Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good Customer Service is NOT DEAD!

Chivalry may be dead, but today I experienced good customer service and it warmed my soul. You hear so many horror stories about bad experiences with businesses (large and small). As a small business owner, I strive to give my customers a pleasant experience each and every time they patronize my business. Large corporations might be able to afford to lose customers in large numbers, but the majority of GumdropSwap members heard about me through a friend or family members. My customers are my marketing team. I depend on repeat business and their referrals so of course I go beyond expectations!

I don't often receive that kind of treatment when I am the customer. So, when the rare occurrence happens, I savor it. Today, I experienced this at one of my favorite eateries. I first became acquainted with Valencia Luncheria ( on the Food Network's show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. They are located in Norwalk, CT which is my husband's home town and about 30 min from where we live. So, when we go to visit his parents, I try to make a way over there. They have rave reviews and they only valid complaint is the small size of the seating area if you are going to eat in. I have only ordered take-out so I can't speak on the dine-in experience. The few times I have had the pleasure of eating here, I have been pleasantly greeted and once even chatted with the owner about his appearance on tv. The counter clerk always takes times to answer my questions about the menu. Although, I didn't modify anything I ordered, my husband will attest that I am a picky eater. I know what I like and will request that ingredients be omitted or added to my order to enhance my meal. Why order food if I know I won't like it? I'm never rude about it. If my modifications cannot be easily met, I simply choose something else from the menu. No big whoop.

Anyway, they call there cuisine "Venezuelan beach food" and no matter what you call it, it is unlike anything else I have tasted. You can taste the fresh ingredients and love put into the preparation of the food. The presentation (it's to-go food so it just needs to make it to the destination without becoming mush right?) is simple. The specialty item is called an arepa which is some meal cakey thing fried on the outside (kind of tamale-ish but crispy on the outside) and they cut it open and fill it will delicious fillings. Combinations of cheese, vegetables, and/or meat. I chose the roasted pulled pork arepa, tostones (flattened deep fried plantains that are lightly salted) and a salad this time. They serve a green cilantro based condiment that I do not know the name of but I used it on the arepa and tostones.

But, this is where I was blown away. My daughter was in the car with me and had just fallen asleep. I didn't want to wake her and take her into the crowded eatery on a Saturday afternoon so I parked in front and called in. I spoke with a young woman and explained that I had driven from Bridgeport for their food but I could not come in because of my sleeping toddler. I asked if I placed an order, could someone bring it out to my car. She said that would not be a problem and it wasn't. In less than ten minutes, I had hot deliciousness in my passenger's seat. They aroma wafting up at me beckoned me to begin eating instead of waiting to eat at my next destination. I don't know how my daughter could have slept through the food and my smacking.

Curbside service may not have been that difficult for this establishment. Maybe you aren't impressed. But I can think of many times I have been denied what I thought was a simple request. The young lady that took my order could have easily sucked her teeth at my request and put me on hold to consult a manager and make me feel like I was really inconveniencing her. But she didn't. And that's why I will be back and continue to send them more business. Oh, and because their food is to die for! Did I mention there prices are extremely affordable?


  1. Check out my blog for an award I passed on to you:

  2. Thank you Amy! I will pass on the award.