Why I won’t return to Tony Roma’s

Today I had a great meal and decent service, but a really bad experience. I live near Tony Roma’s Doral location. I’ve been eating there regularly since they opened. I’ve been eating at their chain since the very first one opened in North Miami Beach back in the 1970s. Yeah, most people don’t know it started right here near my grandma’s house — a dark, dingy place up against the railroad tracks; but long since closed. Mighty good eating at fair prices.

Over the years they have continued to jack up their prices, but I still go. You know what? It’s all about the food. If the food’s good and the place is clean you can forgive a lot. But I can’t forgive being insulted as a customer. They’ve managed to do it.

So we (me and a business associate were there) ordered our drinks, then when they came, ordered our food. My associate asked for the bread right away because he was hungry. We were told that “bread now costs a buck.” The entrées are now $16 to $22 each — just raised recently. Our particular entrées were $18. I bumped in and asked specifically why they would do that, to which our server had no answer. My associate was hungry, so we paid the buck (and were charged) for the bread over my strenuous objections. It’s not the buck, which I can afford but the principle of the matter.

They could raise their prices a little more and still give the bread away. Or they could serve it on request? I was offended at how cheap they were. Our tab was around $60 for two people, and they wanted that extra buck really bad? Maybe they should have charged for that last minute glass of water too. Cheap bastards is what they are.

I wrote them (in their itty-bitty feedback form box) a short note. I wonder if they shall reply. I don’t much care because if they don’t change their policy, I won’t ever go back: and I hope none of my loyal readers go to any of their restaurants anymore.

Here’s what I crammed into that itty-bitty box if you’re curious:

I’ve been a loyal customer of yours since I was young. I used to eat at your original NMB store and now eat regularly at the Doral location. You raised your prices again and I understand that. However, what I don’t understand is how you can raise your prices and ALSO charge me $1 for bread that every restaurant gives out for free. I objected when told, but they say it’s been that way for a few weeks. I won’t be returning until you change this policy. Shorty’s BBQ is just down the block. Not quite as good but they don’t insult me by charging $20 for an entrée and then another buck for bread. Nice work — you should be EMBARRASSED.

4-24-08 Update:

I received an e-mail reply on 4-16-08 which was CC’d to 6 people:

Dear Mr. Seiden:

Thank you for contacting Tony Roma’s Guest Relations. Please accept our apologies for the disappointment you had at the Doral Tony Roma’s in Miami, FL. Each guest plays an important role in helping us maintain the standards by which we operate and we appreciate your feedback. Your message is being forwarded to Karen Weinberger, Executive General Manager. Management would like to discuss your visit to Tony Roma’s and will contact you at the earliest opportunity. Thank you.

Martha Killion

Guest Relations

Romacorp, Inc.

(Phone redacted)

Having not yet received a reply from ANY of those people as of 4-24-08 548pm:

Dear Everyone:

Judging by the lack of any further contact, I must assume this to be entirely untrue. You sent this email to quite a few people. Nobody’s made any effort to contact me. (I don’t specifically care, but this certainly does make me just a bit more ticked off than I was). “Earliest Opportunity” implies some level of urgency. The time elapsed has indicated there is no sense of urgency.

Peace Out.

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