The Fox and Hound Redeems Itself

Ironic where I am sitting, but I come to you today from the Fox and Hound.  However, the Fox that I am writing this from is not where the following story takes place.  I am in Carmel at the 146th street location.  I have decided that because of this story, as well as the Mike’s Car Wash story that you read a while back, I will be starting a section of my blog revolving around how businesses fix their mistakes.  I have not yet decided on a title for this section but with two of these similar stories in just a couple of weeks it seems inevitable that it will happen again.

Last night a good friend of mine and I met at the Fox and Hound on 86th street and Allisonville road.  I was picking up a golf bag from him for my vacation coming up at the end of this week, but more importantly we were just catching up, as it had been a few weeks since we had hung out.  Ryan O’Banyel is a good friend of mine and he is one that I wish I had more time with.  But due to both our heavy work schedules we rarely find the time to sit and talk.  So when we find the time to sit down we take advantage of it.

About an hour into the evening I asked if they were still doing half priced appetizers for HIP card members.  The HIP card is a free members program for folks that work in the service industry.  Having spent most of my working life behind an apron I had been a HIP member since the day I turned twenty-one years old.  The card is designed to give people in the service industry discounts on food and beverages as well as provide them with free pool for when they take the time out of his or her days to visit the Fox and Hound.  Now let’s take a look at what constitutes as a service industry.

If you work in a restaurant as a server, bartender, or hostess you are eligible for a HIP card.  Let’s say that you work as a doctor or a nurse at your local hospital.  If you walk around the hallways scrubbing in for surgery or cleaning scalpels on a daily basis then you are considered to work in the service industry.  If you are a member of the Navy, Army, or any other branch of the armed forces you are considered a member of the service industry.  But what about butchers?  Or how about the folks serving up double cheeseburgers at any number of fast food establishments?  Or web designers, social media consultants, and hair dressers?  They are all providing a service.  But none of these are considered to be eligible for the HIP card.

So when I asked if they were still doing half prized appetizers I was told that not only were they doing half priced food but also offering $2 pints of all of their beers.  The Fox and Hound is known for having an incredible selection of domestic and imports as well as some microbrews from all over the Midwest.  Being as Ryan and I had each had a beer we asked if we could take advantage of that discount.  The server, who was showing too much skin and had an obscene piercing in her nose, told us that we could use it on future drinks but not the ones that we had already ordered.  (I do not mean to dig on the waitress as she was nice and handled everything exactly as she should have.  But I was not impressed with her dress and that the restaurant allows facial piercings.  It is regardless that it was a nose ring, it is not professional to wear in the work environment.)

I asked her if that was true and she stated that she could, “ask my manager” if he could make the necessary changes to get the price down to the $2 as advertised.  She came back to the table and asked for my HIP card.  I had never once, not in the five years of being a HIP card member, had to show my card.  That being said, I did not have my HIP card with me.  She proceeds to go back to the manager to ask if he can simply run the discount without the card being present.  When she retuned she said that I did in fact have to present the card to receive the adjusted pricing.

At this point, I am beyond the dollar bills and more focused on the principle at hand and how the restaurant and management staff would handle this from here on out.  I ask her, seeing as I didn’t have my card, if she could look my number up in their system.  She continues to say that she does not have the ability to look up my card, as they are not stored in their system.  Aggravated at this point, I tell her to forget it and that it is not a big deal.  I asked her how I could get a new card.

She tells me that I will need to one, work in the service industry, and two provide a check stub that proves that employment.  I tell her that I do not have a check stub but that I work in the service industry.  As I stated above, I consider the field that I am in to be a service-oriented field.  She asked me where I currently was employed.  I tell her all of my current endeavors as well as the previous places that I have worked that include Pikk’s Tavern, T.G.I. Friday’s, Logan’s Roadhouse, Champions Sports Bar and Grille, and many others.  Not working at a restaurant, but still working in the service industry she decided to ask her manager if he would not be willing to provide me with a HIP card.

She comes back, and not to my surprise she says no.  Not that this shocked me by any means.  I decide that I was going to leave it alone and not make a big deal out of this.  Ryan, on the other hand, decided to take his position as a certified butch and meat cutter, to the table.  He did have a check stub with him and handed that to her asking her to take that to her manager.  She laughs it off and comes back a few minutes with an answer.  The manager had said no.

One of the things that I like about Ryan is that he does not let sleeping dogs lie.  He gets upset and asks to speak to the manager.  A few moments later he comes walking out and heads over to our table.  He begins to explain his case on how service industry folks are those that work for tips and people that work in design, retail, or other are not allowed to have HIP cards.  This took Ryan aback as he had never heard his position of cutting and delivering meat to be considered retail.  He bickers back and forth and finally I ask him to leave it alone.  He obliges only to have my girlfriend step in with one more question.  She asked if people that work at Wendy’s or McDonald’s would be able to qualify for the HIP card.  The manager did not know.  He then tells the table that he would grab the book that explained what did and did not qualify.

About ten minutes later he walks back out, leans on the door, and begins a conversation with the two young ladies at the front door.  These two ladies, both who were on their cell phones the entire night by the way, couldn’t care less what was going on.  They seemed to be new as the manager at one point handed them their first pay checks, and seemed to be extremely naïve as they only carded about half the people that walked into the bar.  After about five minutes of watching this I was ready to leave and get some pancakes at Perkins right across the street.

Just when we were getting ready to leave I noticed a trio of guys standing around looking at my car.  They were talking, laughing, and making jokes about it as I proceed to offer them $5 rides around the parking lot.  We all laughed and began speaking about the gas mileage and the amount of room on the inside.  One of the gents introduced himself as the general manager of the restaurant.  I decided that there would not be a better opportunity to let him know about how his management and service staff had acted in the previous two hours.

I gave him a short version of the story, as I did not feel he needed to know every little detail of the evening.  He was immediately apologetic and asked for Ryan and I to wait there while he went inside to get us each a HIP card for all of our troubles.  After ten minutes of waiting I gave up and decided that it was not worth my time to sit there and wait for someone that was obviously never coming back.  So I left and headed to the pancakes and coffee that awaited me at Perkins.  I decided to let the events of this evening to pass me by, enjoy a nice dinner with my friends, and call the corporate offices the next day.

Around noon I picked up the phone, called the Fox and Hound corporate offices, and lodged my complaint to their customer service department.  The lady that I spoke with stated that she would pass this information along to the district manager and he would attend to it accordingly.  At this point I felt better just getting it off my chest and telling someone about it.  I figured that no one would call me back and that it would stop there.  The Fox and Hound would lose one customer, sure, but that number meant nothing to the millions that walk through their doors every week.

It was not two hours later when I received a phone call from the district manager.  He was open to listening to me explain the story again, and I was able to fill in some holes that he had from what his secretary had told him.  He apologized time and time again and stated that it was his responsibility to make it right.  I was not calling them to get anything for free, and did not expect anything for free, but in the end he had placed three HIP cards in the mail for Sheryl, Ryan and I, as well as a $75 gift card.  All he wanted was for us to give the Fox and Hound another chance.

To add to the HIP cards and the generous gift card, he also stated that he would be visiting the 86th street location to revisit this situation and to remind the managers of what customer service is.  I told him that as a consumer I felt that it was my responsibility to let someone know how I was treated in their establishment.  He thanked me for calling to lodge my complaint, I thanked him for listening and taking a personal responsibility in this series of events, and the Fox and Hound fixed an issue that they easily could have ignored.   It has not been twenty-four hours and I am back in a Fox and Hound enjoying a beverage and some dinner.  The 86th street store lost me but the Fox and Hound has gained a life long friend.