Food means different things to people. It can be a fascination or obsession to some, a source of comfort to others, but it is life-sustaining to all. When traveling, food often takes on another significance. It is a source of adventure. While foodies will often sample new cuisines or items outside their comfort zone, many travelers enjoy frequenting restaurants that offer a wide selection of items but also give people a sense of familiarity. TGI Friday’s is a global restaurant chain that offers diners mass appeal. Whether a person is traveling, does not want to cook, or desires a casual sit-down meal, TGI Friday’s offers singles, couples, groups, and/or families a familiar dining-out option. However, despite its popularity and positive reputation, there are times when the second time is the charm at TGI Friday’s restaurant chain.
Case in point, this author encountered an unpleasant dining experience at the Niagara Falls, New York location, which is less than 20 miles from Buffalo, NY, on Sunday, December 27. Imagine being served an inedible meal and that is no exaggeration. The turkey burger and fries ordered not only arrived cold but uncooked to the table. The food in question was not lukewarm or underdone. It was, in fact, uncooked and inedible. The turkey burger was pink in the middle, cold, and rubbery. The same could be said for the fries, which were cold, rubbery, and barely thawed.
Granted, the restaurant was near capacity and the staff seemed to have their hands full. However, that is no excuse for receiving uncooked food. Imagine the mayhem that would have ensued if a health inspector had been present. The situation was resolved after the waiter was notified. They prepared the meal again from scratch while this author waited another 20 minutes to see if TGI Friday’s second time would be the charm. Luckily, it was and only took 45 minutes to receive the meal ordered in an edible fashion.
However, here is the kicker, folks. Despite profuse apologies from four staff members, including a shift manager, when the bill came, it was for the full cost of the meal. No discount or complimentary meal was offered to this weary, heavily inconvenienced traveler. Talk about poor customer service. They not only served their customer uncooked food but also made this author suffer the inconvenience of having them re-prepare the meal, all while waiting 45 minutes to receive the meal ordered in an edible state. Then, they presented the check for the full cost of the meal. To say the situation was laughable is a severe understatement. To add insult to injury, the first TGI Friday’s location was opened in New York City in 1965, on the East Side of Manhattan. Moreover, this author was traveling all day and arrived at the restaurant around 9 p.m. EST famished. In an effort to avoid Salmonella poisoning, the inedible food was sent back and this author did not eat her dinner until 10 p.m. Yet, she certainly received the check not only for her meal but also for her own inconvenience. This raises the question–what would the chain’s founder, Alan Stillman, think of this egregious misstep in customer service?
After this experience, this author will reconsider any future trips to TGI Friday’s, which was a familiar haunt at one time, particularly for its diverse menu and adult beverage selection. However, as the adage goes, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bushel. Diners beware of TGI Friday’s where the second time is the charm if the food gods, hopefully, are in sync. Perhaps that message should be their new slogan.
Opinion and Review Written & Edited by Leigh Haugh
Personal Experiences and Observations by the Author
TGI Friday’s Official Website