident was perhaps more disappointing than the incident itself."
As for the way management handled the situation, Mr. Lee acknowledged that they dropped the ball and that they were working hard to prevent a situation like this from happening. They also reached out the customer directly before things went crazy on social media to help find a resolution.
The manager minimized the issue and pushed the resolution onto the Guest and the delivery service provider. Failing the Guest again in the process. The Guest spoke to a young, inexperienced shift manager with our Team. That is not an excuse for his poor handling but I state to make clear that it was not the General Manager responsible for the restaurant. I am confident the General Manager would have handled the incident correctly. The General Manager and Regional Director are working diligently with all of the managers on the Team to ensure that we address every Guest concern appropriately and with sincerity; especially one as unique and severe as this experience. We failed our Guest twice in this case, and for that I am immensely sorry on behalf of our entire organization. Even before the Facebook post our Team had contacted the Guest impacted and were diligently working towards resolution. I can’t take away what happened but I am confident we exceeded the Guest’s expectation in our resolution. That’s our goal every time we let one of our Guest’s down. - Stephen Lee - COO The Saxton Group
We're super happy to hear that things are getting resolved and it's especially awesome to see a company step up and own a mistake. Yes, things happen and nobody is perfect but the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging it like McAlister's has done.