The Melting Pot | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on August 8, 2013

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My husband and I plan 2 specific dates each year. We have dinner on the day between our birthdays, since they are so close together, and we go out for what I call our Meet-a-versary. July 28 marks the day we met in person, since our first meeting was online. We have been burned by too many restaurants, so in the past 2 years, we tend to make these dates at The Melting Pot. Our reasons for this are as follows:

  1. The food is enjoyable and consistent.
  2. The meal tends to take a while because of all of the cooking and such, which allows us to have a night out that is truly a night out.
  3. The environment is generally such that it’s great for a date, because of the high-walled booths and appropriately dim lighting.

So, as usual, I made our reservation. As our meet-a-versary fell on a Sunday, I made the reservation for Saturday night, at The Melting Pot in Westwood, NJ.  This is the only NJ location we have gone to – there’s one in Hoboken but I don’t want to mix my date night with parking problems.

So, we arrive for our dinner, and of course, I check in and tweet a photo.

This second tweet featured this picture –

This location has a screen in the lobby area that posts shoutouts to people celebrating their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I indicated our meet-a-versary in the reservation, so this was cute to see while we were waiting to be seated.

Unfortunately, where we were seated was a room in the back where I’d never been before (didn’t even know there was a room back there, actually) and that was LOUD.  We were seated at an open table for 4(as opposed to a booth), with about 4-5 other tables in the room, all of which had groups of people out for dinner. I have no problem with this, but immediately knew that our quiet experience was over before it had begun.

We were there to celebrate us, and instead had to speak loudly to be heard, even while sitting next to one another. I found this even more strange given that the restaurant KNEW we were on a date night celebration, and had acknowledged it in the lobby.  The night progressed, and we had a server that appeared to be extremely nervous and twitchy, and would not stop touching his hair.  I don’t know if he was new or what, and he was nice, but he seemed to be uncomfortable in general. He also managed to splash the beer base of our cheese quite a bit, told us to cook seafood for 2 1/2 minutes (which I know isn’t right, I’m a Melting Pot regular), and then gave us chocolate that wasn’t really melted(though still delicious – it was dark chocolate, which is never really bad). The end of the night also didn’t include a box of chocolate-covered strawberries, which used to be a lovely treat at the end of our experience. Having received this before, I definitely noticed that they weren’t there.

The Melting Pot has also changed the way their menu is structured. Where we used to order a Big Night Out for 2 people, you now have to order individually, which is an obvious attempt to make more money. I will pay the money, so I’m not concerned with this at all – and maybe they are trying to cater to bigger groups and less dates by making it simpler to order just for yourself.

Either way, not the best night, which is disappointing when you are celebrating. Unfortunately, it gets a little more disappointing. I received this tweet on Monday:

I responded:

Given that The Melting Pot tweeted me to ask how my night was, you’d think they would respond with a tweet back or a direct message trying to find out what the issue was, or something. If they looked at my OpenTable reservations history, they can see that I’ve come there with both my husband, and other friends, quite a few times. I’m a customer they want to keep, and they have chosen to ignore my obvious displeasure.

I know it’s been said before, by many other people, but why bother having an online presence at all if you’re going to ignore negative feedback from customers? This is along the same lines as Comcast having a great team on Twitter but still absolutely abysmal customer service at every other touchpoint.

It’s been 6 days since I tweeted them back, and it’s a big let down to know that they don’t seem to care about my issue and experience. The pull of The Melting Pot IS the experience, because the food is not that complicated. You’d think they would be interested in addressing concerns from their customers. I am rethinking my decision to go there again – I don’t know if I will change locations or simply give up and try another restaurant for our special occasion meals. Maybe I will finally go to Babbo.

I would love to hear about anyone else’s experiences of complaints/issues being ignored on social media channels on which said companies are otherwise active.

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