December 12, 2012
OneSpeed's focaccia-gate update: We blew it on that one

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Following up on yesterday's post about OneSpeed, its missing bread and a carb-crazed customer who was not amused, I received a nice email from owner/chef Rick Mahan, who made no excuses for the missing bread.

His email, which I will excerpt below, also reveals a few things about the business and about why OneSpeed is packed every day it is open. Whether this customer was right to complain -- and most of you think she needed to take a deep breath and shut up a little -- is not really the point from the restaurant's persepective. It wants to serve customers and make them happy. This kind of attitude is not for everyone. Successful people in the service industry, however, seem to have the gene hard-wired into their DNA. Me? You? Wouldn't it be more fun to tell her to take a hike?

Here's what Mahan told me:

"Just got home and saw your post. We blew it on that one for one reason -- nobody working the floor that day responded properly. I got to work that a.m. and discovered my Sunday batch of focaccia dough (Tuesday's bread) was not made -- hence, no focaccia for guests on Tuesday. Was not much to do but let customers know that we did not -- and would not -- have focaccia for that day. Obviously,we did not do a good job of getting the point across. I've spoken to the staff and hopefully they'll do it better should the situation present itself in the future. At the very least they should have been given something bread-like."

Mahan went on to explain that OneSpeed does not, in fact, offer free bread to diners. There is a small charge. Some people ask for bread with their soup or salad, and the servers serve some at no cost. Mahan also agreed with his manager's response to the unhappy customer, as did I.

Then Mahan added: "We should have handled it better. I'd have gone to T.J.s (Trader Joe's) no problem whatsoever if that would have made em' happy.Trying to impress that on my workers."

Again, it doesn't matter if the woman was right or wrong (and a little frantic about it all). If you don't have Mahan's solve-the-problem/serve-the-customer mindset, you probably shouldn't be in the restaurant business. If you agree with his approach, it might be an appropriate show of support to stop by OneSpeed and order some focaccia. That is, if you can get a table. They know what they're doing over there. OneSpeed is at 4818 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento.

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

Ask the expert: Was it cool of me to go nuts when OneSpeed ran out of bread?

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