Restaurant Complaints: Why We Complain and Why We Should

In bed and at table, communicating what you want is the key to total satisfaction.  In a great restaurant, you’ll rarely have to ask, because they’ll already know–Think of Judi Dench’s speech in “Gosford Park–and you’ll never have to beg, because they’ll always say yes. Nonetheless, if you do speak up, chances are your experience will be even more satisfying. In short, in a great dining room, you’ll get as much and more than you paid for.

That said, most of us don’t eat in great restaurants that often. So let’s move on to merely good restaurants. Here service and food problems will arise from time to time. When they do, you should always try to resolve them during the meal. It’s much easier for a restaurant to overcome a slight dip in an evening’s experience than redeem itself with apologies or favors after the fact; it’s also better for you. Early intervention makes for a far happier meal and a bileless, bitterness-free morning after. If you’re concerned about making a scene, you can always excuse yourself and speak with the manager discreetly, saving your guests an unsavory experience and maybe saving the night.

If your attempts at correction are rebuffed or insufficiently addressed, a letter to the restaurant’s director of service is definitely in order. I firmly believe that letters are better than phone calls, as you’re more likely to articulate your concerns clearly and concretely on paper. If you do write, your letter should be as precise as possible, and refrain from name-calling, profanity and lazy adjectives. It should also be framed in terms of how things could have been better. Think of it as a suggestion letter, not as a rant. Chances are, you’ll get results.

CAVEAT AND REALITY CHECK:

In New York, restaurant service directors are among the few people that will listen to you and strive to do a better job next time. Can you ask that of an awkward hookup, a taxi driver, an airline reservationist? Restaurants can make the world feel perfect and you feel taken care of for a few hours. Nonetheless, the world isn’t perfect and ultimately, you need to take care of yourself. Don’t abuse the restaurant’s trust. This is not a chance to weasel a free meal out of a place. Complaints are about correcting a problem, not playing the ambulance-chaser lottery. Yes, better restaurants are more likely to respond. They’re also less likely to have had a legitimate problem in the first place, so be honest with yourself and the place to which, ultimately, you want to return.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Restaurant Complaints: Why We Complain and Why We Should”

  1. Jim Says:

    My friend contacted me about a special evening he planned at
    Paradou

    8 Little West 12th Street
    New York, NY 10014
    Phone: 212.463.8345

    You know the kind. Intimate setting, perfect seating, service , ambiance, food. This was going to be a splurge for a wonderful evening
    BUT>>>>>>>>>

    I would like to share the following for ANYONE who lives in or visits New York City and chooses the restaurant below for dining.
    Do yourself a big favor – Go past this establishment and take your money, appetite and desire for the perfect evening elsewhere

    Diner Beware!!!!!!!!

    Here is his reservation:

    “vadim@paradounyc.com” wrote:
    .Dear Mr Natalicchio,

    Thank you for making your dining reservation at Paradou.

    Thank you for choosing Paradou. We are very pleased to have you joining us. Should your plans change, please give us a call at 212-463-8345 or via e-mail vadim@paradounyc.com. We very much look forward to having you spend some time with us.

    Your reservation for a party of 2 has been made for Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 6:30 PM.

    Here is my friends letter to these people.

    I am so disappointed in your restaurant and the awful service I got from your hostess I don’t think I will ever be requesting a reservation again from your establishment.
    I made this reservation weeks ago as I wanted the entire day to be perfect for my partner’s birthday, and it was until I arrived at the restaurant. I knew you had your Adult Bingo event or whatever you call it, but I called last week making sure the dining room would still be open and was assured that it would not be an issue. When I got there I was offered 2 tables which were not satisfactory in the bar area. Your bar area is fine, but I did not want to be there. After my partner requested a table in the corner near the window, I was told it was for someone else. Your uncaring rude hostess made it easy for me to say thank you and we quickly left.
    I got some news for you, you’re not the only restaurant in town, we ended up going elsewhere where we were more than welcomed even without a reservation. I don’t appreciate misinformation and don’t appreciate being treated with substandard service, sorry my money isn’t good enough for you.
    Maybe next time you and your staff will get it right.
    I am so disappointed in your restaurant and the awful service I got from your hostess I don’t think I will ever be requesting a reservation again from your establishment.
    I made this reservation weeks ago as I wanted the entire day to be perfect for my partner’s birthday, and it was until I arrived at the restaurant. I knew you had your Adult Bingo event or whatever you call it, but I called last week making sure the dining room would still be open and was assured that it would not be an issue. When I got there I was offered 2 tables which were not satisfactory in the bar area. Your bar area is fine, but I did not want to be there. After my partner requested a table in the corner near the window, I was told it was for someone else. Your uncaring rude hostess made it easy for me to say thank you and we quickly left.
    I got some news for you, you’re not the only restaurant in town, we ended up going elsewhere where we were more than welcomed even without a reservation. I don’t appreciate misinformation and don’t appreciate being treated with substandard service, sorry my money isn’t good enough for you.
    Maybe next time you and your staff will get it right.

    Thanks for listening. What ever happened to real customer service? Isn’t the 1st word in that term…..Customer?

  2. Writing a Wrong: Sample Restaurant Complaint Letter « Fat and Happy Food Slut Says:

    […] a Wrong: Sample Restaurant Complaint Letter First, see my other posts on when to complain.   Remember, your name and your word are on the line when you write, so make […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: