Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Ivar’s Customer Service

In all the world, the restaurant I love above all others is Ivar’s, and the good news for me is that Ivar’s has branches all over Seattle. They have big, full service restaurants, they have counters in the food courts in all the malls, they have branches all over the city, sort of like fast-food Ivar’s, and then they have a couple branches by the ferry-boat lines, so people taking the ferries to the islands can just grab some fish and chips to go. Or clam chowder. Yummm.

You all think I come to Seattle and just sit back and eat bonbons, but you are SO wrong. I do all my medical check ups, and get new glasses, and try to take care of all kinds of business. So I am waiting for my glasses to be ready in one hour, and I go to the nearby food court where I know there is an Ivar’s. I was having blood tests this morning, so I have fasted since midnight the night before and I am HUNGRY.

When I get to the Ivar’s, I order the Salmon Ceasar, which the big sign says is $8.69.

“Is that the lunch special Salmon Ceasar?” the counter guy asks.

I am desperately looking for a sign and I don’t see one, so I say “yes.”

The price is WAYYYYY less than a dinner Salmon Ceasar, and the salmon is almost the same size, just a little less lettuce, or so it looks to me.

How often to restaurants ask you if you would like LESS instead of more? Often, when we order, the server asks “is that all?” and my usual answer is “isn’t that enough?” Like we are not supposed to be in the restaurant unless we are going to order more?

When my lunch comes, there is also a form – you will see it below. It is a very brave form – I always admire restaurants that genuinely ask for feedback.

(At one restaurant in Kuwait, I wrote I would never be back because they didn’t have the kind of pizza I like, and AdventureMan said “the home office will never see that one!” because he believes that the bad ones are probably tossed away.)

I’m only sharing this with you because I really love Ivar’s food, and I really love their approach to the customer.

July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions


  1. I love seafood

    Comment by pearls | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. I’m afraid I agree with AdventureMan.

    Comment by Yousef | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  3. If i were in charge of receiving suggestions in the Home Office, i wud love reading the negative comments…coz it’s criticisms that lead to improvement. I mean what am i gonna do with a comment that says, “Love the food, love the restaurant”!! But with your comment i cud think of bringing in the pizza you like and hopefully attract more customers because of it.

    Comment by Darya | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  4. Pearls – me too! 😉

    Yousef – actually, what is funny is that I said I wouldn’t eat there because they didn’t have any thin crust pizzas, but now – they do! And we have been back!

    Darya – You’ve made a good point. In an increasingly competitive world, those comments help us succeed, if we pay attention.

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  5. Most fast food restaurants and other businesses like Target, Best Buy and others have that on their receipts only maybe not so bold. They have you go to a website and do a survey and then email you a coupon for some percent off your next purchase or entry in a weekly drawing. I don’t know if you get it every time or if it is something generated randomly by the computer. I do know they can isolate your purchase to place, time and person fairly easily by computer. I sometimes wonder if it could get someone fired by remote if they get too many complaints.

    Comment by momcat | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  6. Ivar’s “reach has never exceeded its grasp”.
    Ivar, and the guys who now run the company, were always somewhat conservative and it has stood them in good stead.

    And I think that they have the best white clam chowder and tartar sauce (both made in their own facility) in the Pacific Northwest…Sorry, Duke’s and Anthony’s.

    Tom Shanahan

    Comment by Tom Shanahan | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  7. those comments are to help… in areas of improvements 🙂
    I love seafood and I love thin crust pizza… I love food but you already know that by now LOL

    Comment by Ansam | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  8. Ooooohhh, Momcat, scary thought, being tracked like that. But the Ivar’s customer survey is totally separate from your receipt. It is a separate form they hand you, and you go online and . . . I haven’t done it so I don’t know what questions they ask, but I don’t think they would know exactly which order I am . . . will have to discuss that with you later!

    Tom – Welcome to HT&E. I agree, Ivar’s has a winning formula. The only miss, in my book, was the salmon house in Wallingford where they served a dry cornbread, but that was many many years ago. I still ask for things not on the menu, old classics, and many times, if they are not too busy, the chef will do them for me. 🙂

    Ansam, you and me both. 😉

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  9. love your fish and tarter sauce

    Comment by leta chavez | March 25, 2009 | Reply

  10. Leta – Ivar’s has it’s own website! Go tell them!

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 25, 2009 | Reply

  11. Love eatting there and always good!!

    Looking for the Senior Citizen card mentioned at one of the
    Ivar locations[South Center]. They said you had to go on line for it.

    Is that true or what were they refering to???


    Chris E

    Comment by Chris Ellis | August 23, 2010 | Reply

  12. Chris – You have to be ” 55 years young.” 🙂


    Carte Clam Club is an esteemed ‘fish clan’ at Ivar’s reaping the rewards for years of experience. Members must be 55 years young or older. Receive exclusive offers, an everyday 10% discount, free meals and a free birthday meal to commemorate your big anniversary. Our new Carte Clam section now allows you to sign up as a new member or update your current profile in case you’ve moved, changed e-mail addresses or simply lost your card.

    Not only is seafood good for you, it is good for your wallet. The more you dine with us the more you save. As a Carte Clam member, you’ll receive the following:

    10% DISCOUNT
    Receive a 10% discount at any Ivar’s Full-Service Restaurants or Seafood Bars, or Kidd Valley restaurants, excluding stadiums, such as Safeco Field. You may use your card as often as you’d like. Keep in mind:

    Please present your Carte Clam card to the server or cashier BEFORE you order. This prevents errors and helps your ordering process go smoothly
    Discount does not include alcoholic beverages (the state will not allow it)
    Discount is good for food only — does not include gift certificates or merchandise
    Please include your tip on the total before the discount

    Receive one free entrée for every 10 entrees purchased. You may use it every time you visit us. Stop by any Ivar’s restaurant (excluding stadiums) and present your ID and your Carte Clam Club Card for your Frequent Buyer Card today.

    You will receive a birthday postcard during the month of your birthday. To receive your FREE birthday entrée (up to $20 value), present your birthday postcard and a valid picture ID (Driver’s License, State ID Card) within two weeks of your birthday and you’ll receive a FREE entrée when you purchase any entrée of equal or greater value. (The lower priced entrée will be removed from the guest check up to $20). Example: If your birthday is May 1st, you would have from April 15th – May 15th to receive your FREE birthday entrée. Simple! Just use your Carte Clam card and your picture ID to receive your special birthday offer.

    The above offers may not be used with any other offers or discounts, including television, radio, newspaper advertising or coupons. They are also not valid at any stadium locations.

    You must smile when you use it.

    You can visit any of our Seafood Bars, Full Service or Kidd Valley location (excluding stadiums) to fill out an application in person.

    Help is just a click or a phone call away! Phone (206) 587-6500 x371 or e-mail us at: Welcome to the Carte Clam Club. We look forward to serving you soon.
    Ivar’s Carte Clam Club

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 23, 2010 | Reply

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