Excellent Lebanese Customer Service: Roadster Diner

The amount of professionalism at Roadster Diner keeps blowing me away. It could be because we’re not used to such levels of courtesy with customers in Lebanon.

During lent last year, the only and last time I decided to go all Bible belt-Christian and gave up 95% of types of food that man can eat, I ordered some form of a modified crab sandwich-turned vegan from Roadster. There was something wrong with the sauce. So I let them know via a DM on Twitter – I didn’t mind but I felt like they should know to prevent such a thing from occurring with other customers.

A day later, I was contacted by their HQ and discussed the matter for 40 minutes. Discussing sauce for slightly less than an hour can be refreshing.  They requested my address and sent me a package including a free dinner voucher.

Over the past few months, my visits to Rd less and less frequent. You can blame my diet for that, being way up North (they should consider opening something north of Jounieh, something I’ve said before) and medical school for that.

However, a few days ago I decided to indulge in a guilt-full burger as a way to celebrate a weight-related milestone I had crossed. First time in a long time I’m under 100kg!

I ended up finding the tiniest hair possible in my fries, something that is not unusual at restaurants. I am not the type to throw a fit when I see such a thing – there are much worse things that could take place with your food – but I always point it out. So I quietly called over a waiter and did so. He exchanged the fries and I figured that was it, as it should have been.

When we asked for the bill, I was surprised to find a lazy cake being placed on my table and the bill excluding my burger. I complained about this but they were adamant. And this happens every single time something like that happens.

This isn’t a rare occurrence that only happens with me. A friend of mine was having lunch once with a group of friends. He ordered some chicken tenders which came in late and were in less than optimal condition. He pointed it out. The entire table’s bill was on the house. The examples don’t stop there.

For many, such practices should come as second nature to businesses. But the fact of the matter is what Roadster and some very few select companies across the company do is not only rare, it’s borderline unique.

No, I’m not getting paid to write this. I am not a business guru or savant. My extent of business knowledge is the stock app on my iPhone. But as a customer, I believe that the practices of Roadster diner, as an example, make me feel like more than a number with some monetary input associated with it. If anything what Roadster and some other companies do is anything but what we’ve come to associate with typical Lebanese business behavior. And for that, they should be applauded.

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Dear Roadster Diner,


I love you. I really do.

Out of all Lebanese restaurants, you might be my second favorite. A close second at that. Sorry, but nothing can top Batroun’s Pizza Royal (and they don’t make my wallet go drastically thinner too).

My relationship with you can be abusive sometimes, mostly from your part both to my wallet and my cholesterol levels. And despite that, I keep going back.

But this is not about me loving you. It’s about you not loving me as much. You see, you, as a franchise, can be categorized as somewhat xenophobic (Dubai doesn’t count). How so? Have you looked at how your branches are spread out across Lebanon?

Take Beirut as the center. Your branches are located all around Beirut. The furthest one to the North is in Kaslik and the furthest one to the south is in Verdun. So say I’m spending summer in my hometown in the North, I cannot eat your Diner Mite 220 unless I go all the way to Kaslik, where I have to wait for ten or more minutes so I can be seated in the non-smoking section. And during summer, the City Mall branch has waiting times that can go to about 30 minutes. To say business is overflowing would be an understatement, right?

So why don’t you invest in spreading out more to the North and further to the South? I’m not saying go all the way to Akkar or the Southern border but you know, Batroun or Saida would be a good stopping place, no? I’d even take Jbeil if Batroun is too far for you.

You see, your rival Crepaway is already spreading out way more than you do. Their Batroun branch has been doing quite well for a few years now and they’re opening up a new branch in Jbeil. I don’t like Crepaway as much as I like you but they’re more accessible, and therefore, more prominent in the Lebanese scene. Look at it this way: more people would readily go to the more available place, right?

The new branches don’t need to be a full blown architectural design like the new Batroun McDonald’s. They can be a small place enough to keep business in the positive range in small Northern cities and enough to satisfy the appetites of your customers whose lives do not revolve around the Lebanese capital.

Sincerely,

A hungry Lebanese citizen.