another what would you do...

had a guy call in order a large veggie right before closing, then his wife (not knowing her husband already ordered) called and orders a medium half mushroom. the large veggie is sliding off the peel into the oven and she comes racing in to cancel the pizzas. we didnt make the half mush yet and she said she would pay for the large veggie since it was already made, but she said absolutely NO jalapenos. no problem, gave the pie a minute to set on the stone, pulled it out and removed every last jalapeno. her husband comes back to pick up the pie when it is ready.

i was finishing bunning dough for the next day and about 30 minutes later she comes storming back in the store raising hell that there were peppers on her pizza. (She hasnt eaten any of it BTW) i said yes ma’am, our veggie comes with poblano peppers and jalepenos, you told us to remove ONLY the jalapenos and made NO mention of the poblanos. she said she will DIE if she eats peppers…

Then she goes on and on about how we are the ONLY place that puts jalapenos on their veggie and how the poblanos are too hot for her (even though they are very mild) and why do we do it this way…yadayadayada…

i listened patiently to her vent and calmy said that we did NOT make a mistake on her order, that the menu CLEARLY states all of the topping that are on each of our pizzas.

then i asked what we can do to make it right, she wanted another pizza but everything was wrapped up and i wanted to go home. i told her i would make her another pie tomorrow for free. she said ok.

her husband called the next day and i spoke with him. after sleeping on it, i still felt like we were not in the wrong so i offered to make a 10" veggie no peppers or jalapenos to smooth the waters at no cost. he said ok, whatever you think is fair.

he comes to pick up the pizza and is bitching “that the 10” isn’t going to feed anybody" whatever that means. now im pissed because ive tried to retain this customer even though i know we didnt do anything wrong, and i gave him a free 10" veggie.

should i just chalk it up to an impossible customer?


Let go of it and move on. Some people can never be happy.

If you are going to accommodate them do it with a smile on your face and you can keep them as a customer. If you accommodate them be-grudgingly you might as well not have.

My staff is trained to handle these types of situations and side with the customer when in doubt. By my keeping out of it, my emotions don’t have to get involved and we keep a customer. If it happens “three” times we then determine its not a good relationship but to date we’ve never gotten to that point.

What should I have done, or would I have done? Unfortunately, after a 12 or 13 hour day, and well after closing, they may not be the same thing. Her attitude and history would have definately come into play at that point.

If someone starts to put qualifiers on a pizza or sandwich, I tell our employees to make sure the customer knows what is coming on it. I’ve only been at this for six years, but I have come to the conclusion that customers assume we are total morons and at the same time we should be able to know what they really want even though they do not say it. At the point you guys were picking off the jalapenos you were tired and probably a bit frustrated.

She was obviously not trying to scam you since she did not eat any of the pizza. The correct approach for me would be to offer to make her one on the spot or a credit with the caveat the on the spot would mean waiting for the oven to heat up. I can make one pizza without making much of a mess and wipe down everything again while the pie is cooking. I am basing that on my ovens, I do not know how long your oven would take, a half hour after shut off, we would be up to temp in less than 10 minutes.

If she came in all rude and offensive and even after I explained the reason the pizza came as it did and offered to replace it still was offensive, I would have probably lost my smile. There is no benifit to making the customer admit they ordered screwed up, but if you wish to maintain the relationship, it is important to point out the cause of the misunderstanding so it does not happen again. Again, this is very hard to accomplish when you are tired and the customer is being a … (we shall not speak bad of the customer). I’m sure the situation was not helped by the confusion when they placed two orders and then cancelled . If a customer comes in cussing and swearing and making personal insults we are not likely to do anything for them at all other than ask them to leave if they can’t be civil.

Two of the most satisfying things in this business are

  1. turning a problem customer into a cheerfull regular
  2. turning a lazy bad atittude employee into a valued team member.

Niether seems to happen as often as I’d like, but when it does, and the loyalty devolops its awesome.


