Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Steak 'n Shake-- The Meeting

This morning, I had a meeting with three of the executives from Steak 'n Shake. Joining me at the meeting were Beth Donofrio, a board member from Illinois Hands & Voices and Howard Rosenblum, an attorney from Equip for Equality with me. Beth assisted me in taking notes at the meeting.

Steak 'n Shake started off with an apology and said, "We believe in admitting when we make mistakes and learning from them."

I had the opportunity to explain what transpired at the drive thru window and they shared that the manager completely failed to follow their five-step procedure for delivering customer service. The incident was recorded on their camera system. The executives have viewed the tape, but there is no sound.

We discussed different ways that Steak 'n Shake could improve their service to people with disabilities. The executives listened with an open mind and it appears that they are willing to implement some changes to ensure that this type of service breakdown does not occur again in the future.

I am cautiously optimistic that we are taking steps in the right direction. It remains to be seen what progresses from this in the coming weeks. Steak 'n Shake will be getting back to me on this.

34 comments:

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Karen,
Step one has been taken and you are on your way. I am VERY happy that they listened to what you have to say...very intelligent of them considering you have a HUGE community of people loving and supporting you. You are an amazing woman. I look forward to the updates as they come. Your family must be proud...Jodi

Anonymous said...

Way ta go, Karen; sounds like a good start....

Steve said...

Wow, good luck! I hope they doesn't ignored our needs after your meeting. Same with me with the hospital in lawsuit and still working on it. Boy, the hospital doesn't care at all. We are still fighting.

Kirk M said...

That's a good start. Let's hope they continue in along in the same frame of mind.

You're to be admired for sticking with this, Karen. Not everyone would.

Karen said...

Jodi-- the family couldn't care less, they just want to know if there's milkshakes in the future. :)

Steve-- I hope you can work it out with the hospital. I have heard many, many complaints and stories from others.

Kirk-- I guess this happened for a reason and I'm hoping accessible changes are the reason.

K.L. said...

I really would have liked to be a fly on the wall when the executives had their "discussion" with that manager. I bet he learned a whole new meaning to the term "customer relations."

Under The Hill said...

I'm curious... what happened to that manager? Was he fired or reprimanded?

Karen said...

I have no idea what did/will happen to the manager. Everything was on hold pending the meeting today, so I don't know what will result from it.

Tales from the CI Gal said...

I love the way they started the meeting. My respect is slowly coming back for Steak and Shake. Keep us informed about the progress.

valerie

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen-

My hope that this kind of solution between you and them will be a model for large scale of drive-thus order.I personally hate get out of my car and order through over the counter! One time I sprained my ankle and hardly walk to the restaurant. It is not fair that hearing can order drive thus!

One if you can give my input to them is why not install "Visual" buttons so whenever we want to order, we can press the button(s) with different choice. I know many people can't hear the speakers not because they are "Deaf" but the speakers does have poor audio systems due of weather storm. Also people replies have different spoken language other than English. It is impossible for them to hear their order. It is not that hard for them to install visual button! Do you think my suggestion will benefit all of us?

again thank you for making a significant impact!

-Gary Brooks ;)

Nita said...

Why not ask a friend to "spy" and see if that $*#@ manager is still working there and if his attitude is the same?

NightOwl said...

Sounds like it's going well now....I'm a regular at SNS so it'll be great if all the SNS' will follow up for better service for everyone.

Howard Rosenblum? this name sounds very familiar to me.

Thanks Karen

bambam0922 said...

I personally would not want that manger working for my company, that was so far off the mark for common sense customer service it's ridiculous!!

Jim said...

At least, you made the first step and this kind of process will slow. We all have to wait and see what happens.

Thanks for update.

Jim

FosterAbba said...

I'm glad to know that they are at least appearing to be somewhat responsive. I hope they make some lasting changes.

Laurie said...

I'm glad that they were willing to meet with you to discuss options. And it is an extra bonus that the whole thing was caught on tape. Maybe they can save it and use it for a training video!

Keep us updated. . .I was glad to hear a report tonight.

Paula said...

Karen, did they give you a time frame for when they will get back to you? I see why you are cautiously optimistic. Hopefully they will follow through with re-training of their employees and put up better signage permitting deaf/hoh to pull up to the drive thru window so they can order face to face. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself. I'm glad they responded!

angelapiano said...

Karen,

I'm very hopeful this is going to come to a positive resolution - reprimand of the manager, formal apology to you, and definitive steps taken by SNS that this situation won't be repeated...

