I've got your Cobb salad: The B&O Brasserie's brilliant response to an unhappy customer

On Civil Dining

August 16, 2011|By Richard Gorelick

A friend was so upset about the loss of her beloved Cobb salad that she wrote the B&O Brasserie about it. This is the response she got from Thomas Dunklin at the B&O Brasserie.

Thank you for your recent feedback on our menu changes for lunch. Your opinion is highly respected and not taken for granted.

We value your patronage and loyalty to B&O. By changing the Cobb Salad you have grown to love, we did not mean to offend. We are in the process of a menu change and wanted to get our guests' feedback so it pleases me to learn that you have reached out. I am not sure if the original Cobb will find its way back on the menu, but I'd like to do something special for you. We invite you to join us regularly as you do for lunch and we will make the Cobb salad you enjoy, exclusively for you each time you visit. This will be no problem to do, but rather than upset you or lose your business we would rather accommodate you each visit. Would this be something you would be interested in? Just mention that you were wanting the traditional cobb salad when you make your reservation.

Once again, thank you for reaching out and I hope to hear from and see you soon!

Thomas Dunklin

There are several lessons here:

1) Dunklin is not inviting the customer to be a total diva. She has to mention the Cobb salad when she makes a reservation. That's just smart, and puts customer and restaurant on a path of cooperation.

2) The customer's letter to the chef expressed disappointment but not outrage. It opened a conversation and didn't back the chef into a corner.

A great example of Civil Dining.

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