Well, first you told her you would make her “another pie” - so, in the absence of any qualifier, I’d assume you meant you’d make her another pie of the same size that she was complaining about. Then you changed it to a 10" the next day. I’d be mad too.

You should have just made them another large pie exactly how they wanted it.

I want to thank you for posting this. I don’t normally believe in being jinxed, but this evening I had a woman call and complain about her order she made yesterday afternoon :frowning: .
And yes I gave her credit for the item she complained about and deducted it off her order. She kept complaining the whole time even as I told her I was deducting the amount from her current order.
Thanks again :smiley:


Both our supreme and veggie include complimentary jalapeno and banana peppers but we always ask whether or not they would like them. We’ve been doing it this way for so long, I can’t really remember doing it any other way. The order taker must indicate using the POS (Prism) that the customer desires the peppers, or it doesn’t show up on the kitchen print ticket, and therefore isn’t added to the pizza.

The drama of the woman is unfortunate (I’m always a bit suspect when a person claims serious personal injury over a food item), and the fact that her husband ordered muddles the matter.

It’s nice to know the order history of the customer as well, which with a POS system, you should. If she’s a once a month or better customer, do I really want to lose her over a large pizza? A year or two ago I might have answered differently than I would today. While I have certainly had a few difficult customers over the years, I’ve found that most of them are not trying to get one over on you.

Another point, is that even when a customer is being unreasonable, your accomodation often brings them almost to a point of apology for being so unreasonable.

I believe the Bible gives reference to “burning coals on the head” in showering with kindness.

Bottom line, we’ve all been there, done that. We let go, learn, and move on (and implement new procedures).

Sometimes when we step back and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, we see the light a little more differently. We spend so much money trying to get a customer to try us and are willing to give samples to different groups, so we can acquire a large order, that we think wrong about a regular customer who simply wants something made correctly.

When we say it out loud it seems silly that we would not say “Sure, What can I do to make it right?” Unfortunately, we are always leery of someone taking advantage of us. I personally look to find a pattern to see if they are doing it regularly. Rarely is this the case.

Kamron Karrington is very adamant about putting a guarantee in your ad. This is because it gives the customer a “warm fuzzy” about ordering. I personally have sent out close to 70k free letters. I received back 4 requests for a refund. In each case, I offered to also make them a new pizza, right then, just so they would remember me and give me a second chance.

Lastly, I always think of 2 things when a customer complains: What is this costing me in food and is this a true legitimate claim. Unfortunately, there are no set rules. Each event is dependent on the situation.
Oh the joys of self employment…

ZaSlice, it looks like you did some good stuff with the customer, and you had them won over right up until you changed the resolution overnight and pitched it to the husband. It might have felt like a scam when you said one thing the the wife, then the next day appeared to pitch something else to the husband. Honest mistake, but that seems to be where the wheels came off the wagon.

Remember that BodegaHwy is correct in that some people are chonically unhappy and cannot be pleased. Also remember that the $4 you might spend on that free pizza is worth a WHOOOOLLLLEE lot of impact in the marketplace. Do you want them singing the praises of your generosity ($4 actually out of pocket) to 2 or 3 or bashing your stingy and mean spirited business to everyone they meet for a week? I always encourage my peers to come off the large and make 'em praise you . . . at least do it the first time.

If it were me I would have offered to just give them another free pizza same size. I then would have had a quick employee meeting and said hey if someone says no Jalepeno PEPPERS we need to be asking if they want the green peppers, bannana peppers or any other pepper on the the order.

When the guy came in the next day I would have made sure to box top a menu and thanked him for his business. I would have stood up and chatted with the guy while they made the pizza, offered him a soda and when the order was up I would have called back “no peppers, right?” to the crew.

I would have taken the pizza and shown it to him and tell him to enjoy his night.

If I had a computer I would enter it in that they don’t like peppers.

Next week WHEN he called to order I would take his order and thank him for the business, the next week I would thank him for his business, and the next week and the next week.

