ETW: Cafe Rio

Update: Cafe Rio just posted this response to my post here in the comments below: Amigos… This is the Cafe Rio Corporate office here, and let me say….Ouch, NO BUENO! Not only did you receive poor customer service, you received poor food. To us here at the office, this is a huge blow and a double whammy. As you know, we love our customers, and their taste buds. Vegan or not. We want to make it perfect. Please call the corporate office (801) 930-6000. Ask to speak with Stacy. She will not only get you the hook-up, she will make you smile. As for the manager at Draper. Please know that phone calls have been made, corporate staff notified and meetings scheduled.
We take this stuff pretty serious. When you hand squeeze 1000 limes a day and hand roll a bazillion tortillas…It’s frustrating to hear that a manager ruined our hard work. We want to make sure everything is perfect. Including our customers happiness.
Can we still be friends…let’s not break up.

Love you too Cafe Rio. I could never really break up with you, because I’m like an addict who can’t stop coming back for more. Thanks for hooking me up and resolving the issue. Xoxox -Somer

Cafe Rio is where I spend most of my dining out dollars. I prefer to eat there than anywhere else. Literally. I could eat there two or three times a week, but since I’m trying to limit spending on dining out it’s more like twice a month. Which is affordable, because it’s cheap, fresh and delicious. Once you eat there, it’s like crack, you get addicted, you can’t stop and you want it all the time. I have been eating there for more than 12 years on a regular basis. There are also good choices for vegans including: Veggie Burrito (must have enchilada style, mild is my favorite and the only vegan sauce), Veggie Tostada, Veggie Salad or Veggie Tacos. If that list seems small, it’s not, since that’s pretty much most of the menu. Oh, and the strawberry lemonade sweetened with stevia….The Bomb! They even have a cool link on their website that identifies vegan and vegetarian options on their website here. They make everything fresh in the restaurant everyday and offer whole wheat tortillas which they make by hand in front of you. PURE LOVE. Check out this post here for a vegan version of their insane creamy dressing and more ordering tips for vegheads.

Being vegan at Cafe Rio is easy, the staff is friendly and will customize your meal all day long with a smile on their faces. Once you eat there ten times, your punch card gets you a FREE MEAL! Woot Woot!

However, I’m breaking up with the Draper location, which is really sad for me since they are one of the only ones with a drive through. Coming home from Ragnar Relay Saturday night, I was STARVING after participating in a race that was 198 miles and took our team over 30 hours to complete. Veggie eats were slim pickins at the finish line so I suggested we pick up Cafe Rio on the way home. I phoned in an order and drooled with anticipation. I went in and picked up the order, the staff was friendly and kind as usual. Imagine my dismay when I got home that my order was completely wrong. Where was the salsa fresca I paid EXTRA for? Where was the mild enchilada sauce that I use instead of dressing on my salad? Why was there cheese on my salad and tiny bits of chicken which someone had tried to scrape off when they realized it was supposed to be a veggie salad? Why was the tortilla white instead of whole wheat? I nearly cried, but I was so hungry I ate it and tried to avoid the cheesy and chickeny bits. Yes, I had a moment of weakness in my sleep-deprived-starving-post-race-filthy state. I’m a vegan for health reasons and not an animal activist. Oh, and my husbands salad, which I had ordered identical to mine had all the same issues minus chickeny bits. Aargh!

So Monday I put in a call to the Draper location to complain. Understand that I’m not the type of girl who usually returns things or complains, I just felt really stiffed that the meals I had paid for were so blatantly made wrong, plus I have worked in 5 different restaurants AND THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT is a restaurant wide policy, right?

Wrong. I spoke to the Manager. He kept reminding me that the salad comes with cheese (ignoring me over and over again that I had specifically ordered the salad without cheese and told the staff I was vegan when I ordered. He also kept skipping over the fact that everything else about the order was wrong too). He was argumentative on the phone, finally asking me what I would like him to do about it. He pushed so I shoved. I told him I wanted him to replace the meals by gift card or free dine in. He told me he wouldn’t do a gift card but to come in and speak to him sometime in the next couple of days and we would work it out.

As you can imagine come dinner time Monday I was still a little miffed and decided to mosey my way into Cafe Rio to get my meals. I spoke with——-, the same manager I spoke with on the phone. He told me when I got there that company policy is to replace one meal within 24 hours regardless of the number of meals are that are wrong within an order and that my 24 hours was over. I reminded ——- that his restaurant was closed on Sunday so I was still within the 24 hour time frame. He pushed more, I shoved more. He was heated, argumentative and confrontational. BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE DUDE. Your restaurant rakes in the cash and I personally spend nearly all my dining out dollars there. Now I want to tell you that this is the first time I have felt discriminated against because I’m a vegan. I honestly felt he thought I was completely ridiculous because I was frustrated that the restaurant put cheese and mini bits of chicken on my salad. He finally replaced both of my meals, huffing and puffing all the way through it and when I got home and opened my take-out bag, I felt he purposefully excluded the silverware, napkins and cinna-mints that are included in every take out order. Ratbag. If he had behaved like a manager ought to, this post wouldn’t exist.

So, please, eat at Cafe Rio, because it’s delicious and you will truly love it if you don’t love it all ready, just don’t eat at the Draper location.

