My question is about restaurant etiquette.
What’s the most efficient way to complain about poor service and food in a restaurant? We know the owners, but don’t want to go there even though we think they should know our complaints.
We’ve been dining at this particular restaurant for what seems like generations, but the food and service has become less and less satisfactory over the years. When we run into the owners, they say, “We don’t see you as often as we used to.” But they never ask why.
Thank you for your question about restaurant etiquette.
A recent British survey found that 38% of those asked would never think of making a complaint in a restaurant — even if something was dreadfully off.
- Chefs have been known to throw out a guest who complained. Or who, say, asked for ketchup to doctor his ceviche.
- Never order something that is unfamiliar to you and then complain that you didn’t know it was raw fish. Ask before you order.
- If the chowder is cold or the steak is not rare enough, speak up.
- Be clear, calm and concise in voicing your complaint. Then be patient – mistakes happen. Allow for the error to be rectified.
- Be straightforward, don’t wait to complain about a dish until you’ve practically cleaned your plate.
- Speak up immediately. Once you walk out of the restaurant door, it’s over.
Good restaurant etiquette would be to let your waiter or management know of your complaint before exiting the restaurant – and not through social media.
- Although if you made the reservation through sites like OpenTable, you can send a private message to the restaurant when you receive their followup survey in your inbox.
- Don’t ask to be compensated for your discontent. Any good restaurant will want to turn your criticism into a positive complaint and may offer a complimentary dessert or after-dinner drink as a reward for your patience.
Problems can occur when the waiter doesn’t write down the order.
- There are waiters who think it is not cool to write up an order. No hip waiter wants to be seen using a pen and pad. He prides himself in his keen memory.
- Writing things down takes time. Memorizing an order means less time is engaged with the guest.
- When a waiter tries to bond, he makes eye contact, but maybe the guest would rather that the waiter focus on writing up the order.
- When a waiter isn’t interested in bonding with the guests, he’ll want to get away from the table as soon as possible and so doesn’t accurately write down the details, such as ‘sauce on the side.’
- When a waiter does write up an order he then might take back control to show who he thinks is really in charge. That’s when things can go wrong.
As a paying guest, you have a right to question the waiter by asking, “Are you sure you can remember all this without writing it down?”
After all, there probably has to be a ticket order for the chef, so the waiter might as well get it right from the start — whether the order is then recorded on a touch-screen computer or a paper chef ticket.
- The waiter will either accept the challenge and roll his eyes to say, “You can trust me.”
- Or take out a pad and pen and write down the order. But he may still have to enter your order into the computer.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Accepting A Compliment