Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Dining Challenge

Published 9th October, 2010

There is a worthy saying in the restaurant industry when it comes to customer satisfaction; ‘If you enjoyed it – tell the world – If you didn’t – tell us”. Although a good restaurant will always strive for perfection in every aspect, as with any highly human service orientated industry there can be times when they fall short.

This was true just recently at a very long lunch with four visiting friends where we enjoyed a few convivial hours of impressive food, wine and great friendly service. Being a long lunch there was a change of shift and where we had experienced nothing but excellence from the first waiter, the new fellow came in cold with a different mindset to a table of people who were (well) enjoying a mellow afternoon. Now I have experienced this waiter before and he is highly professional and has a friendly attitude. But today with these people – it just didn’t work. However with just one word to this fellow, he quickly apologised and put someone else on our table, and we settled back into a pleasurable lunch. As a result my visitors enjoyed another three meals at this establishment over the weekend.

When things go wrong, a restaurant can be judge on how well they handle the complaint – there and then. A complaint is a plea from a guest who is saying ‘I chose your establishment, something is not right, I am giving you a chance to make amends’. A good restaurant will be thankful that you have given them that chance and will do their very best to make sure their guests leave happy.

With the internet, online website reviews and complaints about restaurants are becoming more prolific. Perhaps valid if a complaint wasn’t handled well, but before an online whinge, a phone call, email or letter to the restaurant manager/owner would be polite. Otherwise it’s a cop-out and downright unfair? No comeback for the restaurateur and unwarranted damage to their business.

If your dining experience does not match your expectations, first give the restaurant a chance to rise to your challenge; before you leave. And if you enjoyed it; then go on-line and tell the world.

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