Coal Respond to my Complaint


by Jake McMillan

My ever so slightly sarcastic complaint to Coal Grill and Bar in Wimbledon triggered 2 responses from them.

The first response, later that day, was a polite but generic response from the Wimbledon branch of Coal:

They did misspell my name, but it was a quick response and I appreciated the acknowledgement of my complaint. However, there was no effort to get my custom back again?

The following day, 9th September 2011, I got an email from John Gater the Founder and CEO of the Coal Grill and Bar Group:

I was actually quite impressed that I got a personal email from the CEO stating that they were looking into it and would get back to me in a few days. I thought fair enough, every company dips in service now and again, has a bad day and/or makes a mistake. They deserve the chance to rectify it and show that it was not their normal standard.

John Gater

Over 3 weeks later, however, and I have heard nothing from John Gater or the rest of his staff. Coal staff in the restaurant were slow to actually respond but once they did, they actually did something. Whereas John was quick to respond but has been slow to do something.

I found this article written by John Gater in December 2007 regarding the difference in service between USA and the UK following a recent visit to the US:

It’s a bit frustrating on returning to the UK to find that the word “service” in the hospitality business here doesn’t seem to have the same meaning. …

Perhaps the answer is to ship loyal crews to the USA to give them first-hand experience in the art of meaningful service. If it weren’t for the cost, we’d probably start tomorrow.

On second thoughts, maybe the cost would be justified after all. I’ll see you at the airport.

Fast forward four years and perhaps John should take his own advice?

I get the feeling that John genuinely does care about good quality service for Coal customers and for whatever reason this is not being carried out well at the Wimbledon outlet.  If things are improved or I just happened to go on bad nights, then I would be very happy to hear back from him.

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