For two weeks in a row, my friend and I had long breakfasts at Dunkin’ Donuts. Last week, my friend noticed an odor. He said it smelled like sewage. I suggested it might be eggs because I think eggs stink (they do!). He thought it was the bathroom, so he checked out the men’s and said it wasn’t that. We weren’t sure what it was, so I said I’d mention it on Twitter, but, admittedly, I forgot.
Our second visit, I was the first to walk in. I noticed the smell immediately. I took to Twitter and notified Dunkin’ Iowa. Within two hours, they responded that they’d check it out. Sure enough, the owner appeared in the store looking all around. Shortly after, we heard banging coming from behind the wall. By the time I returned home, Dunkin’ Iowa notified me they were having an issue with the new sewer system and were working to correct it, something we’d guessed when we heard the banging behind the wall. Again, all of this took place in a four-hour span.
I am thrilled at the response time on this. To see the owner in shop within moments of a minor complaint via social media was truly impressive.
But that’s not why I’m blogging about it (though, certainly, he deserves some recognition for handling the issue so quickly.)
During both visits, DD was busy. It wasn’t packed with the long lines wrapped around the store, but there was a steady stream of traffic. At several points during both visits, all of the tables were taken including the one directly beneath the vent where the smell was strongest. On multiple occasions, my friend and I surveyed the store when the smell seemed at its peak, and we appeared to be the only one’s noticing it. This week, my friend even had the start of a cold, and he could *still* smell it.
If anyone else noticed the smell, no one seemed to care. And if they did smell it, no one appeared to act on it. In fact, with the response I got with my solitary mention of it directly to DD on Twitter, I get the distinct impression I’m the first to have mentioned it to them. And that boggles my mind.
If I am right, how in the WORLD did no one else notice a sewer smell? And if they did, why didn’t anyone say anything? And if they noticed and didn’t say anything, did they go back to their friends and bitch about the smell thus damaging the reputation of a store that didn’t even know there was a problem?
While I’m not afraid of calling out restaurants when they do something unprofessional or have an issue that needs addressing, sometimes, I’m hesitant to call out fellow consumers for failing to help out a restaurant. But this is something that is a key part of running a business: An establishment cannot improve if issues are not brought to their attention. It is a consumer’s responsibility to speak up if something is amiss.
I understand many feel complaints will be ignored; however, there are still some good business owners, and they genuinely want feedback. If there are folks who smelled the smell and did nothing, they are part of the problem, not the solution.