Recently I wrote of an experience my wife and I had dining at a Bennigan’s restaurant here in Texas. We had a gift card, albeit several years old, and we were unable to use it due to the parent corporation having declared bankruptcy a few years ago. We still enjoyed our dinner (I’ve always been a fan of Bennigan’s). We just paid out of pocket for our meal. That evening I turned to my nightly therapy and blogged about the whole thing.
The next morning I was most pleasantly surprised to see a comment on that post awaiting moderation. The comment came from a gentleman named Paul Mangiamele who said he was the CEO of the Bennigan’s Franchising Company. He had come across my blog and wanted to reimburse me for the mix up with our gift card. OK, let’s pause for a moment. First, someone just “came across” my blog? Wow, WordPress really does get these things out to the search engines! Second, I did some searching of my own. There was, in fact, a Paul Mangiamele who happened to be CEO of the aforementioned company. His company was responsible for rebuilding the Bennigan’s brand one new franchise at a time. After thinking it over I decided the whole thing was legitimate enough to give it a shot.
And then we went on vacation and one thing lead to another and before you know it I was fishing a faded receipt out of my wallet on a trip to the movies with my wife. “What’s this?” I said aloud. We looked it over. It had a total of slightly more than $48. Examining it further I noticed the name “Bennigan’s” up top. OK, let’s see if Mr. M. is who he says he is. I made sure the credit card number on the slip was securely X’ed out (just the last four digits showing), wrote a nice explanatory letter, printed out the blog post, stuck it in an envelope, and sent it off to an address I found online. Coincidentally, the company’s headquarters are in Dallas.
Last night my phone pinged. It was a WordPress comment alert. I tapped the screen and saw the following.
Harvery (sic), Just received your guest check for reimbursement. True to my word, we will write you a check for $48.13. Please remember to have all your readers and fellow bloggers become raving fans of the one and only BENNIGAN’S…Regards, Paul Mangiamele, CEO and President of Bennigan’s Franchising Company.
All I can say is wow! So he is real, he is who he says he is, and he is true to his word. Here’s a guy who believes in his company and its product. Of all the topics I’ve ever covered this story actually left a mark on me in a few different ways. First, it showed me that people are reading me. Sometimes as a blogger checking his stats every day (minute) and reading comments from the same comforting and comfortable people I lose sight of this fact. Second, it’s almost trite to say that it restored my faith in the corporate world; but in an era where customer service is increasingly abhorrent, Paul’s actions single-handedly grabbed that pendulum and pulled it back toward the “the customer is always right” model I grew up with.
Thank you, Paul Mangiamele, for caring about an unknown customer with a blog and for paying for a meal when you didn’t have to. To celebrate, we’re taking my visiting niece to… Bennigan’s! I think everyone who reads this should find a Bennigan’s and show them your support too.