March 16, 2011

Live by the Pen, die by the Sword.

Last November I had a wonderful email correspondence with a great establishment.
Try to swing by if you can.  Here's why:

"To Whom it May Concern,

I am sending in my two cents in hopes it will encourage you to return your menu modifications to their original recipes.
Namely, the Pacific Rim Noodle Bowl. 
My absolute favourite noodle bowl out of numerous restaurants I have visited.  The noodle bowl that has motivated me to create blog entries, facebook statuses, and twitter updates.  The noodle bowl I told friends, family, and even strangers about.

The noodle bowl that is no more.

Dramatic, yes, but take it to heart.  I am really this broken up about it.

The new noodles (fat ones, as opposed to Vermicelli) do not work in the dish.  They are too starchy and affect the broth as well as the noodles' tendency to clump into one large, defensive noodle wad in the middle of the bowl.  Trying to separate the noodles was like trying to shove an angry cat into a plastic bag... useless and I ended up bleeding.*  I eventually just ended up taking a bite out of the noodle wad like a burger and then subsequently wishing I had ordered a burger.

Truth be known, we love your restaurant.  You have always had great food for great prices with an original, progressive menu that doesn't manage to border on pretentious.

But you reinvented the wheel and fixed what was in no way broken.
And I think there is something to be said about that but damned if I can recall what it is.

For what it's worth, your loyal friend...

Sheena Millar

* I didn't actually end up bleeding."

"From: *********
 Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 23:44:18 -0700
Subject: Menu Changes

Thank you so much for your feedback. It may go down as the most well written, thoughtful, and convincing feedback emails we have ever received. We chose to go with the shanghai noodles for two reasons: they were actually selected as the favourites in a couple tasting panels that were conducted and we really wanted to increase our usage on that noodle because it only gets used in one other dish that isn't one of the top movers. Your email however has changed our minds. Our Director of Operations was moved by your email as well and we have decided we will be offering the option of noodle. The thinner rice noodles that you like are still in house as we use them in our thai salads so this will not be hard for us to do. We will be reprinting that menu page to show this change and it should be in stores in about a week. In the meantime however, feel free to order the Pacific Rim Noodle Bowl with the rice noodles even though it is not listed as an option in the menu. You are clearly a raving fan and we take your words to heart. As such, we will be making this change across the entire system as soon as possible. Which location do you generally frequent Sheena?
Thank you again so much and please check out our Facebook Fan page and follow us on twitter @original_joes. You can contact me directly anytime as well with comments, concerns, or feedback. Thanks again and have a great long (hopefully you get Friday off) weekend.

> Tim Gordon
> Area Manager
> Original Joe's Franchise Group
> Northern Alberta
> *********"


I appreciate your prompt reply and positive response.  What a great feeling it is to know that the "Contact Us" email address on retail websites are there for actual feedback, and not just due to some obscure legality.  My favourite locations are the 102 ave and Oxford Park in Edmonton Alberta.

I am delighted you have chosen to assist me in continuing to enjoy your restaurant!  In fact, I have changed a breakfast date with my best friend to an "Original Joe's is the New Black" dinner Saturday evening.  In a world of people insisting that they would love to help you out while they slowly close the proverbial door on your nose, you have restored faith that communication is the key to success, regardless how much it may feel like a whisper than a scream.

I had heard people speculate that the change ("straight from head office", as the waitress pointed out) was economical, sneaky, and possibly a way to cut company costs by eliminating options.  Culinary downsizing?  I assure you I will make a point of letting it be known that not only is this not the case, but the options have actually increased. 

Thank you again for being wonderful.
KISS may have an army, but you have a friend.

~Sheena Millar

P.S.  I routinely call your restaurants "Famous Original Joe's".  It is an obscure Seinfeld reference, but feel free to use it as it catches on quite quickly.  I MAY be responsible for sharp increases in facebook fans, but I can't prove it."


Marie a la Mode said...

That is so cool he wrote you back and is putting the original dish back on the menu! It's all because of YOU!

Thanks for letting me know about City and Dale! And nice to "meet" you ; )

Bee said...

You, too. And I wasn't sure if anyone had let you know that you were listed so I had to make sure to break it to you. ;)

And yes, sometimes I think people can forget how effective just talking when you have an issue can be. So simple to disengage, when such an easy thing can give you your noodle bowl back!