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Old 05-23-2007, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
24,122 posts, read 16,200,065 times
Reputation: 56966

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How do you handle problems in a restaurant when you have had bad food or service? The past weekend my wife and I stopped at two national name brand restaurants both are nice and are well known as upper-end for food and service. Yet we had problems at the first restaurant and had to leave only to go to another location of a different national chain and there too we had problems.

In both cases we told the waiter about the problem and also the manager on duty at the time. In the first case we had to leave after talking nicely to the manager about the problem. It was a matter of cleanliness for food and drink that was the problem yet he just didnít seem to respond in a positive way.

Later at the second location we found again a cleanliness problem when being seated and again the problem didnít seem to be resolved very well. Here too we talked with the waiter and the manger about the problem. After the meal we left and headed home wondering why we ever stopped to eat and why the manager didnít handle the problems any better then he did.

Later the next day I called the corporate office of each national restaurant chain and talked with the staff. I felt then as I do now that constructive criticism is a valuable tool for a business to know what their employees are doing and how best to serve the public. The corporate office seemed to appreciate the information much more then the local managers did.

This required extra time and effort on my part for bringing the problem to their attention however Iím hopeful that the overall cleanliness of the restaurants is improved. These were simple problems that were in each as yet employees just didnít care enough to do the right thing.

What do you do if you have a problem? Talk or Walk?

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Old 05-23-2007, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,948 posts, read 22,745,702 times
Reputation: 10984
Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post
How do you handle problems in a restaurant when you have had bad food or service? The past weekend my wife and I stopped at two national name brand restaurants both are nice and are well known as upper-end for food and service. Yet we had problems at the first restaurant and had to leave only to go to another location of a different national chain and there too we had problems.

In both cases we told the waiter about the problem and also the manager on duty at the time. In the first case we had to leave after talking nicely to the manager about the problem. It was a matter of cleanliness for food and drink that was the problem yet he just didnít seem to respond in a positive way.

Later at the second location we found again a cleanliness problem when being seated and again the problem didnít seem to be resolved very well. Here too we talked with the waiter and the manger about the problem. After the meal we left and headed home wondering why we ever stopped to eat and why the manager didnít handle the problems any better then he did.

Later the next day I called the corporate office of each national restaurant chain and talked with the staff. I felt then as I do now that constructive criticism is a valuable tool for a business to know what their employees are doing and how best to serve the public. The corporate office seemed to appreciate the information much more then the local managers did.

This required extra time and effort on my part for bringing the problem to their attention however Iím hopeful that the overall cleanliness of the restaurants is improved. These were simple problems that were in each as yet employees just didnít care enough to do the right thing.

What do you do if you have a problem? Talk or Walk?

I talk. Because if I walk, the problem is second hand. If I talk, I can present my case.

Today, people don't realize that we are the customer. A couple of years ago, I had bad service and they just didn't care. So I sat outside and told every couple coming in what kind of service I had. I succesfully turned away about 50% of their customers in a 2 hour period.
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Old 05-23-2007, 05:59 PM
 
Location: The Frenchie Farm, Where We Grow 'em Big!
2,077 posts, read 4,156,925 times
Reputation: 1005
I would definately talk! Ask for the names of the parties involved and ask for the names in the corporate or home office. Get phone numbers! Remember to speak softly. People become more resistant if you made a scene. But, if you spoke to them in a calm and even tone, you'll get results. We eat out a lot and encounter various situations. We always talked calmly to the manager about a certain subject, good or bad.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
24,122 posts, read 16,200,065 times
Reputation: 56966
I agree with the ďtalkĒ and being polite about the problem. They are embarrassed to think that the food or service was unsatisfactory to begin with, and yelling about it makes matters worse. I also have been in the service industry and I know that people who present a logical well thought point of view would always seem to get help in getting things turned around. However after talking and no results itís time to walk. Making a call to the upper level office always helps and it lets them know what is going on below.

I also provide positive comments to waiters and manager when the food or service is excellent. Itís a two way street and they need to know when they have made customers happy as well as when things have gone wrong.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,680 posts, read 31,723,338 times
Reputation: 11789
I talk. I do it in a respectful, professional, but firm manner.

I have always received good results.

The worse customer, to a business, is the customer that walks away, without ever saying anything, and never comes back. That customer is lost forever and the business never knows why and can never rectify the situation.

On the other hand, if a business or employee gives exemplary service I go above and beyond to have that recognized. So many customers do not do enough to commend the employee or business. If you want to keep receiving that kind of service you have to insure it.

May I ask the specifics of the issue?
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:32 PM
 
Location: VA
784 posts, read 3,193,904 times
Reputation: 938
Default "How was everything today?"

At many places that serve food I go to you pay the check at a cash register after eating the food. Some 17 year old girl is trained to ask everyone how everything was. I always make a point to say the food was tasteless just to see what she says. In 99% of cases she will just stare at me or say, OH. In a few rare cases she will ask if I want to talk to the manager. If the manager did come by I would just say I was from the corporate office and was checking to see if the front desk knew how to deal with complaints.
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
24,122 posts, read 16,200,065 times
Reputation: 56966
In the resent case of my visits the cleanliness of a wine glass was a problem but they made it worse by taking the glass back to the bar and in view of the customers poured the wine from the dirty glass into a clean one. When bringing it back to the table we asked if the wine was contaminated with soap and dirt from the other glass? The answer the waiter gave was yes it probably was but he would get another glass of wine for us. The manager intervened but he too was lacking a little knowledge of how to handle the problem. A simple apology was all that would have been needed however he (the manager) continued to make excuses about the dirty glass and how that was normal to find in this business.

In the second restaurant we had a dirty booth with crumbs on the seat and the table was sticky from foods. The waiter took us to another booth and it too was a mess. The waiter cleaned the first booth and we moved back into it. Also a bread dish was dirty and had to be given back to the waiter. The tabletop was crusty from food items left on it, and I was able to wash it away the crusty with an ice cube and the linen napkin.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:22 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
17,831 posts, read 21,526,377 times
Reputation: 43109
what concerns me if it is dirty out front heaven only knows how it is in the back.
Maybe a call to the inspectors would be in order.
If the glass was that dirty could it of been a used glass ? So pouring the wine into a new glass is not health standards practices.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:27 PM
 
Location: In the sunshine on a ship with a plank
3,413 posts, read 5,886,649 times
Reputation: 2175
I don't know if the requirement is national or just in the state of Florida, but the law here is that all foodservice workers, including servers and bartenders are supposed to be Serv-Safe certified. Standards are taught to protect the public from contamination.... doesn't sound like the servers at those two restaurants were trained at all.

I think you handled things properly- but you never did tell us the reaction of the corporate offices. If they were unsatisfactory, I would follow up with a letter with a cc. to the unit manager. Name names, date, time and specifics of the issue.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Deane Hill, Knoxville, Tennessee
21,680 posts, read 31,723,338 times
Reputation: 11789
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingler View Post
At many places that serve food I go to you pay the check at a cash register after eating the food. Some 17 year old girl is trained to ask everyone how everything was. I always make a point to say the food was tasteless just to see what she says. In 99% of cases she will just stare at me or say, OH. In a few rare cases she will ask if I want to talk to the manager. If the manager did come by I would just say I was from the corporate office and was checking to see if the front desk knew how to deal with complaints.
That is just being a jerk.

You always make a point to say the food was tasteless? That is being non-constructive. As professionals dealing with the public, I am sure they know that you are just messing with their corporation.

Didn't you start out your first posts saying that most of America was fat and ugly? How, exactly do you contribute to our society? What do you do for a living?
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