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To be enormously disappointed in Pizza Express?

(95 Posts)
Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 17:45:09

Please don't flame me...I'm still quite upset and trying to figure out whether I'm over-reacting!

I went to Pizza Express for a celebratory lunch with some work colleagues last Wednesday: they took me out and chose it because I'm vegetarian (for religious reasons).

In fact we all ordered vegetarian options (by chance) and I went for the new 'calzone verde'. I double checked (as I always do) that the waiter had written down the veggie option (they had).

Half way through my lunch, I realised that what I had thought was the base of the pizza (bear in mind it is folded over and full of gubbins, so hard to tell) was actually a bloody enormous slice of pig shock shock.

Opened up the remains to discover this wasn't an 'accidental' piece of meat, but was in fact a meat pizza...totally full of stuff that I would never ever ever eat sad sad

Spoke to the waiter (politely!), who called over the manager, who didn't say anything, just walked off with my plate. Left everyone else finishing their lunch, unsure of what was going to happen.

Eventually (about 10 mins later) he came back to the table to apologise, said he didn't know what had happened but wasn't the real manager so could only report to head office. He took my contact details and told us he wouldn't charge for lunch, then quickly cleared the table and said goodbye to us.

Didn't offer me a replacement meal, or a drink, or a dessert or anything, and pretty much hustled us out of the restaurant.

Bit weird? We thought so... We ended up going somewhere else for dessert, which felt very odd!

Pizza Express phoned me the next day. Apologised for the error (fair enough), said they were investigating process with the kitchen (fair enough) and offered me a single free pizza for my trouble. I thought that was a bit mean, but life is short, so I accepted (nicely!). The guy on the phone made a big fuss of how he wanted me to get in touch when I had been for my 'free' pizza to let him know how I found the service hmm, and said he would email me a voucher immediately.

AIBU to be quite pissed off that a) a week later he hasn't emailed me any blinking voucher and b) that I was only offered a single pizza after a major kitchen cock-up?

I'm holding off on phoning them up to complain until I get sanity checked by the MN crew grin !

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 18:13:32

I think at the point where you and the manager agreed the meal was free you had to leave. They couldn't really be expected to have a group of customers on an endless free tab.

I'm not making light of their error- just looking at it from the business' point of view.

HaPPy8 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:14:48

I think YABU. You didn't have to pay for your meal and nor did your colleagues. What exactly do you want from them? They can't change that they made it mistake. Have you never made a mistake? Yes it was a biggy if you are vegetarian, but still, in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that big a deal. Sometimes things go wrong. They apologised. That should be end of it really.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:01

Um, sorry...I can't remember whether he cleared the table or didn't at that point. It was all quite fast...bear in mind there were only 3 plates to clear, so I'm not certain whether he walked straight off or whether he said that, then took the plates with him.

I think there were still plates on the table when we left, but I really can't recall accurately. Does it matter? I'm really not drip feeding!

Mintyy Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:33

Like provide her with a replacement meal for a start! And perhaps a complimentary round of drinks for her party?

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:43

I do think that you can judge a restaurant or shop for that matter on how they deal with complaints. It sounds like it was the manner of the way it was dealt with that was so weird. Rather than coming over and apologising profusely and then saying "what else can we get you free of charge?" they just didn't speak to you. That would make me feel weird and annoyed too. However, your pals did end up with a free lunch which isn't too bad!

silvermantella Wed 30-Oct-13 18:19:29

On one hand getting four free meals, and a voucher for another, is actually quite a good deal for one messed up meal. It's also not really their fault you were drinking tap water rather than soft drinks or wine, don't really see how you can complain about that! Also, like others have said, I don't see how they physically made you leave the restaurant, surely you could have said if you wanted to stay and have coffee etc, even if you ended up paying for that part??? They probably wanted to rush you out so other diners didn't hear what was going on, but you could have stood up for yourselves if you didn't want to leave!

On the other hand, it does seem like you personally got the raw end of the deal, as your friends all got their meals free, even though there wasn't anything wrong with them, and you were the one who only had half a meal, had to do the complaining, and had the upset of having unexpected meat as a vegetarian. I think their overall response was quite generous but understand how it doesn't seem so to you, who is only really getting one pizza out of it.Personally I think your work mates should have paid for your dessert and coffee in the next place as a thank you for their free meals!

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:20:30

In answer to the other points: at the point when you've fed a meat meal (not a stray bit of meat, but a properly cooked meat meal) to a vegetarian, I do think you should offer a) a free meal (and to the rest of the very small group - not if there had been 12 people!) b) a free dessert or coffee "as a gesture of goodwill" (again, there were only 4 women on a work lunch : it wasn't going to be a huge tab) and c) not make them feel uncomfortable.

Leaving that aside, once HQ have been informed and got in touch they should make certain that any offer they do make (regardless of whether its a free lunch for 100 people or a free pizza for 1) is followed up on. And in this instance, I think lunch for 2 would have more 'authenticity', since I'm hardly going to go for a pizza on my own and right now I have no desire to encourage any of my colleagues to pay for a meal there....!

MegBusset Wed 30-Oct-13 18:20:47

Pizza Express service is really hit and miss - of the two near me, one is great and one is rubbish. Their Twitter feed is basically spent responding to the constant stream of complaints!

