It’s become my belief that Le Boulanger Bakery in Menlo Park, though it has wonderful offerings in both bakery and dining affairs, is completely not prepared to handle itself as a food service oriented establishment. They don’t just mishandle special requests, they do it with terrible attitude.
This is one consumers experience with the establishment… but before you flit away before finishing this article, you need to keep reading because there’s light at the end of this dingy tunnel for their customer service. Or, Starbucks to the rescue!
During the July 21st weekend, my wife and I went to the Menlo Park location of Le Boulanger Bakery for a late afternoon lunch. I was winding down my birthday weekend experience when we went and ordered our things and waited. When we got our order, we wanted to ask for a side of dressing.
Normally you ask the cashier, but they were focused or ignoring us, so we ended up standing there for several minutes and I decided to ask one of the girls that was standing next to the cashiers. She was just adding some stock to a cabinet and was effectively not engaged by any costumer.
When I asked her for a side of dressing, she gave me this look and said “What?” I repeated my request and while standing around, effectively doing nothing, she said I have to ask the cashiers. And then she appropriately blew me off.
The cashiers were swamped with customers and this woman, doing nothing, told me she won’t help me.
Is it just me, or do you NEVER tell a customer no? I was stunned and she did not give a crap that she upset me. She turned her back on us and went back to what she was doing.
We had to interrupt the cashier from dealing with taking orders to get us our side of dressing because it was going on almost 10 minutes and our hot food was now cold.
I ate my order as fast as humanly possible because all I wanted to do was get out there. I was pretty frustrated.
On a different occasion…
Point: Let me preface this with the thought that Le Boulanger Bakery offers on their menu items with sauteed onions. That’s an important detail.
On a different occasion, my wife had ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and asked for sauteed onions on it.
The cashier took the order and when we got our lunch, my wife had noted that her grilled cheese had raw onions on it. She didn’t want raw onions. She wanted sauteed onions.
When we went to the counter to get sauteed onions, we were told they don’t have sauteed onions. Despite that very commodity being offered in items on their menu on the wall behind them. And after delivering the information, the man effectively turned his back on us was continued doing what ever it was he was doing before I “interrupted” him. He effectively walked away from me while I was still trying to ascertain how this can be.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that if you only want to order exactly what is on the menu at Le Boulanger Bakery, you’re good to go.
Admittedly, what they do offer and serve are wonderful dishes. The sandwiches are awesome and the salads are HUGE! The bakery goods are delectable! But somehow, they completely miss the boat when it comes to customer service and handling requests outside the printed norm of their menu.
For this reason, I warn consumers that if you are a finicky dining customer, you may very well wish to avoid Le Boulanger Bakery. They literally have no cares in the world about handing special requests and they don’t seem to give crap that they’ve upset the customer.
I started looking at online reviews and noticed an interesting trend with the establishment. And that’s a complete shame, because they do have a lot to offer at semi-reasonable prices!
BUT… you might want to belay my suggestion to avoid the place
I was getting ready to go into full boycott mode on the bakery, but I just found out that Starbucks is buying the company for a cool $100 million. The news hit the street in early June of this year (2012)! With this purchase, Starbucks is looking to start offering the bakery goods in their Starbucks stores and that will start rolling out in early 2013. (Which is BAD news for Peet’s, but then again, someone just bought Peet’s!)
With the Starbucks org buying up Le Boulanger Bakery, I can’t imagine the customer service will not improve. When you go into any Starbucks, they know how to treat the customers and I can only hope this mindset gets passed down to the bakery locations.
The bakery was owned by Next World Group, a privately held investment firm based in San Francisco, so maybe they’re the ones that have helped the terrible customer service propagate downward through the corporate mindset.
That was my experience this last weekend! I hope it will turn around by the time the new management gets ahold of the place.