Kudos: A Kiti feature in which I offer praise to businesses that have provided outstanding products and/or services.
One day, a few weeks ago, Jeff and I went to Del Taco to grab some food (which is a good thing, since food is pretty much what they sell at Del Taco). I ordered a meal, which was to include a small fries. We were in the drive-through, and when we got our bags with our food, we drove away without checking them (we were in a hurry because Jeff had to be somewhere shortly). When we finally opened them, we discovered that the fries had not been put in the bag. No!!! Listen, people, don't come between a breastfeeding mother and her high-calorie foods! The receipt was in one of the bags, so I immediately whipped out my cell phone (seriously, how did I ever get anything done before I had one?) and called the restaurant to express my displeasure.
The manager was very understanding. She had seen that there was an orphaned container of fries in the drive-through area, so she knew what had happened. She took down my phone number, and told me, "Keep your receipt. Next time you come into our store, show the receipt and tell the worker you spoke with Blanca. We'll give you a large fries order to replace your small one." I was mollified. What can I say? I like my greasy, salty potato foods.
Last week, I happened to be passing by that Del Taco location at a time when I needed sustenance, and I had the receipt in my car, so I decided to get my fries, along with some other food. I went inside (I thought it might be too complicated to explain the receipt-and-Blanca thing via the drive-through intercom system) and put in my order for a chicken burrito meal and a chocolate shake (still with the high-calorie foods), showing my receipt and telling my tale of woe. The very polite teller called the manager at the time (whose name was Juan, but that is actually irrelevant), and he said, "Oh, I know about this. It's fine," and then pointed to some things on the register. The teller entered the order and then made it a macho-sized meal. Oh, I thought. I guess they're giving me a free upgrade to a macho meal, instead of just a large fries with my order. That's nice.
Then the teller told me that my total was $2.91 for the milkshake. "Okay," I replied, "but how much is the entire order?"
"No, no, we made your meal VIP. It's free." Neato!
I don't know if it is just that location , but I suspect those values hold for the entire corporation: They recognize that such matters aren't just about a lost serving of fries, but really relate to how customers are treated. I received a very loud and clear message that Del Taco is willing to go above and beyond all expectations in order to retain customer loyalty and offer positive experiences. I was impressed (and you know it takes a lot to impress me!). At this point, Del Taco will be my preferred provider for fast quasi-Mexican food (good customer focus AND it is the only one that offers milkshakes and fries along with their quite decent Mexican menu).