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40 thoughts on “ETW: Cafe Rio

  1. That is terrible service. I hope you are writing a letter to his boss (or the owner, or the franchise, whatever). I too don’t normally complain, but that is a situation that would warrant it – mostly because of the way you were treated after you informed them of the mistake.

  2. We have a vegan place here in Miami that we LOVE,,, and they deliver! We order delivery about once a week and their service is charming but unreliable. They’ll call back asking us questions we’ve already answered and are always out of something but never anything like that. I hope they step up to fix it so you can hit up the drive thru again.

    • They totally took care of it! Which is good because there aren’t many vegan eats within a close distance for us. Your vegan place sounds unreliably charming ;)

  3. Aww man! HATE when bad things happen to good places. It’s the worst! Even from all the way across the country, I’m pissed at Draper Cafe Rio! (Although their menu looks divine :))

    • Thanks Jinji! Their menu really is amazing. It’s a good thing there are multiple locations I can frequent so I don’t have to deal with being treated like garbage at the Draper location again.

      • YESSSS!!!!!! Delicious redemption. Good for you on standing up for yourself, and for calling them to the table! I’m inspired! I have quite the boycott list (lol as you might imagine..)

      • Yes, call the boycott list to the table! Apparently sometimes it makes all the difference when you give someone (ahem, corporate) a chance to apologize and make it better.

  4. Amigos… This is the Cafe Rio Corporate office here, and let me say….Ouch, NO BUENO! Not only did you receive poor customer service, you received poor food. To us here at the office, this is a huge blow and a double whammy. As you know, we love our customers, and their taste buds. Vegan or not. We want to make it perfect. Please call the corporate office (801) 930-6000. Ask to speak with Stacy. She will not only get you the hook-up, she will make you smile. As for the manager at Draper. Please know that phone calls have been made, corporate staff notified and meetings scheduled.
    We take this stuff pretty serious. When you hand squeeze 1000 limes a day and hand roll a bazillion tortillas…It’s frustrating to hear that a manager ruined our hard work. We want to make sure everything is perfect. Including our customers happiness.
    Can we still be friends…let’s not break up.

    • Love you too Cafe Rio. I could never really break up with you, because I’m like an addict who can’t stop coming back for more. Thanks for hooking me up and resolving the issue. Xoxox -Somer

  5. I am proud of you for standing your ground! There is nothing more disappointing (ok, I might be exaggerating) than having your order screwed up at a restaurant. Then to have the manager argue with you about it? I’ve worked in restaurants too and it’s just not worth it- give the customer what they want! I would probably react the same way you did!

    I hope the rest of your week goes well! :-)

  6. wow Somer, that is really horrible customer service. Good for you for advocating for you and your fam’s meals — and for Vegan food in general! Such a bummer. The corporate response was definitely encouraging though. Way to fight for Vegan eats! :)

    • Thanks Caralyn! I’m not normally that type of girl, I normally just sit back and take it, but somehow this experience got the fire going under me. They were super cool on the phone when I called corporate. One bad egg doesn’t mean the whole batch is rotten eh?

  7. So really I should have asked the deli lady to bust open 2 cans of black beans? ;) Sorry for a sad end to a fun day. Glad it all worked out in the end. Next week- Cafe Rio? I get to add grains in 6 days!!!

  8. It’s so funny you posted this because I recently had a similar experience with an Indian place here! I received a meal I had gotten before and it was just terrible- cold, no flavour, and missing things I’d ordered. I emailed to tell them- moreso because I love the restaurants and I would hate to have someone else get this and completely write them off. And they sent me a free meal and were very sincere in their apologies.

    Sorry you had to deal with all that nonsense- being discriminated because your vegan is terrible- it’s a choice, just like eating meat is a choice and no one should be made to feel bad about it or like they are an inconvenience. That manager sucks. Sad that it’s from one of your favourite restaurants too. Good for you for staying tough and speaking out! Glad you finally got some good results from it all though!

    • Thanks Gabby! I’m glad you got your issue resolved too and that the restaurant handled it so well! I eat out so infrequently that it really sucks when it’s a bad experience. I’m really grateful that Cafe Rio paid attention and made it right.

  9. Pingback: Tasty Tuesday Series: Ragnar Recovery « Good Clean Food

  10. Oh that make-up letter is adorable and I’m so glad to hear you plan to give them another shot because it sounds incredible and I’ve bookmarked a visit to them when I’m in L.A. later this year. NOM!

    • Isn’t it though? They were so great on the phone I almost felt guilty about posting about my bad experience. All is forgiven and I’m in love with Cafe Rio again.

      Yes, do visit them! When we had family come stay from Australia over Christmas it was one of their favorite places to eat. Everything is so fresh and yummy! You will love it!

  11. What a great response from the Corporate Head Quarters – it sounds as if they really do care and appreciate customer feedback and want to make it right – it could have gone in a totally different direction and they ended up doing the right thing- props to them and props to you for standing up to the manager insisting that he makes it right!

    • I know! I love them so much and I’m really grateful that it all worked out! Posting the resolution on Saturday. UNBELIEVABLY COOL.

  12. Pingback: ETW: Cafe Rio Redemption and GIVE-AWAY « Good Clean Food

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