It is so diffucult to get new customers, keep customers why argue about 4 bucks? If they order once a week for the next year you will more than make up for it. If they are “scammers” (which most aren’t) you will recoginze him because you just spent 20 minutes chatting with him. You will have the edge because you will remember she doesn’t like peppers.

Practice hospitality.


Okay, I’m siding with the customer here.

  1. A veggie is a veggie is a veggie. If he called to order a veggie, they’re expecting the same danged veggies everyone else puts on. Now if a GREEN pepper were the issue, then it’d be on them as those are normal on a veggie pie.

  2. You pretty much accepted “remaking it” tomorrow. No changes… same size, etc.

It’s the customer’s fault for not knowing what is on your menu, but at the same time, if I order spaghetti, I expect it to have a red sauce on it. if it comes to me with garlic pesto, it’s not what I was expecting, even though that’s what YOU have on your menu as spaghetti. If you’re going to step out of the “standard”, you need to make sure your customer knows that. I might even suggest that when a customer calls and orders a veggie and isn’t already in your POS system, that you quickly rattle off the toppings that you put on a veggie to keep this from happening in the future.

The only part that bugs me is how she will DIE if she eats one, but the poblanos are too hot. Well, ma’am, you’re dying, who cares?

I didn’t get that publication when I opened my shop. . . what is the orthodox listing of vegetables allowed/not allowed on a “Veggie” Pizza before announcing to everyone who orders it? :slight_smile:

I am right there on the concept of alerting the customers to unusual foods . . . I also run a pizzeria that lives with the reality that we sell lots of things other people don’t, and make a point of sharing information with customers as much as possible. That’s about where I hit my own personal prejudices about food preferences and customers. I own mine, and ask them to own theirs when they walk through the proverbial door.

I firmly believe that one’s personal food references, and even more so allergies and health issues, fall squarely on those who have the issues. We do not read minds in any fashion. Without positive information from a customer of what their particular food demon is, there is ZERO chance that we can assist. I do make efforts to educate the customers as to our signature pizza creations, but we cannot walk through every topping of every pizza with every customer. If we make a pizza they don’t like, we will replace it and let customer know we have unusual combinations on some pizzas that will require their attention and reading the menu details . . . never to berate the customer . . . . to empower them to avoid long delays in getting the food they want. I mean, really; we wear “big boy” underwear and expect other adults to do the same at some point. It makes successful negotiations and customer resolutions possible.

I didn’t get that publication when I opened my shop

See Nick, thats why you need to sign up on these mailing lists!!! Then you’ll get all the publications! :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree that jalapenos or other hot peppers are not expected on your average “veggie”. I would have them as an option and not standard… or name it something else that reflects the heat.


Busted. Flat busted. :cry:

You and Dave been comparing notes again? I do honestly love cross-thread humor. Unexpected and rewards those who read the other threads.

More importantly, I think I can agree with Dewar. Have the option for those paying attention, or give an obvious clue in the name/menu. Then they can make informed choices when they are looking to take charge and actively avoid the “land mines” themselves. “Veggie Lover” and “Hot Load of Veggie Love” . . . or something more appropriate for the kids :slight_smile:

I hate to say I agree.

In my area, “all”, and I mean “all” the pizzerias I’ve been to (including our PJ), a veggie consists of the following:

Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Black Olives.

2 places do not have tomatoes standard, the rest do have tomatoes standard.

NO ONE has any sort of “hot” pepper or “sweet” pepper on them, which are the jalapeno, banana, poblano, etc.

In my area, at least, jalapenos and banana peppers are optional add on toppings.

Even at our Subway, their sign says “everything” on veggies does NOT include Jalapeno or Banana Peppers, you must ask for them.

I also agree with snow…if she will DIE when peppers are on a pizza, then she must be exaggerating and saying die from the heat, because if she has had poblanos and they’re too hot…well…a pepper allergy typically includes all peppers (not saying she’s not the unusual case, though).

I would have re-made the same size pizza they ordered the next day and then let bygones be bygones, unless they are a typical freebie hunter.