Friday, July 08, 2011

A Tale of Father's Day at OCB

I picked this up from the Old Country Buffet Facebook page and had experienced it myself. This took place the week leading up to Father's Day this year.

I don't expect anything really special at OCB for holidays and they usually put out the usual Sunday menu which consists of turkey, ham, and roast beef carvings, two pasta dishes, and then all of the usual sides, desserts, etc. (if you don't know what the usuals are at OCB then see some of my other OCB articles). And really, this is fine. But this year, OCB started to make a big deal about Father's Day on both Facebook and their emails. In fact they sent out an email to everyone on their email list several days before Father's Day talking about coming to OCB for Father's Day and then in the middle of the promo ad they wrote "Offer good only on June 19". This is what they put on coupons but there was no coupon there. What offer? What did this mean? This started a big stir on the OCB Facebook page with everyone wanting to know what the offer was - and where was the coupon? As I have recently written - everyone on the OCB Fan page clamors for coupons. I can understand not putting out a coupon for a holiday meal. It would overwhelm a potentially over crowded restaurant on a holiday - and the idea of a coupon is to bring in business when you generally don't expect to get a lot of business. So no coupon was no surprise. But what offer on this cryptic email promo was a big question.

Someone at OCB management - actually Buffets Inc. - must have realized the blunder because the next day another email went out that basically said - we goofed, there is no offer - just come and enjoy Father's Day with us. Ok - if it just stopped there.

What followed was another OCB posted Facebook thread - a poll - saying "A hearty steak or grilled chicken? BBQ or Pizza? What's your dad's favorite?" To me and many others this implied that on Father's Day we would be seeing steak, grilled chicken, BBQ, and pizza. If not, what was the point of this. Why entice people with something that would not be there? Now, grilled chicken and pizza are standards - usuals - on the OCB buffet. Just about any dinner you will find some variation of grilled or roasted chicken, and you always find pizza, BUT steak is a Friday night only offering and BBQ rarely is found unless there is a BBQ feature which there has not been in years. Even an old standard, BBQ Beef Ribs, were discontinued about a year or more ago. Steak and BBQ is a draw and on Facebook they were telling everyone that if this is your dad's favorite - come on Father's Day and he will get it. Again, otherwise, why even suggest it? Certainly they were not saying that if you want this go someplace else.

We went. Silly me - I was actually looking forward to BBQ and some steak, even though often OCB steak leaves a lot to be desired. I thought about this all day and when we went in for dinner I went right over to the hot serving area to see what BBQ they had and the steak. I am sure you can guess that there was none. No BBQ, no steak - sure there was chicken and pizza, but that was a sure bet. What was being served was the usual Sunday buffet - turkey, ham, and roast beef. About four weeks ago they stopped the additional hot entree that was regularly served on Sunday night - pot roast - and replaced this on some Sunday nights with baked beans and others a potato dish - hardly a substitute for an entree dish. Anyway - the point is - no BBQ and no steak. I was disappointed. I asked - they were surprised - why would I think they would be serving steak and BBQ. If the main office intended this, no one told them.

Now, when I got home that night, I looked on the Facebook page to see if anyone had commented on this. There was a comment left by another disappointed customer. That he took his family there, found no BBQ or steak and that OCB was practicing false advertising and fraud - in fact he suggested that if one really wanted to find steak and BBQ then Golden Corral was the sure thing. What is most interesting is that OCB removed this comment the next day - perhaps it struck to close to the truth. He and someone else had also left an after the fact comment on the original what is your dad's favorite thread. Those are still there.

It really is baffling. Why set customers up this way? It really is poor business practice and Buffets Inc. seems to go out of its way to do this.

Will I never return to another OCB? Of course, I will, but I will not believe another offer until I see it on the buffet myself.

1 comment:

Writer said...

OCB did it again - this week talking up hot dogs on the buffet on their Facebook page. They do have hot dogs at lunch but they were including dinner in their promotion. We just happened to go to OCB for dinner - not for the hot dogs. Good thing it was not for the hot dogs because there was not a hot dog in sight.