It’s ROAD TRIP time! As I’ve already been to 18 locations and 14 different Counties across all 3 regions of Florida, I still had a few more locations I wanted to visit, so tonight I decided to take a trip to one of the remaining Counties, which include Merritt Island (Brevard County), Orange City (Volusia County) & Palm Coast (Flagler County). I decided for tonight, I’m heading to Merritt Island, and it’s definitely a hike:
Upon walking in, I was greeted by employees standing nearby, and at the host table, I was greeted again very pleasantly. The parking lot was packed tonight, so I expected to have a wait. Nope, got seated right away. The gentleman who brought me to my table asked me how my night was, and I responded “excellent”, and I was surprised that his response was “Well let’s see if we can make it even better”. I could instantly tell this location strives for excellence. After being seated, my server, Robyn, who was AWESOME, promptly came over to the table and asked what I’d like to drink, and normally I have to tell them I’m all set to order, but I think she could get the vibe I knew what I wanted, so she asked if I knew what I wanted to have and I put in my refill order of Fettuccine, Creamy Mushroom & Crispy Chicken Fritta:
As you can tell, it came out perfect. Sometimes, especially at new locations where the servers don’t know me or my quirky routine/ordering, I expect to get push back or confusion on orders like this, since normally the Never Ending Pasta Bowl STARTS with a full-size order, and subsequent orders are the half-sized refills. To even be able to put this in, it has to go in the computer as a full-size first, and the servers then either need to do a “See Server” note, write it in the computer, write-it down on paper, or walk up and let the kitchen know verbally. Because it can be a hassle, I never plan on getting upset if it comes out wrong. The other day while I was in Orlando, I got a full-size by mistake, and simply asked for a refill plate and made the adjustments myself (and brought home the leftovers to my kiddos).
The level of excellence continued, as I was asked if I needed a refill (before it was even low), as a gentleman was walking around the restaurant with a pitcher of water, like you typically see at higher end restaurants. I typically only get water refills from my specific server. I noticed someone cleaning the carpet, and as SOON as I finished my meal, another person walked over and asked if I was all set and wanted them to take my plate. When I finished my meal, I tend to take out my Pasta Pass and Debit Card to have them ready, and ANOTHER person walked over and asked if I wanted them to give it to my server so she could take care of it (this all happened in the span of like 2 minutes). I said okay absolutely, and asked if he could have her do the penny pre-authorization (which is how I leave a tip) and he didn’t even question it, as I usually have to explain what I mean and why… Just a super efficient and team environment. Liz, one of the managers I believe, was going table to table to see how things were with their meal. I could hear someone mildly complain about something, and she got them a meal instantly, to go. It literally came out in minutes, so they didn’t even have to wait. Another table over, I saw Chris, the General Manager, talking to another table and while I didn’t get the details, I could see he was making things right and offered them dessert, on him (they didn’t even seem upset about anything either). I think it’s fantastic that restaurants understand the value of customer retention and always try to keep us patrons happy.
Chris, the GM, continued making his rounds, and stopped over at my table and I introduced myself and gave a brief overview of my Pasta Pass journey, the what and why, etc and he sat down to join me in conversation for a few. I complimented him on his restaurant and let him know it’s one of the best locations I’ve been to from a service and quality perspective. I’m still perplexed on how fast the food came out, considering they were busy too! He runs a great team, it seems. Good leadership for sure. After a nice conversation, it was sadly time to head back home to Inverness, FL. One nice thing I realized is this location is VERY close to where I’m having my upcoming marathon in a few weeks, as I put 2 and 2 together once I saw this down the street:
The marathon is literally down the street from the restaurant, and when I mentioned that to Chris, he said LOTS of people end up at his restaurant for carb loading and post-race celebration. I’ll be one of them, for sure. It should be a good run, as it’s my first marathon. Plus I always love the merch from races:
In other news, I’m going to increase my visits for the next 4 days. Since I recently moved to 3 visits a day, I realized I’m still (slightly) behind for the upcoming 6 week mark (against where Alan stood). At that point, he did 95 visits & $1,510 worth. I’ll need my visits to be at 101 to be equivalent value (I think it’s because he got free soda back then). So that means 4 visits tomorrow, 5 visits Friday, 6 visits Saturday and the holy grail, 7 visits on Sunday… And I can’t simply walk out and walk right back in. I won’t be cheating
Also, all meals are required to stay within my calories. This should be interesting. I’ll resume 3 visits a day after this catch up madness.
Wish me luck!
Here is the Ziosk showing a cost savings of $14.96:
Here is the nutritional information for this meal: