I have been a huge McAlisters fan for years! I mean… years and years and years! When I ate meat, I loved their club sandwich and chicken tortilla soup, they were the best! Then when I transitioned to a vegetarian lifestyle, they proved to have multiple options for a vegetarian – veggie spud, veggie sandwich, veggie club, vegetarian soups, and the veggie chili (plus more.) I loved their choose 2 option to satisfy more than one craving when I ate there. Now, don’t get me started on their Sweet Tea because I’ve been known to have an obsession.
To satisfy my McAlisters craving, I met a friend there for lunch the other day. I ordered the veggie spud and the ultimate nachos with veggie chili (this obviously included a sweet tea.) After I paid, I realized that I had been charged $1.00 for ordering veggie chili with my order. WHAT?! I was really surprised by this so I mentioned something to the lady who took my order and she agreed that it seemed weird, but it’s something that the system automatically does now. I was really upset about being charged extra for the veggie chili, but I let it go for the time being so I could enjoy lunch with my friend. Once we sat down, we started chatting away and 10 minutes turned into 20 minutes which turned into 30 minutes and my food had not yet arrived. The couple next to us arrived 5-10 minutes after we did and got their food before us. I originally thought that my food had taken so long because I ordered a spud, but the guy next me had ordered a spud as well, so that theory was out the window! I flagged down the girl who delivered their food and told her that I had been waiting on my food for a really long time. She didn’t seem very interested in my complaint and gave me a pretty great stink eye, but finally my food arrived. Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there because I continued to be disappointed since the $1.00 extra I spent on veggie chili was barely even noticeable on my plate of nachos! At this point I had had enough with this particular McAlisters (it wasn’t my first bad experience here!) and due to my extreme opinions about charging extra for the veggie chili, I’ve made a decision that I’m certain will surprise every single one of my friends who know me at all.
McAlisters, we’re breaking up!
The bad experience could probably be fixed with a few response tweets from McAlister’s or a simple e-mail apologizing for the staff & service at this particular location, but I haven’t heard a word back from them about that – I tweeted & filled out a survey. The service & staff change from one McAlisters to the other, so that doesn’t necessarily keep me from coming back because I’m 99% of the time pleased with the food & sweet tea regardless. The most disappointing reason for this break-up is the $1.00 for veggie chili. It was such an unnecessary issue that it baffles me I’m even writing this blog post.
It is vegetarian 101 to know that beans are MUCH cheaper than meat. I know for a fact that they are not losing money by offering vegetarian chili, in fact, they are probably saving money when vegetarians order veggie chili in place of meat chili – especially when they’re robbing a $1 from us. I refuse to support a company that chooses to penalize vegetarians for their dietary choices without logical reasoning. No matter what they say or how they explain it, there will never be an arguable reason to charge $1.00 extra for veggie chili. It’s not even fancy veggie chili that was slaved over for hours in the kitchen. It’s the most basic veggie chili I’ve ever had, beans & a tomato base. For that very reason, I’m breaking up with McAlister’s – a restaurant that I have eaten at twice a day before on multiple occasions, a restaurant that I have promoted positively via social media for years, a restaurant that I have made standing lunches at with friends on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, a restaurant that I would go out of my way for to get my fix, a restaurant that I have coerced other people to go to when we’re deciding what to have for dinner, a restaurant that I absolutely loved and supported 100%! Now, McAlister’s, you’ve let one of your most faithful customers down and for that very reason, we’re done.
Let me know when/if you come to your senses and stop charging $1.00 extra for veggie chili, I do believe in second chances and would come running back to you in a heartbeat if I knew my chili wasn’t extremely over priced. I hope the day comes where I can post instagram’s like this again, but for now I’ll support restaurants who cater to vegetarian diets at logically reasonable prices.
If I hear anything from McAlister’s about fixing their $1.00 veggie chili mistake, I promise to let you know! At this point (over a month later), I haven’t heard from them, but with as much as I have cherished their company in the past, I sincerely hope this isn’t how things end (Seriously, I want my sweet tea back!) I took the survey they offer on their receipts stating that I’d be more than happy for them to contact me to discuss my experience and my disapproval of this visit – nothing.
**I didn’t have pictures from the actual visit described in the post, so no I don’t have proof that my veggie chili was lacking, but hopefully you’ll trust me when I say there was not an extra $1.00 worth of chili covering my nachos.
**I believe there is a fine line between a vegetarian who seeks out equality and acceptance of their diet and one who chooses to make life difficult for those around them because of their diet. I don’t think vegetarian’s should be penalized for choosing this lifestyle; however, I also don’t think that others should have to bend over backwards to satisfy that vegetarian lifestyle (which unfortunately, some vegetarians would disagree with.) I make this point to say that I try to be a vegetarian who is accommodating for those around me without compromising my morals and values, so this is not a post trying to promote “special privileges” for vegetarians.