Thanks for keeping us informed. I'll be keeping an eye out for what happens, as SNS next steps will dictate whether I eat there again.

Angela

Judge said...

Way to Go!

Like I said before, you are the customer, always right! :)

Keep us posted.

Thanks!

Bill said...

Gary - Love the "buttons" idea. I have trouble getting my order right at Drive thru as a hearing guy who mumbles!

Karen, I think they will take care of you. They seem to be a customer focused company, and you probably had a bad manager on a bad day. Hope you get your Shakes soon!
(I can look outside and get shakes - it's cold where I am - brrrr)

I am Trish Marie said...

I'm a bit surprised that the manager whose actions are in question (well in more than question!) was not there to apologize to you. It is great that the execs have apologized. It is even more wonderful that this has forced them to examine their poilicies. But the point was to educate people, such as the manager, in what exactly discrimination is and, subsequently, make changes in the company policy. It seems like he would have apologized to you, as well.

I am very proud of you. I know that some people may react negatively toward you during this. But for all of those who themselves are deaf or, like me, are raising deaf children, it means the world. A huge thank you to you!

Candice said...

Way to go Karen!! Thanks for keeping us up to date. The other day my daughter wanted a shake and we were right beside a Steak'n'Shake. We kept on driving another mile and went to Sonic instead. ;)

CPA Mom said...

Karen,

I'm new here...from Sonia Sunshine's blog...I am profoundly deaf in one hear, moderately deaf in another. It is a progressive loss, with no known cause. One day I will be completely deaf. I wear aids right now. YOU ARE MY HERO. I love that you are standing up to this blatant discrimination. Just wanted to let you know. Can't wait to read more of your blog.

LL said...

As I just said in your other post about this, DON'T LET THEM OFF THE HOOK THIS EASILY!

If they don't feel the pinch, they'll never change the policy. They'll give you lip service like you won't believe, but it won't lead to any lasting changes. Right now they're just practicing C.Y.A. and hoping they can make you go away.

I know you're not out for a pound of flesh, but at the same time, you need some compensation.

(I too came over from Sunny)

Jodi said...

Karen.. that was a great FIRST STEP...I am surprised they did not give you an envelope stuffed full of free shake coupons for the rest of your life LOL,,Seriously you did great, and glad you had Howard with you.. hes a great guy and a good lawyer..
Its too bad they did not have audio on the CCTV.. it would have really picked up the tone of the so called managers voice,,
Looking forward reading what happens next with these folks from Steak and Shake..
Way to go girl !!!! I am EXCITED for you way over here in the Netherlands,,
Jodi....

BarbaraME said...

Karen - thanks for posting this. I'm so glad you're pursuing it. Hopefully they will learn and others will as well.

cheers!

Barbara from Listen-up

Timothy Johnson said...

Karen - I shared your story with my undergrad students last night. They were appalled that a big chain like Steak & Shake could behave so poorly. Keep us posted on the results. You are a true hero, Karen!

Jolie said...

Wow, Karen. Do people really act that way? It's appalling. I am so happy that you got the attention of the management team. At least they were smart enough to see this behavior is unacceptable. And, what in the world was that anonymous commenter thinking when she said "let it go!" If people dont stand up for the rights, others wont be held accountable for their actions. Keep up the fight. All you asked for was equal and fair service. Is that such a huge inconvenience?

Stephen Hopson/Adversity University said...

Way to go Karen! The executives were smart not to downplay this incident and start off with a formal apology directly to you. That's always a good start.

I'm sure there were lessons learned all around and it'll be interesting to see what changes they implement, if any.

Thanks for keeping your large group of supporters informed of the latest. We all appreciate it.

Jenna said...

Great to hear the first steps are being taken by the company to right this particular wrong in their customer relations.

Way to go and its wonderful to see what can occur when you stick to your guns!

groovyoldlady said...

You go, Girl!

Abbie said...

I am very glad to see that Steak n' Shake has scheduled a meeting quickly with you but I would be just as cautiously optimistic because I am use to people wanting to sweep situations under the rug. You are doing a wonderful thing! :)

Val said...

I'm glad to hear they listened...hope they all follow thru. Girl you do what you have to do...some of us hearing people w/deaf children are looking up to you...you're paving the way. My kids hear well w/their ci's but know that they will be able to use the drive thru either, they are not always clear sounding to even the hearing people. you are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there are 7 steps to service in drive thru, not five. Also, how could the manager fail to execute them when you said you never saw a manager?

Just another case of entitlement.