Anyway, I think in the situation you could have been more forthright and asked for a replacement pizza (free of charge) and to continue your meal. But it sounds like the manager was really crap at handling it too. I think head office's offer of a free pizza is fine though tbh.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:21:59

Yes it does matter, because if he cleared the plates out and 'hustled' you out then that was bad service. But if he walked away, he didn't hustle you out and you are making a bigger issue than it is. I don't see how at any point you or your friends couldn't have asked for he dessert menu.

californiaburrito Wed 30-Oct-13 18:25:51

Filly I don't have any advice for you but I can sympathize. Pizza Express once served my DS a bowl of pasta sauce (yep, no pasta, just the sauce). Apparently, the waiter explained to me that they had no pasta hmm and I explicitly stated that I still wanted the sauce hmm hmm. The manager also said that "of course, they wouldn't be charging me for the meal" and offered no replacement. Some people are just idiots.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Wed 30-Oct-13 18:25:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:27:20

We were definitely made to feel that we should we left, my colleagues were all commenting on how weird the whole thing had been!

Not that it matters, but they were taking me out for lunch, as it was my last day managing the team grin They would have been happy to pay for my meal as well as their own, and of course they paid for dessert elsewhere... no-one was particularly excited at the outcome of having a special lunch spoilt but saving a tenner.

FourAndDone Wed 30-Oct-13 18:30:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:08

Thanks for all the comments - it's been helpful to get a feel for what everyone else thinks. I'm aware that I'm a little sensitive about it!

I'll drop them a line by email tomorrow and see what comes back. Shan't be holding my breath though grin

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:23

Do you think it was because he didn't mean the whole thing was on the house and then when you said that he felt he ought to agree but felt strange about it?! Not sure if that's making sense but perhaps he agreed to not charging for any of the meal when perhaps he just meant your meal but once he had agreed he didn't want the tab to get any bigger?

orangepudding Wed 30-Oct-13 18:45:51

I think its a pretty big deal.

Many people have special dietary requirements. A chain like pizza express is transparent about what goes in the food. It's very poor of them to make such a mistake.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 30-Oct-13 18:46:39

How did you get half way through a full meat pizza before realizing it had meat in it. I would stop the second I had something odd in my mouth.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:51:43

arethereanyleftatall I know! blush To be fair we were nattering away, not really looking at the food, and it was a calzone pizza, so folded in half and sealed, like a pasty, and full of cheese, veg and pizza sauce. Very runny and messy, and you're cutting through crust top and bottom, so don't really see what's on the inside. So it was only when I was about half way through (at the middle) and could see the innards that I realised what I was eating...

lila possibly. Didn't occur to me at the time - in my mind, it would be odd not to charge me for something I didn't get to eat, hadn't ordered and was upset about having been served, so I assumed that wasn't what he meant! At no point did anyone suggest a replacement, but I wouldn't have accepted a new pizza anyway, as everyone else had finished eating. I know I've said it before, but we were left sitting and waiting for what felt like a very long time!

toffeesponge Wed 30-Oct-13 18:59:43

What if you were allergic to meat?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 30-Oct-13 19:06:48

I had this in Pizza Express, you weren't in that huge shopping mall in East London were you?

Halfway through my vegi pizza and thought it was an odd taste on one mouthful. Spat out a slice of pepperoni/salami that had been hidden under some spinach.

I politely complained and the waiter said "well what do you want me to do about it". hmm

They didn't charge me for the meat infected pizza in the end but no apology or voucher.

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 19:08:56

A friend of mine has a problem with sugar (not diabetes and I don't really undersatnd it) but a full sugar coke could basically kill her.

She gets a friend to check every coke she is brought in a restaurant, explains to the waiter how serious it is and if she is even a tiny bit worried she sends a drink back and will ask to watch it be poured.

Maybe you need to take this kind of responsibility for your food. Worng, but in a big mass market chain I think errors will happen.

Jan49 Wed 30-Oct-13 19:12:06

I think it's odd that they didn't offer to make a vegi pizza for you on the spot to replace the one that wasn't suitable. It sounds like they wanted you all out in case you made a fuss in front of other customers. Very odd.

I am vegetarian and was once given chicken soup in a restaurant even though I'd ordered entirely from a page of vegetarian options and I ate it all before realising. They just apologised and that was it. I can't remember if I paid. I was in an obliging mood on that particular day.confused

Lagoonablue Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:03

Poor service. Should have offered to replace your meal there and then. E mail head office.

BurlyShassey Wed 30-Oct-13 19:29:31

I haven't stepped back to PE since the (very nice) waiter at the end of the meal, when we were paying the bill, said something like ''oh you want to add a tip because service is not included, the tip is £whatever he said''.

we sat there shock that he said that, wasnt his fault, hteyd been told by management to actually ask for a tip,

I called manager over and said , loudly for all to hear '' do you honestly think ay customer here WOULDNT give a tip to your lovely staff? why are you saying they have to ask for one? that's embarrassing''.

we DID give waiter a tip, wasn't his fault, and he was lovely, but never been back.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 19:36:56

I've been in a similar situation where something went wrong with an individual's meal, and the manager waived the bill for the whole group. We ordered more, and ate too much finished our meal.

The problem here is not the 'compensation' offered, but the manner in which it was offered. The manager should have apologised immediately, said what he was going to do, and offered an alternative. The staff should not have ignored you, but the waiter who took your order should also have come and apologised. A bottle of wine should have appeared on your table - unopened, so that you could refuse it easily, if it was imappropriate. Basically, you should have been made to feel still welcomed and appreciated as customers.

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