On Mothers Day, it’s a longstanding tradition in our family that we go to a “fine dining” pub. Husband paying (what’s not to love?)

When booking the table, I mentioned that I’m vegan. Helpfully, suggesting I could probably cobble something together involving chips and vegetables, if nothing else was available. I was assured this was no problem as our waitress was also vegan. Implying?

When the family’s food arrived – I received a portion of chips. That was it.

On previous occasions, to be accommodating, I’ve eaten this pub’s vegetarian option – Moussaka. The aubergine was undercooked. Have you ever tried eating undercooked aubergine?

Next time (yes, there was a next time – because it’s close to my in-laws), I suggested hummus, even gave them the recipe. No cooking involved – can’t go wrong … it did. Flour and sweetener added to a tin of blended chickpeas.

This is like being vegetarian twenty years ago.  Nowadays restaurant owners are fully aware that the one-size-fits-all approach to catering isn’t acceptable; all sorts of inconvenient customers are suddenly crawling out of the woodwork – coeliacs, lactose intolerant, vegetarians and …vegans.

Customers don’t expect to suffer for their choices any more. A restaurant has a clear choice in these situations – to go the extra mile, or not – knowing those customers who aren’t catered for, probably won’t return and will leave poor reviews.

I understand, catering is an industry that doesn’t make millionaires overnight, if ever. It involves long hours, stress and small margins – especially for small businesses. If customers are to return, they expect to receive exceptional customer service. It sounds as though I’m making excuses for this pub, doesn’t it?

Don’t be fooled. I got shoddy service and I’m angry about it.

I’d happily write a glowing review if we’d had a good time. As it was, the serving staff studiously avoided my eye when asking if we’d enjoyed our meal. My husband, who’d tried to take his family out for a nice meal, failed – because this business didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

That is unforgiveable.

So I’m going to do what every customer does in this situation – never return … oh, and write about it, because I’m a copywriter.

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