There are always exceptions to the rules. “I before E except after a C” for example. Even the old adages “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Feedback is key to any good business wanting to be great. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken and you can’t celebrate your successes if you don’t know you are winning. A great business will encourage you to offer feedback, will welcome the challenge to take it on board and use it to improve. Or celebrate their Teams & Systems.
But in the world of Master Chef and Gordon Ramsay I think it’s fair to say we all feel we have all become food critics. After working in the Hospitality Business for a number of years (which I won’t mention how many as it reminds me of my losing race with age), I try to follow simple rules when dining out. If asked for feedback I always give it freely, Great restaurants want your feedback good or bad so that they can monitor, review and improve. Facts are Facts, I know I’m not going to like every meal in every restaurant I dine in. If I have something I don’t like and I’m asked how my meal is I will let the waiter know.
There will be a system in place for this and the restaurant will put things in motion to rectify, might be a replacement meal or reheat, but a good restaurant will always try to fix a problem. Keep in mind that whether I like or dislike my meal a lot of time and effort has gone into it, there is or are people who are working as hard as they can to produce what’s on my plate. And they can only fix this if you let them know at the time.
What I never do is when asked about my meal, is dress down the waiter about the food. Raising my voice or getting abusive isn’t going to fix anything, Not raising an issue with any staff and then using my keyboard as a weapon to write my thoughts throughout social media definitely won’t help me or the restaurant. The waiter didn’t make my food, and there is always the chance that it could be just be my personal preference and 99% of all other diners love that same dish.
I never argue price with the floor staff either, for several reasons but the main ones are:
1. They probably didn’t price the menu themselves.
2. No one held a gun to my head and made me enter the restaurant or eat the food, they generally will have the prices listed on the menu and if it looks too expensive for me I will dine elsewhere.
3. I understand pricing and its simple math. 15% of the price GST, 28%-35% is just the cost of the companents itself, 28%-34% is the wages of the team members so already that’s anywhere between 60%-70% of the cost before we even take into account rent, power or water.
In all my years’ experience I am yet to find a restaurant that is purposely out there on a clandestine mission to rip people off.
I guess what I’m saying is always offer feedback, They need it, we need it and want it. But be mindful of how you do it, where you do it and who too. It's a very fine line between constructive feedback and just plain mean.