Today’s post is written by my son Dalton Anderson: “My wife and I celebrated our anniversary a bit ago, and we decided to use our Ruth’s Chris Steak House gift card that we had been holding on to since our wedding. My wife made the reservation, asked my sister and bro-in-law to babysit our boy, and off we went to Salt Lake City for our anniversary dinner. On our way out, it occurred to me that we had received our gift card three years previous, and I hadn’t thought to check for an expiration date. Lex checked, and indeed the card did have an expiration date of one year from being issued. Lex got on with customer support to see if there was any balance left on the card, and customer service informed us that if we let the manager know when we arrived, they’d be able to restore our balance. It felt like a drive of faith, and we resigned ourselves to accepting that we might be paying full-price for delicious steak.
When we arrived, we let the host know about our card, and she looked hesitant, but the manager was standing right next to her and immediately grabbed our card. “We will absolutely take care of that balance for you! We always honor our gift cards. You two go ahead and follow your host to your table, and I’ll bring this back to you when I have it sorted out.” I wanted to cry. Not because this meant I wouldn’t be paying in full—which of course added to the emotion—but because this manager took my worries and stresses from my plate, and loaded them on his. He didn’t even leave us with a small portion to stress over. I was immediately put at ease over the whole situation.
We were kindly guided to our table by our host who made polite small talk and congratulated us on our anniversary. Obviously her system notified her, but it was a nice gesture. Our table was placed on the edge of the restaurant with a big corner table, and was decorated with rose petals and a small sign that said, “Happy Anniversary Alexis and Dalton”. Our host gave us a few recommendations before the menu arrived, and it wasn’t the typical “everything is good” response. Because let’s be honest, nothing is more unhelpful than someone without an opinion.
I thought the experience couldn’t get better. Then we met our server. If you’ve ever been on a Disney cruise, then you’ve probably experienced the magic service offered by every staff member. Our service at Ruth’s Chris was Disney cruise quality. He was extra helpful and extra friendly. He made us feel like we were family. No request was treated like an inconvenience, and he never needed to be reminded of anything. He was the kind of server that you want to leave a really nice tip for, to make sure he understood that you really appreciated him.
And don’t even get me started on the steak! I’ve had a lot of steak in my life from a lot of great places, but that was the best dang steak I’ve eaten in my entire life. I actually think my spirit left my body at one point and I thought I’d gone to heaven.
Sometimes I dream about that steak.
The manager brought our card back to our table at some point (I can’t recall the details because I was eating delicious steak), and not only did he reaffirm that the money was still on the card, he also let us know that Ruth’s Chris would always honor any gift card no matter how expired. He congratulated us on our anniversary, said he hoped to see us again on the next one, suggested it could become a great tradition to which I in some sort of euphoric daze nodded my head and said “absolutely!”
When it was time to leave, I was ready to cry. It felt like Christmas break being cut short. What made it more painful was that everyone was so nice to us as we left. “Hope you had a great experience,” “Glad you could join us,” “Hope to see you back soon.” People in my church building aren’t even that friendly! As we walked out the door I told my wife I wanted to go leave the best review Google has ever seen. If every company offered a customer experience like Ruth’s Chris in Salt Lake City, there’d never be a reason to complain. I bet we’d all float around like a choir of angels singing in harmony. Truly though, that experience is possible because they’ve created a culture that affects everyone in their organization for good. From the manager, to the server, to the host, everyone was focused on my experience of eating mouth-watering steak, and it’s for that reason that my great-great grandkids will know of Grandpa Dalton’s love for Ruth’s Chris and their incredible customer experience.”
~Dalton Anderson ( covering for Amy Rees Anderson for today)