I’ve never been more eager to publicly applaud an eating establishment in my life.
Let me preface the events of my first visit to Rise Biscuits & Donuts in Carrboro with a little bit about myself: I have been grappling with out-of-state tuition for four long years at Carolina. Not to mention – I am inexorably extroverted and constantly on the prowl for new spots in the community in which to eat, drink and explore. Unfortunately, my curiosity often comes with a price (literally). Juggling two jobs, 15 school credit hours and an insatiable affinity for culinary experimentation, I live day-to-day in fear of receiving the dreaded “insufficient funds” notification. More than once, I have made the demoralizing walk of shame away from the cash register when my card has been unexpectedly declined. (I will still never forget the day that Starbucks retracted a drink from me in front of an enormous audience when I couldn’t produce 20 more cents to pay for it.)
This morning was one such day. After a gloriously reckless weekend of anti-Duke revelry, I found myself with a broken phone, three impending midterms and hardly any funds. In earnest, sleep-deprived hope, I arrived at the new Rise in Carrboro this morning looking for motivation to push through my misfortunes – in the form of a good ol’ chicken biscuit. I decided to order a second one for a pal of mine who had treated me to breakfast in the past before our 9:30 a.m. class. So I recited my order to the pleasant, middle-aged woman at the counter, handed her my debit card and saw those awful four words appear on the screen – “transaction cannot be completed.”
My heart (and stomach) sank, and I nervously shuffled through my wallet, knowing my only other option was a few wrinkly dollar bills. Panicking, I perused the menu for whatever crumbs I could afford to buy. Meanwhile, the employees at Rise showed absolutely no frustration nor agitation with the situation, even though I was a cheap college vagrant holding up the line.
Instead, as I was about to scurry away with my sad little $2 potato cake, the woman behind the counter scooted the iced tea that I had originally wanted to purchase toward me. When I tried to protest, she shushed me and said, “Things will get better, sweetheart. I promise.” Bewildered, I thanked her and turned to leave. But again, I was stopped – this time, by the manager (who I genuinely thought was going to call me out for making a scene). She emerged from behind the counter and held out two bulging chicken biscuits.
“We already made ’em, so you might as well enjoy! Just promise to come back and see us again,” she sang.
I walked out of Rise overcome with humility and gratitude, soon coupled with euphoria at the first bite of my fried chicken biscuit. Those small, unwarranted acts of kindness by the Rise staff not only made my day but also gave me hope in humanity.
Rise’s exceptional customer service isn’t a secret – it’s cultivated a sturdy reputation in the Triangle as a haven for Southern hospitality. And it doesn’t hurt that the franchise has some of the best biscuits in North Carolina. Do yourself a favor, and add pimento cheese. The donuts are delightfully fresh and creative (Cheerwine icing, ‘nuff said).
Bottom line: customer service can make or break an establishment. And in this case, Carrboro’s newest eatery rises to the occasion.